Alum vrs Iron Spindles

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by saktate, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. saktate

    saktate LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    I would appreciate some manufatureres and knowledgeable lawn care professionals helping me understand the pros and cons of aluminum spindles and cast iron spindles.

    What effect does hitting the inevitable ant mound or tree root have on each spindle type? Are breakway pins or components engineered in the spindles for such an event?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    You can find information about spindles by typing in the word spindle in the search bar. Good luck.
  3. saktate

    saktate LawnSite Member
    Messages: 57

    The search result for "spindles" resulted in much dialogue about sealed spindles and zerk fitted spindles. This is not the issue I was seeking information about. I was hoping to learn what the research and development engineers must know since most manufacturers have switched from cast iron to aluminum. I'd like to think it was not a decision based only on profit margin.

    My 1970's era Woods finish deck has the orignal three cast iron spindles. I'm leaning toward buying a ZTR (with alum spindles) for reasons other than the spindles. I thought maybe with all the manufacturers on this site, maybe one would share some information about the advantages of alum versus iron.

    Thank you.
  4. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    My next idea is to post the question in the sponsor forums such as the Exmark one and also in the Hustler forum. They monitor there own forums pretty good so you should get a response from them.
  5. dbear

    dbear LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    Had one dealer tell me that aluminum housings don't retain as much heat as the cast iron. My personal take is aluminum is probably cheaper thereby increasing manufacturer profit.
  6. DLS1

    DLS1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,619

    Dbear, I have heard the same thing from dealers but that just sounds like some marketing buzzwords to say so their product is better than someone elses. They are probably both the same in the end or everyone would be going to aluminum housings if there are so much better than cast iron spindles.
  7. BladeRunner Rep

    BladeRunner Rep Banned
    Messages: 65

    Actually there is some truth to the fact that aluminum spindles disipate heat much faster than cast iron. However being a softer metal there is more mass on a aluminum spindle to have the same strength of a cast iron spindle. If you spin a bearing on a aluminum spindle it is shot, a cast iron spindle may still be useable.

    Aluminum is definetly cheaper to buy than cast iron. In the end they both do the job!
  8. Sam-Ohio

    Sam-Ohio LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 304

    At our dealership we see much more total failures of the spindle in aluminum housing units than in cast iron or steel housing units.

    The Aluminum will roach out when the bearing seizes or the aluminum will stick to the bearing when the bearing is pressed out, and the new bearing cannot be seated tightly in the old housing. So you have to buy a new housing very often , with the new bearings.

    Aluminum will also break or split much more often than iron does. Hit a rock or catch the tip of the spindle as you jump a curb and its not hard to break an aluminum spindle housing. Iron or cast steel is much stronger.

    Ball Bearings also give more problems than tapered roller bearings. If you hit something and get a big side shock - the ball bearings will dimple the race and start to grind and whine. They usually go to full failure within minutes to a couple of hours after this.
    The tappered roller bearings don't seem to be as fragile - they just go on and on as long as you grease them and keep pressure washers away from the zerk fittings.

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