PDA

View Full Version : Q44 Poor cut due to uneven front caster mounts?


docj78
03-18-2012, 10:41 PM
So for the last 2 years, I've been chasing as perfect a cut as possible with Bermuda grass and a rotary mower. (I know--not ever gonna be perfect, but we all compromise.)

I've had the lawn topdressed for leveling the last 2 years, but kept getting some cut quality issues from my BOP 44 Dually. This got me thinking perhaps it's the mower/deck--and i took a closer look today.

...The mower will be 2 years old this Sept., and is used only on my personal 1/3 acre yard.

For referrence, left/right is determined as if you were standing in operator position.

1. As it turns out--the Left front caster wheel has a much smaller gap/clearance between the wheel itself, and the inside edge of the caster fork as compared to the left.

2. When placing a level on either side of the midline weld on the front apex of the deck, the Right side is nearly level, where as the Left is way low.

3. This does seem to cause the majority of the weight to sit on the Left caster, as it does NOT spin easily because it's resting under weight on the concrete. The Right Caster touches the ground, but can easily be spun by hand.

I fear that this may be an actual manufacturing defect. the deck has never been abused or slammed into anything.

Certainly this will cause a lousy cut if the L side is always a bit lower--especially with bermuda blades only being green on the top 1/3.

Any help/insight is great. I can post some pics if that would help.

Of course--BOP is nowhere to be heard of these days. Figures.:cry:

Hawkshot99
03-18-2012, 11:23 PM
To make sure it is actually the front castors, why dont you take them off the mower and reinstall them on the opposite sides.

djagusch
03-19-2012, 12:04 AM
The rear tires will affect the front. Right rear tire diameter less then the left then the left front will be high and vice versa. Check the rear frame heights side to side to see if it something back there.
Posted via Mobile Device

Richard Martin
03-19-2012, 06:23 AM
Aren't the caster heights adjustable with those big rods?

cgaengineer
03-19-2012, 07:22 AM
If you have topdressed, why are you cutting Bermuda with a rotary? Get rid of that Quick and get a reel!
Posted via Mobile Device

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2012, 08:43 AM
How many spacers under the forks?
Rear tire presure?
Rear deck setting L/R?

Have you parked it a perfectly level concrete and measured the height to the blades? Fore and aft? All 3 blades?

Pics would help.
Posted via Mobile Device

Exact Rototilling
03-19-2012, 08:48 AM
I have this same mower FWIW
Posted via Mobile Device

docj78
03-19-2012, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the responses thus far.

Few things:

1. I have swithced the castors to se if that made a difference--it does not. I thought the castor itself may have been bent--but that is not the case. I fear that it may be the actual castor mounting arm that comes off of the front of the deck.

2. Need to chech rear tires with a gauge, but the "press by hand test" seems pretty even.

3. I have both sides of the deck leveler set at 0 in the back, and with NO spacers up front.

4. I parked the mower on my level garage floor prior to the evaluation.

5. I can post some pics once I resize them to fit on here.

6. What would explain the difference in clearance/gap between the actual castor wheel and the castor fork other than a bent castor rod--or a bent castor mounting arm??

docj78
04-08-2012, 11:54 AM
Ok--back to this. I am in the process of trying to resize my jpegs to the max 800x800 size allowable to attach on this forum...

This may help you guys better evaluate my concern and offer suggestions...

docj78
04-08-2012, 12:21 PM
Ok--here are the photos. I truly have concerns that the actual structual components/deck itself is out of whack. Any ideas what is typically done to get these types of problems addressed?

Is this something that requires disassembly, heating, banging, straightening?

I need to send these to the now non-existent BOP. My mower was bought in spetember of 2010, and probably has about 30 hours on it--I've mowed only my own yard since I bought the thing, and bermuda does NOT like uneven mowing.

Thanks to you guys for the help.

jcbabb
04-08-2012, 12:36 PM
You really need to be measuring the blades, not the deck. The deck is not necessarily the same as the blades in terms of being level. Also, you want the front of the deck (blades) slightly lower than the rear.Posted via Mobile Device

Exact Rototilling
04-08-2012, 12:45 PM
On my Q44 there is difference of gap between the casters on the frame but The deck is level on mine.

The point of reference needs to be the height of the blades in relation to the floor. Back tire pressures needs to be exactly the same digital or dial gauge.

All 3 blades turned north and south. Measure distance off floor in all six places. rotate blades 180 degrees re measure 6 places again.

All 3 blades rotated East/ West repeat just like above.
-------------

I have never mowed that low with my Q44. What may be happening is the anti scalp rollers are messing up the cut.

orangemower
04-08-2012, 02:06 PM
You're measuring the top of the deck where the tunnel is at. The tunnel is at a taper going out to the right side. Don't even bother measuring or checking level off the deck. Always measure the cutting blade tips side to side and front to back on level concrete. As for the fork being close, I'm not sure. I have a 36 dually and the front arms to the caster is the same.

orangemower
04-08-2012, 02:10 PM
On my Q44 there is difference of gap between the casters on the frame but The deck is level on mine.

The point of reference needs to be the height of the blades in relation to the floor. Back tire pressures needs to be exactly the same digital or dial gauge.

All 3 blades turned north and south. Measure distance off floor in all six places. rotate blades 180 degrees re measure 6 places again.

All 3 blades rotated East/ West repeat just like above.
-------------

I have never mowed that low with my Q44. What may be happening is the anti scalp rollers are messing up the cut.
Is the gap as close as his on the left side? Pics on BOP's site doesn't show enough to tell whether it's normal.
Why does he need to measure both ends? With the blades clean, he can easily check for any bent blades by stacking them on top of each other. If one is bent, you'll see it. Other then that, I always say "front to back and side to side" when referencing blade position.

1whitetail
04-08-2012, 02:31 PM
I don't think your problem is with the front castors. I think it is with the decks wheel guides. Look at your fifth picture and you will see that one bracket is welded on higher than the other.

Exact Rototilling
04-08-2012, 02:34 PM
Is the gap as close as his on the left side? Pics on BOP's site doesn't show enough to tell whether it's normal.
Why does he need to measure both ends? With the blades clean, he can easily check for any bent blades by stacking them on top of each other. If one is bent, you'll see it. Other then that, I always say "front to back and side to side" when referencing blade position.
I'll post pics of my Q44 later left/right caster deal.

Spindle can have a tweak as well as blade. Doesn't take much. Blade may.appear flat but still.be tweaked somewhat.
Posted via Mobile Device

orangemower
04-08-2012, 02:37 PM
I don't think your problem is with the front castors. I think it is with the decks wheel guides. Look at your fifth picture and you will see that one bracket is welded on higher than the other.

Ignore all of that, it's a tunnel deck design. Everything is mounted/welded different on the deck because of this. He just needs to check the blade tips.

orangemower
04-08-2012, 02:42 PM
One other thing to check, make sure the front arms are both being pushed or pulled the same direction by the strut rods. If one is drawn down the opposite direction as the other, it will cause one of the front wheels to carry more of the weight.

orangemower
04-08-2012, 02:43 PM
I'll post pics of my Q44 later left/right caster deal.

Spindle can have a tweak as well as blade. Doesn't take much. Blade may.appear flat but still.be tweaked somewhat.
Posted via Mobile Device

There's always that possibility.

1whitetail
04-08-2012, 02:52 PM
Ignore all of that, it's a tunnel deck design. Everything is mounted/welded different on the deck because of this. He just needs to check the blade tips.

:nono: I don't think you can have a level deck with some guide wheels mounted slightly lower than others. Just look at the fifth picture before dismissing my claim so soon. Forget about the tunnel deck design, that is irrelevant. All decks have to have the wheels at the same height from the GROUND. The top of the deck to the wheels does change depending on the design. When you have it on a hard surface it doesn't matter but when you have the mower over grass, especially Bermuda which is real short, it might matter and be the reason for the slight unevenness.

docj78
04-09-2012, 08:46 AM
I don't think your problem is with the front castors. I think it is with the decks wheel guides. Look at your fifth picture and you will see that one bracket is welded on higher than the other.

I have noticed this before as well, but thought I'd address one thing at a time as to not bombard the thread from the get go--good eye.

I'll post pics of my Q44 later left/right caster deal.

This would be very helpful. Also--please address other structual/assembly locations such as guide wheel height, etc. Mine are certainly NOT even-but I wasn't sure if that is "by design".

Spindle can have a tweak as well as blade. Doesn't take much. Blade may.appear flat but still.be tweaked somewhat.
Posted via Mobile Device

I have considedered ordering/requesting new spindle(s). Gotta get ahold of BOP first.

One other thing to check, make sure the front arms are both being pushed or pulled the same direction by the strut rods. If one is drawn down the opposite direction as the other, it will cause one of the front wheels to carry more of the weight.

I do need to address this, as I typically disconnect just the left side arm to enable removal of the belt guard for cleaning. As such--it is slightly less tight so allow for reconnection because once it's disconnected and the tension taken off--it's all but impossible to reconnect at the same tension because the bolt and the hole won't line up. I didn't think that these arms were there for much more than rigidity, and that they can/do have that much effect on the castor arms.

Richard Martin
04-09-2012, 09:33 AM
I have considedered ordering/requesting new spindle(s). Gotta get ahold of BOP first.

Good luck with that. It has been suspected that Gary is still in the building every day. He has been fulfilling parts orders that are ordered over the Internet from presumably, whatever parts he has left in the building. If that is the case then when those parts are gone, there won't be any more.

Exact Rototilling
04-09-2012, 10:46 AM
Re: tension arms. On the other attachment point I replaced the interference fit lock bolts with a fiber locking nut. Once you remove both it goes back on with ease.

If you have adjusted this arm in length this may account for non symmetrical deck flexing.
Posted via Mobile Device

docj78
04-09-2012, 12:15 PM
Re: tension arms. On the other attachment point I replaced the interference fit lock bolts with a fiber locking nut. Once you remove both it goes back on with ease.

If you have adjusted this arm in length this may account for non symmetrical deck flexing.
Posted via Mobile Device

Exact--to be sure, which end did you perform the modification? The end that goes over the bolt coming up from the castor arm, or the end that attaches to the mower itself. Also--what do you mean when you say "once you remove both it goes back on with ease"?

Regarding BOP customer service/parts/etc. I wonder if the acquiring company intends to disolve BOP as is and due away with the design--OR simply intends to make the business bigger and more mainstream. I guess I better contact BOP soon if I expect to obtain spindles.

Exact Rototilling
04-09-2012, 12:30 PM
The mower side near engine. I use an electric impact to remove replace the nut. If one continually uses power tools on interference locking nut you will destroy the threads.

Before worrying about spindles first establish blade height on a flat level surface as I stated in a prior post.

Did you adjust the stabilizer arm on either side from the factory setting?
Posted via Mobile Device

docj78
04-09-2012, 02:55 PM
The mower side near engine. I use an electric impact to remove replace the nut. If one continually uses power tools on interference locking nut you will destroy the threads.

Before worrying about spindles first establish blade height on a flat level surface as I stated in a prior post.

Did you adjust the stabilizer arm on either side from the factory setting?
Posted via Mobile Device

I did end up having to adjust(slightly lengthen) the Left stabilizer bar after I popped it off of the front mounting bolt to enable removal of the belt cover/guard. This was because I was unable to get it back over the bolt without tappping it with a hammer because it was too short at factory setting.

This actually caused a slight warping of the bolt threads. I have considered replacing both side bolts with grade 8 bolts of the same size. The ones they used are SOFT junk.

Valk
04-10-2012, 12:24 AM
FWIW, measure the circumference of all 4 tires for comparison's sake.

I agree with the rest...level the blades and the cut should follow suit.