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View Full Version : Not using mowers for leaf removal


lawnsaspire
09-29-2012, 10:54 PM
Does anyone out there just use a back pack blower, tarp and a rake for leaf cleanups? It seems I'm putting my mowers through too much abuse making them go over mountains of leaves every fall. If so how is this working for you?

Ridin' Green
09-29-2012, 10:59 PM
That's all I used last fall and it worked out fine for me. As long as you have a place to move or haul the leaves to, it seems like good way to go IMO. It's best to have at least two BP's going at a time if you can on larger properties.

lawnsaspire
09-29-2012, 11:04 PM
Do you do your cleanups weekly or when all the leaves are down RidinGreen? I'm solo, so I can't have 2 going, but most of my properties are 1/4 acre.
By the way I decided to go with the Kawasaki 750 Bp. I'll let you know what I think. I've had some extra expenses with repairs and it'll be $360 after $50 rebate. Seemed to have similar specs to the other big blowers we talked about.

Ridin' Green
09-29-2012, 11:12 PM
Do you do your cleanups weekly or when all the leaves are down RidinGreen?
By the way I decided to go with the Kawasaki 750 Bp. I'll let you know what I think. I've had some extra expenses with repairs and it'll be $360 after $50 rebate. Seemed to have similar specs to the other big blowers we talked about.

I think you'll probably like that BP just fine. The dealer I was going to go to has them for $439, but that's after the mail-in rebate. If you bought online, did you ask about repair or return policy? just curious what they said, because it sounds like you got a smokin' deal.

As for the leaves, I did them however the person wanted them. If they wanted weekly, I did that. Same for one time clean-ups, but I explained that one time clean-ups take alot longer to do, especially if it gets any snow on it before I get there, and there's more to haul away (if I need to haul, it depends on the property), so costs go up accordingly. Most were fine with once a week since that's what the mowing had been anyway.

lawnsaspire
09-29-2012, 11:36 PM
That's how I do most of mine weekly. I wish I could find a free place to dump. I'm ordering it the first of the week and will remember to ask those questions.

Ridin' Green
09-29-2012, 11:47 PM
I really like the way they look/are designed. I'd really like to try one myself once the leaves start getting heavy on the ground. It may sound weird, but I flat out love to run my BP's for any reason, and especially for leaves. Even so, I am using my Z950 to mulch most of them this year. I like to try different methods to get the most firsthand experience I can, as long as they don't cost me too much time or money. I have mulched with several different mowers and mulch kits over the years, and one of the main reasons I bought this 950 with the MOD deck was for leaves in the fall. I've made some mods to it that seem to be really working out well so far. I'll probably post a thread on it when I get more time on the leaves once they start getting heavy on the ground. We've got six weeks from right now for all the leaves to be on the ground. They're always on the ground by the first day of deer season here- 11-15.:)

lawnsaspire
09-29-2012, 11:55 PM
I don't want to hijack my own thread, but I've been trying to get answer to my question from anyone and you seem to be good about answering things. One of the reasons I'm wanting to use my mowers less this fall is cause of problems I've been having with my V-Ride. Right now I think of narrowed a problem with the cut quality down to a loose belt. I'm not sure if the belt needs replaced or if the tensioner needs adjusted but belt is slapping alot when engaged and deck is vibrating slightly. How do I adjust a self-adjusting tensioner? Which is what the manual suggests under problems with the cut section. I'm not sure if you can answer this not owning a V-Ride, but I can't get a comment out of anyone about adjusting a tensioner.

lawnsaspire
09-29-2012, 11:58 PM
And why would the manual suggest to adjust a tensioner that is "self adjusting"?:dizzy::dizzy: Thanks

Ridin' Green
09-30-2012, 12:04 AM
I think they all calll them self adjusting anymore, but if it's anything like the ones I've owned, it is self adjusting only to a point. What I mean is they have a spring that tensions the belt within a specific range of motion, but once a belt gets too worn and loose, the tensioner itself needs to be adjusted. My manual say my spring should be a certain length to be provide correct tension on the drive belt for the deck. If it is out of spec, it explains how to adjust that spring to get it back in spec and tension the belt correctly.
IHTH

Forgot to add that I just read your thread and the one reply you got about hitting something with your V-ride. I'd do just as that guy said and change the belt. If it has a crack, it is getting too worn to be realible and your belt tensioner may not be tensioning it correctly due to the wear and crack in the belt. Also like he said, you prolly just noticed it after the "big bang" because you were actually paying attention to potential troubles after that.

Ridin' Green
09-30-2012, 12:09 AM
Also, make double, triple, fourple sure your blades aren't hitting the deck skirt anywhere now. The look for any hump or dip across the top of the deck itself. If something did get bent, it could be throwing the belt out of alignment enough to cause a vibration.

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 12:15 AM
Thank you. I wish my manual had exact instructions on such things.

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 12:17 AM
Like an idiot, I ran into some landscape timbers squared around a tree yesterday. Jarred the setup timbers quite a bit. That's when I noticed this.

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 12:20 AM
Ok, I'm sorry I didn't read your edited post. After 6 years of doing this, my lack of anything beyond routine mechanical knowledge and inclination is finally catching up with me.

Ridin' Green
09-30-2012, 12:25 AM
I was just looking at the manual on Scag's site for your machine. It looks like your spring is a fixed unit with no way to either tension, or loosen it like I can do with mine. I'd just change the belt out and try that before i got too worried about anything else. I bet it smooths back out. A worn belt can make it vibrate pretty badly, and it'll just get worse as the belt gets worse. eventually, you'll prolly end up on a property somewhere and have it snap. I KNOW you don't want that to happen.:nono:

Turf Commando
09-30-2012, 12:29 AM
Leaf clean -up with tarp has been used for years why stop a tactic that's proven to work? I 'd rather tarp and drag then mow over leaves anyday.
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lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 12:35 AM
I was just looking at the manual on Scag's site for your machine. It looks like your spring is a fixed unit with no way to either tension, or loosen it like I can do with mine. I'd just change the belt out and try that before i got too worried about anything else. I bet it smooths back out. A worn belt can make it vibrate pretty badly, and it'll just get worse as the belt gets worse. eventually, you'll prolly end up on a property somewhere and have it snap. I KNOW you don't want that to happen.:nono:

Yeah, thanks, you've been a big help to all my dumb questions. I'm just trying to figure out where I can get the belt before Monday since my dealer is an hour away. I'm not sure if they sell it's equivilant at Farm & Home of Advance Auto.

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 12:38 AM
Leaf clean -up with tarp has been used for years why stop a tactic that's proven to work? I 'd rather tarp and drag then mow over leaves anyday.
Posted via Mobile Device

The only reason I usually mulch is because of dumping costs. I still have leaves in my garden area that I dumped there last year b/c I hate going to the dumpsite. But they just called me the other day and said they were under new management and wondered why I hadn't been down there lately. There was a guy down there I called the "grass nazi" b/c he was very strict and wouldn't pick up stuff I set on my curb cause he said it was from other people's yards. It was of course, but why's he care? It was in the proper containers that they require. He must of pissed off alot of the landscapers for them to fire him. THe grass Nazi's reign of terror is no more!

Ridin' Green
09-30-2012, 12:39 AM
Yeah, thanks, you've been a big help to all my dumb questions. I'm just trying to figure out where I can get the belt before Monday since my dealer is an hour away. I'm not sure if they sell it's equivilant at Farm & Home of Advance Auto.



Take it off before it breaks, and take it into a NAPA store if you have any near you that are open on Sundays. You should be able to get a good quality belt that matches it there.

StanWilhite
09-30-2012, 03:33 AM
Take it off before it breaks, and take it into a NAPA store if you have any near you that are open on Sundays. You should be able to get a good quality belt that matches it there.

I agree with Ridin'. The only difference in a belt from a dealer (OEM), and a good quality belt from an auto parts store, is the price. But make sure they're giving you a quality belt...not their cheapest belt.

When I bought my first tractor (in 1980) it had a 60 inch "belly" mower under it, and used a belt that was 126 inches long. When I wore the first belt out, I drove a round trip of 50 miles to buy one from the dealer...it was 55.00.

By the time I needed my second belt, I had wised up (by asking questions to experienced people) and carried it with me to a parts store that is only 2 minutes from my house. I bought the EXACT same belt, with the EXACT same numbers on it, from the EXACT same manufacturer, for 11.00. It was the very same one I drove an extra 46 miles for, and paid 5 times as much for, at the dealer.

I was reminded of a lesson that I had learned many years before... you don't always get more by simply paying more. I do want to make this clear though, I do try to support my local dealer, but sometimes it just costs too much.....you feel like you're getting raped.

So, in general, there are rare cases that require specialty belts, but for the average belt, it has been my experience that a good quality belt from a good auto parts store will last just as long as one from the dealer. Sometimes the manufacturer won't be the same....although many times they will be from the same manufacturer.

One other little tidbit that might save you some future time and aggravation. The reason I always say to carry the belt with you to the store if possible, is because of the difference in the way belt manufacturers measure the length of their belts. You can't just walk in and say (for instance) "I need a B58", and be confident that you are leaving with the belt you need.

When designating the length of a belt, some companies use the length of the inside circumference of the belt, while others use the measurement of the outside circumference of the belt. This causes a lot of confusion because there is 2.1 inches difference in the 2 measurements. The only thing that is standard with all of the belt manufacturers I'm aware of is the width. An "A" belt is 1/2" wide, while a "B" belt is 5/8" wide.

It's the length that can be confusing. Because of the difference in the way different companies measure belt length (as I said, some using inside cir. and others using outside cir.) a "B56" from one company is 5/8" wide and 56 inches long. But from another company, a "B56" is 5/8" wide (same width) but 58.1 inches long. That difference of 2.1 inches in length will usually prevent them from being interchangeable.

That's why you should always take the old belt with you if possible. You can lay the old one on the counter, then lay the new one on top to see if they're the same length. The old belt may be just a tad longer because it stretched over time, but it won't be anywhere around 2.1 inches difference.

Sorry for the long post but I hope it's beneficial.

Good luck, Stan

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 11:30 AM
I just removed the belt easily by hand. I could of removed it with a single finger almost. When I removed the belt the spring became totally loose and limp. SHould this be? It doesn't look stretched and I can't see anywhere to tighten it on the idler arm.

lawnsaspire
09-30-2012, 11:36 AM
I hate it when my posts get sent to the twilight zone of landscape maintenance. It seems no one ever visits this section. It's like the Bermuda Triangle of lawnsite lol. Maybe we'll find Amelia Earhart in here.

Turf Commando
09-30-2012, 11:45 PM
The only reason I usually mulch is because of dumping costs. I still have leaves in my garden area that I dumped there last year b/c I hate going to the dumpsite. But they just called me the other day and said they were under new management and wondered why I hadn't been down there lately. There was a guy down there I called the "grass nazi" b/c he was very strict and wouldn't pick up stuff I set on my curb cause he said it was from other people's yards. It was of course, but why's he care? It was in the proper containers that they require. He must of pissed off alot of the landscapers for them to fire him. THe grass Nazi's reign of terror is no more!

Leaves are not big issue for me . My mother in law has 14 acres I dump just about anything nature grows on property.
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StanWilhite
10-01-2012, 12:03 AM
I just removed the belt easily by hand. I could of removed it with a single finger almost. When I removed the belt the spring became totally loose and limp. SHould this be? It doesn't look stretched and I can't see anywhere to tighten it on the idler arm.

Yes, the tension spring will be loose if there isn't a belt on the pulley system.

I didn't read all of the posts, so let me say this.

If your deck uses an electric PTO to engage the deck, the belt should be fairly taught all of the time. If your more uses a manual PTO, the deck belt will be loose when the deck is disengaged, and fairly taught when it's engaged.

You never want to "over tension" your belt because because it will wear your bearings out. Experience will teach you how tight it should be.

As a general rule I always say that the belt should be as loose as possible without slipping when you run into high, thick grass/ weeds. It should be tight enough to kill the engine before it slips.
Stan

BrunoT
10-02-2012, 05:51 PM
Mowers are cheap compared to replacing worn body parts when you're 50.

Besides, you could buy a new mower every year or two with the added revenue you can earn from the time savings.

StanWilhite
10-02-2012, 09:03 PM
Yes, the tension spring will be loose if there isn't a belt on the pulley system.

I didn't read all of the posts, so let me say this.

If your deck uses an electric PTO to engage the deck, the belt should be fairly taught all of the time. If your more uses a manual PTO, the deck belt will be loose when the deck is disengaged, and fairly taught when it's engaged.

You never want to "over tension" your belt because because it will wear your bearings out. Experience will teach you how tight it should be.

As a general rule I always say that the belt should be as loose as possible without slipping when you run into high, thick grass/ weeds. It should be tight enough to kill the engine before it slips.
Stan

I can't believe ya'll let me slide on the mistake of using the word "taught" instead of correct term "taut". We'll, this "taught" me a lesson....always triple check your post when you're very tired. :dizzy: Come on, I know somebody caught it and was just being polite by not mentioning it.
Ridin'.....anybody.?..... :laugh:

Ridin' Green
10-03-2012, 12:48 AM
I can't believe ya'll let me slide on the mistake of using the word "taught" instead of correct term "taut". We'll, this "taught" me a lesson....always triple check your post when you're very tired. :dizzy: Come on, I know somebody caught it and was just being polite by not mentioning it.
Ridin'.....anybody.?..... :laugh:

I musta been tired too Stan, because I blew past that like a drunk through a red light. Especially since you did it twice:hammerhead: