View Full Version : Exmark clogging up

10-05-2005, 07:23 PM
I just bought an '04 Exmark Metro 48" walk behind with 50 hrs. It was in real nice condition and runs great. Problem is, I just mowed with it, sharp blades/balanced and the thing clogged starting from the get-go when mowing about 5 inch grass to 3. It was clean underneath when I started and didn't blow anything out, it just collected everything. Anybody else have this problem or know what to do to remedy.

10-05-2005, 07:46 PM
Clogged how? With grass?

Your not mulching are you?

Were you mowing early this morning when it was real wet?

Need some more details.

10-05-2005, 07:55 PM
You sure your not using a Scag?

10-05-2005, 08:21 PM
belt tensioner possibly, or belt wear.

10-05-2005, 09:24 PM
I have an Exmark 48" w/b with mulching kit on it and have never gotten clogged . How many spacers do you have between blade and spindle ? At least two should be there to get good lift. Belt worn out or tension not adjusted properly. Also, were are your caster spacers ? These decks like to be slightly tipped forward .

10-05-2005, 09:42 PM
I have 2 spacers between the spindle and no mulcher. I was mowing dry grass this afternoon but the grass itself had a decent internal moisture content. I was mowing 5 inches down to 3.5 The clumps could be squeezed and expell water. As soon as I throttled down to cut the deck it started to bog out and then when the deck was full disengaged it dropped a pile of clumped wet clippings and then I cleaned out just as much from the deck. I was at full throttle while mowing and nothing was blowing out from the start. I just got the thing and have maybe 2 hours mowing. When I bought it the dealer said they went over it and gave it a clean bill of health. The only thing I know I need to do is put some new blades on. The current ones are sharp but all knicked and dinged. If this is an uncommon problem I will take it back and have the dealer find the issue. I payed $2200 used with 50 hours and still have warranty left so I thought it was a good deal. The dealer said the guy traded in for a new one with the ECS controls and the mower itself was fine, just uncomfortable for the guy. Other than this, it runs great.

10-05-2005, 09:44 PM
What did you use for a mower prior to this pruchase. (what your comparing it to?)

10-05-2005, 10:19 PM
I just moved into a new house and got the walk behind because of price and quality and also to pick up some side jobs. Why get a rider that is cheap when for the same price I could get this figuring the cut would be better. I have no experience with the walk behinds but wanted something commercial duty that would last for years. Only thing I can compare to is my fathers JD X475, never had that thing clogged in thicker, longer, wetter grass.

To answer some other questions, I am in the bottom setting in the rear of the machine (like I said, no experience with walkbehinds) and have 2 spacers between the casters. If it is the belt, should it be looser or tighter??

Thanks for all the suggestions.

10-05-2005, 10:24 PM
I'm not that well versed with the Metro's.

But if you have it in the lowest REAR position, that wouldn't be ideal for 3" cut height.

Ideally you want the front of the blades about 1/4" lower than the rear when lined up like this | | |

Also, get a set of NEW OEM eXmark High lift blades and install them.

With a level deck and NEW blades you should be fine.

Where are you finding WET grass around here? We need rain SOOOO bad. The grass is krispy here.

Belts should deflect with light finger pressure.

My bet is the blades and the deck pitch.

10-05-2005, 10:27 PM
Are you sure the blades are on properly ? Its hard to imagine no discharge from an open chute . My deck with mulching baffles still sends debris all over the place . Disengage blade belt , with engine off, and spin each blade . Do any bind or do they spin free ? Are the blade bolts tight ? Be sure when belt is engaged it is tight . There is a procedure to be sure . Engage belt , WITH THE ENGINE OFF , in the middle of the belt , between pulleys you should be able to pull 10lbs and deflect belt 1/2 inch . I use a fishing scale for the 10lbs of pull ..

10-05-2005, 10:40 PM
The wet grass is that which covers my drip field for the septic, that my friends is the best irrigation ever. I think the pitch of the deck is screwing with me so I will correct that and check the belts. Everything is set up exactly as I got it from the dealer so I may just take it back to them to service the belts and correct the pitch etc, especially if it is a worn belt. The blades are on correctly but I will get those OEM blades. Bad thing is, today was probably my last mowing for the year, I just renovated my entire yard so I have tiny grass right now.

10-05-2005, 11:48 PM
i have owner 3 exmarks and one zhp 44 inch and a walk behind 48 inch and a lazer z 60 inch... all but the 60 inch clogged all the time. i was told and beleave this that there blade speed is really fast and instead of discharging the grass it keeps chopping it up. i will never buy a exmark smaller than a 60 cause of this. it is something to get used to with these mowers. and dont beleave your deck it not set right, it probally is set right. that is how the smaller exmarks are and be happy it is not missing grass all over like mind did. i would cut lawns 3 times and still looked choppy. buy a scag or yazoo, both best cut i ever seen and used

10-06-2005, 12:50 AM
that is not true about it being kept under the deck with super high rpms. my quick 36 has more rpms than my lazer hp due to the smaller blades, which equals a lot high rpm at a lower fpm, and it has never clogged on me. the lazerhp has never clogged on me either, but it does bog very easy. what I would do, is go with exmark oem wavy mulching blades. they work great for side discharge on my 48" exmark. the high lifts don't give nearly as good results.

I would also try a 1/4" positive deck pitch. you are cutting with the back of the deck with a negative deck pitch, and on anything but a 21", it is sure to clog.

10-06-2005, 08:28 AM
Thanks for all the advice guys. I think I will start by taking it back to the dealer, tell them my problems and to check it out to see if it is a worn belt, belt tension, pitch or if this is a chronic issue. Whatever it is, the dealer sold it to me this way so I think they need to know. Depending on what they say, I may look to get my money back and go with something else. I don't want to clean the deck after every job which is what I would be looking at right now. I thought this was a problem I wouldn't have with a commercial mower so it is frustrating. The dealer carries Exmark, Scag, and Wright. I also have a Ferris and JD dealer nearby. I'll keep you posted, thanks again. Any other words of advice?

10-06-2005, 10:15 AM
Have him verify the engine RPM's and have them set to 3600 RPM minimum.

10-06-2005, 10:32 AM
I talked to the dealer and he recommended using Gator blades to see if that helps. Do you think this could fix extreme clogging?? Or should I just take it in get them to give it a look-over and put on the new blades.

10-06-2005, 10:35 AM
This mower should cut very well (the best) with OEM high lift blades. Don't settle for aftermarket blades.

10-06-2005, 11:10 AM
It's settled. I will take it back for the dealer to check that mechanically everything is correct and running correctly. Worst case scenario is I end up with a new piece of machinery. Maybe I will demo a couple to see what I like best.

Thanks again for all the help everyone.

10-06-2005, 09:23 PM
Ive got oem blades and gator blades . I will agree , the oem are best . Im not thrilled with the gators . Good luck .

10-06-2005, 10:38 PM
hi yes gator blades will not help and may even make worse. i am telling you, ALLMY EXMARKS SMALLER THAN A 60 DECK CLOG. guys in the field when i see them and take shop tel me that after a job with any exmark they slam the deck into the curb to get clumps to not stick and fall out. i really like exmarks. there ecs controls on the walk behinds and they ride really smooth and are great on hills to but all smaller decks they make clog. if you want a great cut and a mower that will last forever, built like a tank get a scag. i dont even own any scags at this time but i did and know they are the best. they are more money. good cheaper mowers are cub cadet commercial, yazoo, wright are real tuff to. i have a stander and that is built like a scag. the dealer will not want to give money back so he will tell you grass was to high or wet or some excuse. try to buy something else if you can. and to the guy here with the 36 inch exmark, you are probally right about your 36 inch walk behind cause they only use 2 blades on it and 2 blade mowers never have clogging problems.

10-07-2005, 08:06 AM
Thanks Milo for the advice, I am taking it back on Sat. The dealer will probably just trade it for what I bought it for and give some extra discount on anything new. They deal with Scag so I will try that. It is ashame because I really thought this mower would be great. Again, thanks for all the advice, with all the Exmark walkers I see trailered, I would have never thought this would be a problem.

10-07-2005, 08:16 AM
How the heck to you have 5" of grass? I'm not that far away and the grass here dry as a bone. Getting rain today and Saturday though. Finally I can cut something!

10-07-2005, 09:36 AM
Thanks Milo for the advice, I am taking it back on Sat. The dealer will probably just trade it for what I bought it for and give some extra discount on anything new. They deal with Scag so I will try that.

Passmore Service Center?

As bad as this unit sounds like it's cutting, and as bad as these people are making it sound, Exmark builds a very good cutting walk behind. If it was a hydro, I'd trade you for my pristine condition SCAG belt drive. As I'm right down the road from you.

10-07-2005, 10:05 AM
Put the MEG MO blades on and stop all the problems. Haven't cleaned a deck in 10 yrs.

10-07-2005, 11:27 AM
Passmore Service Center?

As bad as this unit sounds like it's cutting, and as bad as these people are making it sound, Exmark builds a very good cutting walk behind. If it was a hydro, I'd trade you for my pristine condition SCAG belt drive. As I'm right down the road from you.

How'd you guess??? I am happy with them as a dealer and I know they are going to stand by this machinery. I will look at the scag but can't believe that the Exmark clogs like this in heavier grass. I am tempted to hold off on trading until I actually mow some regular grass but I do not want to chance waiting for spring and then finding out what I know now. Has your Scag ever clogged in the high stuff?? I might rerout my plans, not try picking up side jobs, and get a residential rider like the simplicity zero turn or a garden tractor. We'll see how the pricing goes.

10-07-2005, 11:32 AM
Nate, are you home today? Or at work?

I tried to Private Message you, but you don't accept them.

I could take a look at it sometime if you'd like.

10-07-2005, 11:52 AM
Thanks for the offer but I think I am going to take it back to the dealer and go with the scag unless you have any other ideas. It will cost me an extra grand but what the heck, if it is better, I might as well.

10-07-2005, 12:40 PM
Has your Scag ever clogged in the high stuff??

Yes, SCAG's in general don't cut as well as Exmarks. I believe your whole problem could be solved with proper adjustment.

Deck pitch
Deck height
Blade spacers
Caster spacers
Proper new sharp blades
Engine RPM
Belt tension

10-07-2005, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the input. They probably just sharpened the blades, greased it and said good enough before putting it out. Supposedly the guy that owned it did 3 yards a week and got tired of the pistol grip and went to the ECS. I am going to take it back and have them adjust it and check everything over as for the setup and set it to cut in the 3 inche range. The blades were not great to start with so maybe I get new ones out of them. I would rather stay with the exmark if it is the best cut. How close to my area are you?

10-07-2005, 01:08 PM
How close to my area are you?
Trappe, so let me know if you need any help. I know the Passmore gang pretty good too. They're a great bunch. I drive up to Passmore, when right down the street from me is CDI Equipment.

10-07-2005, 01:33 PM
Thanks a bunch for all the info and help. They are a good bunch over there and have always treated me really well and I am sure this time will be no different. I will probably drop over there tomorrow and tell them the issue I had and ask if they can give all the belts, engine rpms a check and set me up for an optimum mow in the 3" range. The machine looked and ran great but that is not to say the previous owner didn't have some issues with it or had adjusted it improperly. It only exposed problems when mowing wet grass which we didn't have this summer when I bought it. I am sure they will come through, if not, I know they will make good on everything. One thing I see in a lot of these pages is how important people rate dealer support and I know they value that over there. While I'm there, I might even pick up a blower for all the leaves that are going to fall in this beautiful rain. My grass can finally grow. You're back in business.

Thanks again all and I will give an update on the outcome.

10-08-2005, 03:32 PM
hi nate. did not see you were from pottstown. i am in allentown. anyway i am telling you the truth scags are built like a tank. they cut awesomw and dont clog. all my small exmarks did clog. do you deal with passmore? i was there last night.. anyway really try to switch to a scag. i do like exmarks but scags never any problems, run and cut awesome. please keep a post on what you do. would like to see if it works out. thanks :waving:

10-08-2005, 06:28 PM
Allentown, lots of people on here from this area.

New dilemna. I went this morning to get new blades, didn't get them though. Low and behold, did you see the Exmark with the rider attachment? It is a 2005 with ECS and rider and they want 2, I paid 2200 on a 2004. So I said that I would like to see if we could work something out because obviously they took me for a bit of a ride. I went over my unit today and set it to the D rear axle with 3 spacers between the caster and 2 above the blades. I put a level on the unit and it is pitched forward and according to the owners manual, it is set optimally to cut at 3 inches. I also tightened the belt a bit, it was just a bit loose and sharpened/balanced the blades. Too bad with all this rain, I won't be able to use it anytime soon.

I hear ya on the scag, the only problem is money is super tight and my yard may be the only one I ever cut. I want to see what they say about trading for the 2005, with that rider (I would probably cut it more often, less growth to clog it) or even on a Simplicity rider or the scag. I might even just try to get my money back and wait to see if something comes in during the off season. That extra $1000 is money I don't have and I won't be able to make that up this year. If I know I have some clients for next spring, I could justify the $1000, but for now, I just don't know if my small business plan will come to fruition. I have 2 neighbors that don't have mowers or yards right now for that matter and I was going to see if I could pick them up for next year as a start, from there, we will see. I will keep you posted.

10-08-2005, 10:24 PM
I normally run as many blade spaces under as I can. On fixed decks I just raise up the caster spacers and have the deck on the highest position where it bolts onto the rest of the mower.

10-08-2005, 11:23 PM

Just curious....what NEW eXmark mower are they selling for $2K?

Haven't seen those prices since the Reagan administration.

10-09-2005, 08:28 AM
I normally run as many blade spaces under as I can. On fixed decks I just raise up the caster spacers and have the deck on the highest position where it bolts onto the rest of the mower.

I can put more spacers under, but wouldn't that create more lift?? Do you ever have issues with clogging in wet or tall grass, I'll give it a shot.

10-09-2005, 08:30 AM

Just curious....what NEW eXmark mower are they selling for $2K?

Haven't seen those prices since the Reagan administration.

It is a used 2005 they are selling on consignment, a guy bought a 48 metro with 15 hp Kohler ECS and sulky and a 60 inch Exmark Z early this year and then sold his place to move into an apartment. With this years conditions, neither unit has many hours so I am looking at the Metro because it is newer and cheaper than what I bought 2 months ago for more money, the Z is too much machine for the money for me. So I want to see if we can work something, if not, who knows what I do. The only difference is I have the kawasaki engine with pistol grips and no sulky.

MV Property Care
10-13-2005, 03:25 AM
Milo, what's your opinion on a 54" Lesco ZTR. Have you heard anything good or negative about them. Their website lists them for $5999.oo. That sounds reasonable to me. Thanks in advance for your input. MV