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rich_kildow

Mowing issues

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rich_kildow

I ended up splitting this weeks mowing between my 7116 w/ 48" deck and my Craftsman II 38". I think I prefer the craftsman, which I feel like I shouldn't considering how everybody raves about the Simplicity cut. Here's the problems with the simplicity, and maybe I can fix something:

- The tractor and I are COVERED in fine dust and particles. It is literally a 1/4 thick on my legs that blows up from under the front of the deck and out of all the little carriage bolt holes on the front of the deck. Both decks have Gator blades and are set at the same cutting height. Plugging the holes alone won't do it, a lot comes out form under the front. The deck was leveled 2 months ago.

- Simplicity misses a thin strip between the blades when a turn is just right. I had to shorten the blades slightly so they wouldn't hit each other and there isn't any more than 1/8" between the tips when they are nose to nose. I don't trust indexing them since they are belt driven, not gear.

- Craftsman is better at not scalping near trees. Our yard is an old pasture so the trees sit on little hummocks. I can run the craftsman right up on the hummock and mow against the tree. If I do that with the simplicity I push a mound of dirt in front of the deck and hit it with the blades.

- Craftsman steers 1000x better. If I go from Simplicity to craftsman, I am jerking all over for a few minutes until I 'recalibrate'.

- I can mow at top speed with the craftsman, which is faster than simp. Can't do that without getting a crappy cut on the simplicity.

I know the steering might be able to be fixed by tearing it all apart and polishing the rods and bushings. The speed thing is what it is. But what about the missed strip, scalping the hummocks, and crap that comes flying up?

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Brettw

There should have been no reason to shorten the blades, if they are the proper blades to begin with. If not, this may be a big part of the rest of your problems.

As far as the mess, I wonder, is the discharge open on your deck?

And, lastly, not trying to be a wise acre, and don't take this wrong, but are you sure the blades are on correctly? Upside down blades can contribute to much of what you are having issues with.

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Rick3410

Unless you're dealing with more dry dirt than grass, I don't understand why all the dust? I've only seen that problem with sparse grass and dry soil below. But any tractor would kick up that dust. I suspect these are the wrong blades. As Brett mentioned, you should not have to modify the blade length. As far as scalping near trees, this is clearly height adjustment of the deck. It's obviously lower than the Craftsman. I can mow with my 7016 at full speed but it's just too fast. Can't control it so I have to slow it down. It cuts well regardless of the speed unless I'm dealing with really tall grass. My two cents!

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Talntedmrgreen

I was going to mention the upside down blades as well, or belt on backward...I've seen both, numerous times (picked up a tractor yesterday, and the seller proudly states he's mowed 1.5 acres trouble free for 5 years...I looked and the blades are upside down).

The only time I notice debris being blown from the front of the deck, is when I'm mulching LOTS of leaves, or am on concrete or pavement and can see clippings blown aside. When mowing, with any Simplicity, I have never had grass on me...a bit of dust is a given. Plugging the chute or mowing at an excessive height would contribute to loss of suction under the deck.

You should never have an issue with blade length...something is definitely incorrect there. The 48" deck will scalp more than a narrower deck, by it's nature. I mowed similar hummocks around trees at my folks place, and there were a couple real steep ones that I could not simply mow a perfect circle around with the 48". You need to have your front wheel approach the slope first, and the deck will follow it at the contour being traveled. Gentle slopes you can mow right around, but steep slopes may require you approach and mow away, then on the other side, again approach and mow away. I like my deck high because I like my grass longer...3" plus, this helps as well with scalping. Also, if your deck is 'level' it will scalp more. Proper adjustment calls for your front blade tip to be higher than your rear tip. This may also improve suction vs blowing debris outward.

The problem I've encountered on newer MTD mowers, is that the dip and dive when turning, causing low swipes in the lawn with look ridiculous. I can't imagine the Craftsman giving a better cut, even vs an improperly adjusted Simplicity deck.

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rich_kildow

Thanks for the help guys.

http://simpletractors.com/Club2/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=122865&SearchTerms=blades

Here's the original discussion from when I got those blades. They were the stated 16 3/4" per my measurement, but that length had them hitting. Fixed it with the grinder, all are balanced and all are the same lenth to better than 1/32". My guess is the OEM blades weren't actually the 16 3/4" stated size and were a 1/32" smaller or so.

The deck is level/adjusted as of 2 months ago and I understand that the wider deck will scalp more, I wasn't sure if I was missing something. I might end up doing the bulk of the work with the 7116 and touching up around trees with the Craftsman. It isn't a ZTR, but that little bugger turns on a dime.

Brett, there is no discharge chute. I've been trying to find one but haven't had much luck. No offense taken at all; the blades are on such that the little teeth on the back edge are turned up. I have the hardware on correctly as well based on the answers in the above thread.

Rick, the lawn is finally growing in nicely so there isn't much for dry dirt and I vac'd all the leaves in the fall, so none to speak of. There is a definite difference in dust between the two tractors.

MrGreen, I double checked all belts, including the one under the covers and all is well there. Were you thinking that blades were running backwards? The cut is great, just that one little strip every now and again. And now that you mention it, the blades were on upside down when I bought the thing.

I wouldn't say the craftsman cut is any better or any worse. That machine has impressed me over the last few years.

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Chris727

The strip when making a sharp turn is not uncommon. Most of my FDT's do that. Its never been a problem becuase I don't stripe in circles and everything thats cut on a curve for the most part gets gone over again straignt when making my pattern. As for the blowout I had that issue also but never worried about it much. For the newer style tractors they make anti-blowout kits. You could probably fab one up for your tractor. It pretty much consists of a rubber flap that bolts through the carriage bolt holes on the front of the deck.

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RedbarnRick

You can buy a thick plastic edging for lawn and gardens it's I shaped has a round bulb or tube running the length, my nieghbor put a strip on his tractor and it has held up well, i'm constantly raising and lowering my deck due to ditches and berms so I'm not sure how it would hold up, but he has a very flat lawn and it seems to work well.

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rich_kildow

Chris, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with the strip left uncut. It's not all the time, but I think I hit the turn radius just right that it passes through the gap in a turn.

Rick, I'll look into that edging. I bet if I set it just right that would really help when using the vac as well.

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RonHatch

IMG_1070.JPG

IMG_1072.JPG

I used HD rubber baseboard that is normally used in bathrooms and kitchens to close the opening in the front of the deck. The lip of the baseboard is facing the blades. I then backed it up with a piece of 1/8" thick flat iron.

IMG_1070.JPG.1c120a1352791e4c489c5d4081361847.JPG

IMG_1072.JPG.2e4a808a09613aa44d76eb30c1834538.JPG

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RayS

Been using these gator blades for 13 years. Never had them hit each other these blades are not timed. OEM and and Gator Blades for left hand discharge are 16-11/16" length (Simplicity 1656143) - (gator number 96641). The 48" gull wings left hand discharge are 16-3/4" (Simplicity 1679916) - (gator number 96692). That maybe where the 16-3/4" is coming from, but they have different center hole diameters a splined washers.

I personally believe the shallower deck on my Prestige does a better job of cutting than my 48" deck and I like the 42" better than the 48" as well.

Grass blowing out the front of the deck has always been a aggravating issue for me.

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Kenh

FWIW when you measure a blade it is measured from the tip of the cutting edge to the opposite tip (at an angle). You do not measure strait from end to end. Double check to make sure the blades are rotating in the correct direction. It's pretty easy to get the wrong twist in the belt and reverse blade rotation.

Ken

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mtoney

Some decks dont work well with Gators. They are NOT a high lift(suction)blade by design. They are designed to chop up the flying grass and leaves into finer particles, thus the dust all over you and the tractor. The deep dish mower decks like on the older Simplicities and Allis tractors like to have a high lift blade design, this helps pull the grass up nice and straight, espicaly after the front wheels have run over it and keep proper air flow in the mower deck. I run stock Simplicity high lift blades in my 42" under my 7116 and have no issues with fine grass or grass blowing out the front of the mower deck. Now with no deflector chute, I do get blow back on me when its windy out, but that is to be expected. Personaly, I would go back to a stock set of Simplicity blades, recheck the deck leveling, both front to rear and side to side. Along with all the other items such as proper belt twist ect. Taking it back to factory specs will allow a better evaluation. I have no issues with my deck cutting bad. Now I can dig the one edge in if the hummel around a tree is small in length but tall in height that the front tire is past it before the deck clears it, since the front axle controls the height of the leading edge of the mower deck. Just a limitation of the design. Mike

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Willy

Just my 2 cents worth, rule of thumb, to get a good even cut

your speed should be held to what would be a fast walk.

Also the strip you miss on the turn is less.

I know, it's more fun to go fast.:D

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fishnwiz

Speaking of cutting issues...I ran my 7790 today for the 1st time on lush green grass. The mower destroyed the grass with the two outside blades scalping the lawn and the mid blade cutting about an inch higher leaving a strip of grass. I have not touched the deck since I purchased other then grease. I did see gators under the deck that did appear to be on the right way..What else could be the issue that would cause this kind of hack job? I did raise the roller adjustments with similar results.

I did run the deck in full down position.

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ReedS

Wiz.. I think you need to take a closer look at your deck, sounds to me like someone replaced a spindle assembly with the wrong one (shorter) thus the high center cut or maybe the 2 outside spindles are wrong. I run my deck at it's highest setting this time of year but never full down.

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HubbardRA

I have mowed my lawn with Crapsman and Murray mowers, both of them did more scalping than mowing. They especially liked to cut into the exposed tree roots from some of my maple trees. I now use a 48 inch Simplicity deck. I have never had any type of scalping problem with it, and it hardly ever touches a tree root. I was also cutting the grass shorter with it than with the other two that I had before.

Are you sure the Simplicity deck you have still has the set of rollers under it? If they have been removed it will scalp and dig in just like the box store mowers.

The only time I have had a problem with grass coming out the front of the mower is when my vacuum is installed. I think everyone seems to have this problem with a vacuum. I use the factory blades. I have never used gators.

I have thought about doing something like RonHatch did above for vacuuming up leaves, but I don't want anything like that on the mower for normal mowing. I only install the vacuum for leaf pickup. For regular mowing my discharge chute is open and I need to front of the mower to be high enough to go over small branches and weeds/flowers, etc. that may be in the grass. My wife likes to go through her flower beds and throw the prunings into the grass. I want to be able to get them under the mower to chop them up. I am not about to use a rake to clean up the wife's discards before mowing. That is why I have tractors in the first place.

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leeave96

FWIW - I've got an MTD Cub Cadet lawn tractor with a two blade 42 inch deck and I get some of the best cut's I've ever seen with a garden tractor.

OTOH - my Dad has a Prestige with a 44 inch deck and it leaves a beautiful cut.

My Dad's Prestige is (or was) bad about blowing grass out of the front left side of the deck and putting grass all over the left side of the tractor. He got an anti-blow out kit (which amounted to some sheet metal pieces that bring the front edge of the deck down) and it pretty much cured the problem.

I have got a Wheelhorse tractor with an Onan and a 48 inch deck. It is bad about blowing enough grass out the front left of the deck to cause problems - so I think blowing grass out the front of the deck is fairly common. I plan on taking a piece of round baler belting and lowering the front edge of the deck to keep the clippings under it.

FWIW - my MTD Cub Cadet's deck's front lip is even with the rear lip, so I think that's why no grass blows out from under it. Whether you use a piece of belting or edging, I think you can fix the blow out problem.

As far as dust, I'd change from the gator blades to regular ones. This will get more grass out from under the deck in one piece vs grinding it up as the gators do. Perhaps this might help.

Don't give up on your Simplicity cut. I hear and have seen to much to doubt they are one of the best quality of cut - grass cutting tractors made.

Good luck,

Bill

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Willy

I have a tractor and deck that came from a dealers own collection.

It has a angled piece that bolts to the front of the deck, it

fits flush with the leading edge and the bend extends under the

deck about 3/4 of an inch.

This helps to control the blow out, and you still have the

clearance so you are not pushing leaves.

Easy to make out of sheet metal

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tripleguy

Steering can be made much better with just a proper lube job. You'll need to get at the pinion gear assembly and then I'd also lube the entire linkage. Made a night and day difference in my sovereign. I agree that the high lift decks don't cut as nice as the shallower Simplicity decks. My 5216 has a better cut than my Sovereign. That said, they both leave a better cut than my Craftsman. That mower is now relegated to wet ditch and woods path duty.

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Willy

I checked and was told that it came with the vac unit.

It dose help reduce blow out.

I guess it could have been used on both.

Or maybe he was confused.

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dhardin

Possible bent deck spindle. Check to see when the blades come together see if one blade is higher or lower. Just a little bend/distortion in the deck will throw off the blade alignment.

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fishnwiz
quote:Originally posted by ReedS

Wiz.. I think you need to take a closer look at your deck, sounds to me like someone replaced a spindle assembly with the wrong one (shorter) thus the high center cut or maybe the 2 outside spindles are wrong. I run my deck at it's highest setting this time of year but never full down.


id="quote">
id="quote">Thanks Reed.

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John_in_Oxford

Like the rubber wall base and PVC lawn edging adaptations. Clever solutions both.

I gotta say, I haven't owned every machine out there, and I don't even play a a Lawn Expert on TV, but on it's worst day, this 40 yr old Simplicity I have now does so much nicer than our Craftsman GT4400 did when` it was new.

I had no idea there could be that much difference.

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