Considering running double blades on a 15HP 48in Exmark TT

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by MGenay, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. MGenay

    MGenay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    The title says most of it. I bag all but one of my yards and while I wish I could buy a Lazer with an Ultra Vac, I'm a college student and I couldn't fit one of those in my parents garage with their cars. I bought an Accelerator bagger and I am happy with it compared to the original Exmark one.

    My issues are this, during the spring and fall the bagger fills up extremely quickly, it does not pack very well with the long grass (once it fills up, I can remove it from the mower and shake the grass down inside to half the original size). I feel (maybe hope is a more accurate term) that if I mounted dual blades I would be able to chop up the grass finer, and discharge it with more force so that it would pack in the bagger better. It is not uncommon for me to empty once per 50ft long stripe on some yards in the spring. That easily equates to 15 times I empty the bagger per hour (its only that low because I have to account for the trimming time), I feel confident saying that in those cases I spend more time emptying the bagger than I do actually cutting the grass. I worry that this is putting a lot of stress and wear on the clutch.

    Furthermore because I am missing the vacuum action of a ultra vac or trac vac, I have issues sucking the leaves under the deck (it seems leaves seem to get sucked under from the left side and the rear, however in the front about half get blown away). This causes serious issues in the fall when I'm trying to leave a clean final cut after leaf clean ups.

    I have been doing research into the idea of running double blades but I wanted opinions before I go out and buy another set of non-high lift blades. I have a couple sets of high lift blades, the Exmark ones, I am very happy with the cut quality (minus the issue that developed at the end of last season in the link at the bottom of this post). I worry that my high lifts might be causing blow out of the leaves in the front of the deck, and mounting two sets of blades would just exacerbate that problem. I will check on that by side discharging a portion of my yard which has leaves on it when I cut friday and see if it still blows leaves out the front.

    So what are some opinions on running double blades with a bagger? Blow out issues? What blades should I be using? Heard using two sets of high lifts is a ton of strain on the mower, plus on the one yard I side discharge I don't want to be throwing grass 4 stripes over. Currently it is two stripes and I like that, gives a good spread once its double cut. Should I be looking for a mulching blade and a highlift? Gators? What are mid lifts can't seem to find much info on them? What blade on top and what on bottom? Finally and most importantly, will this improve my bagging?

    On a slight side note, I've seen trac vacs that mounted on top of walk behinds, though as far as I can tell they aren't made any more. Anyone have experience with those? Do they throw a lot of dust in your face? Whats the visibility like? Reliability and ease of use? How much does it suck to empty one of those 50 gallon drums into the back of a truck?
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
  2. Hawkshot99

    Hawkshot99 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,427

    I have a 15hp 48" Viking. I pretty much always run doubles, however I do not bag. I discharge everything and have a OCDC. My normal setup is a highlift on the bottom, and a "T4"(similar to a gator) on top.

    I still get a great lift with the high lift, and chops up the clippings to small pieces.

    In the fall I will switch to double mulchers, or 2 T4's. These setups are great for leaves. Alot of people say that it is bad for the cluch to engage with doubles, but I have a manuel clutch, so I just feather it in. A belt still lasts me about 2 years, and still have all the original spindles(8 yrs).
  3. MGenay

    MGenay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    That is good to hear. Do you have any issues with sucking the leaves under the deck?
  4. Hawkshot99

    Hawkshot99 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,427

    Blowout? No but, I have the discharge totally open to shoot out the grass. Not sure how a bag would affect it.
  5. MGenay

    MGenay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Ahh okay. I thought you might have had to use the mulching function with it during cutting, figured that would've been somewhat similar to what I am doing with a bagger.
  6. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,098

    I ran a similar setup last fall on my TT. Standard wavy mulch blade on top gator highlift on the bottom. With a side bagger I had a good bit of blowout on the front right side. I found it best that I leave the catcher off and circle the leaves into a pile the pick the up while backing over the pile.
  7. MGenay

    MGenay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Nuts that is disappointing to hear. On many of my yards I just plain don't have the option of blowing leaves into a pile, often cutting next to beds.

    I'm starting to debate getting one of the 470 Trac Vacs for it, though I'm a shorter guy (5' 8" on a good day) and only way about a 145 soaking wet. I worry about being able to see over it, and when loading/unloading the trailer to be able to pop up the front so it doesn't grab on the lip. Anyone have experience with these, know what their weight is? How much dust ends up coming back in your face? Do they hang over the front of the mower? I don't have much wiggle room in the garage with the car, I need to be able to get the front caster wheels tight against the wall.
  8. balms

    balms LawnSite Member
    Messages: 100

    I don't know your property situation, if this is possible, why not look into getting a small shed (8x10) to store your equipment in? Get your stuff out of your parents garage and still be secure and out of the weather.
  9. MGenay

    MGenay LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    Unfortunately they are illegal in our development...

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