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Country Clipper mulching kit review

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mowhigh, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. mowhigh

    mowhigh LawnSite Member
    from Dallas
    Messages: 198

    Finally had a chance to install and use the mulching kit on my 52" Charger; this is essentially the same deck as on the JAZee (other than blades, 48 & 52 kits are identical, except for the baffle).
    My initial concerns were clumping (I tend to procrastinate on mowing, which on my previous JD meant removing the endplate when mowing any tall stuff) and losing the fanatastic blower capability that I enjoyed from the side discharge.
    Installation was straight-forward. The included blades are Gators, along with a baffle (attached to endplate). The assembled unit is attached to the deck with 4 hex bolts (which I immediately considered replacing with something like a wingnut for easier removal, especially in tall grass).
    Prior to installation (greatly simplified with the flip-up deck) I thoroughly scraped and hosed off the underside (which really needed it - thanks again for the flip-up feature). I worried that it would accumulate even more debris with the additional baffle and endplate (wasn't true).
    MOWING: cut great, without any blowout; the deck still had enough suction to pull in taller weeds (last mowed one week ago after lots of rain - had left noticeable clippings/windrows). No noticeable new clippings, while last week's showed moderate improvement. As I started on the taller grass in my back section, I kept waiting for clumping or other signs that the mower/deck was getting overwhelmed, but it just continued humming along. By now, I would have had to remove the JD's endplate and even back up occasionally to clear the deck (a friend's Toro had stalled out repeatedly in this stuff).
    After 3 hours of mulching (including a long, wet strip along a neighbor's yard) I expected that cleaning the underside would be much worse than before. I was very pleasantly surprised that I had much less scraping than when I side-discharged. There were a couple of clumps along the added baffle and front corner of the endplate, but these were easily cleared with blower and hose, rather than scraping. I think that easy removal of the mulch kit (still thinking about wingnuts) will further simplify cleanup.
    My other concern about losing my convenient blower was also premature. While not as powerful as before, it still did the job better than my old JD (which was better than the new ones I demoed). There was also much, much less to have to blow away (mostly where I had to straddle a sidewalk or driveway). It was also nice to be able to reverse direction (and offset tire ruts) around patios, flowerbeds and perimeters, without worrying about discharged clippings.
    My verdict: 2 thumbs up!
  2. MoonCricket

    MoonCricket LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Does the mulch kit blow clippings and smaller dead grass out
    from under the mowing deck onto the top of the deck?
    Mine does and even covers my sweaty legs with it.
    I get pretty filthy with the clippings sticking to me and may go back to side discharge.
    I look like I've been tarred and feathered with grass debris.
  3. mowhigh

    mowhigh LawnSite Member
    from Dallas
    Messages: 198

    I get a little of that (more like dust) but probably about the same as when I discharged (and less than when I discharged without the chute). I usually wear jeans and long sleeves when mowing, so I'm able to just shake it off when done. I also try to mow pretty high (4 - 4 1/2") and wonder if that helps to reduce blowout. You can also try the gator blades without the endplate and/or baffle to see if that discharges smaller clippings. The only other thing I can think of is the factory deck setting. I found my blade height was about 1 1/2" lower than the cutting height indicator. I replaced the front deck bolts with shorter ones (when I maxed out the bolt threads trying to raise it up) and also disregarded the instructions for deck leveling (including the new instructions CC faxed me in late May when I questioned the owner's manual). Instead, I adjusted the deck as high as I could (keeping it level L-R) and set the rake angle just over 1/16" (front blade tip lower than rear). It's usually recommended that it be set at 1/8 - 1/4 (some say 1/4 is best for striping). Even with these adjustments my actual cut is about 3/4" lower than the height indicator. I really think that (despite their different specs) the highest cut for the Charger and the JAZee is the same 4 1/2", since they both use the same cutting height bracket. Two other lawnsite posters, rvrdvr and bantam, actually assemble the CC ztrs and could probably give you some good suggestions. I think that rvrdvr uses a JAZee, Charger and Zeton in his own lco. Good luck...
  4. MoonCricket

    MoonCricket LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks for the tips Mowhigh, I'll look into these adjustments and go from there.

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