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View Full Version : New Gravely 48" walk behind, what an amazing machine!!


dwost
05-20-2002, 11:57 AM
For everyone that is in the quest for the perfect walk behind, I would like to share my opinions and what I did to make my selection. All I can say is WOW:D :D This is one bad A#% cutting machine! I just took delivery this past Friday of my new 1548, floating deck walk-behind and couldn't wait to get in that first mow!! I'm using this solely for residential use and did my homework on all the machines available under the $3k mark. This is what I used to make my decision.

Models reviewed:

Exmark - 48" Metro fixed deck, w/gear, ECS, 15hp Kawi V-Twin ($2,899)

Toro - 48" Pro fixed deck, w/gear, T-bar, 14hp Kawi single ($2,700)

Bobcat - 48" fixed deck, w/gear, Pistol, 15hp Kawi V-Twin ($2,700)

Scagg - 48" fixed deck, w/gear, pistol, 17hp Kawi V-twin ($3,000) This was a great deal for the mower, but toward the high end of my price range.

Snapper - 48" fixed deck, w/gear, U-handle, 15hp kohler ($2,799)

I looked at all of these and narrowed it down to the Toro and Exmark. I was leaning toward the Exmark simply because of the customer loyalty and history of mfg a great product. I called one last Toro dealer who happens to sell Gravely and he mentioned there was a new Gravely unit that I may want to check out. I went down to the shop and as soon as I saw the 1548 I was sold!! Hands down, the most rigid, solid mower I've seen. When he told me the price, I about fell down. The deal he gave me was cheaper than the eXmark and the mower had features that would put me in the $3,500 price range for any of the mfg listed above. I'll get to the price in a minute :cool:

The benefits/differences I noticed right off were:

-FLOATING DECK
-16" WHEELS (as opposed to 13" on everything else)
-6 GALLON TANK (most had 5)
-7 GAUGE STEEL ALL AROUND (10ga top w/7 on bottom of most)
-ANTI SCALP WHEELS ALL AROUND (all others had 0)
-INCLUDED STRIPING KIT
-ELECTRIC PTO (everyone else was manual)

The deal:

Retail price on it was $3,150 (which is still damn good for what you get) He told me he would let it go for $2,999. I asked him if he would go any lower and he came back with $2,875!!!! I went home, cleared it with the boss (my wife is a saint!!...:) ) and the next day walked out with a total bill of $3,047 out the door!!!

My lawn:

We moved into our house last year and I purchased a used honda rider with a 38" deck from my neighbor which turned out to be a great little mower, however, too small for my yard and was taxed trying to cut thick lush grass. With trimming my total time used to be in the 3-3.5 hour range. My first mow with the new toy took me total of 1 hour and about another 15 min with trimming!! I was able to walk it in 3rd gear. AND the cut you ask?? amazing, it stripes with the best of them and left a beautifully manicured carpet for my neighbors to admire. :D I couldn't be happier with my choice

My next item is a sulky which I will probably get this week. I'm leaning toward Proslide or the True Trak. Any suggestions or feedback on rigging the True Trak to the Gravely?

tovoninc
05-21-2002, 01:41 PM
Glad to hear about your Gravely experience. I have always had a sentimental spot for Gravely since I grew up using the old convertible 2 wheelers. You did a great deal of homework.

Where in Ohio are you located? We are located between Troy & Springfield.

Best regards,

Tony

dwost
05-21-2002, 06:58 PM
Thanks Tony, We are right on Lake Erie. Between Toledo and Cleveland. Are you familiar with Cedar Point?? :) It's about a 10 minute car/boat ride from our house.

CJC
12-03-2002, 03:59 PM
How did your Pro G work out over the past season? Sounds like you got off to a good start).

I purchased similar unit (1548, fixed deck), for similar price late in the season, when I moved into new home (0.75 acres). I am in southeastern Pennsylvania.

I've been very pleased with the unit. I demo'd two units, one with double blade kit, and the other with mulch kit. I chose the mulch kit, anticipating using it on leaves, and it worked great. Over three week period, once per week, and all the leaves are gone! (completely shredded). I did have to go over some parts of the yard 2 times, to remove all traces of leaves, but it sure beats raking.


Next spring I'm planning to remove the mulch kit and install double blades for use in spring/summer (I'll reinstall the mulch kit in fall).

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:20 PM
Hi CJC, my unit worked great this past year. The results are amazing. I'm extremely pleased with the unit also. I'm interested in the same accessories that you are. I've posted several times on the Gravely forum when it was active about the double blade kit. I wanted to get one for the unit when I bought it, however, they were still in production. From what I've heard, the kit is finally available and now shipping to the dealers for about $65. I'm still trying to decide what to do, I'm now leaning toward the mulch kit as well. I don't have alot of leaves, but would like to eliminate the blow out on my beds. How did the unit work in taller grass? I'm thinking of doing what you suggested and get both so I can switch back and forth. I've also heard you can use the doubles with the mulch kit installed. The only additional Item I will be purchasing this spring will be a sulke. Definitely want to be able to mow comfortably in 4th or 5th gear...:D:D

You may want to check out my post here http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=35591&highlight=striping+kit I detailed how to build a striping kit (roller vs. the flap that comes on the unit) for my machine. The results are far superior to what you are used to when using the stock flap!! I'll attach a couple pics of my yard so you can see what the kit does. I took these right after my last mow of the season about 2 weeks back. Keep me posted as to what you do.

What part of PA are you in?? I'm from Doylestown originally.

MacLawnCo
12-03-2002, 05:27 PM
Dub fan are ya?? I have a 92 MK 2 GTi. It rocks. No mods, yet.

If you want a steerable velke like the true-trac, then the trimmer trap bull rider will fit rite to yours.

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:32 PM
results with the new stripe kit

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:33 PM
#2

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:35 PM
#3

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:40 PM
MacLawn,

Great "old school" ride you have there! I've already got my 2yo conditioned on european cars and look to put him in an MKII for his first car!! You need to check out this months "Eurotuner" as they are doing a spot on early dubs. Ther is a sick MK II on the cover. I have yet to read it but it's waiting for me at home. I currently have a '00 B5 Passat that has a few mods (chip, BOV, pedals, ss kit, etc) Will be doing wheels and suspension this spring just in time to take it to Mid-Ohio for some track time....:D:D:D

CJC
12-03-2002, 05:45 PM
Hi dwost. I took delivery in Sept 2002. My origianl order was for 1548 with mulch kit and double blades, plus hour meter. Dealer told me Gravely recommends either/or (mulch kit/double blades, not both together). My dealer brought two machines to my place, one with double blades, one with mulch kit, to demo. Grass was higher and thicker than I would normally let it go before cut, and double blade unit cut without any problem. Mulch kit unit strained a bit, but I chose it anyway, anticipating using it for leaf shredding. After cutting entire yard at 3.5 inch (thick and long) I had a lot of under-deck clean out to do on mulch deck). But when shredding leaves on (at 3 inch ht.) on short, dry grass (maybe 3.25 inch grass length) I didn't have any accumulation of grass or leaves under deck.

So I like the idea of double blade kit for regular mowing (I anticipate ess accumulations under deck), and mulch kit for leaves. Should be farily easy change-over (I have asked Gravely for copy of mulch kit and double-blade kit installation instructions).

Hour meter was back ordered, and delivered/installed in 3 weeks.

MacLawnCo
12-03-2002, 05:49 PM
nice, the B5s are good looking cars, and with the 1.8T, they are very desireable. If i ever had to get a family car, that would be it.

When i get out of college, I want to make over my car. I want to put in the syncro 4 wheeldrive, 3.1VR6, with the twin turbo kit from Canada(saw it in on a TT in one of the mags), and gut the interior so there is only the tornado red shell, chrome roll cage, and my bucket. I dont know if a 6spd will find its way into the prokect or not. I cant wait, that will be one sweet daily driver.:D I will be eating everything, and shitin everything else.:D :D

CJC
12-03-2002, 05:56 PM
Hey, one other question:
What type of grease do you use to lube the 1548? Owners Manual recommends "high quality lithum based grease". Original (from factory) grease in fittings looks red/purple on my machine. I plan to use same type grease, if I can figure out what Gravely used (I sent them email asking them what they use, but haven't heard back).

I now live in Blue Bell (not too far from Doylestown).

Your stripe kit sure gives nice results. Thanks for the links/pics. The installation project may be a bit too ambitious for me. The stripper flap that comes stock with 1548 does an OK job, but I agree the rollers seem to do better. How much better would you say roller does at striping? (that is, how much better at leaving a stripe?? twice as good, three times??)

The mulch kit doesn't have too much blow out (except when going over thick leaves (maybe 2-3- inches layer).

Let me know what yoru do for velke (although I plan to walk for now, for exercise). Buying from Gravely or third party?

dwost
12-03-2002, 05:57 PM
If you're talking about the tuner I'm thinking of it's gotta be Momentum Motorsports Now Kinetic Motorsports!!...:D:D:D They have some sick project cars. Would this be what you are talking about??? http://www.kineticmotorsport.com/cardetails.php?id=7

MacLawnCo
12-03-2002, 06:09 PM
It may be the tunner.

I have not seen that car in a few years. I remember a few years ago when that guy just picked up his GTi 2nd hand. It still looks the same, but he may have changed a few things.

I searched the web for the Audi TT i am refering to, but cant find it. It was featured in Motor Trend, with arround 450 hp and 400 ft/lbs. It was grey and had red leather interior, quatro, and porsche turbo twist wheels. They are now offering the turbo system as a kit to any VR6. That is what i am thinking of doing.

dwost
12-03-2002, 06:17 PM
CJC

I'm using a lithium Marine grease that I use on my boat. Works very well and is great at resisting the elements.

Blue Bell? we are practically neighbors...lol

I'd say the kit does a 3-5 times better job than with the flap. The stripes are very defined and last much longer. You;ll find in 3-4 mowings that you will be able to create a nice pattern to where no matter which way you look at the lawn, there are stripes!!

As for the Sulke, I'm interested in the Bull Rider, proslide, or tru Trak type but heard it puts alot of strain on the Gear/belt units. Although, I'm not mowing 40hrs per week and it would probably be fine. I like the design of the Jungle Wheels as it distributes your weight better to keep the nose of the mower down and has an adjustable arm to give you a better position behind the unit. The gravely sulke is simply a Velke model with the Gravely stickers. I also found another model that is priced much better in the 160 range and will probably work well. I'll keep you posted as to what I do.


MacLawn. There are several tuners that are offering turbo kits for the VR6. PES (where i got my chip) actually has a supercharger kit that is completely bolt on and gives a decent gain in HP and torque. You can easily push the 400hp envelope just open your wallet really wide!!! So many mods what to do first...:D :blob1: :blob1: :blob3:

CJC
12-04-2002, 10:11 AM
dwost

Thanks for the reply. I'd like to know the brand name and type of the Marine grease you use.

Also, how about fogging oil, do you use that for off-season storage. I plan to spray into cylinders. I see some recommendations to spray it into carboruatro as well (for off-seasons). Do you use fogging oil? What parts do you spray?

If so, let me know brand and name of type you use and are satisfied with. I'm looking around for brand that that has extenstion for spray nozzle (I've seen a couple online). Briggs & Stratton fogging oil doesn't have nozzle extension. Online I've seen MDR-545 Stor-N-Start Fogging Oil and Pennzoil Marine Marine Fogging Oil (both with micro straw for nozzle).

dwost
12-04-2002, 10:33 AM
CJC,

I use LubrMatic marine grease. I've also used the SeaBrite marine grease as well. Here is a link to it at Ski Limited. http://www.skilimited.com/xq/asp/image_file.XLM%2DMGK%2Ejpg/product_name.Lubrimatic+Mini+Grease+Gun+Kit/base_no.XLM-MGK/qx/product_view_full_img.htm I can get it up here at Walmart as they have a good Marine section since we are on Lake Erie. Do you have a West Marine or Boat US near you? If so, they have everything you need including the fogging oil. I have some left over from winterizing my boat and I may use it, I never really thought about it, but probably not a bad idea. Ive used the SeaBrite brand and also CRC. They all work basically the same. just make sure that when you do it, that you fog it till it dies. and then squirt some directly into the cylinders under the plugs.

Gravely_Man
12-06-2002, 04:16 PM
Glad you like the mower. The pictures look great!


Gravely_Man

CJC
12-09-2002, 09:23 AM
Hi Gravely Man:

Are you associated with Gravely (do you work for them), or are a satisfied customer?

Do you know if shop manuals are available for Pro-G 1548 walk behinds (and how to obtain them)?

Do you know if there are bulletins available from Gravely on installation/removal of accessories, such as :
1. Mulch kits
2. Double blade kits

I'd like to be able to do some "do it yourself" work, with a little guidance from Gravely.

Thanks.

RichR
12-12-2002, 10:57 PM
not to flame or anything but......i cant figure out why mac lawn started talking about cars? Maybe i missed something as i have no idea what a dub fan is.

Gravely_Man
01-08-2003, 04:55 PM
CJC I am just a long time satisfied customer of theirs. I have gotten all of the manuals that I needed from the Gravely web site. There are several Gravely specific sites on the net that you can post some questions to and get advice.


Gravely_Man

dwost
01-23-2003, 04:59 PM
Hi Rich, I believe the reason why Maclawn mentioned cars is because I have in my profile "european cars" as one of my hobbies. He was simply stating that he too was a "dub" fan which stands for a VW fan.

CJC
01-23-2003, 05:02 PM
Gravely Man:
Can you provide links to some of the Gravely sites you refer to? I'd like to check them out.
Thanks.

BigTwoHearted
05-06-2003, 09:47 PM
dwost:

I am about to stop agonizing over which is THE best mower--I've looked at all of them--and just buy my first commercial walk behind. As it stands, I'mleaning toward the exact same make/model as yours. Any regrets or advice? I cannot justify spending as much or more for a new JD "toy" mower-tractor, especially given the fact that mowing my acre-plus yard will still take the better part of an afternoon.

The research/search process has been overwhelming. lol

Too many brands! So much advice! And only enough room on the credit card to do this once!

Thanks for the earlier review and any additional information you care to pass along.

(and my "proletarian Porsche" is a 2001 New Beetle Sport)

Again, thanks,

BTH

dwost
05-06-2003, 10:23 PM
Hi BigTwo,

Welcome to Lawnsite!!! I have to say, you are making a GREAT choice. Honestly I'd buy this machine again in an instant!!! Here are some items that I can comment on that might help you out.

First off, I totally agree, the research is overwhelming. As you read, I did my homework and immediately ruled out JD. Personally I think they are overrated for what you get in the homeowner market. I too am solely using this on my own yard only so my needs are different than most on here. I did, however, landscape while in high school and college and have been raised to "buy good equipment" no matter what you are doing with it.

So, with that said, I pretty much ruled out the residential rider market. I did look at simplicity and almost bought one of the Husqvarna "Swedish riders" which I still think is great machine, but again, smaller deck, and no where near commercial build quality.

I was absolutely blown away after I saw the Gravely in comparison to all the others I looked at. when you look at the Metro's bobcats, scaggs, toro's etc... in 48" belt drive range, there is no comparison. The gravely has many of the same features as the mowers 500-1000 higher. Granted it is a belt drive, but it works beautifully for my application. I do know now why everyone goes with Hydro's for commercial use. I can see how they would make things easier, but personally, I couldn't't justify the price difference to do so now. I will eventually end up with a z of some sort when my yard is big enough :)

After a year of use, I've had ZERO issues with it. Its started on the first pull every time and I've purchased several items for it. Most recently (last week) I got a Jungle Wheels, 2 wheel sulky for it, Mulch kit (which I have yet to use baffles, I took the gators that came with it and I'm now running doubles with the stock hi-lifts) This makes a HUGE difference in cutting and definitely helps with the striping effect. As you've read, I'm a bit nuts about the striping thing and you have the plans on this site for building a striping roller for this unit for under $30 bucks. Again, this is something that most mfg will charge several hundreds of dollars for. One item to consider is the dealer. If you have a great dealer, that will make the difference with anything you purchase. What it REALLY comes down to is what features you like best on which unit. Realistically ALL of these mowers will cut circles around any residential tractor period. Find a good dealer, that is willing to cut you a nice deal and go with that. If you have a Gravely dealer close, BUY IT. You won't be disappointed. Oh, and Ariens (who owns gravely) is fantastic to work with. I had a commercial Ariens 21" mower and have one of their snow blowers. They are great pieces of machinery and they stand behind their product. OK, I'm off my soap box. If you'd like to chat, I'd be happy to talk to you on the phone. Send me an e-mail and we can hook up.

CARS.........Glad to see we have some fellow dubbers on here...:) I'm a huge European car nut. I currently have a 2000 passat that is fairly modified and a pure joy to drive. I'm first on the list for the 2004 Touareg as well which is due here at the end of the month. My wife has the final say since it is her car, but I wanted to make sure she had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one before she made her decision. Anyway, good luck with the search, you won't be disappointed...:D:D Oh and you definitely need to chip the bug once she is broken in.....:blob3: :cool:

CJC
05-07-2003, 10:03 AM
dwost/BigTwo:
I second what dwost has to say RE: Gravely 1548 Pro-G. I have the same machine (2002), but with fixed deck (48"). Got it last fall and used it with mulch kit (single mulch blades and baffle kit). I have 0.75 acre lot, and it worked great on leaves. I didn't have to rake or bag any!
I just installed double blade kit for spring/summer cutting (removed mulch baffles, reinstalled factory baffles, use mulch blades and stock blades). Only have about 1 hour on machine with this set up. So far so good.
Observations with doubles:
1. Clippings get thrown out about twice the distance.
2. Slightly better stripping.
3. I get a slight vibration when engaging PTO, v. with singles. No issue once blades up to higher rpm. Made sure I balanced the blades prior to intallation (had to do a fair amount of grinding to balance the new blades!).

dwost: any comments on point #3?

Anyhow, I am very happy with the machine, for both grass cutting and leaf shredding. Cuts great. Starts on first pull. Have about 10 hours total. Just made first oil change (Mobil 1 10W-30).

I would recommend this machine to homeowner or pro.

- CJC

dwost
05-07-2003, 10:53 AM
CJC,

Glad to see you are happy with the purchase!! I purchased the mulch kit about 2 weeks ago, but have yet to install due to the spring growth. I did as you have and installed the gators that came with the kit on top of the hi-lifts and COMPLETELY agree with all your observations. The clippings do get thrown twice as far. It sounds like a jet taking off when it is spooling up.:) Anyway, I do get a bit of vibration engaging the blades, but I just assumed this would be the case with the extra resistance. I did have one issue, but I think this started last year. After I installed the doubles, my original belt shredded after about 30 minutes of mowing. I noticed this spring that it was starting to fray around the edges and I think the doubles pushed it over the edge. I ended up getting a replacement belt from Tractor Supply that was a bit thicker and seems to be working out fine. There are no signs of wear.

Have you noticed any wear on yours?

I'm curious what the average belt life is on these mowers?

I now have about 38 hours on it and have also completed my oil change and put in synthetic. Just an FYI, and I'm not sure how this applies to this small equipment but I used to use Mobil 1 in all my cars, however, about a year or so ago they changed their formula and I've been told to stay away from it as it is not near the quality it used to be. This could also be because I'm using it in a high revving turbo, but I've switched to Redline for my cars and Valvolene for my mower and other engines. This is probably splitting hairs, but wanted to pass on what I've heard.

Have you used your mulch kit in high grass? I'm curious how it does and also how do the stripes look with the kit installed?

You may want to build a roller for yours if you are into the "striping" thing as it helps tremendously. One more thing I just added was a headlight. I fabricated a bracket and mounted it centered in front of the gas tank above the pull starter. I used a "trapezoid" beam tractor light from Tractor supply, a single toggle switch mounted on the control platform next to the key and ran the wires up to and tied into my hour meter. Now it runs when the mower is on and no need for a battery!! This was a simple mod and cost all of about $15. A definite if you get a late start mowing. I'll snap some pics of it and post for you to check out.

CJC
05-07-2003, 11:50 AM
dwost:
As I mentioned, I've only had double blades on for 1-2 hours, and have not noticed any issues with the belts. I'll keep an eye out though.

I got the machine with the mulch kit already installed. I notice that the "stock" blades are quite a bit heavier than the mulch blades (estimated: maybe twice the weight)! So I guess adding (heavy) stock blades to mulch blades accounts for the greatere resistance and virbration/belt issues.

Thanks for info. on Mobil 1. I plan to stick with it for now, maybe switch next oil change. I use Opti4 in my Honda snow blower (came from dealer with that). They double engine warranty, but Opti4 is a bit of a mystery, as they do not seem to use standard grading system for oils (e.g., 10W-40).

I have used mulch kit in high grass. Cuts OK. Lots of build up under deck (tended to be high, moist grass). That is one reason I went with doubles for spring/summer. I'll go back to mulch kit in fall.

Did you install the discharge extension piece that came with doubles kit? It is about 4" wide, and requires two holes drilled in the discharge guard. I have not installed this.

Your light sounds cool.

One other question: I get a squeak when I apply right side brake (to turn, etc.). Do you think loosening the control a bit would eliminate that?

BigTwoHearted
05-07-2003, 11:01 PM
CJC:

I think my local dealer offered me what sounds like your mower for 2,300: 48" fixed, but with a Kawasaki 14hp 1-cyl? He says it is "last year's model," whatever that means. Is this a deal? I know nothing about this mower or engine.

He says that he can get me into a Pro G with dwost's mower's specs for 3,100 (that's the MSRP). He also tells me that he isn't going to stock floating decks anymore, as they go out of adjustment and stay that way. (Put that in the things that make me go "Hmmmmmmmmm. . . ." file.)

Of course, as fate would have it, I passed the Exmark dealership on the way home. And, of course, I did a quick u-turn and checked them out. They seemed to be quality people: very (VERY) helpful and willing to answer all questions, walk me through their machines. Bottom line: a comparable Exmark "Metro" with ECS will set me back about 3,500.

Worth the difference in price?

If nothing else, I've at least narrowed it down to two brands if not two mowers.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks!

BTH

CJC
05-08-2003, 10:10 AM
BigTwo:
I got my 2002 Pro-G 1548 for $2,599 in Sept. 2002 (end of season). MSRP = $2,899 (per dealer and Gravely web site at the time). At that time the web site also showed following:
HP/Deck/MSRP:
13 / 32" fixed / $2,299
13 / 36" fixed / $2,399
15 / 36" fixed / $2,699
15 / 48" fixed / $2,899
15 / 48" float / $3,149
17 / 48" float / $3,599

Didn't see any 14-hp. Also, I know the 15 hp is Kaw. V-twin. Not sure about other engines.
Hope that helps.

CJC
05-08-2003, 10:20 AM
dwost:
Well, I cut for about 1 hour yesterday (which would be about the second hour with double blades). Tall, thick grass (about 5" cut down to 3"). It's hard to keep up with the fast growing spring grass! I went over the yard twice, second pass perpendicular to first. Looks great!

When finished I checked belts (belts for the blade), and sure enough, one of them had one (small) section that was fraying on the edge!

The mower has about 20 total hours (18 with mulch kit, 2 with doubles), and belt s fraying. I think it is due to doubles. I guess the added strain of doubles does a number on the belts. Hopefully they don't put too much strain on the engine or spindles.

I'm going to drop a note to Gravely on this.

What replacement belts did are you using now with doubles?
(part number, supplier, price??).

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:38 AM
Gents, here is some feedback.

BigTwo:

I completely agree with CJC on the specs of the machines and the mfg pricing structure. Not sure of the 14hp. That could be one of their "pro-50's" which is a completely different machine but I'm not certain. 2,300 sound like a good deal if it is the new designed unit.

Floating deck issue: Well, this one is a new one to me. Not sure what he means by "out of adjustment".????? But mine has been working just fine with MINIMAL adjustments at all to anything on the mower from deck to belts to steering to.......... you name it!!! The only thing I had to tighten down was one of the spindles on the deck. As usual when you buy something that is getting bounced around and used a lot there will be things that loosen up on it, but a simple hit with the impact wrench and that baby was snugged back up. I don't see how the "floating " deck can get out of adjustment????? If you look at the design, you will see it is a pretty standard setup not only for Gravely but for many of the other units including eXmark's units!! I'll see if I can post some pics of the units for comparison. Anyway, if you get a chance, ask him SPECIFICALLY what gets out of adjustment as I'd love to understand his rationale.

Pricing: The list on my unit was $3,150. He cut me a deal of $2,875. The total out the door cost with tax and delivery was $3,047 out the door!!!

eXmark vs Gravely:

Well guess what???? You are in EXACTLY the same boat as I was!!! I was throughly impressed with both units, and was leaning toward the eXmark because of the qulity, their staning behind their product, and the re-sale if I go to sell it to get a z.:):) at some point. HOWEVER, the dealer was 30 minutes away, and they seemed a bit like "I don't have the time to talk to you if you are only mowing residential". I was still thinking of gettign the unit UNTIL I stopped at the Gravely dealer on my way home. First off the dealer is only 10 minutes from my house. Secondly, they were very accomidating, and lastly HOLY ****, there is NO COMPARISON in build qulity of these two units!!! At first sight, you will see it immediately.

Bigger wheels,
Bigger fuel tank,
7ga fabricated steel ON THE ENTIRE DECK (no 10ga anywhere)
floating vs. fixed
THICK welded 2" tubing supporting the deck
Same v-twin kawi,
same peerless 5sp transmission
THICKER drive belts

You name it, hands down dollar to dollar there is no comparison the Gravely wins hands down. NOW, don't get me wrong, If I was looking at the hydro's or the z's its a different story. Much closer comparison, but for me, who didn't want to spend more than 3k, and was using it only for my yard, there choice was simple................and like I said befor, NO MATTER WHAT YOU CHOOSE, you are going to be satisfied, period. All of these machines are far superior to anything you will see in the garden tractor market.


CJC:

Thanks for the info on the mulch kit. Thats why I didn't install it yet...:) Anyway, I never BOUGHT the dobles kit, I simply used the blades that came with the Mulch kit!! Saved about $70 and has the same effect, so no, I never installed the extension.....just curious what it would do? Can you snap a pic of it?

Headlight:

Just took some shots of the headlight and my new (used) sulky!!.:) for you to see.

Here is the shot from the front. I'll post the follow up pics next.

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:39 AM
Here is a close up of the unit.

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:40 AM
Here is a shot of the bracket I made to support it. I took the gas tank off and drilled two holes under the tank and secured with bolts. its not going anwhere.....lol

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:41 AM
Here is the switch I mounted next to the key.

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:45 AM
Ok, this was the deal of the year. I've been searching since I bought my mower for a sulky. After tons of research and looking, I really like the design of the Jungle Wheels unit. I didn't however want to pay $295 unless I had to so the search began. To make a long story short, I found a dealer that had a used sulky that someone traded in on their used scagg. I went to check it out and guess what?? It was a jungle wheels unit!!!!! Just what I wanted........the best part was he only wanted $100 for it, so I took it home, powerwashed it, added a hanger chain so I can raise it up, pulled everything apart and put in new marine grease and here she is, good as new!!!!!

dwost
05-08-2003, 10:58 AM
CJC, I just saw you posted while I was putting up the pics. I'm very anxious to hear what gravely has to say about the wear!!! Keep us posted as to the response. I simply went to Tractor Supply and bought a replacement. I believe it was 96" or 98" long. I forgot which it was. I only did this because the dealer was closed on Sunday when the original one went bad, but it seems to be holding up better!! I also saw that the construction of the replacement is thicker than the stick one, which I was concerned with, but it seems to sit perfectly around the pulley's I also noticed it was a bit tighter to install than the stock one, but honestly, I think this might be better!! Here's why, first off when you engage the PTO, there is a lot of force exerted onto the belts and when they are "tightening" up around the pulleys, that extra play might be causing the belt to hit the edges of the pulleys which are sharp. With that force, it might be prematurely shredding the belts. Just a theory, but could possibly be a cause. Anyway, it was a bit harder to get the idler pulley back in, but with a pair of vise grips, it was a snap. I also noticed these belts were blue in color which I believe means they could be Kevlar belts which are superior to the standard black ones. The dealer charges about 28 for the replacements and I think these were about 22 so there is also a cost savings as well.

Hope that helps, I'll see if I can find the packaging off the replacement.

dwost
05-08-2003, 11:55 AM
BigTwo,

Here is a quick pic to show the deck designs on the eXmarks and Gravely's. Granted these are not the same units we're discussing, but the Gravely pictured has the EXACT deck that mine has. if you look at the Metro Hydro which has the floating deck, you will see the same design. Notice they all use the pins with which slide through the deck and are secured with a clip. Not sure what woudl get knocked out of adjustment and STAY that way?:confused: :confused:

dwost
05-08-2003, 12:21 PM
BigTwo, Take a look on both websites as they have a good specifcations sheet you can download to do a "side by side" comparison. Just something to note, in comparing apples to apples if you look at the Metro 48 w/ fixed deck and the Gravely Pro G 48" w/ fixed deck you will see there are many differences and "upgrades" if you will on the Gravely. The other item is weight. the metro weighs in at 490lbs wile the gravely with the same engine, tranny etc, weighs in at 560lbs!!!! That's a difference of 70lbs. Most of that is coming from the steel in the deck and the frame. Again, I have to give kudo's to Gravely for bilding a tank..

Another item to look at, granted this is a different scenereo, but when you compare the Turf Tracer Hydro 48 w/ 17h Kawi, floating deck, etc... to the Gravely Pro H with the same specs there is a wight difference of 95lbs (Gravely-690 vs. eXmark-595). Again, I think it is heavier built. Please don't get me wrong, I love both mfg and their machines, I just think you are getting MUCH more for your money with the Gravely.

dwost
05-08-2003, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by CJC
One other question: I get a squeak when I apply right side brake (to turn, etc.). Do you think loosening the control a bit would eliminate that?

I get this too. What I've done to remedy it is put "belt dressing" use for automotive belts on the drive belts. This is simply caused by the dirt material and water that gets on them while mowing. A few squirts and it is solved. This also helps keep the belts "conditioned" to last longer. My drive belts still look new!!! I do adjust the presser for the brakes from time to time as It does begin to wear and I want them to grip better, but that is a simple 2-3 twists of the wingnuts on the brake assembly.

dwost
05-12-2003, 10:41 AM
To all that are interested, I've posted my findings after talking with Gravely about the belt issue on the Pro-G and H models. Here is the post with the fix. I will be following up with pictures and the procedure after I complete mine.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=411739#post411739

CJC
05-12-2003, 02:30 PM
dwost:
Looking forward to your post of procedure / pics to avoid belt wear.

What cutting ht. setting do you use? I know you have float deck, and wonder if this is issue with both fixed and float?

I use 3", with fixed deck, and have noted some fraying on bottom side of mower drive belt (which is consistent with belt rubbing along bottom of the idler pully).

At certain ht. setting the misalignment is enough to cause wear. I think additional strain of doubles probably makes things worse. So even though the deck ht. adjustment is "tool-less", at a certain ht. the idler pully is out of alignment.

Misalignmgne seems to become issue at about 3" and higher.

Where do you find the 1/2" thick spacer you mention? On the bolt holding the idler arm to the deck, or on the bolt holding the idler pully to the idler arm?

I guess whatever bolt we are speaking about is the same bolt that then hits deck cover (since about 1/4" of extra spacing is added, per your comments, enough to make the bolt hit deck
cover).

dwost
05-13-2003, 10:16 AM
CJC,

You are experiencing the EXACT same thing. It wears on the outside bottom of the belt or the side that rolls against the idler pulley. If you look at the paint wear on the idler pulley, you will see it's nice and smooth and shiny on the bottom of the pulley only. The belt is hitting the edge of the pulley as you mentioned.

I'm mowing at 3.5" and don't drop below 3". I only mowed at 3" the first two times and have moved it to 3.5 where I leave it for the summer and fall. When I called gravely the tech bulletin stated issues mowing in the higher settings, which I too am assuming is about 3" and above.

You are on the right track with BOTH of the bolts. The 1/2" spacer (closer to 3/4" I think) is actually attached to the bushing that holds the arm to the deck. You simply remove the nut, slide the arm up and off the bolt, pull out the bushing, flip it and push it down into the top of the arm so the spacer is on top of the arm, put 2,1/8" washers underneath the arm on the deck making about a 1/4" rise. Remove the other bolt that holds the pulley to the arm and replace with at 3" carriage bolt. I had to drill out the hole a bit so the bolt sat flush, but once completed, just re attach everything and you are done!! This was also a great time to add some lithium spray grease to all the parts.

I was able to fix this yesterday afternoon, however, my wife had both of our digital cameras in her car!!! So, I didn't get shots, however, will disassemble, and snap some for you when I get a chance. Here are my findings. First off, the fix takes about 10 minutes and cost me a total of $2.50 for two washers, new carriage bolt, and a nut. Very cheap and should do the trick. I started it up and it does look to be better. I will say, it still appears to slightly touch the edge of the pulley, but only time will tell. I'm sure that removing at least 1/2" from the height will help. The other thing I did was raise my roller about 3/4" off the ground so I don't get as much bouncing from my deck. I found that on one part of my yard, the deck would raise up and down a lot as I was cruising over it. I'm sure this didn't help. I think that your fixed deck may help out a bit in this scenario.

One more item is the replacement belts. I'm not sure if this was posted in this thread or the other one I started talking about the wear, but I found a good alternative belt choice. I was inquiring about the difference of using Kevlar belts instead of the standard ones. Well, the ones I purchased from Tractor Supply are in fact KEVLAR and about 10 bucks cheaper!!! the factory belt is a 5/8", 93 3/4" long. I purchased the 94" replacement from TSC for about 20 bucks. Here is a link to their belt page and the model you want (if you have a 48" deck)

http://www.mytscstore.com/detail.asp?pcID=4&paID=6079&sonID=6079&productID=387

5/8" x 94" 4461892 B91K

Now that this is hopefully fixed, these belts should last longer than the stock ones.

dwost
05-16-2003, 12:37 AM
FYI, here is the procedure with pictures for anyone interested.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=46212

CJC
05-16-2003, 11:40 AM
dwost:
Thanks for the details on idler pully adjustment. Great job!

As I mentinoed, I noted a bit of fray on mower drive belt after installing doubles. Cut ht. = 3".

I mentioned fray to dealer, who said he had several commerical guys cutting with doubles (he knows I am non-commercial user), not reporting any problems (they may cut at 3" or lower). This was before I read your post about conversation you had with Gravely Tech. Support.

What is contact info. (telephone or email) for Gravely Tech. Support (I have sent FAX messages before, but no telephone or email).

Anyway, dealer was OK. He split the cost of a new belt with me ($28/2 = $14). I have't noted any additional fraying, so I may just keep belt in reserve. At 3" cutting ht. I am not sure if I need to do the modificaiton you show. I'll keep an eye on things. Thanks for info. on Kevlar belts from Tractor Supply.

I still get sqeak on rt. side, when applying break, and also a little during drive. Just a little annoying more than anything. I'll try belt dressing and adjustments.

Overall, I am very pleased with the machine.

dwost
05-17-2003, 09:19 AM
CJC, I too agree now that the doubles are not the problem, but the pulley issue is. I personally would do this NOW and not wait for the inevitable. Just my opinion, but it won't void your warranty and Gravely has the bulletin stating this is the correct fix. The number is 920 -756-2141. Ask for Al in Technical Services as he has help me out with this as well as info to do the prosteer conversion to my mower. Unfortunately as stated in another thread, it is cost prohibitive at over $1,000!!!! Good luck and keep me posted as to your findings.

Don

CJC
05-19-2003, 12:53 PM
Don:
I have dealt (via FAX) with Al Prokash @ Gravely. He's been very helpful. I've asked him to FAX me a copy of the Tech. Bulletin on the belt issue.

This weekend my mower drive belt snapped. (You were right about not waiting to make the fix). I installed a new belt, and plan to either make the modifinoc, or go back to single blades.

I think the problem is mower drive belt misalignemt "high" (greater than 3-inch) cutting height, combined with double blades.

I did not notice any problem when I ran singles with the mulch kit last fall (10-12 hours total, also at 3-inch ht.). Maybe this is not an issue with singles, or maybe the belt wear is much less severe with singles. The belt wear seems to happen almost immediatley with doubles installed (increased resistance must be a factor).

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on what I do.

Regarding your "fix", the hex-head bolt securing the idler pulley gets changed to carriage bolt because of 1/2 inch reduced clearance (from 3/4-inch to 1/4-inch, based on flipping bushing and installing 2 x 1/8 inch washers) between bolt head and deck housing?

How has it been working (while you cut at 3 1/2 inch)? You mention you still see belt riding at lower edge of idler pulley. Any observable wear yet?

dwost
05-19-2003, 01:02 PM
CJC,

Sorry to hear about the belt, but I figured it wouldn't be long......lol Anyway, your observations are right on, however, I don't think the doubles will effect the belt once you do the fix. I ran them and saw absolutely no wear afterward. I really think that pulley is the issue.

I've mowed twice now since the fix and everything looks great!! I did, however, switch mine out to the mulch kit ONLY because I was getting grass all over my sons swing set and the house and the beds, and anything else that was within 25 feet!!! :D:D They do work beautifully, but I get clippings all over the place. I will put them back on early next spring, but, I mowed with the mulch kit on this weekend and it worked well. The belt is still running low on the pulley, however, there is no constant downward pressure on it running along the edge of the pulley. No signs of wear at all.

You are also correct on why the carriage bolt is substituted. You will see it won't clear the deck when It's lowered to only 1/4".

CJC
08-15-2003, 04:57 PM
Hey Don:

How is your 1548 Pro-G treating you this summer? Mine is doing ok (Pro-G, 1548, fixed). I never did the blade-drive belt adjustment, but @ 3 inch ht. without the doubles I haven't had any problems.

I plan to get the mulch kit back on in a couple of weeks (mainly for leaves).

Also, I just got a Magna-Matic blade balancer (haven't tried it yet), but I hand file the blades to sharpen, and wanted a better balancer than the little plastic cone job I have.

I'm thinking I may want to trade up for a Pro-H (48 inch floating deck) within a year or two. I just like the idea of hydrostatic, with true zero radius turning.

Do the non-scalp wheels on your floating deck ever get in the way of trimming close to gardens or walls?

Do you know if Gravely plans to put the "easy steer" controls on the Pro-H's?

dwost
08-19-2003, 01:21 PM
CJC, how's it going? Mine is working great. I've completed that belt fix and everything seems to be working OK. I still think the pulley should be dropped even further, but I'm cutting at 3.5 and have not had issues with the wear as of yet. I did try at 4 earlier this year and noticed that there is still substantial rubbing. I had my mulch kit on for most of the season, however, last week took it off. My grass grow's way too fast and it bogs down if its too tall. I found the cut to be a bit uneven when it gets that tall. I went ahead and just installed the hi-lift Gator's and it works beautifully. I'm cutting every three days and I still get tons of buildup under the deck and all over the drive. I was getting v ery tired of washing off the driveway every time I mowed....:) I've also run doubles with no problems and probably will install them again. I don't really need to worry about leaves as of yet, but figured I'll keep the mulch kit for future use. I still think the results are much better with the discharge open unless you are only cutting off 1/2" of grass at a time.

As for the Pro-H, that would be a nice upgrade. When I decide to take the plunge I'm going for a Z, for now my Pro-G is perfect and with the sulky, its effortless....:) Not sure about the controls, but I'm assuming they will go that route. It is a wonderful design, as a matter of fact, earlier this year I decided to try and build my own. I called Gravely and got the parts manual for the pro-steer and made a parts list. When I submitted it to them for pricing, I about S@#$ when they came back with a price over $1,000!!!! for all the parts. This is nuts, but thats what the aftermarket cost is for the pieces. I'm also contemplating doing the toro T bar mod as several have made them fit onto their units. That can be done for about $250. So, I'm not sure what I'll do, but I absolutely love my machine. Keep me posted on your decision.

As for the trimming, I've not experienced any issues getting close to beds, etc.... It seems to work fine.

CJC
08-20-2003, 11:19 AM
Hi dwost:
Nice to hear from you. What Hi-Lift Gator blades did you get, and from where?

Are these different than the mulch blades that came with the Gravely mulch kit?? I think the 48-inch deck has 16.25 inch blades (or close to that dimension). I do not see this size blade offered much in after-market sales places (e.g., online).

I've left my doubles off for most of the season (as I think they contribute to the belt problem, and I have not done the "fix" yet). I have been running the Gravely mulch blades (without the mulch baffles). I will be reinstalling the mulch baffles by fall, for sure. You'll be amazed at the job they do on leaves (no more raking!!).

How often are you sharpening your blades? How are you doing it? I use hand file, and have only sharpened once this season (although cut quality is nice, I think I should sharpen more often, blades feel a little dull).

Regarding Pro-Steer: I wonder if the pistol grip hydro units are easier (i.e., less strain on hands) than pistol gear units. With gear units, we essentially fight the motor to steer (brakes). I'll need to re-demo a hydro unit.

Having run the fixed deck this season I lthink I would prefer a floating deck.

Do you think/know if Gravely is fixing the belt issue on newly produced machines (i.e., have they done a re-design to correct the alignment problem)?

dwost
08-20-2003, 10:41 PM
Hey CJC,

I purchased my blades from all places, eBay!!! They were $25 bucks for three shipped. They are for an eXmark and the dimensions are 16.25 X 2.5 X 5/8" hole. I searched all over and the blades that match the exact dimensions of our stock blades are non-existent in the aftermarket world. These work beautifully and I;ve had no issues with clearance etc. I have run the stock mulchers and they work well, however, I think the ones I purchased work a bit better. They seem to provide a bit more lift.

I posted several months ago about these blades, and apparently they are not true "gators" but a reverse gator. The fins that are atop the blade are actually twisted the opposite direction of true gators. Not sure if this is true, but they work great. As a matter of fact, last week I was out of town for work and had a span of 5 days between cuts. I came home to a small field and was mowing about 3" of new growth off the top. I made one pass and there was no need to double cut....:)

As with sharpening, I'm a bit excessive and sharpen them 1-2 times per month. I've experimented with several methods and would love to get a dedicated blade sharpener, however, my wife would shoot me if I dropped that kinda coin on a sharpener for only my own mower.:) So, I've found an angle grinder works very well for blades that have nicks or large dings in them. For regular sharpening I use a hand file and then to dress the edge use one of those knife sharpeners that you drag over the blade. It chisels the edge and leaves it razor sharp. I know there are many that say its not good to get them that sharp, however, it seems to work very well for me.

Not sure about the amount of force it takes to work the hydro's. I would think they would be much easier since you are simply controlling the hydro's and not the brakes, but I'm not certain. I'm not sure about the redesign, however I hope they do. I might place a call in to them and see if they have another fix for it or if there are any details about the progress of fixing the problem.

Well, thats about it for now. Keep me posted on your findings and I'll do the same. Take care,

Don

j_loppy
08-20-2003, 11:27 PM
I'll trade you all the parts off my pro steer for your parts to convert mine to a pistol grip. I agree with you about all the good things , i.e. cut, ease of use , etc. However... I hate I bought this pro steer model. I'm going to call my dealer tomorrow and see what we can figure out. The belts (drive) absolutly will not pull on a hill like they are supposed to do. I've got 50 hours on mine, and while it does get the job done, I don't like the drive sys. The machine is too heavy in the front and the caster wheels are way too small. Initiating a turn from a standstill demolishes the turf because the rear wheel don't have enough weight on them. I'm just upset, because I owe $$ on something I don't want, and man am I kicking myself for not going for the hydro now.

Thanks for all your research and posts...

Lawnsite rules!

j_loppy

ensor
09-03-2003, 01:17 PM
dwost,

I share your liking of the Gravely 4815 gear drive. I recently purchased a 2003 model and have enjoyed using it this summer. I appreciate operating a well made machine and my lawn looks great. I am fortunate that the company revised the 2003 machines to eliminate the belt problem you and others have had.
I now look forward to mowing and complete it much quicker than with the riding mower I had previously. By the way I was able to purcase mine new for $2612 out the door (pistol grip).

CJC
09-03-2003, 03:32 PM
ensor:

Did you get the 4815 pro-G with fixed deck or floating deck?

Also, you mention that you purchased a 2003 model (for $2612), and that the 2003 model has been redesigned to eliminate the belt misalignment problem (PTO to spindle belt).

How do you know the problem was corrected for 2003 models?? (Did you contact Gravely, did the dealer tell you, etc?)

Do you know what they did specifically to solve the problem?

I am just curious to know.

ensor
09-03-2003, 04:34 PM
CJC,

I got the fixed deck. My lawn is smooth and with Gravely's height adjustment I felt the fixed deck was sufficient for my situation. Regarding the belt alignment fix on the 2003 models, I contacted Gravely tech service who verified that the issue had been fixed on the '03 models. I have about 12 hours on mine and have seen no belt wear (still low hours). I did not ask any specifics on how Gravely fixed the belt issue. I see in an earlier post that you talk about the Pro Steer option. I considered it when purchasing but opted for the pistol grip that I have used before and liked. I had tried the new Exmark system and did not like it as much when manually pushing the mower around (parking it in garage etc.). I only use the mower on my yard so while the ergonomics of the Pro Steer may be helpful for a 40 hour a week commercial mower, the pistol grips work fine for me at an hour usage per week. How have you liked your Gravely so far?

CJC
09-08-2003, 10:49 AM
ensor:

Overall I've been pleased with the 1548 Pro-G, fixed deck. I have about 55 hours on the unit, and use it for home use (0.75 acre). I run mulch blades, with normal deck set up. I think the belt issue is minor and fixable.

I'll put the mulch baffles in this fall for leaves.

I like to make my passes on angles (not straight up and down or side to side), in front and side yards. I guess my number of turns is the same in any case. I tend to gouge the lawn, which is rather soft. Maybe I don't have proper technique yet.

I am thinking of checking out the 1548 Pro-H (floating deck). I think it would be smoother, easier to control, and result in less divots from wheels. If I like it, I'll see what may dealer can do in terms of a trade.

I got the walk behind instead of a tractor because the cut qualtity is better, and I like the idea of getting some exercise. I may consider getting a 2-wheel sulky, just to have in case I need to make "fast cut" and don't want to walk.

How do you like your machine?

ensor
09-08-2003, 01:51 PM
CJC,

I like my 1548 Pro-G fixed deck a lot. For the money I don't think you can get better quality or features when buying new. A year ago I had purchased a used Exmark Turf Tracer 1548 Hydro, floating deck for $2400 in good condition that I cleaned and painted (looked almost new) and sold it for $3700 a couple weeks later. I used it a couple times and really liked the hydro due to no shifting but took the opportunity to make a good profit on it and also was concerned about it being used and the high cost of hydro system repair if it broke down. Belt drives are both durable (especially for home use) and "relatively" inexpensive to repair. I would say that if money was not a concern I would have the Hydro. Regarding turn divots I have found that if I feather the inside wheel so that it is still turning slightly there is less impact on the turf. I have read that with the hydros you avoid divots by reversing the inside wheel as you turn so that both wheels are turning. My experience is that this works but the mower comes around fast! Ask you dealer for a home demo on the hydro.The guy I bought the Exmark hydro from could really maneuver it. He showed me how he could move it in and out under a tree just like you would a 21" mower - not straight in and out but curving it in and out to maximize speed of cutting - less wasted motion - I tried but would have needed more practice / coordination. I just use the stock blades on my Gravely as I have very few leaves so far - we have planted trees that are still small. I'd like to know how it mulches leaves for you this fall. I had a Kubota rider before the Gravely and like you bought it for exercise and quality of cut - especially in heavy grass - no comparison - the Gravely leaves no windrows. I also like the quality of the machine. I previously also had an Exmark belt drive (new) that the company bought back from me due to several defects that kept it in the shop. The lawn service where I work uses Scags and I see a lot of uncut grass when they are done. Thus my selection of the Gravely. So far so good.

dwost
10-13-2003, 03:23 PM
Gents, I've been out of pocket for awhile, but finally got a chance to hop back on the forum. Ensor, what part of OH are you in? That is a good deal for the fixed deck model. I paid 3K out the door for the floating deck. I'd love to see what they did for the "fix" to the problem. I'm guessing it's the same thing that I posted earlier about turning over the bushing spacer. Anyway, I've got about 72 hours on mine, this is the second season I've used it and it works beautifully. I too agree that if the "feather" the inside wheel, you won't end up with divots. I ended up purchasing the mulch kit earlier this year and left it on for most of the season. I will say, that it worked OK most of the time, however, if the grass was tall, it took a couple passes and it would get clogged up. I ended up removing it and I know just run doubles. I'm so pleased with this set up that I dont' think I'll use the mulch kit next year. THe cut is so flat and the striping is extremely defined.

dwost
10-15-2003, 04:03 PM
Gents, here is an update on the belt situation. After reading these recent posts, I contacted Jim Schoelles in Gravely's tech services to discuss what has changed. I figured with winter rolling in that I would make the modifications if necessary to fix this problem for good. It appears that they have changed parts on my floating unit. A quick scan of his notes he realized that the Idler pulley and Idler arm have in fact changed part numbers. He is contacting the engineer that specifically designed these parts to see what the differences are and what to do to remedy it on my unit. I've not had any issues with belt wear at 3.5", however when I moved up to 4" for a couple weeks I did notice some additional wear. I'd like to get this perfect if possible. I'll let you know what I find out once Jim calls me back.

Again, I need to sing the praises of this company. I've contacted them over the last couple years several times about different things and every time I'm met with complete sincerity and the willingness to find out the answers to my questions. I find this comforting considering I'm a measly homeowner. I love this company!!!

dwost
10-16-2003, 02:20 PM
I talked with Jim again late yesterday afternoon. It turns out that there are NO changes between the 2002 and 2003 units. He is mailing me the parts break down for the two units. He also spoke directly to the engineer and apparantly they are still setting the units up the same way. He said that they are making a notation that if the customer will be mowing at above 3.5" that the bushing should be removed and turned over. He also said they are recommending re-postioning the deck so there is no "pitch" to the front. So, looks like this is the fix and will remain the same till they do a complete re-design. He did say that there have not been many complaints about this issue. I guess everyone is cutting at lower heights, who knows. Anyway, I'm not having any issues at 3.5" and below, but I'd like to see some improvement for the 4" setting. I may experiment with the pully this winter and try to make some adjustments.

ensor
10-16-2003, 04:38 PM
Dwost,

I live near Loveland (northeast of Cincinnati). I have been cutting at 3.5" and hope that is low enough to avoid the belt problem. By the way, I was thinking about getting the mulching setup for my 4815 (2003) - fixed deck. If you are no longer going to use yours to mulch do you have any interest in selling the parts? Would the mulch kit differ for a fixed vs float deck? How would the mulch kit work on leaves? I look forward to hearing from you.

dwost
10-16-2003, 04:53 PM
Ensor,

Nice to hear from you! I know that area well, as we used to live in Hyde Park, then Glendale, then Lebanon!!! You will be fine cutting at 3.5" Thats what I've been cutting at since day one. If the bushing is turned over on your unit you will be set. I'm going to mess with some adjustments this winter and see what kind of results I get cutting at 4" I'd like to be able to raise the deck if needed.

As for the mulch kit, I'm going to hold onto it. I don't really have a need for it now, but we will be adding a bunch of trees in the spring and I'll probably benefit from it then, so I'm going to keep it for awhile. I'll let you know if I decide to sell it. I'd say the kit will work great on leaves. I also believe it's the same kit for the fixed deck, but I'd check that to be certain. The kit runs about $125 and comes with everything you need. It works OK like I said on grass, however, i'm also hearing that i should try it with regular hi-lift blades instead of the mulchers that come with it. My problem is that my yard is irrigated and I keep it fed so I have continuous growth even throughout the hot months. If I didn't have as much growth it would probably work perfectly. With the mild summer we had, I was cutting 3X per week and still taking a good inch off the top.

Have you run doubles on yours yet?? I re-installed mine and get a much better cut with them then I did with the stock notched foil blades. I'm using the stock blades on the bottom and a set of reverse gators (Raptors) on the tops. They are actually for a 48" exmark but fit perfectly. The cut is amazing and you get much better dispersal. not that there is a problem with the singles, but the performance is that much better. Not to mention, the striping is further enhanced. I shot this a couple weeks ago after I cut. Keep in touch and I'll post if I find anything further.

ensor
10-16-2003, 06:03 PM
dwost,

I do not have the doubles. I talked to Gravely about them and asked whether using them would lead to increased wear on the clutch, brake, belts etc. The gentleman I spoke to thought that it likely would to some degree. As I am happy with the cut with the singles I plan to not try doubles. The Gravely cuts so much better than the Kubota yard tractor that I had. Thanks for your reply on the mulch kit.

rockstate
11-20-2003, 05:14 PM
dwost, i learned how to water ski up there near you in the sandusky bay

dwost
11-21-2003, 09:51 AM
Rockstate, this is definitely a place to go for watersports. We spend the majority of the summer in the water and on the boats. Gotta love living on the water..:) We are a 10 minute boat or car ride from Cedar Point.