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help the homeowner

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Squirter, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 172


    i've got a john deere lawn tractor (x300) with a 42" deck that i use on my own residential property (1/3 acre). it is not "the true mulching deck", rather its just the standard deck with side discharge with standard mower blades.

    after mowing with it for one season, i switched to "gator mulching blades" at the recommendation of a friend. they seemed to work fine and did not have any effect nor did they cause the mower deck to vibrate. smooth as the day i bought it. but, after speading new mulch in my mulch beds, i decided that i was getting tired of side-discharging clippings over mu new mulch...and i didn't like always having to mow in one direction to minimize to direct the discharge away from the mulch beds (foundation plantings). so, i decided to buy a "mulch kit" specifically made for my mower by john deere.

    i thought i was just buying some sort of plate that would plug the side discharge...as well as the new mulch blades that come with the kit. WHAT A JOKE!!! when the jd parts guy came out with the "kit", it was in a huge box. i opened the box and found this huge plastic contraption that slides in the side discharge opening and fits across the entire front edge of the deck and wraps around the side of the deck to plug the side discharge opening. its supported on the discharge side by the lip on the deck itself...and is secured on the left front with a bolt/wing nut. this plastic thing seems to occupy 8" of the underside of the front portion of the deck...leaving just enough room for blade clearance.

    well, i installed the thing...and the new mulch blades...and started mowing. admittedly, the grass was a little taller than i normally keep it due to lots of rain. when mowing with this new "kit", i seem to notice the deck/mower felt as though it was vibrating while mowing grass. noticably more than without the mulch kit. also, it didn't seem as though the quality of the cut was as good as the gator blades or the standard blades that came with the mower. i was seeing several blades of grass that weren't being cut and it was if i had to go over the mowed areas twice. also, i slowed down the speed at which i mow...but not the engine. yeah, it's mulching the clippings better than without the "plug" and i didn't have to be as concerned with getting grass clippings in the mulch beds...but i don't think i'm happy.

    any ideas why the cut isn't as good OR why i'm getting vibrations??? i realize with mulching, you have to mow FREQUENTLY and not let the grass get real long. but, this vibration thing is troubling and i'm afraid i may wind up destroying spindle bearings or worse. also, slower mowing speeds make this job too time consuming...especially when i'm not getting a good cut and having to double back to get the un-cut blades of grass i'm finding.

    any ideas???????? thanks for the help!!!!!
  2. pclawncare

    pclawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    I mulch kit sounds about right as far as leaving just enough room for the blades i dont know much about the plastic or jd as far as that goes but depending on the type of grass cut quality i find tends to suffer when mulching especialy if you dont have a real high hp machine and yes you do have to slow down or double cut. I dont know if they make one for the lawn tractor (i assume thats what it is?) you may want to look into a blade blocker or Operator Controled Discharge Chute its simply just a plate that covers the discharge chute when you dont want to blow the clippings out like around beds and other objects but then allows you to open the chute and blow and it can be down almost effortlessly and quickly usualy the pull or push of a lever just something you might look into
  3. MowerMedic77

    MowerMedic77 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,164

    Is the vibration present with the blades on and not cutting grass? If so then you may need to recheck the blade and washer(if any) install, make sure you have them all seated correctly on the bottom of the spindle. As far as making your mower a dedicated mulcher you answered your own question by cutting more frequently and at a slower ground speed(not engine rpm) also may need to try taking a smaller swipe if the lawn is extra high or thick by only using half the deck to allow for the cut grass to be mulched.

    42" of deck with tall thick maybe damp grass and no place to go but down on top of more tall, thick, damp grass:hammerhead: is a lot to ask without expecting clumping, missed blades and even stalling of the engine.
  4. Squirter

    Squirter LawnSite Member
    from Zone 5
    Posts: 172

    no vibration when blades turning WITHOUT cutting grass. i suspect it's just that the lawn is a bit long. as slow as i'm going to get a decent cut, i'm guzzling down the gas. oh well.....life is full of trade-off's. guess i'll just have to cut the lawn every couple of days....weather permitting. thanks!
  5. Partsangel

    Partsangel LawnSite Member
    Posts: 80

    I understand about the wind-rows aka side discharge. If I was you I would leave the mulch plug in and sharpen or replace the old Gator blades and put them back on, that way you would have the best of both worlds.

  6. Bill Kapaun

    Bill Kapaun LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 921

    "admittedly, the grass was a little taller than i normally keep it due to lots of rain"
    "...the lawn is a bit long"

    Just how many inches are you trying to cut off?
    Some people think a "little long" means still below the knees!

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