Front casters on a Turf Tracer

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by ple_1969, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. ple_1969

    ple_1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 204

    A quick question to an eXmark tech. I just bought a 2001 Turf Tracer HP with 52” deck and the 17 hp Kawasaki. After finishing my first lawn I noticed that the front casters seemed lose. I check the bolt that holds them in place and its snug. Is it normal to have the front casters with about a 1/8” of play in a North/South or up/down fashion?

    This is my first commercial mower and I am not sure if this OK, please excuse my ignorance of this…..

    Thanks for you help,
    Pete
     
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258

    ple_1969,

    What your seeing may be normal for a machine with a few hours on it. The casters on most walk behind unit will have play up and down as well as a small amount side to side when new.

    The caster pivot has a bushing in it rather than a bearing, which results in most of the play your talking about. I do however recommend that these bushings be replaced annually or when they begin to show signs of wear. You want o make sure that the bushing is replaced before it is worn through. Once it is worn through wear can begin to occur in the frame where the bushing is seated in place. If that happens then the replacement bushings will wear much more rapidly than the originals.

    Thanks

    Terry
     
  3. ple_1969

    ple_1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 204

    Terry...

    Thanks for getting back to me! You mentioned that this play in the caster “might be normal”. Do all Turf Tracer HP units have this play?

    Second, I bought this unit to mow my yard which is an acre. Its will not be using the mower for commercial/professional use. Yeah, I know that this is over kill for my lawn, however I did the tractor route and was very disappointed in the quality of cut. So I wanted to get the best machine that I could afford, hence the eXmark TTHP. You stated that I should replace the bushings annually. If I am only mowing an acre twice a week, which only should put less that 100 hours on the mower a year, is this still necessary?

    Thanks for your help Terry!
    Pete
     
  4. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Posts: 4,258

    ple_169,

    All Exmark walk behind mowers with the exception of the 2002 and 2003 Turf Tracers (the big brother to your machine) have bushings in the caster pivots. When new the bushings will allow about the same amount of up and down play that your seeing now. The side to side play will be there but 1/8" would indicate to me that there has been some wear which would be expected if your mower has a season or so of mowing on it. I am assuming that since it's a 2001 you bought it used and it would have a little wear in this area. You can unbolt them and clean out the barrel of the bushings and make sure they are not oblong or showing signs of excessive wear or damage. Also look at the bottom bushing to make sure the seat (where the caster makes contact with the lower flat face of the bushing) isn't showing signs of excessive wear or thinning. I looked up the price of the bushings and your only looking at about $10 for a complete set so if it were my machine I'd swap them out. For the amount of time you'll be using the machine it's possible you won't ever need to replace them again. Even for a commercial cutter replacing them annually is probably not necessary but for $10 versus adding wear to the front frame it's a simple choice for me. Just contact your dealer for actual pricing information and availability of the parts.

    Your going to see wear in the bushing over time but lubricating the caster pivot often will increase the life of the bushings. Much of the wear is caused by dirt, sand or any number of gritty debris that can get into the pivot. The grease does lubricate the pivot but more importantly it pushes the bad stuff out and acts like a barrier to prevent more bad stuff from getting back in.

    Thanks

    Terry
     
  5. ple_1969

    ple_1969 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 204

    Terry…

    Thanks for the info!

    The TTHP is actually brand new well at least never used. The guy had it in his show room for folks to look at before buying one. He gave me a great deal since it is a leftover.

    One more question, the key that came with the mower is an after market key. Some stole the original one. Could I purchase the original style from eXmark that has the black ignition plastic cover molded to the key? How much would that be?

    Pete
     

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