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Excalibur Blades

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by wwjam, May 13, 2002.

  1. wwjam

    wwjam LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 10

    I was wondering if someone from Exmark could help me.

    I just purchased a new 2002 Lazer Z - 60" with the 25H Kohler. Overall a great machine, but I noticed on my first cut at 4" that there was a slight bent over, uncut grass streak near the left spindle as someone else also described in another thread. I admit that the grass was relatively long at about 6-7", but dry. I checked the pitch of the deck at the blade tips and they're within the 1/8" forward pitch that was recommended. Also checked the mule belt for proper tension which was ok.

    However I noticed the blades were the notched version and as someone had also mentioned, the notched blades could be the cause of the problem. Looking back at the Exmark brochure, it indicates that all Exmarks come with the solid airfoil, Excalibur blades. So I took the blades back to my dealer and he was surprised that they were notched. We checked the other Lazers at the dealer, still in their crates, and they all had the notched blades as well. This dealer can't keep Lazer's in stock in my area (central Jersey) so I don't believe it's old inventory.

    Are the notched blades standard or are they supposed to come with Excalibur blades as the brochure indicates or was my machine made before the cutover to Excaliburs?

    The dealer did not have any Excalibur blades in stock but said that he would check with the Exmark rep to see what blade is standard, but I thought I'd try this site.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,940

    I'm going to chime in here.....Terry is probably typing at the same time!!!

    As far as I know, the Excaliburs are being introduced as inventory of the older blades disappears.

    I also heard that ALL Exmark blades will be the new "full length sharpened" wether they are the solid foil or notched.

    Check to see if your cutting edge is 5" long or 9" long.

    Another thing to add, is that 4" is just a bit too high to get a good cut if the grass is thin and isn't "trained" to be cut that high. My optimal cutting height is 3.25" and some at 3.5". If I am rough cutting a meadow or whatever, I use the 4" but thats just to avoid damage. There just isn't enough suction at 4" to stand the grass up straight to be cut.

    Good Luck
  3. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258


    Thanks for the note. You machine does not have the Excalibur blades. The literature is a little deceiving. It does say that all Exmark mowers in 2002 come standard with the Excalibur blades....... this is not accurate, unfortunately. It will however be accurate very soon or at least on that part of it. You probably read the other post on running changes vs. model year changes. The literature also pictures the solid airfoil version of the Excalibur blade. This is not the Excalibur blade that will be standard equipment. This was just the first version of Excalibur that was available last year because that airfoil design works better in drier conditions than the notched when we first tested the Excalibur design. The Excalibur blade is available in 3 distinct airfoil types. The notched (which will be std. equipment) the solid (pictured in the literature) and the low lift (not pictured anywhere and generally only used in extremely dry conditions). The Excalibur difference is the extended cutting edge on the blade. The blade you currently have is sharpened about 3.5" in from the tip. The Excaliburs will be sharpened all the way to the blade bolt or at least near the blade bolt.

    The real issue is your cutting problem. We've gotten a couple of comments regarding quality of cut from the north east in the past week and a half or so. Some of the problems have been due to conditions and some have been due to an improper setting from the factory. It would be extremely rare that any Exmark deck will leave an actual strip of uncut grass if the deck rake is set properly and if you believe yours is set properly then we definitely need to get in looked at. Personally the only other causes of strips of uncut grass I’ve seen have been due to damage to the unit or mower deck, which is unlikely in your case. E-mail me with your dealer information at terry.eckert@exmark.com and I’ll call him to see if he’s hearing the same comments from others in your area and to give him some things to check. There is one other possibility that could be causing this and that is the front caster tires. If that’s the cause slowing down should eliminate the “strip” all together.

    A couple of comments we've been getting consistently from this area are that the guys who are having some problems are cutting in the 3.5-4" range and they're knocking a lot of grass off. The grass is dry (at least on the surface) but can pack the deck. This indicates typical spring tender, lush grass where the blade of grass contains a great deal of moisture. The other comment that’s been consistent has been the leaving of a few stragglers of grass and one comment regarding a strip of uncut grass. The reason we need to get you machine inspected is because your is leaving a strip of uncut grass. Also all the cutting conditions we’re seeing from that region indicate it’s about as bad as it can get. Several things with the current weather pattern have stacked up against us making the cutting conditions extremely difficult right at this time.

    First the grass is lush and wet internally. If it wasn’t we wouldn’t be getting the comments we’ve received regarding the packing of decks. Second, because of the colder temperatures the grass wants to lie down and is rather weak. Third, guys are getting on the lawns much later than normal. Generally in the spring guys start cutting earlier and the grass may hit 6” on occasion but right now everybody is cutting 6-8” tall grass and trying to cut it at 3.5-4.0”. This creates another issue in regards to vacuum from the deck. The deck needs vacuum to create the lift and stand the grass up to be cut. The added load put on the engine due to the weight and height of all that grass also causes the engine to bog reducing discharge, increasing the amount of debris under the deck and reducing vacuum. This becomes more difficult if the grass is long and stringy. In addition to that the grass is also weak because of the colder temperatures, lack of rain and low sunlight. All these make the grass too weak to stand up which causes it to want to lay down even more. Which increases the amount of lift required to stand the grass up to be cut. Now as you raise the mower deck you begin to loose some lift. The deck simply has more vacuum at lower cutting heights than it does and higher ones. This is normal for all cutting decks or at least all that I’ve used. Then when we add in a little grass or a lot depending upon the lawn that wants to stick to the underside of the deck we compound the vacuum issue because the deeper the deck the more vacuum is created. The more grass that builds up the less vacuum you get. It is rare that we have such a cold, late spring. It is even more rare that everybody begins cutting at 3.5”-4” on lawns that are 6”, 7” and 8” tall. If past experience holds true most of the things we’re seeing now will disappear in a few weeks. What to do in the mean time.

    You’ve made the first step in checking the belts, blades, deck rake etc. You can also have your dealer check these things as well. I had a landscaper call me last week and he had checked everything however when we got the unit into the dealer his numbers did not jive with the dealers numbers. He had simply measured a couple of things incorrectly. You can also adjust your mowing practices. If the deck is plugging, you may need to increase your ground speed a little. If the engine is bogging under load because the grass is too tall you will not be able to do this however. One of the best things you can do right now is to cut the lawn tall just like you’ve been doing then scrape the deck and go back and cut at ½” to 1" lower. You’ll still be fighting all of the clippings left behind from the first cut but I will help identify if the problem is in the mower or in the cutting conditions.

    Like I said you may have an issue with and adjustment of your mower but most of what we’re seeing right now would indicate the cutting conditions are really difficult right now and we’ll need to work through them.

    Please let me know which dealer you’ll be taking your mower to for inspection and I’ll give him a call as well.


  4. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    I'm in the middle of NJ, and have a "small" problem with grass layover from the front wheels. I'm cutting at 3 inches. Though it may take a minute or two longer, running a bit slower, "OR", overlapping the cut deck where the front wheel would "normally" go through new grass and keep it in the already cut grass will completely eliminate the problem.
    Good luck,
  5. Bonuts

    Bonuts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    Interesting thread. If buying new, is there any way to insure that I get the "as advertised" Excalibur blades?
  6. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258


    On some models the inventory has been retailed through out the country. In some regions however the spring has started slow, late and consequently what would have normally been sold through the pipeline weeks or months ago is just now selling. One of the disadvantages of our industry is that it is seasonal. We can't hire 1500 temporary employees for a selling demand that has a high point for 3-6 months. Instead we hire 500 solid, and reliable people who are professionals at what they do. We are also fortunate that we also have a small temporary work force that rises to the task each year to help us out and then many go back to farming, ranching or other endeavors. This allows us to build better products year round. This also means that we build product ahead of time in August or September for a selling season that really doesn't hit full swing until April or May. During the pre-selling season we fill our warehouse, our distributor warehouse as well our dealer warehouses. With an early spring we run out of stuff early and try to keep up with demand as fast as we can. If the spring is late it simply takes longer to get through the inventory and longer to get to the last stuff built. Unfortunately that may mean that in your area at this time there is still some early 2002 inventory to get through. In either case don’t let the cutting edge on a blade influence your decision.

    If you should decide to buy an Exmark call me but please keep in mind that you may never have an issue with the non-Excalibur blades on your machine.


  7. wwjam

    wwjam LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 10

    Thanks all for the responses and ideas.

    I plan to slow down and mow a section at 3" and another at 3.5" to see if that does it. The blade is the standard 5" blade with a notch and the underside of the deck is very clean. I sharpened the blades and rechecked the rake at the blade tips using a telescope micrometer instead of a ruler and the one side was almost 1/4". So I fine tuned the rake to within 1/16" and am anxious to try it out on Thursday.

    Terry, if I still have a problem I'll get it back to my dealer. I'll send you a seperate email. I would like to get the solid Excaliburs and try them as well at some point since that was one of the selling points of the Lazer.

    I also neglected to mention that my neighbors on either side of me use a lawn service that uses Bobcats and they were cutting that same day. Talk about lumpy streaks. The grass also clumped on them big time -what a mess. But perhaps their blades were dull after several jobs.

    In all, besides the one row of bent over grass, my Lazer really did a fantastic job. It striped well and cut up the grass and dispersed it so that there were absolutely no clumps or evidence of cut grass laying on top and I'm not using a mulching kit either.
    It was truly amazing. My wife even asked me if I bagged the clippings? Not for 2 acres!

    Thanks again!

  8. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 962

    My Excalibers came in!:D

    PN# 103-1580

    Can't wait to try 'em out...
    Unfortunately I just sharpened the other blades (Notched Foil), so It will be this weekend before I can try them out. :rolleyes:
  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Incidentally, what is the suggested retail price of these Excaliburs. What did you pay, Billy? And are they the solid foil highlift?
  10. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258


    List prices for the notched airfoil Excaliburs are as follows:

    72" 12.90
    60" 10.20
    52" 9.90
    48" 10.10
    44" 11.30

    Or about 40 - 50 cents per blade more give or take a little.



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