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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by Roger, Jan 12, 2014.
Roger, at one time Exmark offered a pistol grip conversion kit for the ECS Turf Tracers.
I would have to disagree with this. The proper way to adjust height on a fixed deck machine is first adjust the rear axle or where the mower mounts to the engine/rear assembly for the proper height there. Then adjust the front wheels spacers to the proper setting. Then adjust the blade spacers. Now most people do not do this and end up with the front of the deck too high or too low because nobody ever moves the rear setting....
While many floating deck walkbehinds simpley require lifting the deck and moving 2 pins on that side. Then repeat on the other side.
Have you thought about a 36" Stander. You are in the ballpark pricewise.
pugs, ... I've read the suggested height adjustment many times here on LS. While agreeing with you in principle, IMO those rear deck adjustments are unnecessary. In 17 years, I've done one thing with those adjuster bolts - replaced one that came loose and was lost. I always run two washers up. two washers down, on the spindle bolts. Many years ago, I tried various combinations, but settled on the 2/2 combination. Running three (or four) up, one (or none) below, puts that blade below the deck. This position puts the blades at risk in terms of scalping out. The 2/2 combination, I rarely see any blade engagement from the ground. I think running the blade higher in the deck reduces the discharge force.
On the spindle spacers, I run one of three postions, none up, four below, one up, three below, or two/two. Most uses are 3/1 or 2/2. Perhaps a final cut of the season, I might run 1/3, but that is rare. With my typical use, I never am able to see any difference in cut quality for any of the typical position. Yes, I realize deck pitch is not ideal for all settings, but the results are good and acceptable. As discerning as I am, I cannot tell any difference. I do change the height settings often, sometimes on the same property (e.g. front yard, rear yard).
If I am knocking down an overgrown area, I will use 4/0 on the caster spindle spacers, and 0/4 on the blade bolts. In other words, the deck is as high as possible, and the blade is as high under the deck as possible. In these knock down situations, quality of cut is irrelevant. I also mount low lift blades. I don't want to use engine power to drive high lift blades, as I'm not concerned about discharge throw. The first pass with these settings is only to get the tall grass knocked down, preparing for another pass or two with more typical settings.
Just for reference, if I run my John Deere 717A, with 7 Iron deck beside any Exmark line, the quality of cut of the JD is superior. In this comparison, I can see a difference, regardless of Exmark spacer or washer settings. 7 Iron deck is hard to beat for quality of cut.
As for a stand-on machine, I have considered this option. The primary reason for having a w/b is to deal with some tough terrain. I would be concerned a stand-on machine would not address the terrain areas, and would have to fall back on my 21" hand mower. I know some will say, "demo, demo...." No, I don't think that is the answer. On a demo, I would not be familiar enough with the machine to take it where I need to take it. I've had my ZTR for five seasons, 2,500 hours, and I am still learning how best of navigate difficult terrain. So, having a 36" stand-on for a couple of hours would not tell me what I want to know. If I had another LCO in the area with a 36" stand-on who could use his experience to show how the 36" stand-on would work, this would be helpful. But, I hardly know anybody with a 36" w/b, let alone a stand-on. I know that I have acquired a few properties over time where the customer has booted another LCO trying to use a 48" stand-on. When I arrived, the slopes were torn up, torn up badly. So, apparently, the LCO was able to use the machine to some extent, but also compromised the turf in doing so. I do know another LCO in my area with two Wright 48" Standers, and he does very well on difficult terrains. He is experienced and does a fine job on all his properties.
sjennson, good suggestion for a pistol grip conversion on Exmark Viking and TT. In my discussions with the dealer last week, I expressed dissatisfaction with the ECS, and my like for pistol grip. He never offered anything regarding a conversion. I did not ask specifically, but his silence on a conversion now tells me that none is available. I like the pistol because of where the leverage resides. A 36" is still light enough to have some manual control of the machine. With ECS the hands are close to 12" higher than my hips. Leverage is primarily of upper body, not of the strongest part of my body, the hips/legs. I suppose I have become so accustomed to how I operate the machine, I have a hard time to see otherwise. I often control direction along a straight line through manual control, not hydro control. I'm sure this is not possible with a 48" machine -- heavier and wider footprint.
Thanks for lots of dialoge on this thread. I wasn't sure there would be much interest. I appreciate hearing lots of good comments and ideas.
Roger, just an fyi, I have a standon and turf tracers. Obviously, some will disagree with my opinion so take it for what it is worth. There are some areas with difficult terrain that while one can mow them with a stander over the long term they really should not use them. Turf tearing, rutting and tracking, slipping and sliding. And, in those very difficult areas, the operator has to be so careful and go so slow that the walk behind may actually be faster. Admitted, many will disagree with my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. From reading posts about standers it appears the smaller deck units do not handle hills as well as the larger units.
If you like, I will call my dealer and see if Exmark still offers a pistol grip conversion kit for your Viking. If they do, I will either post the part number or send you a pm.
If you go Stander you could always keep your old 36" walkbehind as a backup....unless you were selling that to buy the new one. Although being 17 years old or whatever I cant imagine getting enough for it to warrant not keeping it as a backup.
As for the ECS I definitely agree with you there. I dont mow...but moving a disabled ECS machine around SUCKS. I work on some from time to time...give me a pistol grip machine with a flat tire or whatever any day. At least there is something to pickup up on and move or push down on to pop the front end up.
You may want to move quickly as I thought I heard Ferris was working on some kind of ECSish control system.
Also for those that dont like the Ferris operator presence system of touching the handles or whatever...any current machine should not have that. They got rid of that system a year or two ago in favor of the old hold down the bail system. Apparently not only gloves were a problem. The system simply did not detect like 1 person out of 100 with bare hands
The exmark viking which he has now IS a fixed deck hydro mower.
It is essentially in almost every aspect the same machine as any of the other fixed deck 36" hydros out there.
The drawback to having a 36" with a floating deck is the deck is much heavier than a fixed deck, but has a narrow wheel spread..this gives it poor sidehill handling making the nose want to dive on hillsides.
Larger machines, like the TT in say a 52" have the wheel base to compensate.
But nothing really sidehills like a fixed deck walkbehind.
One might choose to have a fixed deck 36", even if they had a floating deck 48 or 52, simply because they only plan on using in in hills, ditches and other extreme areas.
Many properties might have a 'rough' and a 'fairway'
The eye catching turf gets cut with the floating deck and the 'rough' gets cut by the fixed deck machine.
Hilly country in the north east commonly has this routine.
For example you will commonly see a walker GHS doing the front yard, with a 60" Z buzzing down the back yard and a fixed deck WB doing hills and ditches.
Everyone who looks at the property, sees the walkers work, and it gives an impression the entire property was given this level of detail.
Most regular consumers don't wander over under the bushes in the shade to compare that cut over yonder to the glowing green and white lines right in front of them....
So, that would be why they might not get a floating deck for all their machines.
However, if all your lawns are tight an small, and there is no back 40 or rough to maintain... the 36" machine might be your front line production unit.
and then the floating deck might be what you want.
Used to be you couldnt get a floating deck in a 36". I think ferris was one of the first to do this.
Their ECSish machine will have the same control levers as their Evolution hybrid rider/stander
I'm firmly in the pistol grip preferred crowd for a walk behind, even tho I own ferris evos
Again, the discussion of the new mower is a floating deck.
Imo, I couldnt imagine running a fixed deck.
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