View Full Version : Scag 52 fixed deckw/b 21 Kawa horrible cut

07-03-2007, 08:20 PM
Scag 52" Hydro w/b, fixed Advantage deck, 21hp Kawasaki

I need help getting my new to me Scag to cut right. It leaves stragglers sticking up all over the place. The stragglers happen all over the cutting path, so that rules out the problem being with one of the blades. I would say that in a 40' strip there will be about 6-10 pieces of grass sticking up. It doesn't matter how slow I go either. The blades are sharp and the belts are tight as well.

Current setup:
Mulching blades sharpened every 5 hours.
All 4 spacers on the bottom of the castor wheels
All 5 spacers on top of the spindle to give the highest cut possible
The deck is in the highest position.

The mower is setup as high as I can get the blade.

My first thought was that the baffle underneath was pushing the grass to far down, so I took it off. Didn't change anything.

The blades are at an even cut from front to back (the blades look like this -). The manual says that the front tip of the blade should be about 1/8" lower than the back tip(the blades would look like this \ of course not so severe). Do you think that If I some how lower the front of the blades it will improve the cut?

07-03-2007, 08:35 PM
Wow....what height are you cutting at? And your mulching? Your asking WAY too much of ANY mower.

What are your engine RPM's?

07-03-2007, 09:02 PM
I'm not sure how I'm asking too much out of the mower. I'm cutting at about 3 1/2".

I don't know what the rpm's are. I mow with the throttle at full. How can I know what the rpms are?



07-03-2007, 09:05 PM
Get a tach to check RPM's. www.tinytach.com

Give us a pic of where your deck bolts to the frame of the drive unit.

The setup you have pictured should have you WAY over 3 1/2" height of cut.

Get those gators off there. Use high lift SCAG marbane blades.

07-03-2007, 09:07 PM
Oh, those aren't even GATOR's...they're the cheap imitations. You basically have NO lift with that blade design.

07-03-2007, 09:17 PM
By no lift, do you mean that the blade isn't creating a suction to pull the grass up into the blade?

Or does lift mean that the already cut grass is lifted away from the cutting surface?

07-03-2007, 09:20 PM
Both. Without lift sails on the blades, you cant vacuum up the grass prior to cutting it. GATORS are for fall leaf mulching. The look-a-likes are only good for a double blade setup.

How about that picture of where your deck bolts up?

07-03-2007, 09:21 PM
If Its Bahia Grass You Are Cutting Way Too High-lower The Deck

07-03-2007, 09:30 PM
Get rid of those blades,tried them once,terrible cut. Go with regular factory blades and lower your height. Try two spacers below the spindel . On the castor try three on the bottom and one on the top and go from there.

07-03-2007, 09:33 PM
I use almost the same setup as Steppenwolf, only I have 3 spacers between the spindle and the blades.

3 1/4" height of cut with a nice 1/8" pitch.

07-03-2007, 09:37 PM
I'm cutting thick St. Augustine grass.


So you think that changing the blades to Gator mulching blades will solve the problem? Should I get a Magnum Gator Mulcher blade or a Hi-lift Gator Mulcher blade

I definitely want to stay with a mulching blade. Without the mulching blade it leaves too thick of a blanket of grass. I don't want to stack blades because that will lower my cutting height.

07-03-2007, 09:56 PM
Unless things changed (I have a classic deck) your cutting much higher than 3 1/2" with that setup.

Yes Gator's will cut better than those your using. Magnums are thicker, thats all. With your sandy soil, that may be good.

I still think a good high lift blade might surprise you. The suction cant be beat.

07-03-2007, 09:58 PM

I'm cutting at about 3 3/4"

07-03-2007, 10:05 PM
SCAG's owners manual states you should be able to achieve a 4 1/2" height of cut with your setup.

07-03-2007, 10:07 PM

Page 10 and 11 of the SCAG manual lay it out pretty nicely.

07-03-2007, 10:09 PM
There is absolutely no possible way to achieve a 4 1/2". That almost makes me laugh. I would pay money to see them get 4 1/2" of cut without modifying the mower in some way.

I've even thought about putting a larger tire in the rear. It currently has a 16x6.50x8. The next size is a 18x6.50x8 and theres no way that would fit. A 17x6.50x8 might fit but I haven't found anyone that sells them.

07-03-2007, 10:10 PM
But this is all a mute point if your RPM's are only 3200 or something.

07-03-2007, 10:11 PM
I've read the manual repeatedly trying to find something that I've missed. I have the spacers and deck bolted up to give the maximum height cut.

3 3/4" is the absolute maximum height.

07-03-2007, 10:12 PM
Is there anyway to check the rpm without buying that gauge. Is there a hand held sensor I could use.

I already have a hour meter.

07-03-2007, 10:14 PM
Cutting Height Adjustment: Adjustable from 1-3/4" to 4-1/4" in 1/4" increments
Cutter Blades: Marbain , .197 thickness

All mowers should have a tach. They're only like 40 bucks!

07-03-2007, 10:28 PM
Also, have you tried putting the front baffle back in? It will increase suction.


07-03-2007, 10:30 PM
No I haven't yet.

I'm gonna get new Gator blades ASAP and put the baffle back on before the next mow.

07-03-2007, 10:31 PM
While your at your dealer getting the new blades, why not ask the mechanic if he could check your RPM's for you? Might cost a few bucks, if it does, just buy a tach there (most dealers sell them).

07-04-2007, 03:53 PM
Oh, those aren't even GATOR's...they're the cheap imitations. You basically have NO lift with that blade design.

I don't understand why people don't use Scag blades....and I can't image getting any type of cut with deck pitched up at that height in front?

07-04-2007, 04:14 PM
Using a hi-lift blade will likely help the issue.

Are you mulching with an open discharge? Do you have the proper mulching baffles and plates installed? It doesn't look like it from the pictures.

07-04-2007, 04:36 PM
This is my theory because I have similar problems with my toro 36 gear. I also put on a mulching kit.

On thick grass it was cutting/mulching very nice but on lawn that have long very thin grass it was leaving stragglers like crazy. I figured it must be because (I'm new to this btw) the grass was so thin that it wasn't creating a seal for the deck to create a vacuum to pull that grass up to be cut.

This happened on several lawns all that had thin grass but all the thick grass was fine. I figure the mulching kit blocks the discharge so if the deck isn't low enough to create a seal with the grass or the grass is too thin, then all you have is air turbulence underneath.

What I do on thin grass lawns now is to take one of the spacers from the front and put it on top. that gives me two spacers on top and two on the bottom. This has solved my problems.

But I think my deck is lower already then yours, I know you can't have too much pitch and at least on my toro it takes me 1/2 hour to change the height on the axle so I put it around 3" and pitch down from there.

07-06-2007, 07:26 PM
I don't have a mulching kit installed. I am only using a mulching blade.

I purchased new mulching blades today. Do you think these will be better?




07-07-2007, 08:18 PM
They'd be good for mulching with a dedicated mulch kit.

But for side discharge, nothing beats OEM High Lift SCAG Marbane blades.

If you insist on toothed blades, get a set of Gator Magnums or Gator Highlifts.

07-07-2007, 10:12 PM
I'm returning those blue blades. I ordered some Gator Hi-lifts blades from Mowpart.com.

I put the baffle back on and it made a positive difference. Not nearly as many stragglers but still some here and there.

07-07-2007, 10:33 PM
I would run a high lift blade. I also took some spacers out on the bolt that holds the blade in the spindle, I have a great dane and dont know if skagg has the same set up or not but it was night and day difference. check the pitch on the blades 1/4 inch higher in the back.

07-07-2007, 11:09 PM
Those gator type blades, with the fins, are crap if you're trying to mulch green grass, grass that is growing or even a little wet.

I have a toro recycler that comes with an atomic blade much like the gator, and it's cannot mulch green or wet grass. It just clogs up. But on these machines it's a 22" blade and they don't make a normal high lift, just a finned type.

On a Toro Super cycler I have a normal high lift (if it is a high lift) and it mulches 10x better.

On my 36" toro I have the two blades that came with the mulch kit and they are high lift and mulch fantastic.

07-08-2007, 08:26 AM
Look at this thread for blade pictures.


07-08-2007, 11:09 PM
:usflag: I agree use highlift scag marbaine blades, shouldn't put much drag on that 21hp. Those gators won't cut as well as the scag blades..been there, the regular scag highlift's will mulch better and leave a great cut..Mark's Mowing Service

07-09-2007, 11:42 PM
When you measure the blade height check it at the front of the deck and the rear of the deck also. I would like to see what kind of pitch you have. Also are your tire preasures correct? Scag blades are the best for your deck IMO they will out last the cheap blades you have shown in the pictures.