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Commercial WB Cut Height Adjustments for a homeowner...

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by leejp, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    I was wondering if the pros could share some tips on commercial WB maintenance for a homeowner.

    I have a 48" Scag belt drive which I barely run 25hrs/year (45min to cut 1/2 acre). It's a good thing that the maintenance intervals are much longer so I can get away with doing most maintenance tasks 1x/year.

    I have to do everything by myself alone. The simple stuff I don't find too difficult. Each time I run the mower I blow off the clippings debris off the deck and engine area prior to putting the mower away. If I cut wet grass, I tilt up the deck on some lumber and scrape off the caked on clippings from underneath the deck. I lube the grease fittings 2~3x/year. The motor gets a tune up 1x/year and the belts get checked every so often.

    Now what I find difficult is the deck height adjustments and blade changes. I've changed the deck height once by myself which wasn't very fun. The blades are a little easier but still more cumbersome that I care for.

    So what are the tricks of the trade?
    What jack/ramp setups do you all use for ding deck/blade changeovers?
    For cutting height do you change the deck height or just move the blade spacers from bottom to top?

    I find myself futzing quite a bit to get the suggested 1/4" downward pitch with the deck and caster spacer adjustment. So I really haven't done any cut height adjustments since I bought the mower.

    Pictures would be extremely helpful!
  2. LarryF

    LarryF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    I can't give any advice on the hight adjustment procedure, but I can show how I lift my ZTR to change blades, and that ZTR is, I'm sure, a lot heavier than your walk behind. The pros all have a trailer with a drive-on ramp which they use when getting at the blades, but most of us homeowners don't have that luxury. So I just jack mine up with a garage jack and then put some stands under it. A two-ton garage jack is fairly inexpensive these days from companies such as Harbor Freight or Northern Tool. Here's a photo.

    jacked-up Exmark.jpg
  3. mini14

    mini14 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    there really arent any tricks, but i would space the blades at a medium height , then quick and easy height adjustment up/down can be made using front castor spacers.
  4. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Where do you bolt the deck for ~3" cut (my preference all year) on your mower?

    On my mower, I find that bolting the deck on at the highest setting is really the only way to get the cut ~3". This sets the blade height at the rear of the deck ~3-1/2" (on concrete... a little lower on grass). Then I can move the spacers to get the desired 1/4" pitch towards the front of the deck.

    So to get a lower cut, I can move the front spacers. But this would be more than the 1/4" pitch (with a 1/2" spacer it would be 3/4"). Would my lawn look uneven on the turns?

    Of course, I could experiment but again, deck adjustments aren't exactly easy.
  5. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Well, simple.....buy a wb with a floating deck. Mine takes all of about 30 seconds to go to any height that I want. :) Ok, I know that is probably out of the question. Unfortunately I think the way you are doing it is probably the best method. In reality, you really only need to adjust the height at the start of the season and at the end so when you do your last cut of the season and you cut it fairly low, leave it and do your first couple cuts of the next season at that level and then move it up to your desired height for the remainder of the season. I typically go between 3.5 and 4 for the majority of the summer and down to about 2-2.5 in late fall/early spring.

    BTW, love the avitar, I happen to be a huge dub head as well :) Out of curiosity what do you have??
  6. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    On my signature...

    I have a scag 48" belt drive that I bought from a friend (homeowner). It's well over 10 years old but I estimate has less than 250hrs total on it (tire threads are hardly worn). The deck of the scag is at the highest setting. The mower basically goes through every season with nothing more than stretch/warm up exercises.

    I can't get the Scag through the fence to do my backyard (pool area) and so I also have a 21" Honda walk behind... the high end one with the hydrostatic drive.

    I love both of these mowers but I am going to get a 36" walk behind and sell them. My garage is just exploding with stuff and I need the room. I would love another Scag but at ~$2500 new I think I'll pass. For my 1/2 acre I can get by with much less expensive commercial machine and still have it last a lifetime. Goal is to pay for the new mower with the sale proceeds from the other two. I should have bought the better quick a couple of years back when they were reasonably priced.

    I'm also going to pick up a sub $200 lightweight backpack blower this year. I presently use "gasp" a blower attachment for my trimmer (Ryobi click-link). Does the job but I could use more air volume.
  7. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Duh... sorry... you meant my car...

    I have a 98 Passat 1.8T GLS. Prior to that I had a 95 Passat VR6 that was totaled when I was rear -ended sitting at a traffic stop. Prior to that I had an 89 BMW 325i that was stolen.

    I like the 98 MUCH better. IMHO THERE ARE NO GOOD FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CARS WITH A V6. The overall balance and handling are are just not right with the added weight up front. The VW 1.8T (now the 2.0) has got to be the best 4 banger ever. I get 34MPH on the highway with more than enough power. Who needs a hybrid?
  8. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    Good call on the plans to go with a 36" I agree you will have plenty of mower for your needs. I'd still consider the Quick as you can get their basic model for around 2K. You should be able to get decent $$ for the Scag and probably a couple hundred for the Honda if it's in good shape. I'd also recommend checking out the Gravely's I've been extremely satisfied with mine and you may be able to find a good deal on a leftover 36 hydro.

    As for the avitar, LOL.......yes I did!! It's great to find a fellow Passater on here as well. :) I currently have a 2000 B5/1.8t. Not sure if you are into your car like your yard (I'm into modding anything that moves lol) then go check us out over at www.passatworld.com As here, tons of great people and anything you need to know about your car. If you are familiar with VWVortex it is much more "mature" as you eliminate most of the child talk and other crap you get on there. Mine is fairly heavily modded and I too still pull 34mpg on the highway. I had a 99' Jetta and an 03' A4 Avant as well. Unfortunately child #2 forced the sale of the A4:cry: for a Pathfinder (more room) but I still have my passat to tinker with. I'm hoping to get it on the track this summer as well. I'm only an hour away from Mid-Ohio, one of the best road courses in the country :cool2:

    You can check it out here:http://www.passatworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86474
  9. EastTnLC

    EastTnLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 131

    Hey leejp, do you have the problem solved yet?
  10. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    I think I got the pointer that I wanted (via this thread and using the forum's advanced search feature). Basically... keep the rear of the mowing deck at the highest mow setting and adjust the cut height via the spacers on the front casters.

    I was obsessing over the ~1/4" downward pitch on the deck as recommended by the Manual for the best cutting performance. I find that this is really not possible with the deck bolted to the middle or lower position even with all the spacers on the casters on top... Can one actually run with no spacers on the bottom?

    Anyway... I have tall fescue so I keep my grass ~3"+. To get this height of cut, the deck must be bolted to the highest position. With that, I can adjust the blade and caster spacers to get the desired cut.

    I do wonder the usefulness of the lower deck positions, the blade would most certainly pitch from front to back with the deck bolted to this height... and is it possible to cut with a 48, 52 or 61" deck and not scalp cutting this low?

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