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Mower deck cleaning

Post in 'The Gear' started by smokinj, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'd start by making sure it's turning the RPM's it's supposed to. I'd have to check the specs to be sure but I'm guessing 34-3600 as a ball park. We can cure that RIO issue in a hurry. That's just about the only "safety" I don't mind bypassing. Would make a spectacular horn button however. ;lol :p
    smokinj likes this.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Hes old and fell off 3 weeks ago. That's where I came in. Its running fine hes a retired engineer from GM everything hes got is. :eek:
  3. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    The seat on that machine is pretty nice, but there's only so much it can do when you hit a serious divot or dip. The property is cross-crossed with back-filled drain lines and utility lines, which were level when back-filled, but have since settled. I try to improve on that situation a little each year.

    I have been playing with tire pressure, trying to find the PSI where I can make hard turns without too much tire compression (scalping on outside edge of deck), yet soft enough that my internal organs stay in their original locations. I think I have it dialed in pretty good, for the moment.

    One problem I have is none of my tire gauges agree on what 12 psi should read. Some read 9 psi while others read 14 psi on the same tire, and some of these are special ones made for reading tire pressures under 20 PSI. Makes it sort of difficult to really know where you're at.
    smokinj likes this.
  4. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    The suspension kit will allow you to air up the tires to where they don't tear up the turf but save your rear the abuse. Not unheard of for guys to run them as low as 8 psi but that requires re-leveling the deck.
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I tried 2 different gauges as well. I have decided my eye ball is a better judge. _g
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  6. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I cleaned the deck last night because of this thread. I only use a 2 blade 42" craftsman mower. Took it off and dug out all the junk as best as I could with scraping tools. I then used what I had to spray paint the exposed metal. No wire brush, no pressure washer and quite a bit of the deck had a thin layer of crust still.

    It might have been the sunny weather, or lower grass but the mower seemed to pump clippings into the baggage system more dependably at faster ground speeds. I bag everything and mow about 3/4 acre.

    Maybe there is something to this deck cleaning business. Any ideas for getting my huge clippings pile to go away?
    smokinj likes this.
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I would think the any dry lube spray in the Shute would help to. They say it works in the snow blowers seems it should help there too. Oh Mulch pile it. Maybe catch on fire! :eek: lol ( I have had a pile in my truck smoking pretty good)
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Quit bagging. ;)

    Look into mulching options. You guys in the PNW are quite wet however so you might be limited. Mulching does not work well in wet or tall grass. You have to stay on top of it (mowing frequently) to get the best results. You will reap the benefits of keeping the clippings on the lawn too, the lawn recycles the nutrients from the cut grass.
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Oh no, there will be no mulching. Tried that before in this yard for a year and the growth rate far exceeds the decomposition rate. Most of the mowing was just pushing the brown clippings side to side. Quite comical, the build up blanket was over an inch thick, brown, and would be lifted by the grass pushing up from below.

    Kids would track it in the house. Slip-n-slide events resulted in kids looking like sasquatch. Not a happy wife.

    Collecting the clippings doesn't add much time or effort but the pile has grown to about 30 cubic yards. I started dumping woodstove ashes on it in hopes of kicking the decomposition up a bit.
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  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    If you can turn it over with that bucket once a week would speed it up a lot!
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I tried that once this winter. What a nasty mess. That grass pile is like a huge, fresh, wet cow pie. The tractor bucket and front wheels were covered in that nasty, sticky, grossness. It stunk bad. Since it was winter, it didn't take long to start making mud around the pile so I gave up.

    Maybe this summer I'll try again if that is the best way to go.
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  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    With fresh stuff on top and dry conditions should not stick like that. Be good mulch for the garden once decomposed.
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    It's a commitment thing. ;)

    Mulching works best when you mow frequently, like 2x what you normally would. Or have a dedicated mulching deck/machine like John Deere's Freedom 42 or the 44 Piranha decks that were under various tractors. Still have to keep up with the grass but dedicated mulch decks leave much finer clippings than a converted conventional setup. My LT150 with a Freedom 42 leaves clippings that are typically 1/2" - 3/8". They pretty much are invisible and break down quick.
  14. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    New belt installed, air filter, razor Sharpe blades, re-built carb and everything with a fresh shot of grease. Couple pass's and the deck is level and cutting with 0 effort and turning on a dime. Next the 212 and Sunday 277. But the little 135 with 22hp and a 42 deck is my favorite mower out of those 3. That may change when I am done we will see. ;)
  15. jensent

    jensent Member

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    Family has run a lawn care business for 20 yrs. Here is what we find work best. Run welded decks fabricated from steel plate. Mo-deck spray "helps". Decks scrape easier before they are allowed to dry. Blades should be installed with leading edge blunted to prevent metal fatigue from impacts. Our smallest mower deck is 36in and only used where access is restricted. Kawasaki engines are our favorite. Fixed deck "stander" style mowers are our favorite. Grasshopper hydraulics seem to steer and trim the smoothest. Hope this helps.
    Tom
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  16. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    For you people who can't get an accurate tire guage for low pressures, use an ATV tire guage. ATV's run as low as 3lbs.
  17. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    The best way to get rid of a pile of grass clippings is to not put them in a pile. Or at least not in a big pile. As long as the pile stays wet they'll just sit there and fester and end up smelling like a cow lot in a couple days. If the pile is kept dry you could burn them off, but I realize keeping a pile of grass dry in the PNW is not likely.

    I think your best option might be to bury them if you have space. If not, haul them off.
  18. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I have a pencil gauge that runs 0 - 20 psi and I keep that thing locked down all the time. It's balls-on accurate which is rare for that type of gauge. I've had good luck with dial type gauges but they are hard to find in the appropriate scale.
  19. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    This guy has never met a Deere 7-Iron deck. Stamped, but it's 7 - gauge steel with reinforcements around the spindles. The smooth underside with no corners is king when conditions get wet and heavy. I'd put it up against some of the best fabricated (welded) decks in the business. (and I have ;)).


    This is true. Some blades come with the leading edge ground flat, leaving about 1/32" of a face. Works.

    Those seem to be making a comeback but not around here. Wherever there are steep slopes, the standers stay parked and the hydro walk-behinds reign supreme. >>

    It all varies by region, grass, blades, decks, design, everything. What works in FL doesn't in the Northeast and what works in the Midwest could very well be disastrous for someone running a mowing business in the Pacific Northwest.
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  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Guys, I do have a brand new ATV dial gauge. Reads 0 - 15 PSI. It disagrees with my other FOUR dial gauges by 3 - 5 psi... which is right?


    True. I have two 7-iron decks, one 60" for the 757 Z-trak and one 72" for the 855 MFWD. The previous owner bumped two different concrete steps on my patio with that 60" deck, and broke the steps both times, but never hurt the deck.
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  21. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    You'll never know until you try 'em against a calibrated gauge. You're on your own there. :confused:
  22. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    Personally like Milton air fittings & gauges ,made in usa have been my reference standard for 30 yrs
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I have pretty rough ground too. I didn't see much improvement with tire pressure down to 10. What really helped me was this after market suspension seat: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200268424_200268424

    It's an adjustable air suspension with a couple inches of travel which is adequate. Doesn't do anything for the machine, of course, but it did help my back a lot. Well, that and going slower...
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, Sprinter! Yeah, I think about the machine more than myself. Probably good that I don't have an air ride seat, lest I beat the machine to death! By this time each year, I have the bumps and dips pretty well memorized and/or filled in with fresh dirt and seed. So, I'm good until next spring, when I need to start learning (and filling) all over again.

    I just learned that one of the dips that runs about 600 feet across my property is buried utilities, and run to a transformer behind my neighbor's house, and then back forward up to his house. They must've run close to 1000 feet of unnecessary copper, versus just putting the transformer in front of his house. Bizarre. The other weird thing is that line does not show up in the utility easements, but PA one-call found it.
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