Anyone want to help me learn how to use a Scag?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Damian, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Damian

    Damian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Short version, I've been using 21" Snapper mowers for as long as I've done this job off and on from high school through college and even now. I know how to use them, I'm comfortable with them and am secure knowing that one can't get away from me.

    I'm going to need to learn how to use a Scag Ultracut 32 - or is it 36"? mower. I've dl'd and looked at the manual and other than knowing how to tell if a slope is too steep when wet and the best way to make a turn - make a Y - that doesn't help at all as far as knowing the little things that only experience will teach me.

    Anyone want to share their experiences and tips on learning how to use the beast? I mean, maybe I'm panicking and making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I realize this is a much larger machine than a 21" Snapper and therefore more dangerous. I don't want to be a news story and I don't want to do a years worth of a yards profit in damage in one mow because I do something with it that experience would have prevented.

    One of the little tings I'm already aware of is that I will have to change mowing patterns. I figured early on that it was easier to use the Snapper by going in a counter-clockwise position due to the throttle? control. Especially when i have the baging attachment on, I know there is no way in hel to do that, so I figure I'll be doing much more back and forth mowing than I have ever done. Okay, I've rambled enough.

    The learning curve is steep and I have a one speed bike...
  2. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    relax... take a deep breath... and say to yourself...
    "It's only a lawn mower.... It's only a lawn mower...."

    Yea, it may be a little intimidating at first... but you my friend OPERATE it!
    You make it go, you stop it, you turn it.... all by squeezing the handles.

    Practice with it on your street. Blades disengaged of course. And just practice figure 8's... stopping, turning.... practice the pull turn.

    Pull turn for me is.... pulling the mower back slightly half way through the turn while releasing the inside rear tire from braking or else you'll have a good chance of that tire tearing up the grass.

    Especially when grass is wet... never lock up the left or right rear tire to make a turn cause you WILL slide/tear the turf.

    Again, practice on the street... then graduate to your own property...
  3. farmboy1285

    farmboy1285 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 574

    When I first learned how to drive my 32" Walkbehind I kept getting confused on which lever to pull to turn in the right direction, but after a while I realized that to go left you pull the left handle and to go right you pull the right handle (who would have ever thought of that one:confused::laugh:). Anyway just start out in an open area at a slow speed and get a feel for it then move to the grass. As for the being afraid of the mower part, DONT BE. Assuming that the safety features work you don't have anything to worry about. Just practice a little and try to be confident, after a few days it will be like second nature. Hope it all works out well.
  4. Damian

    Damian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Provided the safety features are in place, do you get hit any more by flying debris? I'm presuming the engine is more powerful thus the blades spin faster. I work in Texas and wear shorts and the manual says to wear long pants. Maybe the Snapper does too, but there is no way I can work in the Texas heat with long pants.

    Going over sprinkler valve covers - specifically the plastic ones - is not a problem with a Snapper. What about a Scag? Of course, we use mulching blades here, so that is certainly a consideration, but still...

    If you suffer from lower back problems, is this an easier machine to operate than a smaller mower? It's not a question of if my back will go out, but how soon and how many times this year...

    I know I worry too much, but then again, how any times have I thought somethng would be relatively easy and then find it to be much harder and more time consuming?
  5. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Yes I think you are right. You are making a mountain out of a mole hill.
  6. Penscape Landscaping

    Penscape Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 357

    Just start slow in the lowest speed and practice on your own lawn. One of my buds tried mine hit a sunday paper and it snowed little pieces for a few seconds. It took a little to clean up that mess!
  7. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,614

    i think a z turn may be the easiest thing to drive, just use it, drive around the drive way, you get used to it in less than an hour...
  8. All_Toro_4ME

    All_Toro_4ME LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,578

    If you live on a street that doesnt have a lot of traffic, try test driving the mower with either the rounded side of the deck, or the grass chute side parallel along with the curb, down the block. This will help with straight lines, and remember to slow down when turning around. Avoid making turns on one wheel if you can. Hope this helps.
  9. Pro Edge Lawn & Landscape

    Pro Edge Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 98

    How I mastered the scag
    * always engage the blades when unloading from trailer
    * always cut grass at maximum speed
    * always keep the blades running when emptying the hopper
    * customers love when you hit curb at full speed
    * always keep the moter running when fueling
    * if the gate measures 32" and you have a 36" deck, go fast you will get through

    From the guy 3rd degree burns on my face, missing 3 fingers, a stub for a left foot, and no customers!
  10. Damian

    Damian LawnSite Member
    Messages: 242

    Okay, maybe I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. However, this did yeild a couple of good points.

    With a 21", curbs are no problem, you just pop the wheels on/off - being mindful of the machine of course. With the bigger machines... do youhave to worry about skid marks if backing up over a curb or would you even do that?

    I have shuddered every since I heard of machines that you can leave the motor running but disengage the blades. I guess for a large machine it's much different from a small as far as loading it and moving it, but.. I do tend to veg out at times and hope I never forget to disengage the blades when I'm supposed to.

    Finally, are these any harder to go straight with than a 21"?

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