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View Full Version : mulching how much more wear and tear is there?


fulano
09-15-2006, 06:37 PM
I have mulch its on my 52" and 36" exmark walk behinds. How much more wear and tear is there on the machine? 5% 10% 15% 100% ?

The lawns I cut look better than the other guys who do not mulch so I should be getting a few more jobs next year due to that and my lower prices.

ChadsLawn
09-15-2006, 06:50 PM
Well I dont have eXmarks, but i do have a set of there mulching blades on my Z. I had a mulch kit on and it would collect about 15lbs of grass built up. If you leave it there WOW talk about stink. So after replaceing my jack shaft, I took off the mulch kit, But left the mulching blades on..I can say 1 thing. It still mulches just as good. But I do have to open my OCDC to let out what LITTLE has built on the door. So I dont know if this will help you or not. But its how it worked for me on my Z.

So in closing, Id say ummmm maybe 10-20% more wear do to added weight or added stress on the spindles.

fulano
09-15-2006, 09:34 PM
Well I dont have eXmarks, but i do have a set of there mulching blades on my Z. I had a mulch kit on and it would collect about 15lbs of grass built up. If you leave it there WOW talk about stink. So after replaceing my jack shaft, I took off the mulch kit, But left the mulching blades on..I can say 1 thing. It still mulches just as good. But I do have to open my OCDC to let out what LITTLE has built on the door. So I dont know if this will help you or not. But its how it worked for me on my Z.

So in closing, Id say ummmm maybe 10-20% more wear do to added weight or added stress on the spindles.


So, 15 lbs of weight on the deck translates to 10-20% wear on spindles? So, if I have weights up near the spindles for added weight does that mean I am wearing my spindles 20-40% faster than normal?

So, if spindles cost $300 for the pair (?) and need to replaced every 300 hours of mulching I guess that translates into $1 per hour mowing regular w/o a mulch kit. If the wear due to mulching is 10%- 20% more with w/o the mulch kit that is about $.10 to $.20 per hour extra. Or am I wrong on those figures?

If that is right why do people charge extra to mulch?

Jason Rose
09-15-2006, 10:39 PM
Bartender, I'll have what hes having!

HUH??? adding weight to the top of the deck to keep from popping wheelies is NOT wearing on your blade spindles. Interesting math though...

To the original question, I'd say it adds a good bit (not sure of figures) of wear and tear on a machine to mulch. Grinding up loads of grass, you can HEAR what it's doing, usually you can feel the whole machine shaking if it's too much. If you hit a bad spot and it kills the engine suddenly.
It would be interesting to see if guys that mulch 100% are broke down more often due to belts breaking, spindles going out, and engine failures. I bag all the time or discharge a few. I rarely lug the engine. Iv'e never had a machanical failure from an engine. Spindle problems were always due to either imbalanced blades or spun bearings and belts just wear out with time and hours.

K.Carothers
09-15-2006, 10:43 PM
So in closing, Id say ummmm maybe 10-20% more wear do to added weight or added stress on the spindles.


Heck, just take a dump before you start your day to make up for the extra weight.


kc

ed2hess
09-15-2006, 10:53 PM
I think it depends on the brand of mower whether mulching causes significant wear. For example Scag spindles, belts and clutch are pretty heavy duty and will take a lot of stress. We also run Snappers and they have held up well. We probably replace a few more belts and an occasional clutch and engine but I think it is insignificant. We mulch with plate over the outlets for many years with little problem.

traman
09-15-2006, 11:05 PM
i dont know what the real numbers are for wear and tear , but i can tell you this,i took off my mulch kit on my 52 inch and on a normal week i use 3 gals of gas LESS than when it was on

Steppenwolf
09-15-2006, 11:14 PM
KC,after we take our dump:-)...........turf clumps everywhere...:-)
Don't mean to hijack this thread but you guys were talking about spindels,do you really wear them out? The last time we replaced spindel bearings was about 1990,6 bucks for the bearings and a twelve pack for the guy to press them in. Since then we have never replaced a spindel. We run our w/b's between 3500 and 4000 hr's before we get rid of them and spindels are not even something I think of. Engine to blade belts are the biggest cost for us.
Spindels are not an issue at least in our case...and they are abused at times.

ChadsLawn
09-16-2006, 12:10 PM
Guess I should have re-worded that. You ever mulch and the grass sticks to the deck. Then you hit a bump and that big chunk falls down? You'll hear the engine come down in rpms for a second. Also that big wack on the blades im sure puts a second of hurt on the spindle/spindles. Added weight? YES Every xtra pound is putting that much more weight on the front wheel bearings. True?
What about your truck and trailer. Every pound added, is that much more your truck and trailer ha to lug around. Which is that much more stress it has to handle.

Think about it.............

Hmmmmmm maybe I need to email MythBusters.....

fulano
09-16-2006, 05:29 PM
Bartender, I'll have what hes having!

HUH??? adding weight to the top of the deck to keep from popping wheelies is NOT wearing on your blade spindles. Interesting math though...

To the original question, I'd say it adds a good bit (not sure of figures) of wear and tear on a machine to mulch. Grinding up loads of grass, you can HEAR what it's doing, usually you can feel the whole machine shaking if it's too much. If you hit a bad spot and it kills the engine suddenly.
It would be interesting to see if guys that mulch 100% are broke down more often due to belts breaking, spindles going out, and engine failures. I bag all the time or discharge a few. I rarely lug the engine. Iv'e never had a machanical failure from an engine. Spindle problems were always due to either imbalanced blades or spun bearings and belts just wear out with time and hours.

He didn't say blade spindles. I have looked under my machine and have not seen any extra grass laying on top of the blades. So does that mean if I cut grass when it isn't wet and do not lug the engine that there is only 10% more wear?

Precision
09-16-2006, 09:13 PM
in normal operating conditions. weekly cutting of 2 or so inches of dry grass

the only real additional wear is on the blades. They dull quicker and this puts an additional strain on the engine as dull blades need more energy behind them to cut the same amount of grass as sharp ones.

However with our over powered mowers, this should have little or no effect on machine life.

Now in less than ideal conditions you will get some extra wear, but most of that will be from additional time spent trying to clean up the sticky mess you are making.

The bigger question is let say your wear is increased by 10%. Say your mower now craps out at 1800 hours instead of 2000. Are you really gonna keep it that long, and how many hours did you save on blowing and other detail work by mulching. I know it would at least come out even for me.

Only problem is my two large mowers are not good mulchers, so I remain a discharging guy.

ed2hess
09-16-2006, 10:51 PM
He didn't say blade spindles. I have looked under my machine and have not seen any extra grass laying on top of the blades. So does that mean if I cut grass when it isn't wet and do not lug the engine that there is only 10% more wear?
We cut a lot of wet grass and that isn't a big problem either...I never scrap an underside of a deck unless we are mulching rye grass in the winter. Again we run Scag, Snapper, and Wright so I doubt if deck design is a factor. It has more to do with the grass type.

ztrguy
09-16-2006, 11:29 PM
Toro ZTR 60" 28hp EFI
1200 hours mulching on the the mower
Spindles are fine
Replaced clutch at 1100 hours