Gator blades slamming together...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Up North, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    I put a set of Gators on my 52" Snapper Z a while back and when I first fired it up and engaged the blades it sounded like one of them were hitting the deck, so I shut it down and checked the deck but didn't see any marks. Fired it up again and the dinging sound started as soon as the blades were engaged but this time I let it run for a minute or so and the noise stopped. I then mowed with it and all seemed fine, cut great, dispersed very small clippings. I had bought another set of Gators so I had two sets, I just put the new set on and they promptly starting clanging and banging like the first set but only louder this time. It appears that the right blade (next to chute) is hitting the blade in the middle. Is this common? I put the stock blades back on and no problems with them at all.

    Anyone else experience this with Gators? I don't think it's a problem with the Z due to stock blades working just fine.

  2. CuttersCove

    CuttersCove LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I've had blades do this on decks that got bent. The problem was only apparent when the blades were engaged.

    Something you can try is the next time you put new blades on, paint the ends, if they are hitting the paint should rub off. Then use a grinder to take down the edge a little bit so it stops.

    good luck

  3. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    It sounds like you have the wrong size blades. Measure a new factory blade from cutting tip to cutting tip and then measure the Gators. If the Gators are not the same exact size or smaller don't use them. It can be extremely damaging to spindle bearings and housings to have the blades beat together like that.
  4. lawnmedic1

    lawnmedic1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    The Magnum Gator blades we buy for our 52" snappers are the same as the 36". However the factory blades are 1/8" shorter. You need to file 1/16" off of each end to keep them from hitting....Chuck
  5. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    Richard, that's exactly why I went back to the stock blades, didn't want to tear anything up.

    I checked the deck and all seems fine there.

    Lawnmedic1, those are the exact blades i'm using, length must be the problem, never thought about actually measuring the darn things. But thanks for the info, I'll file them down.

    Thanks guys!

  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Up North -

    I was trying some mulching blades on my Ferris, and they were hitting. The blades themselves were about 1/16" longer than the stock blades and would only "tap" each other every 15 seconds or so.

    I called 2 different dealers and got the solution....

    I had to loosen up the bolts on one of the spindles, on my mower it was the right one, like yours, and when I tightened it back down, I had to make sure I pulled on the spindle as far to the right as I could.

    The holes for the spindles are just slightly oversized and it was enough to where my blades wouldn't hit anymore.
  7. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I had similar problems with Gators on my Walker GHS deck. One fin would clip the underneath side of the deck. No problem, took that fin to a grinder and never had the problem again. On an unrelated note, Walker (evidently) has changed the depth of that deck a couple times, so Gator stopped making blades for that particular deck. It's too bad, I really liked those Gators.
  8. GeeVee

    GeeVee LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 421

    Heres some more.

    The blade has a length, a width and a thickenss. Included in the measurements factors would be the lift......

    I recommend painting the underside of a clean dry deck one color, say orange. The new blades are black but paint the tips black anyway.

    Carefully operate the blades on a parking lot to produce the symptoms. First rotate by hand- maybe removing belts so you can spin one spindle freely, or if you insist and are reasonbly unafraid, run the machine. Just don't cut any grass so you can see whats happening to the paint, or where it is going.

    The paint will tell you the story. In general, you could not really find out what it hits on the deck on a used mower deck without painting. If the blades are only hitting each other the orange paint will be unmarred. An dthe blades will show bare metal. You can't strike metal as hard as they must to make noise over a running motor without leaving bare metal behind.

    The real problem 75% of the time for newer mowers will be the width of the gators or aftermarket will be wider than the stock low lifts, or whathaveyou.......

    Older mowers wind up with spindle bearing problems (wobbling), bent deck problems (weak, thin, decks on cheap price point mowers or thin decks from years of sandblasting, [even the 7g. metal will wear with the lushest of grasses] ) or spindles that are not fully bolted to the deck, ie last spindle repair the boy used 1/4" bolts instead of the 5/16" that was OEM. There should not be an 1/8" play in bolting a spindle down, but maybe in two spindles- which is affecting spindle alignment among other things that are reflected in the quality of cut, and therefore evident as a (an additional) problem rather than showing in "the blades are whacking each other"

    Let me know.
  9. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    Thanks for the info guys. GeeVee, I like your idea, I will try that out tomorrow and see what the results are. The quality of cut is still good, but something is just not right. I'll find it.

    Thanks again guys.

  10. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    After some investigating & testing, I have found that the Gator Magnums are indeed longer then the stock blades by about 1/8 inch. I marked off about a 1/16 on each end (to maintain balance) and ground them down with the bench grinder. Re-installed them and that took care of the clanging & banging.

    Lwnmwrman22, tried pulling blade & spindle to one side like you said but still got some dinging, not as much but it was still there.

    So thanks for the ideas, I passed this info on to my dealer and he was grateful for the info as well.


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