View Full Version : What am I doing wrong?

02-05-2006, 02:03 PM
I have a Exmark 36" metro. I just got it used a couple of weeks ago. Here in Georgia the weather has been a little warm so the grass is starting to look like it needs a little touching up. So I fired up the 36" and begin to cut but I realized that when I turn around at the end of every pass the tires are ripping my grass down to the soil.

I dont know what Im doing wrong. Can someone tell me what I need to do to make this stop. The growing season is right around the corner and I really want to have this worked out before I get on my clients lawns.

Thanks in advance for your help.


02-05-2006, 02:21 PM
you are braking too hard , you want to keep all the wheels moving

Mark McC
02-05-2006, 02:37 PM
I have to do a three-point turn (or if using a hydro, a zero turn) with any mower other than a 21. Hydro or belt, if you pivot on one wheel, you'll tear turf on all but the deepest grass.

One thing about zero turns is that they do not align you with the next strip of mowing. I like the zero turn capability for those occasions when they're needed, but most of the time, I use a three-point turn even with my TTHP.

02-05-2006, 02:40 PM
I understand what you are saying, but when I keep the wheels moving I am so far off my last pass that I would have to go in reverse to get back lined up with the last row.

What do you think?

02-05-2006, 02:46 PM
Now when you say the three point turn, does this mean I have to turn slightly, pull the mower back, then go forward? This will have me wore out by my third lawn of the day. This mower doesn't have a true reverse and if it did it would take more time to switch it into reverse after every pass.

If this is what I have to do then I'll do it, but Im really just trying to see if any one else has a easier more effective way of doing it.

Mark McC
02-05-2006, 02:46 PM
Unfortunately, the need to put the critter into reverse to align with the next strip of mowing is hard to avoid, at least in my experience. I know it's a drag, but I have no solution.

Here's something to consider, if it helps at all. My eXmark Metro 36 (12.5 Kawasaki) will mow an acre of grass about 20% faster than a John Deere L110 with the 17.5 Kohler Command and a 42-inch cutting deck, which has a top speed of 5 mph. I could not mow at 5mph with that mower and yes, it is a homeowner model, but still...

Sorry about having no solution to the three-point turn dilemma, but I just have not encountered one.

02-05-2006, 02:52 PM
Thank for that advice. If no one else has any other suggestion then that may be that answer to my problem.

Anyone else have a different solution to the problem?

02-05-2006, 03:14 PM
I'm not in the business but I have the same mower as you and experience the same thing. Unfortunately the belt drives must be manhandled in the turns...and even though it is only a 36 inch mower it is heavy. I have found the reverse assist to be a joke...it is totally ineffective...if anyone has any suggestions on how to make it at least provide some "assist" I would love to hear it.

02-05-2006, 03:24 PM
When i take turn the mower i go real slow around the turn and then speed back up that will stop the rutting. It will take sometime and practice.

Mark McC
02-05-2006, 03:25 PM
I'm not in the business but I have the same mower as you and experience the same thing. Unfortunately the belt drives must be manhandled in the turns...and even though it is only a 36 inch mower it is heavy. I have found the reverse assist to be a joke...it is totally ineffective...if anyone has any suggestions on how to make it at least provide some "assist" I would love to hear it.
My eXmark Metro 36 actually has a reverse gear, but it's not worth much. I saw something here on Lawnsite about someone installing chain drive on such a mower. That would solve the problem real fast.

I've thought about putting some sort of belt guide that would increase the contact between the belt and the pulleys, which would presumably help with reverse, but never acted on it. Chains sound great, but one suspects it'd be expensive to install and a colossal pain to change.

all ferris
02-05-2006, 03:30 PM
your solution would be to go buy a hydro machine

02-05-2006, 03:38 PM
The two choices are to do the three point turn or do skip row mowing.

by that I mean mow along the property line, then skip a 32 inch section and mow your next stripe. Sort of mohawking the whole yard, then at the end come back and do all the other passes.

Now if you can turn on the road or on the sidewalk or on the driveway, you can avoid that, but it does take some muscling of the mower. Despite what you might think, this is easier with a sulky. It does take some practice, but you can turn quickly without rutting that way much easier than when you are walking. It also helps if you have a t-bar or similar steering system. Pistol grips would never do that for me.

Hope that helps.

02-05-2006, 05:06 PM
I used to have a toro wbh to use on a couple of properties. I very seldom used the reverse I alwayed did a ? turn at the end of each run. Just do a bigger circle at the end. You might have to do a couple of extra opening runs around the outside so you don't miss spots.

02-05-2006, 05:19 PM
HMMMM. The more posts on the fact that you have to J turn or K turn Ztrs or wbs, makes me even more sure that my owning very short turning-hill climbing, horizontal on steep hills- JD tractors is in my best interest. My 595 on a smooth yard - minimal obstacles did 8.8 acres in and hr. I have places it only does 2.5 also. Your Zilch Tear Roots machines do not gain a thing these days tractors are very quick and maneuverable now _ when is the last time you actually demo"ed a tractor?

02-05-2006, 05:22 PM
This ? turn sound like a good idea and also that idea of going very slow when I turn. Im going to try both of these and I let you guys know how it went.

Thanks for all your suggestions.

02-05-2006, 05:59 PM
The initial question helps justify the added cost of a hydro drive mower. The "always available reverse" ability eliminates the problem of turf tearing because you can have the inside wheel in reverse, while the outside wheel is moving forward (what I think the term Y-turn means in previous posts). As stated earlier, spinning the machine on one wheel will tear turf, gear or hydro driven.

02-05-2006, 06:25 PM
do big turns at the end of each row...
this will leave little teardropped shaped areas uncut.. don't worry about them..

when you are done make two passes around the perimiter of the property and you will cut all those uncut areas, and hide where you made the turnarounds..

02-05-2006, 06:37 PM
Instead of trying to manhandle the entire mower by pulling it backward instead of switching it into reverse I tend to just pull on one side to get it aligned for the next stripe.
I first start out by doing 2 cuts along the outside perimeter then start the alternating pattern(beginners may want to use three to provide more room for your turn and some cushion in case of any mishaps-trust me i've got a mower hung up on a fence before when I first started) at the end of the row turn 90 degrees, using the thumb latches put the mower in neutral then pull back on one side to align yourself for the next stripe. You should be able to do this with keeping your hands in the same postition they are normally in. Then undo the thumb latches and you are on your way again. Very rarely is reverse ever used on a belt drive.

02-05-2006, 06:58 PM
ONe thing I do with my metro is if I cannot do looops around the yard and alot of turning is required, here is how I do it:

WHen I approach the end of a run and I want to turn around, I squeeze the levers in about 1/2 way so that the belts arent engaged.

if it is a left turn,
then pull back hard on the left handle and push on the right handle

Once you get it all the way around and heading in the other direction, release levers and your good to go. You pretty much have to wrestle belt drives. They get tiresome after a while.

the momentum should turn pretty easy and both wheels keep turning so you dont tear the turf.

Of course that wont work with a sulky.

Takes a little bit to get used to but its the best I have have found to do "zero turns" with a belt drive.

02-05-2006, 07:04 PM
You don't shift into reverse when turning. you pull back on the inside handle holding the lever in the neutral position while the outside wheel is still going foreward (not at full speed but some). Then slowly let it go again when you lined up or close to it. either that or make a just wide enough turn to keep that inside wheel moving a little. YOu will probabluy have to make two or three perimiter passes wiht a 36" belt drive. dont' fight the moachine or controls a little adjustment goes a long way.
good luck.

02-05-2006, 07:08 PM
Just don't make a full zero turn, it will leave a little bit of grass behind but just make on pass around the outside when your done, this will erase turn marks as well leaving a nicer finish and is quicker than shifting into reverse on eash pass.

02-05-2006, 09:37 PM
What MCW said it looks sweet in the end .I cut all week come times and never use reverse.:blob1: :blob1: :cool:

02-05-2006, 10:08 PM
Make sure you make a double pass around the perimeter and dont brake as much, more of a rounded turn. It use to happen to me before I switched to hydro. Hope that helps