Once again Gravely/Ariens exceeds my expectations as a company. Wed. was the third visit the reps made (including the demo) to look at my situation this time bringing the head of commercial development. The second visit they even brought out an identical 460 to do a side-by-side with. We did quite a bit of testing. We reinstalled a front baffle kit that I had tried before, repitched the deck at one point 1/2" just to see (back down to 1/4" now), and tried a sixth blade type, which we spaced down lower in the deck. I've never had a company get this involved to help solve problems. My hats off to them.
For anyone having less than a perfect cut they introduced me to the most aggressive high lift blade I've seen for the 460. It's a Stens, 2.5", flat, notched, high lift that has even more lift wing length then Oregon's most aggressive blade according to Dennis at Oregon. This blade is aggressive enough I'm actually hearing my FX921V work a little for the first time. My grass is going dormant (may have one to two weeks of cutting left) so I don't have the correct conditions any longer to test thoroughly. I'm now cutting shorter, and with all the above mentioned it is doing somewhat better in the lift department which is to be expected somewhat when lowering the deck. This blade is throwing clippings now like my XR7 with the VX4 high lift blades. The down side I see is that I have more clippings that need blown around after the fact not unlike my XR7. It's not as sever but noticeable. Some of this again is due to cutting shorter and the lifting of previous uncut grasses.
As far as deck depth is concerned, I brought this up to the reps/development head, and they verified that it's being used now across the board with most all mowers. It provides the needed space for the mass of clippings traveling through the deck to make the trip without negatively effecting the grass coming into the deck to be cut. In a shallower deck the clipping volume may reduce lift and fight the incoming grasses to be cut.
Depending how things go I've been considering seeing if I could install a set of Flex Forks on my 460. The ride would then be.....