clumping, stalling, etc.

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by mikesjumpingin, May 31, 2003.

  1. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    First question is blade sharpening recommendations:

    What type of bench grinder is suffice, what angle should I cut at? How often? What else do I need to know about sharpening my blades?

    ('03 48" metro hp w/mulch kit)

    Second question:

    I lost a 2-acre weekly account this week. They said my cut was too high. They have their lawn fertilzed five times a year and the lawn is irrigated in summer. I lowered my deck each week since the beginning of the season, they still complained. The mower wouldn't run over their thick grass at the second lowest setting on my deck, in first gear (no sulky). It hardly worked at the third lowest setting.

    What can I do to handle thick turf for customers that want it cut short each week?

    I read something about spacers, should that do the trick? Or do I need an engine with more horsepower?

    BTW, I suggested to the customer that they should have nitrogen levels lowered by their chemical guy, but I lost the account anyway.

    I do have another 2-acre account in a rural area with only one treatment of weed-n-feed annually. I use my new sulky there, but I still have slowed-blade speed and increased clumping in many spots, cutting at about the third or forth lowest setting, and I end up just raising the deck and slowing my speed to 4th gear to remedy.

    This whole scenario reminds me too much of when I complained a few years ago to Toro about my Lawnboy 4.5 h.p. not working on my lawn, they told me on the phone to just raise my deck to the highest setting.

    Thanks for help, Mike
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258


    We recommend sharpening the blades after every 8 hours of use. The blade angle should be about 28-30 degrees or you should have approximately 1/4"-5/16" of surface that you are grinding.

    As far as grinders go I'm not a big fan of bench grinders unless they as specifically designed for blade sharpening. I have seen various blade sharpeners on the market but you'll need to determine which you like the best. If you use a bench grinder be sure and get a softer/finer grit wheel than most general-purpose grinders come with. I clamp my blades in a vise and use a 4" hand grinder. I find this gives me better control when sharpening mulching blades.

    A couple of things to look at on the Metro HP. First the second lowest hole is 2". That's pretty low for most northern grasses and it's going to take horsepower and everything working correctly to cut this low.

    First begin by listening to the machine. Are the blades slowing down? Yes, you've already stated that. Second is the engine slowing down? If the answer is yes you may want to get the engine looked at to make sure it is running correctly. I'm guessing however that the engine is not slowing down at the same rate the blades are. This would indicate belt slippage. First look at the PTO or clutching belt adjustment outlined in your manual. It's difficult to explain the adjustment in an e-mail but you can give me a call at 800-667-5296 on a cordless phone or cell phone and I can walk you right through it. Next look at the deck belt idler. It's possible to get a little moisture or dirt in the idler pivot, which will reduce the belt tension and allow the deck belt to slip.

    Generally when I hear similar comments in the northern climates it's this time of year the PTO adjustment takes care of the problem.

    With a little luck we'll determine the problem is belt slippage and once corrected you can then start cutting taller and leave the lawn looking nicer.

    Let me know.


  3. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    Well, I think blade sharpening is probably a huge deal with my cut quality; I just sharpened them for the first time since the season started, I'll see the difference after my tuesday cuts.

    (Nothing is in the manual, other than "sharpen as needed")

    I will sharpen them routinely now. Thanks for the 4" grinder idea. I picked up a Delta 6" $29.00 bench grinder before I saw the message, but I can use it for other things, too.

    When you say 4" grinder, do you mean a disk-type grinder like the ones used for sanding/grinding? If so, what disks should I use?

    I will check the other items clutching belt adjustment and idler like you mentioned.

    I've gotten complements on my stripes, and I'm sure the blade sharpening is probably what I really needed most.

    Thanks for feedback!

  4. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 101

    Oh yeah, big difference...

    Cut my own lawn at second to lowest setting today, zero clumps, mower just hummed away smoothly.

    I had no idea blade sharpening was such a frequent routine thing. I do now!! What a difference.

    Great mower.

    Thanks for the help,


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