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Gravely leaf mulching improvement ideas

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    Maybe this is why some guys complain that leaf mulching doesn't work. I have a 144z with a full mulch kit and stock mulching blades. They look very similar to the wavy Exmark blades. I haven't had a lot of time with it, but it just does not suck up leaves into the cutting chamber like my similar sized Exmark does. Is it the blades or just the deck design? Both mowers use the same size blade and can be interchanged, so I plan on trying that.

    But does anyone else have experience with improving the mulching performance (of leaves) with Gravelys? The high sails on the Gravely gator design blades unfortunately do not clear the baffles. The exmark sails are lower, but the shape differences are subtle. I think they'll clear.

    My Exmark actually sucks leaves in from just beside the deck and turns them into powder in 1-2 passes. I had some pretty dry and high up leaves (not matted down) that the Gravely did not handle. Neither has too much blowout, but heavy accumulations of leaves don't bunch up in front of the gravely as much as with the Exmark for some reason.

    The gravely is much easier on turf, and zero turns much smoother, btw. If I can't get it to mulch well I'll use it to discharge/bag and stick with the Exmark when leaves are around and for other mulching situations. It's just hard to find a good test situation for the new mower this time of year when the grass is all cut and leaves are mostly gone.
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    It's either blade design or blade tip speed I'd say... unless there is something different about the kit.

    It's important to remember that the wavy style blades are a two-way deal.

    It either or the balance thereof is off, with leaves you get real poor performance. Take my Lesco for example. The OEM wavy blades for it are just OK... nothing special for leaves. They don't have a lot of lift... but they have plenty enough to suck the leaves up just fine. The problem is that this deck/blade combo cycles the material out too quickly.

    Anyways.... do try the other blades and see if they work better or that eliminates one variable.
    On to the next...


    On a side note, I'm curious about which Gravely deck you have.
    Is it the old style or the new X Factor?

    Also, what baffle are you talking about "clearing" ?
    How is it different from eXmark?
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I was told it was the new type of deck that was recently introduced. I saw the website about the changes but I couldn't really confirm it. It is an '06 demo and they made the switch mid year.

    The gator type (serrated sail) blades that came on it have a pretty tall sail and strike part of the mulch kit baffle on the part of the baffle that closes off the discharge side blade from the center blade chamber.

    I didn't buy it to mulch actually, but the baffle design is much easier to install than Exmark's. There are no screws, just lock nuts. There are just two roughly triangular baffles that have their own 3 threaded mounting posts, so you just line up the holes, push them through the deck, and screw on the nuts and you're done. You also remove a discharge baffle before mounting the kit, but overall it took me less than half the time, and was much more intuitive. Got the mower for a very attractive price, too. Hence buying it w/o a demo based on positive reviews of others here.
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087


    You are the first guy I've been able to talk with about the X-Factor deck.
    Plus you have the mulch kit with it which is extra awesome for me.

    All of what you said is what I had been thinking about the X-Factor, but I couldn't confirm it. It looked like the first "smart designed" 3-piece mulch kit yet. Seems that it is... and I bet it is real quick and easy to install. No BS to fumble with.

    Trade those locknuts out for regular nuts washers and lockwashers and see it ease even more!

    After reading your post, it sounds like the blade is striking this little divider piece at the bottom of this little pic?


    If so, I understand what you are saying for sure about the lift wing. And there are some gators out their with less lift and some with almost no tooth at the very tip too.

    However, technically I would think that it is supposed to be where any type of blade should clear. Meaning it is possible that triangle is not lining up correctly or is not pulling up tight.

    Could be that part is off.
    Could be the mounting holes are off.
    Could be that spindle mounting is off.

    Or it could be as simple as the part not pulling up good because it's resting against a weld up front where the stock baffle is welded to the deck. Or it could be you could loosen that section up, maybe shift it a little and tighten it back down.

    With an afternoon of fiddling, I'm sure you'll uncover the culprit of the variance.

    Be back later for some X-Factor talk.

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