View Full Version : Exmark Center Blade Bearing

01-06-2000, 02:27 PM
Am having problems with center blade bearings failing every 2 months on my Exmark Explorer II mowers. Have changed grease schedules and other maintenance per manufacturer and bearing manufacture's advice, but still am failing bearings. Any suggestions or advice?

Eric ELM
01-06-2000, 02:35 PM
I don't have an Exmark, but it sounds like you might have the belt tension to tight since it's the center spindle. I have put on over 7,000 total hours on my Dixie Choppers and never have replaced a spindle bearing. In fact, I have never replaced a spindle bearing in my 15 seasons of mowing. Are you giving it enough grease. When I bought my Choppers, I was told to grease every 25 hours and pump in enough grease so that you see the grease coming out normally the bottom side of the spindle. It takes about 25 to 30 pumps with a hand pump grease gun, each 25 hours once you get them all filled up. The first time could take a lot more grease. By using this method of greasing, you squeeze out any moisture in the housing and you also know that it is full of grease. Normally not enough grease or to much belt tension, is the worst enemy of spindle bearings. <p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html<br>

01-06-2000, 02:46 PM
When the ExMark rep was at our local distributor, he indicated 2 squirts of grease daily per spindle. The ExMark spindles have a grease seal on the bottom that frequently got &quot;blown-out&quot; because of too much greasing.<p>The new ExMarks, of course, have no spindle grease fittings and have a 3 year no-fail guarentee.<p>The Explorer may be different, though, our local distibutor won't sell them. I wanted ne before the Lazer Z came out, but they said ExMark had too many problems with the Explorer.<p>So, I waited and bought Lazers when they came out. Yes, I liked them so much, my friends and employees call me... well, that's how I got my nickname...<br>

Eric ELM
01-06-2000, 03:02 PM
Lazer, I don't think 2 shots of grease a day is enough, unless it a short day. In 25 hours, which is roughly 3 days work, mine takes usually 35 pumps of grease, in 3 days your putting in 6 pumps, which is 6 times less than me. I'll ask my dealer what he has heard. He also sells Exmark and he is the one that told me how to grease. His method works, I know that much. Every two months verses NEVER, Hmmm Some places will tell you things like that just to sell parts, I'm not saying that's what your rep is doing though. I'll check with my dealer tomorrow and let you know what he has to say.<p>No grease fittings on commercial mowers? I don't like that idea. I heard the only reason they didn't put them on homeowner machines is, they don't grease them anyway. :)<br><p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html

01-06-2000, 08:56 PM
The center spindle belt is tensioned by a spring and is not adjustable, but we will look into more carefully.<p>We currently grease about 6 pumps every 3rd day with the mowers getting about 4-5 mowing hours/day (this time of year). The bearing rep has told us to not &quot;fill the bearing&quot; as some void space is necessary. We are looking at vibration problems and increased failures since the center spindle pulley is so small (about 3&quot;) compared to the others.

01-06-2000, 09:17 PM
You might want to try a good grade of White Grease(Catipiller has a real good one)<br>Ken :-)<br>Lightcap Landscape Service

01-07-2000, 02:44 AM
Did yourebuild or replace the spindle? If rebiult, be sure that there are no grooves worn in the housing, also if you didnt replace the shaft this may be bent or worn causing premature failure.<p>My exmark dealer warned not to fill with grease if the grease oozes past the seal there is too much and its just waiting for a failure to happen.<p>Center bearing lasted 900 hours on my machine.<br>The ones on my JD were toast after 500 hours and was told that was typical with JD.<p>Bill

01-07-2000, 08:37 AM
I have an Exmark Viking (36&quot; hydro, fixed deck), with two spindles. I've used it for three seasons, probably about 2,000 hrs (no meter on my cheapy machine!). I have not had any problems with spindles.<p>I grease about 12 pumps, every 8-10 hrs of service. Sometimes one spindle will throw a bit of grease right after greasing, sometimes none. The manual is useless, and no dealer has ever given me much useful information, other than &quot;what it needs.&quot; I used Wolf's Head, Red grease, intended for high temperature applicatations.<p>As we can see, everybody has their own procedures ...?<p>Greaseless is OK, if it works! I would just as soon skip the greasing, but not if the greaseless approach is inclined to failures. The Toro models, with Exmark decks, have been sold this way - maybe all the new Exmarks are that way too, I don't know.

Eric ELM
01-07-2000, 01:01 PM
If you notice, Roger is using more grease and having no spindle problems. I just talked to my dealer who sells Exmark and Dixie Choppers. I now know another reason they donít use Exmarks for their lawn service that my dealer also has. The older Exmarks that the spindles could be greased, Exmark did not recommend putting much grease in the spindle housing, because it might blow out the bottom seal, which in turn doesnít get enough grease up to the top of the bearings. This in turn leaves a dry upper bearing. You can either go by what Exmark says and give it 2 shots and replace bearings or grease it enough so the top of the bearings get grease and chance blowing out the bottom seal. They claim if you blow out the seal, you could get dirt in the housing, but the way I feel, if you grease it every day until the grease comes out, you will also push out the dirt and moisture. If your way isnít working, try using more grease. Seems like it is working for Roger.<p>Another reason Exmarks, John Deere, and who ever else uses Aluminum housings now are having so much spindle bearing problems is, if you hit something solid with a blade the aluminum doesnít take the jolt like a cast steel housing will. The aluminum can actually stretch a bit, where the cast steel wonít do that. This is another reason why aluminum housings donít hold up as good. They are a lot cheaper to build, so that is why most manufactures are using them. Exmark also uses bigger balls in the bearings, which means fewer balls, which means more friction, which means more heat.<p>My dealer said the new 3 year sealed bearings arenít lasting a year on some of the machines he sells. On the other hand, he said he has some Dixie Choppers with the steel housings that have over 7,000 hours on them with all 3 original spindles and bearings in them. Hired help runs all his mowers, so itís not that they have been babied. I have put around 7,000 hours total between 3 Choppers with out ever replacing a bearing, so it sounds like if you can find an all steel spindle set up, that would be a smart move. This is just 1 more reason why I will continue to buy Choppers. They still use steel. <p>My dealer has been selling mowers for 20 years and has had a mowing business even longer. He is the chief mechanic and I value what he says very much. I just thought I would pass on what I have learned and I hope it helps you out.<br><p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html

01-07-2000, 02:02 PM
I was at my local dealer this afternoon - work is a bit slow, so we talked for a few minutes. Since the greasing question was on my mind recently, I asked him what he thought. They sell Toro, Great Dane, Hustler, and Snapper. I told him how I was greasing my spindles, and he said his recommendation for his commercial customers were very close to what I was doing. I didn't buy my Exmark there, but I think the other brands are similar.<p>Eric, I find your comments about Exmark having bigger balls in their bearings, meaning fewer balls, making more heat. We've discussed this many months ago in another thread, but I said then, will say again, I think my bearings run hotter than they should. The spindle pulleys, as well as the motor pulley, is open-spoke cast iron, which should help with the heat. But I'm never sure how much of the heat is coming from the spindle/bearing, and how much is being transferred from the engine via the belt. Since I only have two spindles, both are driven directly from the engine, by a single belt. For those who have three spindles, do you see a difference in temperature from the middle spindle/one side spindle, from the third spindle being driven off the middle spindle. The odd spindle would not be getting as much engine heat. Two of them are driven directly from the engine - at least that's how most of them I've seen.

Eric ELM
01-07-2000, 02:29 PM
Roger, you started a sentence and I think you forgot to finish it. <br>Eric, I find your comments about Exmark having bigger balls in their bearings, meaning fewer balls, making more heat. <br>I'm not sure how you find my comments? LOL<br>This is what my dealer, which is a Exmark dealer also, said to me today about the size of the ball bearings. I was just passing it along trying to help the originator of the post. Bearings will run hot, that is why you need to keep them full of grease so they get lubricated. I have seen a grease gun in laying in the sun, leak out, so it doesn't take that much heat to break down grease. If a bearing is getting 2 shots of grease a day, more than likely, not much is getting to the top of the bearings. This is why I feel a spindle housing needs to be full of grease. As I mentioned, you are greasing the same way I do and your spindles are lasting also. I remember the heat thing we discused before. I still don't think that much heat could be transfered from the motor to the spindle by means of a belt, little to none. Anything that turns gets warm from friction. Example, feel the pumpkin on your differential that is full of 90 weight oil after driving it.<p>----------<br>Eric@ELM<br>http://pages.prodigy.net/eric.erickson/index.html

01-08-2000, 09:48 AM
Regarding exmark and their aluminum spindles, I noticed the aluminum spindles on my exmark are finned beneath the pulleys and if I dont pull the shroud and hose the chaff out once a week the fins would be useless maybe causing excess heat buildup etc. And those suckers get HOT esp the pulleys, from the friction of belt in pulley.<p>Bill

01-13-2000, 11:01 PM
Well, we are going to try a few items on the Exmarks and see what happens. On one w/ new std bearings, we will reduce our grease schedule to once per week and we are putting a slightly larger than standard pully on it, slowing down the rotation. We will watch blade tip speed to ensure a clean cut and see how things wear.<p>For the other machine, it will be a greaseless sealed bearing (teflon coated) and we will see who or what holds up longer.<p>Thanks for the advice and suggestions.