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Floydster

Adjusting mower deck to stop grass clumping

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Floydster
I have a 16 year old Simplicity 5216 with a 42" mower deck. I mow my lawn on the highest or the second highest mower setting. I have a very good thick lawn. EVERY time I mow, the grass shoots out and "clumps". It almost looks like I should follow with a hay bailer! I have adjusted my mower deck the way the owner's manual says (ie the front of the middle blade 1/8 to 1/4 inch higher than the back of the outside blades). It still clumps. I'll try adjusting the mower deck again, I'm not very mechanically inclined so there is a possible that I am off a little with my measurements. Do you have to be that careful or is close good enough? Is there anything else anyone can suggest?

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tej
Also check the angle of your mowers deflector - if you are using one. Sometimes they need to be bent upward some to allow the grass to spread out more. If this helps you might consider mounting it on a hinge so the angle could easily be adjusted. Just be aware that this is a SAFETY item so if you modify it do a good job - don't defeat its purpose. If you have to cut when it is damp or wet (as Bob mentioned) make sure you have full engine speed (a vibration tach can be purchased fairly inexpensively if you are not sure), use a slower gear (2nd or 3rd) and try cutting only half of the mower's width. Also keep the deck scraped off underneath each time if wet grass is building up there.

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tej
Also David you should have at least a 3" top cut. If it is less or you need some more, the height adjustment lever can be removed and SLIGHTLY bent at the lower bend with heat to decrease its radius. If you can't do this you can try buying a new rod and replacing your old one. If everthing else is OK you should have a factory height of about 3 1/4". Sounds like you also should use only the highsest setting.

Also check the two front hitch support bolts - they are susceptible to pulling through the deck sheet metal (on rougher ground) and if so this can lower the front of the deck considerably. It is a good idea to reinforce these with heavy duty flat washers underneath.

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tej
David, I don't know if you bought the deck used or have had it for 16 years. What I have found on some old used decks is that the center baffle and rollers are missing. My Simpicity mechanic said they can get bent and eaten by the blades and then people take them off and don't replace them. Out of 4 used decks I've aquired 2 were missing the center baffle. This causes the grass to not be cleanly discharged and could cause the clumping. Tim

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Al
Good suggestion Tim!

Dave you did say you had a thick lawn. Fertilizer will sometimes keep the grass a little juicy so that it will not be wet but may be damp. Pick up a clump and see if that is the case. The blade "wings" could be worn down. Or the belt needs a little more tension but since you did not mention a bad cut, just a bad discharge, I don't think this is the problem.

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Fred
Yes sir, I agree with the fellow Tim about the baffle deal sounds like a winner to me. Just some more feedback from the "packrat". Just one more think you did say you engaged the belt didn't you? Just a kidden Jason

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BobG
I've got a Simplicity 101 landlord - 42" mower. Don't seem to have a clumping problem - rather - my left and right blades don't have full cutting power - due to belt tension.
Which type of tension arrangement do you have?
Mine has a "slot" in the deck - no spring etc.

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Les
Robert - good guess but he has a much newer design. You bring back some old memories though! A tip for your "slot tensioner" - loosen the nut only SLIGHTLY enough to move when hitting it with a 1/2" shaft and hammer. Use the flat of the nut. Don't be afraid to hit it - you will be forcing it under pressure but this way it will not spring back and get slack. You will be able to get that belt very tight this way - even more so than the sring design!

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