How to minimize vibrations?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by green-pa, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    I have about 40-50 hours a week of jobs using my Scag wb, trimmer, and blower. This is about twice the work I had last year. I have about twice the numbness in my hands now. It's not most of the day. However, I wake up every morning with very painful aches, and tingling in my hands. It's starting to scare me a bit. This is my 2nd year. I don't want to end up with CT and have to get operated on down the line. A couple weeks ago, it wasn't this bad. I'm wondering if these 2 factors could be the reasons:

    1. Last week I left my blade blocker on and engaged the blades, now the blade belt is weakened on my scag. Despite the fact I tightened it, still vibrates the machine more when on.

    2. I changed the line on my trimmer to this "pro" line, it seems very strong and cuts stuff with less rpms, but it now vibrates a lot more than with the regular tubular line I'd used b4. It's square shaped and I'm thinking that since it's less aerodynamic than something round, that it makes the Echo srm 230 vibrate considerably more.

    I use Mechanix palm padded gloves that are supposed to be anti-vibration. cost $25 at Lowes. But is there a better glove out there? Also, if I put a new blade belt on and change back to my old trimmer line ( or buy a new trimmer) could these help?

    It really sucks cause I used to like to write in my journal and things and even writing for a minute or two I start going numb and it gets painful. Even now my right hand's fingers our going numb as I type.

    THRIFTY LawnSite Member
    from (913)
    Messages: 208

    I have always heard balancing your blades after sharpening lessens vibration. Also, if you have that much work, maybe a mower upgrade could fit into the budget? Standers nearly as agile as a walkbehing and produce minimal vibtration/fatigue. Hope some of this helps...

    BIGHEAVY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I buy Echo D-handles for all my long-handled Stihl's (such as trimmers and edgers)...
    I then remove the solid Stihl handle and store it away, and permanently install the Echo one.
    Cost: $25, each
    Comfort level: High.
    Issues with numbness or tingling due to vibrations: None, ever.

    It costs, but I don't care.
    If the equipment wears out, I remove that D-handle to re-use on the next.
    If I go to sell it, I remove that D-handle and re-install the OEM.

    Other notes: May not fit every trimmer or edger.
  5. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    I've had the same problem for years now. This is what i do and it's reduce the problem by at least 75%. I still get the occasional tingle and mild ache, but it doesn't wake me up at night like it use to. Your description is how i use to be. It's friggin painful!
    1. Ibuprofen (at least 400 mg) when really bad.
    2. Deep massage nightly on my forearms. From the elbow to wrist. Upper topside (2 to 3 inches below the elbow) is where i find the most hotspots.
    3. Go buy a pair of wrist wraps and wear them faithfully. Your know, the black foamy material. Thumb goes through it, then it wraps up your wrist about 3 or 4 inches and is secured with a velcro strap. Sporting good stores carry them.
  6. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    Padded gloves don't do anything. The area that causes all the problems/symptoms is in the wrist area. The nerves that run down your arm to your hand go through a protective coating (tendon sheath) in the wrist joint area. Long term vibration causes the sheath to swell and starts to squeeze and pinch the nerve.
  7. Carolina Cuts

    Carolina Cuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,152

    belts can be adjusted with the tension springs, no?
    my helper loves to re'line the string trimmer unbalanced. In other words, (Stihl) he doesnt keep the string wrapping around evenly.... top half may be spun 1 or 2 more times then the bottom of the spool. This causes MAJOR vibrations.
  8. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    I'm not very experienced with blade belts but I do know how to tighten it. I'm going to try and make it as tight as possible without making it too hard to spin. I hope this doesn't wear on the machine. I've stretched it, as I've said before. So I'll see what happens and if I can get it more tight without preventing it from turning. It vibrates so much more now than before I left that blade buddy on and engaged the blades. I may have to just get a new belt $36 ( no biggie but a time factor at the moment).

    And I think I wrapped the 2 strings at the same time on the trimmer but it's a square kind vs tubular. I'm going to take it off and use my other kind and this time try to be even more even and see what happens. When I first got that Echo, last year, the vibrations were all but non-existant.
  9. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 737

    You say it's the vibrations that cause it to swell. Well a gel padded glove is meant to absorb some of those and thus it should help prevent swelling. Am I right?
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    There are a few more things I can think about...

    At least on a Toro's controls there exist two rubber grommets one on either side of the bar, where the control rod goes through... These rubber grommets wear out in no time and once wore out the control rod exerts metal-to-metal contact with the T-bar: This translates first into a loss of control that only a firmer grip on the T-bar can compensate for, second the metal-to-metal contact transfers considerably more vibration.

    So now you've got yourself a tighter grip and more vibration, this happens over time and we don't even realize it.

    I am fairly certain other mowers, their controls, parts wear out.
    I replace these rubber and other pieces religiously, I get my grommets and things like that from Mid-Atlantic Rubber Co (about 50% cheaper than dealer, worst thing is you have to know the dimensions and order in bulk).

    Either way, definitely replace worn out control components, at the very least study them and see if there's something that has gone this way or that and if what could be causing more trouble than it should.

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