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Old 12-01-2004, 11:09 AM
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pgiambat pgiambat is offline
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Old SCAG - Hydro Maint & New Deck??

Hello All,
I'm new to posting on the forum. I've been reading for a while though. I just purchased a well-used 52" SCAG hydro for a song from a big shop moving to a bigger location and getting rid of all used equip for next to nothing.

Anyway, I'm new to the Hydro drive scene, I've been using a 36" SCAG beltdrive. This is an older guy, it doesn't have the SCAG 'Dashboard'. It has a KAW 17HP twin, it starts easy and runs strong, the clutch engages and the blades turn with a windy roar, the hydros drive the wheels.

What can I expect with older Hydro Pumps and Hydro Motors? Do they require maintainence? Can they be 'rebuilt'? I've sniffed around a bit and see them for $300 - $500 here and there. On my Belt drive I know what to expect, if the tranny goes bad, I'm back up and running in 2 hours and $200.

The Motors are really dry all around them, no leaking as far as I can see. The pumps have some fluid on them on the back side, is this normal?

Here's a few pics:





We have a couple of great mowing shops here in town but I try to do as much work as I can.

If someone can give me the 30 second tour I'd appreciate it. I'm sure I'll find out much more as I tinker with it over the winter. I can use this guy on about 1/3 of my accounts (due to backyard access) to save some time and want to keep it running with dropping a ton of cash.

Also, the deck is pretty rough.

I know I can order one for about $900. Is there a chance of getting hold of a 48" or 52" deck from a mower being 'parted' out? Are used (but in good shape) replacement decks a possibility or should I just run this one? New spindles (if needed) don't freak me out, I can get those going fairly cheap.

Thanks for reading, any help is apppreciated.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2004, 03:20 PM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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I'm not intimately familiar with this PARTICULAR machine, but from what you say, it sounds like the mower is in pretty good functional shape.

Most hydro units need the filter replaced peiodically and enough fluid to make up what is lost in the filter change. That said, since you don't know the history, it would be a good idea to find out EXACTLY what oil is recommended for the hydro system and change it with a fresh filter.

It would be a great time to go over the other preventive maintenance basics since you don't know the history. Change engine oil and filter, check and/or just replace the air filter and give everything an inspection including shaking and spinning all bearings and replace any that are rough.

Also, it sounds as if the spindles are not noisy or I think you would have mentioned this when you said that the blades spin well. I cannot see anything in the picture that would make me want to replace the deck. I would take it off, turn it upsided down, shake the blades to make sure there is no spindle slack. I would then look over the deck on the inside to see where it might be bent or torn.

This is a stout looking deck and wherever it is bent or torn or otherwise damaged a competent welder working with heat, a BFH (Big Hammer) and a little scrap steel could most likely get the deck back into top functional condition. I have done this to a few decks over the years that were not nearly so well built as this one.

From what you've said, it sounds to me like you've gotten hold of a diamond in the rough.

Good luck,
Doc
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Old 12-01-2004, 07:54 PM
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Travis Followell Travis Followell is offline
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Doc just about summed it all up. Go over the machine and look for worn parts and replace them and change all oil and filters in hydro system and engine. It may be a good idea to go to the dealer and order a operators manual for the machine and an owners manual for the engine. You could find them to be very useful, espically for the machine so you will know how to adjust it and what type of fluid to use for hydro's and things like that. Looks like you got a good deal on that machine.
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Old 12-02-2004, 05:56 PM
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pgiambat pgiambat is offline
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MBDiagMan & Travis,
Thanks for the input. I did get the manual, am replacing a few speed control parts (the rods from the levers down to the hydro controls) and am about to adjust the neutral and left-right tracking per the manual to get it to track straight and even. If all checks out and it goes forward and back like a champ I'll be HAPPY.

I'm still concerned about the deck. I've already gone to the SCAG site and did a dealer search for the neighboring states around Nebrska and have yet to call searching for a 'parts' machine. Without (myself or you) calling around I guess there is really no way to know if there is a used deck out there for cheap... BUT if you all had to find one where would you look?
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:21 PM
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Travis Followell Travis Followell is offline
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There's really no where around here to look for one. The only thing to do is keep an eye out on e bay and also talk to some of the dealers. You never know, they may have one sitting in the weeds some where but chances are they don't. The only certain way to get one is just order a new one from a Scag dealer. From the pictures the deck looks like its in good shape. If it was my mower I wouldn't replace it but just replace any blades, bearings, spindles, pulleys or anything else it may need because the deck itsself looks good.
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Old 12-02-2004, 06:31 PM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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pgiambat,

Can you elaborate about what is wrong with the deck? Can you pull it off and take some more detailed pictures of your area of concern?

Really and truly, the deck is nothing but a big hunk of iron, the heavier, the better. There is nothing about it that can't be fixed with a hammer and a welder, maybe need a torch to heat a particular area.

The only reason I can think of that makes you want to replace the deck is just to make it look better. I do understand such pride of ownership, but I'll bet if it were here I could make the deck work like new, and with enough time and motivation, along with some paint, could make it look almost like new. That is one of the advantages to the commercial equipment. The welded decks are not only strong, but can be repaired.

Good luck,
Doc
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:54 AM
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pgiambat pgiambat is offline
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The Deck may stay

Guys,
Thanks for the 'keep the deck' encouragement. I do plan on power-washing it, removing it and bringing it indoors and prettying it up over the winter. I'll check it for true then. Plus I want to check out the spindles really well. I'll snap a few more pics when this happens.

The whole machine rocks from rear left to front right. The deck may be bent, it may be the front support arms/caster wheels or the left drive tire needing some air (it is softer than the right).

I have had just so little time since I brought it home to check it out. Just tonight I put the new un-bent drive and throttle rods on it and made the neutral adjustments and it sits still now with out the right wheel creeping back wards.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:47 AM
MBDiagMan MBDiagMan is offline
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Pat,

I don't think the rocking has anything to do with the deck. Maybe the tire pressure is the cause, but my first thought agrees with your bent frame comment. Even if this is the case, it would be a little work to strip it enough to correct this, but most any auto body shop has anchors in the floor and a porta power and could correct this without too much trouble.

Hopefully, correct tire pressure will take care of it. Don't overlook checking tire sizes to see if maybe someone has replaced a tire with an odd size.

Good luck,
Doc
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Old 12-06-2004, 05:28 PM
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pgiambat pgiambat is offline
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Deck Flex

Doc,
Thanks for the reply. I air'd up the left tire and it sits flat, the tire was flatter than I thought. I also took the mower to a wash, put degreaser on the dirty areas and blasted it all off. I got a good look at the deck and saw the reason for the 'flexing' (pictured below).



There was a crack that was welded just behind the front-center spindle that has cracked again. This causes the deck to flex in the middle along a sideways axis. I'm thinking about taking off the deck and taking it up the street to the body shop (They've done some welds here and there for me) and have them do the repair weld as well as add some metal "bars" of some kind and weld those guys as well.

I'm going to use this guy come next season regardless, I just want to keep the vibrations from tearing the crack more. What think you of all this??
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2004, 08:55 PM
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Joe B J Joe B J is offline
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when changing your hydro fluid...be extra careful not to get any dirt in it. do not overfill...its a good idea to catch the fluid in a container that you can measure the contents to get an idea how much to put back. Do not try to get ALL the fluid out. Most advise just what runs out when removing filter. Once refilled raise the back wheels and engage each hydro and let turn freely until no air bubbles appear in the fluid. I have had it to take several minutes to do this. Check fluid level several times over the first few uses.
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