Exmark, what was wrong with chains

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tacoma200, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    This is just an open ended question. One of the improvements of the new Lazer Z was loosing the chains that support the deck (plus a stabilizer bar). I can see some advantages (seemingly small) but really knever new there was a problem to be fixed. Are chains that bad, I never heard of anyone complaining. Everyone should know by now I'm not an Exmark basher (unless it's a Triton that needs bashing). Tell me the benefits you see using the metal rods instead of a chain and maybe why a chain that is time tested may be better. Just as the drive shaft on the Scag's I run are supposed to be an improvement even though they are belt driven, I don't get that either really. I'm all ears. If you hit and obstruction doesn't the chain allow the deck to move and not take the full impact (or the object you hit). Maybe it is an improvement but since I haven't seen it up close it's hard to say. Comments?
     
  2. SfTD_service_CENTER

    SfTD_service_CENTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 868

    i just like being able to adjust my deck with 2 19mm wrenches really quick. i mean it shouldnt come out of adjustment too often anyway but i dont mind having the option. the badboy is solid hung too isnt it??? bobcat also has a nice deck adjustment system but it has chain incorparated in it! i was impressed when i saw pictures of their design. i dont know if you have seen the mower in person but the bolts are bigger than they show in the pictures it threw me off at first i thought it looked weak but they look strong in person and with 19mm hex nuts they are a good size for strength. chain is probly stronger and lets the deck give from side to side if you ram into somthing, which will probly save you money if that happens.
     
  3. SfTD_service_CENTER

    SfTD_service_CENTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 868

    i have a question about the gearbox on the scag deck, about how long is the service life of it? is it a normal service life like they all run about so many hours or it is erratic life expectancy? and did you ever smoke a belt to that system if so were you able to buy one from a napa auto parts or like a car quest etc. when my dixon first came out the deck belt was only available through dixon lol they wanted like 80 for it and i thought that was rediculas.
     
  4. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    I think that is a major thing with the chains was giving if you hit something, I would see if you had just a solid rod, and hit somthing from the side they would bend. But, forward and backward no. There are 2 A arms that go to the front of the rear wheels right off the frame. That is a major drawback I would see is using rods instead of chains. I have noticed If I accidentl get to close to something they would give and everything would shift.
     
  5. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,445

    Now I have never demo'd or run a Exmark or Toro, but have owned & run Scags. The chain hung decks bounce at higher speeds IMO, a fixed deck does not allow for bouncing, and is also easier to adjust.

    Shaft driven decks, might be better at transferring torque to the deck & spindles, and could be less maintenance vs a big mule belt, this was one of my biggest hurtle's getting over in the Shaft Drive vs a Mule belt system. the Scag TT, JD 997 & Kubota ZD331 are all three shaft drive to gearbox to belt drive decks. I can tell you that I had a high hour shaft drive F-680 that the shaft drive universals were off balanced. The vibration could not be felt or seen in the driveshaft rotation, so over time it took out the deck gearbox seal I was in the middle of a large field, and was then down for two days, and cost me $350 to fix:cry:. At that point I realized I would be willing to look, and possibly purchase a mule drive system. I have lost one belt on the AOS diesel, but I have also hit more crap than I ever have with any ZTR. The Mule belt was very simple to replace took maybe 15 minutes in the field with no tools. That has made me a big mule belt supporter now, if only for the simplicity, and the torque transfer is such, that I forget it's a belt drive, until I hit something, and fell better; because all you do is slip the belt or stall out the engine

    This might be why the shaft driven Scag TT with the 28hp Cat diesel is doing well, and the mule belt AOS diesel with the same 28hp Cat diesel is struggling in some mowing applications.
     
  6. 4.3mudder

    4.3mudder LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,227

    I would have to disragree with that part, that deck is very heavy, it does not flop up and down that much, very little at all.
     
  7. tacoma200

    tacoma200 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,426

    I really don't know. I defer my answer to Nosparkplugs who has already addressed this to some extent. I think most of the failures I have heard of were people that let the gearbox go dry (no maintenance). The Scags have a huge clutch so maybe as Nosparkplugs says there is a lot of torque to deal with running the deck that "might" favor a drive shaft. I belt is sure cheaper to fix though.

    As I said I can see some advantages of the rods over chains but not that much, I'm sure bouncing could be a problem in some area's. I have never needed to adjust a deck so that part doesn't apply to me yet, most of my decks have been dead on level side to side and a little front to back rake. And I do bump things with the side of the deck and the chains give easily.
    You are going to get the deck in a bind where I live, I'm just wondering if the new system is "strong enough to bend" as the saying goes???
    Will the rods give much if you hit an object on the side (most of us do)?

    Don't get me wrong, I think Exmak has a winner with the New Lazer, probably about the best ZTR available. I just question this one improvement (and maybe the integrated pump/motor, time will tell). For the time being I think I like the give of the chains and haven't noticed any affects on cutting but I will give a New Lazer a test one day.
     
  8. nosparkplugs

    nosparkplugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,445

    Not to get off track or Highjack this thread*trucewhiteflag*, but the BB have a solid hung deck, and I know that when I bump something, be it front to back or side to side, I realize it quickly, and back off. The Chains do give more, but that can also cause you to keep going farther than a ridged deck would allow, and bind something up.

    I agree with Tacoma200 in that I have never had to adjust any of my decks too, but I would still think these rods are easier.

    I do think shaft drive will utilize the power/torque it has on tap better; especially with a mower with a moderate or maybe underpowered engine depending on mowing applications. If the final deck drive was a gearbox like the Walkers, then blade tip speed would drop some, torque is their IMO, just not the speed/FPS




     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  9. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Posts: 2,869

    I would think a solid hung deck would be better for side hilling. The chains allow the deck to swing a little more causing one side to be lower creating more of a gouge mark where one side cuts a little lower than the other.

    Have any of you BB owners noticed a difference sidehilling than with a Scag or exmark chain deck?
     
  10. MJB

    MJB LawnSite Silver Member
    from Wa
    Posts: 2,869

    Also I wonder if the deck stabilizers on the back of the Exmark and Hustler
    would last longer without all the swinging on side hills?
     

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