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An Appeal to Ferris Owners

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nathannc, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. nathannc

    nathannc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    If any Ferris owner has a 72" side discharge deck, please let me know. What I am planning is converting my rear discharge deck to a side discharge.

    After consulting with a talented welder, and a local lawn care service center who has been in the business for years and done it with smaller mowers, this can be done and done well for around $500.00.

    What I need is some good hearted Ferris owner to allow me to make a template out of cardboard for the welder and the person rolling the metal for the baffles. The way I see it, this would entail taking off the blades, attaching some cardboard or other similar material where the blades go, and lightly tapping with a rubber mallet around the baffling and supports to make an imprint. (if someone has a better suggestion on how to do this, I would love to hear it)

    I live in Greensboro, NC and would be willing to travel a couple of hundred miles for the privilege of doing this. This would not in anyway harm your mower and I promise to be as non intrusive as possible. If you have a way to lift the mower deck really high, that would be great but, I will take what I can get.

    By the way, my deck comes off of a Ferris IS5000 but I think it would be the same for other Ferris models as well. I have also considered double blading, high lift blades and so on but, strongly believe that they would be inadequate solutions.

    Thanks for any and all help,
    Dave in NC
  2. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    Hi Dave,

    I understand your predicament. Though just to alert you that the larger Ferris decks never offered very good discharge performance, which I'm assuming you're looking for. So wasting a lot of time modifying a deck to discharge only to find out it isn't much superior to what you started with is something I'm trying to save you.

    Needless to say, what you're trying to achieve is difficult and time consuming. And there's the question if the modified deck won't be weakened at the point of discharge. Since you're so determined to keep this deck and modify it I suggest you use an exmark or scag deck as a template. What you will end up with should be much better than what ferris has to offer.


    Plus I'm not exactly thrilled about making a template of my deck, and it's a 61" on top of that.
  3. earth works inc

    earth works inc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I have a ferris 4000 that has a 72" side discharge on it. The mower is about 5 years old and has a 31 hp diahatsu water cooled engine. I live in dayton ohio. I could make a template for you if you want. email me at earthworksinc@woh.rr.com
  4. nathannc

    nathannc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    About two years ago I saw an IS5000 with a 72" side discharge in action. It worked fine and would have been more than adequate for my purposes. The guy mowed about 12 acres with it. Unfortunately, he got rid of the property and no no longer has it and, does not know where the guy lives that he sold it too. The long and short of it is, it worked a LOT better than the rear discharge deck on taller grasses.

    As a side note, Mowyo, I sent a message to you regarding your deck.

    Dave in NC
  5. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,456

    dave I have to ask why change the deck? I was contemplating getting a ferris w/ a rear discharge what's the downside?
  6. Grassman6

    Grassman6 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Dave, I agree with your thought process and recently completed the same baffle modification on a Ferris 61" with great results. You don't need a template, just clear the #1 blade (non-discharge side) by 1/2 inch with the new baffle then wrap it over the #2 blade and put as much distance from #3 to the front of the deck as possible. I opened up the chute from 13 to 17 inches and adapted a JD 7 Iron high lift with a greater offset than the Ferris flat blades. Reduced the blow out in front of the deck and now we are tossing grass 8 feet to the side.
  7. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,679

    A rear discharge deck, of any brand, is not suitable for getting a nice finish cut. The rear discharge will always deliver an inferior finish to a side discharge deck, and it only gets worse in thick, tall grass conditions. The side discharge can throw clippings 2 or 3 times the width of the cut. The rear discharge will windrow what you cut in an area only the width of your deck. This makes your cut look like a mowed hay field.
    There are other cut quality problems with rear discharge decks, but the windrow look is one of the worst problems to deal with.
    I would never recommend a rear discharge deck for any purpose, other than mowing highway medians with heavy vehicle traffic on both sides.
  8. nathannc

    nathannc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Clumping primarily if the grass gets too high. In my case, I cut the grass/weeds at the highest setting which makes this phenomenon even worse. If it is something that you mow regularly where the grass doesn't get too high, the rear discharge will do an acceptable job. However, it will not do as well as a side discharge. My strong advice is, stick with a side discharge.

    I just wish I had stumbled on a post like this before I bought the mower. However, from what I understand, the conversion from a rear discharge to a side discharge can be done for less than $500.00.
  9. jkilov

    jkilov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MS
    Messages: 1,415

    And clumps of grass left over are pretty much normal for this type of deck.

    But interestingly enough, a lot of commercial/industrial accounts state in their contract that "a rear discharge deck is preferred" or even obligatory. I know cause a lost a bid once. Guessing the main reason is clippings blown on adjacent properties and the cut quality being irrelevant.

    So Nathan, did you purchase this mower for commercial or residental use ?
  10. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,679

    Safety is what they are thinking of in these cases. No debris flying out the side chute to hit something, or someone.


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