How do you tell if you have a bent spindle?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GTAlumnus, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. GTAlumnus

    GTAlumnus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I have a Scag Wildcat with 61" deck, about 54 hours now. Great machine. I noticed the last couple of times that the some of the time the cut quality of the center blade seems not quite up to the other 2.

    Granted, I take advantage of the speed of the machine and mow fast, but up to now the cut has been pretty much perfect. I notice this slight problem mainly on very fine paster grasses and sometimes an entire dallis grass on johnson grass stem is left standing, only in the middle. Today I changed out the blade and the bolt but frankly it is not always noticeable so I don't know what the effect of that was yet.

    Looking under the deck and rotating the center blade and watching the end of the blade against the deck housing at the back, it varies by maybe a quarter inch - that is lower on the deck straight back and higher on both sides. Both ends of the blade do the same thing and the blades that I have tried seem straight.

    I have hit a couple of stumps, one of them dead center (killed the engine) when the mower only had 7 or 8 hours. I replaced the blade then since it was nicked, and the bolt was stripped out, but I have not noticed any cut quality issues and I have changed out the blades twice since then.

    Could this be a bent spindle? The deck does not appear to be bent, and is so thick I think it would be hard to do.

    The mower still cuts bermuda perfectly smooth and clean, it some of the pasture grasses that it is noticeable on.
  2. dura to the max

    dura to the max LawnSite Silver Member
    from georgia
    Messages: 2,246

    if it was bent you would probably feel some vibration and hear more of a roar from the air underneath the deack. however this roar would not not have as much rhythm as normal. try to see if there is any play in the center blade though, also check for unusual wear in the belt that drives that particular spindle.
  3. GTAlumnus

    GTAlumnus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    Thanks, I have not detected any vibration or noise, and there is no play in the spindle that I can tell.
  4. traman

    traman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    on a flat surface cut a block of wood that's just short enough to fit under the blade tip,then just move the wood under each blade,if it knocks it over ,something bent
  5. gorknoids

    gorknoids LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 316

    What Traman said. Check the travel path of the blade (Using a verified straight one) and see if it indicates a bend in the shaft.
  6. mowingmachine

    mowingmachine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 253

    Decks get bent easier than you might think. That stump could of easily bent your deck. With a bent deck you won't notice any kind of vibration either. The only true way to know is to remove your spindle and lay a straight edge on the deck across the spindle mounting area. It takes a very minor bend to throw your blades off by 1/4".
  7. GTAlumnus

    GTAlumnus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    What if the deck is bent?
  8. S L C

    S L C LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    VERY simple..... just take the deck off.... line up the blades next to each other and see if they are 'in line' with each other!!!:rolleyes: Do this with both side blades with the middle!!
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    I'd first loosen the belt and check the bearings.
  10. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I think if it was a spindle you would have a ridge that would stand out like a sore thumb when cutting Bermuda. I really think it is just the type grass you are mowing. The long stem grass [junk grass] like Dallisgras and Bluestem is like trying to cut bailing wire. The faster you mow and the higher your deck the more stringers you will have. Sharp blades will help but I have not had a mower in my 13 years of biz that will get every piece this time of year and that includes my Walker.

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