1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns in the Franchising forum plus sign up to receive a FREE eBook on how to grow your landscape business.

    Dismiss Notice

Gator blade warning

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Remo Sid, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Remo Sid

    Remo Sid LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 55

    Mower started shaking very bad . What I found causing it was the end of the blade was broken off. The blade is only about 1 inch wide where it broke. Took the other blades off and one of them was starting to crack in the same place. We do mow some pretty rough ground, but nothing like this has ever happened before. Will not use them any more for safety reasons.
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    Thanks for the post. This is something that we do here on occasion and I've wanted to discuss it for a while. It probably occurs more often than we know and definitely more often in sandy conditions.

    I'm not sure if your in an area with a great deal of sand but what we've seen happen more traditional blade designs is that the sand will abrade the base of the airfoil. The effect is light continuous sand blasting to this area that slowly thins and weakens the area. The weak area then cracks. With the more traditional style blade designs the crack isn’t as much of an issue because there is usually plenty of metal farther in on the blade to keep the airfoil attached. During sharpening the crack is usually noticed and the blade is discarded. If there is less metal to begin with these cracks could possibly occur and the weak area could break free prematurely before any wear could be noticed

    With some of these non-traditional designs the airflow and abrasion pattern is higher on the airfoil and can occur between the "teeth" or "serations". Now when the metal gets thin and cracks there's nothing to keep that section attached.

    The scary part is that if your side discharging where did the 1/4" or 1/2" piece of sharp metal go? You'd be amazed at the number of these types of blades I see still being used with "teeth" missing.

    I don't want to talk any of you guys out of using these types of blades. If they work in your conditions on your machine go for it. I do however want everyone to know that you need to inspect any blade on occasion. We recommend every after 8 hours of use for our blades. On some blade designs however you may need to inspect them more often and more thoroughly.

    Thanks for the post

  3. lahanko

    lahanko LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Messages: 173


    If you knew about this why did you not post anything about it?
    Seems pretty serious to me.:confused:
  4. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    One of the catch 22's as a manufacturer is after market, non-OEM and independent fabricators building new, unique and sometimes very good stuff.

    We really can't tell you that you can't use a particular product. We can't really even tell you that a product may be dangerous if we have not personally tested a product under a controlled environment or at least in a controlled test.

    What may look to be a great idea sometimes may not be. We don't really know until we've tested it. What may look like a very bad idea may turn out to be great but we again can't really comment until we've tested it either.

    You should have seen the pages of e-mail I got after I said, "we don't recommend solid filled tires". Can't wait to see what this one brings. So if your reading this and you sell solid filled tires I didn't say you couldn't use them, I just said we don't recommend them. The simple fact is that we have our hands full with testing our own products and don't test much in the way of after market products.

    You'll also find that I won't go out and blast another product or at least I'll try not to. If you bring it up I can tell you some of the things we've seen from a product however. Please also keep in mind that most if not all of the information we have on most after market parts, products and components comes from guys like yourself or from things we pick up when we travel through out the country putting on schools, visiting dealers etc.

    Our Customer Support group and Customer Service Department have all recently finished up our travel season and you can look forward to many more new and interesting things we've learned. Maybe not all that interesting but new anyway.

    The truth is we get some very positive feedback on this blade in certain situations. However in this particular instance the blade may have been used past it's useful or safe life. Fortunately when you buy Exmark stuff you get Exmark testing and Exmark approval. When you don’t we’ll do what we can as we learn but we will always be more limited in our knowledge of someone else’s stuff.

    I understand your point we’ll try to keep that in mind for the future.


  5. Remo Sid

    Remo Sid LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 55

    These blades were about two weeks old, and had been sharpened once. I am familiar with the type wear you referred to, with the sand and debree wearing the blade so thin that it eventually breaks off. What I am talking about breaking off is the entire end of the blade. All three of the uplifts, and where they are attached went. A piece about 5, or 6 inches long. Thats a pretty good size chunk of metal sent flying through the air. I had those type blades on one other mower that hadn't been used as much, and I had them removed. They did not show any signs of damage however. As I said in my previous post, we do mow some pretty rough terrain, and do hit the occaisional rock, or limb. These blades may be fine for certain conditions, but I think the buyer should be aware of what can happen if they were to hit some object with this type blade.
  6. MikeLT1Z28

    MikeLT1Z28 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,732

    hmmm this makes me wonder then... i was using my 48" last week side discharging and heard something in the deck then a shatter. broke a customers window. using doubles and gators are one of the sets. better check the deck when i get up.
  7. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    Thanks for the heads up. That is something to be aware of. Just a suggestion. I'm reasonably sure that the manufacturer of that blade would want to get it back for inspection and testing.

    Could be the blade was too hard which made it brittle causing it to crack and break. It's hard to say but like I said I'm reasonably sure they'll want it back. You never know they just might learn something new themselves.


  8. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    As far as knowing before hand, looks to me like it would open up a can of worms called libel. Information can still be had, that's what makes the web so great.

Share This Page