Originally Posted by CraigPLC
Man! I just typed out a nice long response just to have it wiped out with a 3-second power outage! So here we go again.
First, I'm seriously not picking on anyone, but learning to lean on a stander or anything else is something we all learned as a kid riding a bicycle, motorcycle, go cart, quad, etc. - Keep your head and shoulders pointed towards the sky, or you will wipe out!
Yes, my mower squats under my weight, and yes I have adjusted the pitch and deck height so that it is 1/8 pitch with me on the mower, and that the cutting height matches my pin settings - which was a beach to do. I have played with various air levels in the tires as well from 25-lbs in the rear & 15-lbs in the front to what they are now, and that is 12-lbs in the rear and 8-lbs in the front. The 8-lbs in front to control the bounce and the 12-lbs in the rear to try and control the wheel spin. Cause even with my weight, and with the rear tires squatting, they still like to spin on soft or damp soil, unless I take off REAL SLOW.
AND YES, I am still in a learning curve when it comes to the vacuum effect of a Zero Turn mowing deck, and I am now wondering how the Grasshopper rubber I added to the rear of the deck for striping is effecting the vacuum and therefore cut quality. But, up until now, my lawn and the lawns I have taken care of (before going into business) have always been green, thick, and dense grass that looked and cut beautifully. So this is my first year cutting spotty, patchy grass, and lowering the deck below 3.5" goes against EVERYTHING I have been taught about proper lawn care. For I was always taught, unless the soil has been properly setup (like that of a Golf Course - 4" pea gravel, 2" course sand, 12" of medium/fine sand mix) that, cutting grass short equals short roots. That if properly watered (1" a week, over just 2 or 3 days), aerated, and dethatched, 4" above the ground should equal 4" below the ground, making it healthier and more drought resistant (at least here in Michigan with our northern grasses). So lowering my deck below 3.5" rubs me the wrong way, but I am now understanding from a cutting stand point, that I need to do this to increase the vacuum to improve the cut. It's going to KILL ME, but I will do it, and I will slow my speed down to a crawl on spotty, patchy grass to give the deck more time to suck up and cut the grass.
AND if this fails, I will remove the rubber from the rear of my deck to see if the added air flow helps. From an Engineering stand point, I can see how the rubber could effect the proper function, as that is the reason why the deck is pitched in the first place. Where a roller would allow the air to flow, the rubber could be creating a seal. But the dealer recommended the rubber when I asked about a striping kit, and since it works with Grasshopper, I was like, "Cool." But Grasshopper may have designed their decks for this rubber strip in mind, where BB and others designed theirs with a roller in mind.
Just in case I created a drag striper made from 2" heavy duty pvc that I put 4 pieces of rebar inside and capped the ends. Then I put an eyelet through the caps on both ends and attached 4" of chain. I figure I could attach this to the under side of the stand on and it will drag behind the mower to flatten the grass. LOL! if that fails, I guess I can squeeze a $110 out of my penny pinching butt to buy BB's striping kit.
Anyways, my mower is to be ready by tomorrow morning, and they are setting it up with another man who is 300-lbs plus, so it should be right. I will have 18 lawns immediately to try it out on, and to experiment with the rubber vs the drag system, and high lift blades vs Gator. Oh, and I guess I should mention Mark did offer to go with me with his mower to help me get caught up, but I turned him down. I have my ways, I know what my customers want and expect, and I have a little bit of a trust issue when it comes to letting someone else cut, but mostly TRIM my customer's lawn. The trim MUST perfectly match the height of the cut for a uniformity. AND YES I know some of my customer's lawns are spotty and patchy... but the trim matches! The spottiness is on THEM not me!!! I have to be able to walk away knowing I did my best! If I didn't care I wouldn't have complained in the first place, and I wouldn't have been double, and triple cutting lawns to ensure the grass height was even over the whole lawn!