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View Full Version : Exmark, what was wrong with chains


tacoma200
06-12-2009, 11:40 PM
This is just an open ended question. One of the improvements of the new Lazer Z was loosing the chains that support the deck (plus a stabilizer bar). I can see some advantages (seemingly small) but really knever new there was a problem to be fixed. Are chains that bad, I never heard of anyone complaining. Everyone should know by now I'm not an Exmark basher (unless it's a Triton that needs bashing). Tell me the benefits you see using the metal rods instead of a chain and maybe why a chain that is time tested may be better. Just as the drive shaft on the Scag's I run are supposed to be an improvement even though they are belt driven, I don't get that either really. I'm all ears. If you hit and obstruction doesn't the chain allow the deck to move and not take the full impact (or the object you hit). Maybe it is an improvement but since I haven't seen it up close it's hard to say. Comments?

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-13-2009, 12:15 AM
i just like being able to adjust my deck with 2 19mm wrenches really quick. i mean it shouldnt come out of adjustment too often anyway but i dont mind having the option. the badboy is solid hung too isnt it??? bobcat also has a nice deck adjustment system but it has chain incorparated in it! i was impressed when i saw pictures of their design. i dont know if you have seen the mower in person but the bolts are bigger than they show in the pictures it threw me off at first i thought it looked weak but they look strong in person and with 19mm hex nuts they are a good size for strength. chain is probly stronger and lets the deck give from side to side if you ram into somthing, which will probly save you money if that happens.

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-13-2009, 12:18 AM
i have a question about the gearbox on the scag deck, about how long is the service life of it? is it a normal service life like they all run about so many hours or it is erratic life expectancy? and did you ever smoke a belt to that system if so were you able to buy one from a napa auto parts or like a car quest etc. when my dixon first came out the deck belt was only available through dixon lol they wanted like 80 for it and i thought that was rediculas.

4.3mudder
06-13-2009, 12:20 AM
I think that is a major thing with the chains was giving if you hit something, I would see if you had just a solid rod, and hit somthing from the side they would bend. But, forward and backward no. There are 2 A arms that go to the front of the rear wheels right off the frame. That is a major drawback I would see is using rods instead of chains. I have noticed If I accidentl get to close to something they would give and everything would shift.

nosparkplugs
06-13-2009, 12:25 AM
Now I have never demo'd or run a Exmark or Toro, but have owned & run Scags. The chain hung decks bounce at higher speeds IMO, a fixed deck does not allow for bouncing, and is also easier to adjust.

Shaft driven decks, might be better at transferring torque to the deck & spindles, and could be less maintenance vs a big mule belt, this was one of my biggest hurtle's getting over in the Shaft Drive vs a Mule belt system. the Scag TT, JD 997 & Kubota ZD331 are all three shaft drive to gearbox to belt drive decks. I can tell you that I had a high hour shaft drive F-680 that the shaft drive universals were off balanced. The vibration could not be felt or seen in the driveshaft rotation, so over time it took out the deck gearbox seal I was in the middle of a large field, and was then down for two days, and cost me $350 to fix:cry:. At that point I realized I would be willing to look, and possibly purchase a mule drive system. I have lost one belt on the AOS diesel, but I have also hit more crap than I ever have with any ZTR. The Mule belt was very simple to replace took maybe 15 minutes in the field with no tools. That has made me a big mule belt supporter now, if only for the simplicity, and the torque transfer is such, that I forget it's a belt drive, until I hit something, and fell better; because all you do is slip the belt or stall out the engine

This might be why the shaft driven Scag TT with the 28hp Cat diesel is doing well, and the mule belt AOS diesel with the same 28hp Cat diesel is struggling in some mowing applications.

4.3mudder
06-13-2009, 12:37 AM
Now I have never demo'd or run a Exmark or Toro, but have owned & run Scags. The chain hung decks bounce at higher speeds IMO, a fixed deck does not allow for bouncing, and is also easier to adjust.

.

I would have to disragree with that part, that deck is very heavy, it does not flop up and down that much, very little at all.

tacoma200
06-13-2009, 12:48 AM
i have a question about the gearbox on the scag deck, about how long is the service life of it? is it a normal service life like they all run about so many hours or it is erratic life expectancy? and did you ever smoke a belt to that system if so were you able to buy one from a napa auto parts or like a car quest etc. when my dixon first came out the deck belt was only available through dixon lol they wanted like 80 for it and i thought that was rediculas.

I really don't know. I defer my answer to Nosparkplugs who has already addressed this to some extent. I think most of the failures I have heard of were people that let the gearbox go dry (no maintenance). The Scags have a huge clutch so maybe as Nosparkplugs says there is a lot of torque to deal with running the deck that "might" favor a drive shaft. I belt is sure cheaper to fix though.

As I said I can see some advantages of the rods over chains but not that much, I'm sure bouncing could be a problem in some area's. I have never needed to adjust a deck so that part doesn't apply to me yet, most of my decks have been dead on level side to side and a little front to back rake. And I do bump things with the side of the deck and the chains give easily.
You are going to get the deck in a bind where I live, I'm just wondering if the new system is "strong enough to bend" as the saying goes???
Will the rods give much if you hit an object on the side (most of us do)?

Don't get me wrong, I think Exmak has a winner with the New Lazer, probably about the best ZTR available. I just question this one improvement (and maybe the integrated pump/motor, time will tell). For the time being I think I like the give of the chains and haven't noticed any affects on cutting but I will give a New Lazer a test one day.

nosparkplugs
06-13-2009, 01:11 AM
Not to get off track or Highjack this thread*trucewhiteflag*, but the BB have a solid hung deck, and I know that when I bump something, be it front to back or side to side, I realize it quickly, and back off. The Chains do give more, but that can also cause you to keep going farther than a ridged deck would allow, and bind something up.

I agree with Tacoma200 in that I have never had to adjust any of my decks too, but I would still think these rods are easier.

I do think shaft drive will utilize the power/torque it has on tap better; especially with a mower with a moderate or maybe underpowered engine depending on mowing applications. If the final deck drive was a gearbox like the Walkers, then blade tip speed would drop some, torque is their IMO, just not the speed/FPS




I really don't know. I defer my answer to Nosparkplugs who has already addressed this to some extent. I think most of the failures I have heard of were people that let the gearbox go dry (no maintenance). The Scags have a huge clutch so maybe as Nosparkplugs says there is a lot of torque to deal with running the deck that "might" favor a drive shaft. I belt is sure cheaper to fix though.

As I said I can see some advantages of the rods over chains but not that much, I'm sure bouncing could be a problem in some area's. I have never needed to adjust a deck so that part doesn't apply to me yet, most of my decks have been dead on level side to side and a little front to back rake. And I do bump things with the side of the deck and the chains give easily.
You are going to get the deck in a bind where I live, I'm just wondering if the new system is "strong enough to bend" as the saying goes???
Will the rods give much if you hit an object on the side (most of us do)?

Don't get me wrong, I think Exmak has a winner with the New Lazer, probably about the best ZTR available. I just question this one improvement (and maybe the integrated pump/motor, time will tell). For the time being I think I like the give of the chains and haven't noticed any affects on cutting but I will give a New Lazer a test one day.

MJB
06-13-2009, 01:25 AM
I would think a solid hung deck would be better for side hilling. The chains allow the deck to swing a little more causing one side to be lower creating more of a gouge mark where one side cuts a little lower than the other.

Have any of you BB owners noticed a difference sidehilling than with a Scag or exmark chain deck?

MJB
06-13-2009, 01:27 AM
Also I wonder if the deck stabilizers on the back of the Exmark and Hustler
would last longer without all the swinging on side hills?

tacoma200
06-13-2009, 01:53 AM
I would think a solid hung deck would be better for side hilling. The chains allow the deck to swing a little more causing one side to be lower creating more of a gouge mark where one side cuts a little lower than the other.

Have any of you BB owners noticed a difference sidehilling than with a Scag or exmark chain deck?

Nosparkplugs and you bring up some good points. I just watched the Exmark DVD and payed closer attention. You can really tell the deck is stable when the Lazer is moving across the ground. I am sure they researched this very well, and they are saying that having the deck supported in this way with the new control arm in back reduces wear and decks with out this system tend to sway as the components age. And yes I've seen many ZTR's have trouble mowing sides of hills and getting an uneven cut due to the deck swinging to one side. I have no reason to doubt them. The new design is really growing on me, I'd love to have one. But for right now as rough as some of the area's are that I have to work with a dinosaur such as the Tiger will have to do. No doubt the Lazer would be better for the average lawn, especially when it comes to maneuverability. I think after the Triton and watching John Deere having problems with their integrated pump/motor Exmark slowed down and really thought this out.

Lot's of good products out there. I may go out of my way to demo some models that I haven't had time to.

tacoma200
06-13-2009, 02:00 AM
Not to get off track or Highjack this thread*trucewhiteflag*, but the BB have a solid hung deck, and I know that when I bump something, be it front to back or side to side, I realize it quickly, and back off. The Chains do give more, but that can also cause you to keep going farther than a ridged deck would allow, and bind something up.

I agree with Tacoma200 in that I have never had to adjust any of my decks too, but I would still think these rods are easier.

I do think shaft drive will utilize the power/torque it has on tap better; especially with a mower with a moderate or maybe underpowered engine depending on mowing applications. If the final deck drive was a gearbox like the Walkers, then blade tip speed would drop some, torque is their IMO, just not the speed/FPS

This solid hung deck may be a trend that sticks. Sometimes what I think isn't a good idea in the beginning turn out to be fine in the long run. I'm always open to learn a better way.

I wish I knew the entire story behind the drive shafts but the shafts may well be more efficient than the mule drive. It looks like most new model ZTR's are turning to vertical shaft gassers to get around the mule drive.

Stillwater
06-13-2009, 02:04 AM
This is just an open ended question. One of the improvements of the new Lazer Z was loosing the chains that support the deck (plus a stabilizer bar). I can see some advantages (seemingly small) but really knever new there was a problem to be fixed. Are chains that bad, I never heard of anyone complaining. Everyone should know by now I'm not an Exmark basher (unless it's a Triton that needs bashing). Tell me the benefits you see using the metal rods instead of a chain and maybe why a chain that is time tested may be better. Just as the drive shaft on the Scag's I run are supposed to be an improvement even though they are belt driven, I don't get that either really. I'm all ears. If you hit and obstruction doesn't the chain allow the deck to move and not take the full impact (or the object you hit). Maybe it is an improvement but since I haven't seen it up close it's hard to say. Comments?



floating deck...........

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-13-2009, 04:08 PM
the design on the exmark does have give to it not as much as a chain but i smash into thinks often lol! and i dont see it bending yet. not saying it doesnt bend cause i do adjust my deck every couple weeks so far and it is always off by a very tiny bit from where i set it the last time. my yards are really rough! and my deck does bounce and it bounces very hard! but! very big but! you never see it in the cut of the grass! never no matter how hard i bounce that deck it never has a uuneven cut. if you wheelie it really high and land really hard it digs the blades in pretty good! but while in motion hitting bumps it is smooth. i really run the crap out of mine, i have a problem with doing that with new stuff. everything i ever bought has been flipped smashed and crashed! i just really like to test it out and see what it has. so far the exmark holds up good, nothing to complain about other than getting it stuck in a ditch because the rearend sits so low.

FastMan
06-13-2009, 04:38 PM
i have a problem with doing that with new stuff. everything i ever bought has been flipped smashed and crashed! i just really like to test it out and see what it has.


SsC, we're fortunate to have you here to stress test stuff for us. Like our own personal crash dummy! :laugh:

Seriously, this has been a concern of mine too. Your hard knocks testing is helpful.

Thanks, Tacoma for starting the thread.

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-13-2009, 04:44 PM
:laugh:lol yeah lucky me! it costs alot of money i need donations! :usflag:

MJB
06-13-2009, 05:34 PM
the design on the exmark does have give to it not as much as a chain but i smash into thinks often lol! and i dont see it bending yet. not saying it doesnt bend cause i do adjust my deck every couple weeks so far and it is always off by a very tiny bit from where i set it the last time. my yards are really rough! and my deck does bounce and it bounces very hard! but! very big but! you never see it in the cut of the grass! never no matter how hard i bounce that deck it never has a uuneven cut. if you wheelie it really high and land really hard it digs the blades in pretty good! but while in motion hitting bumps it is smooth. i really run the crap out of mine, i have a problem with doing that with new stuff. everything i ever bought has been flipped smashed and crashed! i just really like to test it out and see what it has. so far the exmark holds up good, nothing to complain about other than getting it stuck in a ditch because the rearend sits so low.


Can you still put a stripe roller on the fixed decks? I run mine fairly low and it becomes a giant scalp roller at times. So is there a lot of give going up and down, more so than side to side ?

ed2hess
06-13-2009, 06:19 PM
I like the chain mounted deck since it don't put stress on the mounting device when you roll off of curbs. Something would either bend or break if you drop off a curb with solid deck....I would think?

tacoma200
06-13-2009, 07:05 PM
Exmark has come out with what looks like a rubber type version of the stripe roller. Wonder if the new more rigid deck support system is the reason why?
Posted via Mobile Device

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-14-2009, 12:14 PM
Can you still put a stripe roller on the fixed decks? I run mine fairly low and it becomes a giant scalp roller at times. So is there a lot of give going up and down, more so than side to side ?

the exmark is an amazing machine in the fact that it doesnt scalp! and it is really quick and easy to lift the deck with the foot pedal, also has a great height adjustment controll just like my dixon that i am used to so i was really happy bout that. the mower is really short in design so it doesnt give the deck a chace to scalp beause of wheel spacing, i could see that being a problem on long chassi design mowers. i just bought the power chute striper a few minutes ago i cant wait to try it out!

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-14-2009, 12:19 PM
I like the chain mounted deck since it don't put stress on the mounting device when you roll off of curbs. Something would either bend or break if you drop off a curb with solid deck....I would think?

once you look at the setup in person you will notice how big the parts to the deck raising system are! i was impressed when i first saw it they use huge cast iron parts like a tractor would use much bigger than needed for strength. i can see somthing bending if you realy smash it but a loop hole bolt is less than 10 bucks any way and that is the only thing that could bend all the other parts are too big for the weight of the mower to have an affect on in a accident, from what i see

GravelyGuy
06-14-2009, 12:29 PM
I don't think you could ever bend the rods that the deck hangs on unless you bend the rods that run under the deck. They don't allow that much movement.

That monster torsion spring does let the deck get to bouncing on uneven terrain, cut is still good though.

barlowlawncare
06-14-2009, 01:04 PM
with the new laser's they have a foot peday to lift the deck to change hieghts when we cut a yard with bumps or small hills ditches, etc we keep our foot on that pedal and as u appoach anything you just push down and lift the deck enough to clear it, it's great for not scalping these little areas and even if you go a little to high you can not notice it once your done and the whole lawn is cut. I think that is the best thing they have done with the new laser's we have an older one that I made a foot pedal for and just need someone to weld it on for me! It makes life so much easier u no longer have to go around these small things like the water valves in a yard and so on, you can clear a lot of hazards by using that pedal but it allows you to keep your line and if you have to go back with a trimmer and level it out but usually you can't even notice. as mentioned above the decks are so heavy that bouncing is not a problem. I think the chains just allow the deck to try and stay level when the mower isnt.

tacoma200
06-14-2009, 01:10 PM
Remember we have guys on this site that bent 7 gauge decks so don't put it past them being able to bend or break anything.

MJB
06-14-2009, 07:17 PM
with the new laser's they have a foot peday to lift the deck to change hieghts when we cut a yard with bumps or small hills ditches, etc we keep our foot on that pedal and as u appoach anything you just push down and lift the deck enough to clear it, it's great for not scalping these little areas and even if you go a little to high you can not notice it once your done and the whole lawn is cut. I think that is the best thing they have done with the new laser's we have an older one that I made a foot pedal for and just need someone to weld it on for me! It makes life so much easier u no longer have to go around these small things like the water valves in a yard and so on, you can clear a lot of hazards by using that pedal but it allows you to keep your line and if you have to go back with a trimmer and level it out but usually you can't even notice. as mentioned above the decks are so heavy that bouncing is not a problem. I think the chains just allow the deck to try and stay level when the mower isnt.
Yes, The foot pedal for raising the deck was a great addition to commercial mowers. Exmark has had them out for 10yrs on the 60" decks maybe longer.
I think all of them have it as an option now days. How old of an Exmark were you running?

barlowlawncare
06-14-2009, 08:28 PM
im not actually sure how old the other lazer is we just call it the "old lazer" lol It's my brothers business me and my father just really work for him so he typically buys all the equiptment, Ive been working for him the last two yrs since leaving my job as a papermaker, so im kinda new. He bought a brand new lazer last year and that has the foot pedal and we had a scag tiger before that, that also had the foot pedal but wasnt as easy to use while cutting. He kept the older lazer, and sold the scag and bought the new lazer. They are pretty much the samething except for motor and footpetal, so im going to add the pedal to the older one

SfTD_service_CENTER
06-14-2009, 09:14 PM
Remember we have guys on this site that bent 7 gauge decks so don't put it past them being able to bend or break anything.

very very very true!!!!! me neither i could see it happening, i have said before i BEAT on things!