Sealed Spindles vs. Greasable Spindles

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Distorted, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Distorted

    Distorted LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,039

    I have an Exmark Z HP with a little over 500 hrs on it, and had to have the spindles replaced. They were the sealed type, which required "no maintenance." I was told by the shop that nothing was unusual about that, but I think that was very poor longevity. The fellow I talked to at the shop, when pinned down, said he preferred greasable spindles although they do require attention.

    I have had more than my share of problems with the Exmark and plan to move on now. I need more machine anyway, and have looked at the Hustler Super Z 72" diesel, and the Ferris 5000is 72" diesel. The Hustler has sealed spindles, and I forget about the Ferris spindles. Any thoughts from the experienced here on the relative merits of the two types, and if there are any on the market with greasable spindles in that range of machine? :help:
     
  2. GrassBustersLawn

    GrassBustersLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 983

    I've got 1900 + hours on my Lazer Zhp 48" & NEVER had to do anything to spindles (know on wood). Sounds like you just had bum ones to start.

    I have a Toro Z-147 with greasable spindles. It has 650+ hours w/no problems.


    Mike
     
  3. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    I personally think that it's six of one and a half dozen of the other. Greasable ones you stay after with a grease gun until they where out and then replace the bearings, and sealed ones you ignore until they wear out and then replace the bearings. Replacing the bearings in a sealed bearing spindle is a simple operation.

    My $0.02,
    Doc
     
  4. eclawn

    eclawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    My Experiance As A Mechanic Is That The Greasable Spindles Hold Up Alot Better. And To Answer On The Ferris Is5000z, It Has Thier Herculies Spindles, Which Are Amazing. They Have A 10.5'' Base, Have Monster Tappered Roller Bearings Even Larger Then Scag & Toro. The Other 2 Best Spindles. And Yes They Are Greasable. Just A Note The Tappered Roller Bearings Will Handle 50% More Load Then A Ball Bearing Of Equal Size.
     
  5. jbell113

    jbell113 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 654

    I posted on here about 2 weeks ago about this. I to have the exmark and the spindle bearings were starting to roar alot meaning they were on there way out. I bought a new complete spindle housing minus the spindle and put it on. I took the old one off and a friend of mine who is an airplane mechanic with delta showed me how to install grease fittings on the spare spindle housing. We pumped grease into it after we put the bearings back in and the grease filled it up and was oozing out of the bearings. Installed the housing back on the mower and doesnt make any roaring noise anymore. Worked out great and will save me alot of money and time from senseless repairs.
     
  6. Distorted

    Distorted LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,039

    I visited another local dealer today who carried both Hustler and Ferris. He had a few interesting things to say. About the Hustler Super Z diesel, he said he had multiple problems, which ultimately caused Hustler to be required to buy back at least one. He laid blame on the design of the engine allignment, which gave the machine commendable smoothness, but did not allow a belt operated fan system that caused continual relay failure with the electrical fan assembly and overheating. He has quit carrying the hustler diesel as a result. His mechanic confirmed the experiences in my presence.

    He also recommended the Ferris IS4500Z over the IS5000Z, as a much smoother machine and more trouble free machine. I was able to see the Ferris spindle as descibed by eclawn above on a cutaway model the dealer had, and confirmed its grease zerk and substantial construction. It impressed me, but then what do I know about spindles anyway. The 4500 is a newer model with an improved swing axle rear suspension design that he said better dampened the ride than does the 5000. I was able to test the 5000, but not the 4500. The 5000 eleminated the harse aspect of most Z's, but was too "bouncy" at the other end of the ride spectrum. Maybe the 4500 is just right, as the dealer suggested. To get maximum cutting speed these big guys can deliver, it seems important to me that a decent ride be there too. What good will it do to have a 12mph speed if the damned thing throws your driver out on the ground? The problem is that it will not have the 72" deck until next year, and may or may not have a rear discharge one then. Too, the 4500 has "only" a 28hp diesel, while the older machine has a 31.5hp engine. The 5000 is ~$1500 more from this dealer's quoted price.
     
  7. rob1325

    rob1325 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 685

    In my experience, greasable spindles out last any sealed one. Spindles really heat up and break down the grease (just touch one on hot day after cutting for a few hours). Being able to pump fresh grease really makes them last. Only draw back to greasable is more time in maintence, which really isn't much, and the ablity to get contaminats in, which you should wipe off zerks first. Also, relief valves on them so you don't blow the seals and tapered bearing last longer. I have Scag spindles which have over 2,700 hrs + that I never changed yet.
     
  8. Cobra Jock

    Cobra Jock LawnSite Member
    Posts: 206

    I always look at where the person is using the mower. He's probably getting into a lot of sand in Houston area, you may have better conditions. We have 5 Super Z Hustlers at work and we eat spindles (new and old style)constantly. Just a thought

    Greg
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    One thing worthy of mention is sealed bearings are capable of FAR higher rpm's than greasable, which is the reason they put sealed bearings on ALL fixed decks because fixed decks run a LOT higher blade rpm's than floaters.

    I have two 48" prolines fixed deck, the Toro equivalent of the Xmark, both have sealed bearings and yes, they need replacing about every 2 years (I cut 700-800/year and split it between the machines) BUT it only costs 50 dollars per set (so $150 per mower) and takes about an hour IF you've done them 3-4 times before you get good at it, first time took me like 8 hours LOL!

    It is a bit of a pita this necessary evil, but it's the price I gladly pay for owning a superior grass-cutting machine...For cutting grass, float-decks are to fixed decks what scissors are to a straight razor when cutting hair - ONLY a pro can use the razor AND turn out a better cut first time, every time and for less money... The $150 spent every 2 years is more than made up for in raw speed and increased fuel mileage both in the truck pulling 200 pounds LESS equipment AND in yards/gallon, nevermind less moving parts and it's a LOT easier to push when the motor won't turn.
     
  10. Distorted

    Distorted LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,039

    I talked with the dealer again from my post #6 above, who is still singing that tune about the Hustler Diesel SuperZ being designed with an electric servo fan rather than run off the drive shaft resulting in numerous blown electric relays and resulting in over-heating. Anyone have that problem on the big boy, or have enough hours on one to dispel the thought?
     

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