"Identical" blades = expensive lesson

Bitches_Brew

Banned
Location
earth
I thought all was good until shortly after the Cheetah blades were installed and I had started mowing. The rural mowing I do is relatively rough, especially where feral pigs have been digging. With each rough patch one of the Cheetah blades dug a circle in the turf.
View attachment 440108
Some of the divots were 2" deep at the edge. I slowed my mowing and it still happened. I raised the deck and it still happened. Several times the blade took such a solid bite that it stalled the engine.

I would have stopped after raising the deck. o_O
 
OP
AlohaMowing

AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
Why didn't you stop or raise the deck when it first started scalping?
I did raise the deck. My terrain is so rough and uneven that some scalping is unavoidable, but I had never experienced anything like this.
Can you post some pics of both style blades from face on, end on and above?
The Cheetah blade is the top one. You can see the sharpened section is about 1" longer than on the TT blade.
blades1.jpg

Here again the Cheetah blade is the top one. Because it is hard to distinguish between the two blades stacked one on the other, for the second image I added a while line to highlight where they meet. It looks as if the Cheetah blade may have a very slightly sharper edge ground into it. Both blades have the factory edge ground in.
blades2.jpg

It was only one blading digging in like that? Or was it the left blade one time, the right blade another time etc. Did all three ever dig in at the time?
It was one at a time, either the left or right depending on which side wheel had hit a low spot.
Did you put the spacer on the wrong side of the blade or is the new blade set an offset type blade?
No, I did check that when this first happened. And I thought perhaps a blade had been bent as a result of digging in and checked all of them to confirm all were running the same height from spindle to tip.
I would have stopped after raising the deck. o_O
Well, yeah, but until the second belt broke I was not thinking clearly that it was a blade issue.

I have had thoughts that perhaps the Cheetah blades are made to be lighter and springier because Cheetahs may run at higher speeds, and presumably only on smoother ground.

I am contacting Scag to see if I can get an explanation.
 

Bitches_Brew

Banned
Location
earth
Well, yeah, but until the second belt broke I was not thinking clearly that it was a blade issue.

I have had thoughts that perhaps the Cheetah blades are made to be lighter and springier because Cheetahs may run at higher speeds, and presumably only on smoother ground.

No. Those blades are basically the same. I can't believe it was that.

Not an Scag expert by any means, but it just sounds too insane.

Is the hole the same size?!?!?

I've ran Hustler blades on my Gravely no problem. :confused:
 

Ridin' Green

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Michigan
I did raise the deck. My terrain is so rough and uneven that some scalping is unavoidable, but I had never experienced anything like this.

The Cheetah blade is the top one. You can see the sharpened section is about 1" longer than on the TT blade.
View attachment 440216
Here again the Cheetah blade is the top one. Because it is hard to distinguish between the two blades stacked one on the other, for the second image I added a while line to highlight where they meet. It looks as if the Cheetah blade may have a very slightly sharper edge ground into it. Both blades have the factory edge ground in.
View attachment 440217

It was one at a time, either the left or right depending on which side wheel had hit a low spot.

No, I did check that when this first happened. And I thought perhaps a blade had been bent as a result of digging in and checked all of them to confirm all were running the same height from spindle to tip.

Well, yeah, but until the second belt broke I was not thinking clearly that it was a blade issue.

I have had thoughts that perhaps the Cheetah blades are made to be lighter and springier because Cheetahs may run at higher speeds, and presumably only on smoother ground.

I am contacting Scag to see if I can get an explanation.
It appears (but may only be the lighting or something) that the bottom blade is thicker, as in, a .205" vs a .250". Is that correct or is it just a matter of the camera, lighting etc? Regardless, that shouldn't make a difference. My JD comes with .250" thick by 3" wide blades and I run .205" by 2.5" Scag blades under it without any issue no matter the conditions.

I'm sure you checked everything out/over when this happened, but have you checked for a lose spindle housing where it bolts to the deck? If one is loose, it seems possible that the blade mounted to it could cause gouging issues and even bind up and break a belt. Something other than the blades are causing this for you and I hope you get it figured out quick. It really sucks to have a gremlin messing up your day like that.
 
OP
AlohaMowing

AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
The response from Scag:
482882 is a slighty thicker blade that was designed to be used with some of these newer, higher torque engines.

So there is some difference. Being slightly thicker the TT blades may be less prone to flexing when the mower hits a rough spot; if the Cheetah blade would get a little bite of soil perhaps it would readily dig in deeper and deeper until it stopped spinning. Being thinner and lighter the Cheetah blades may have had less inertia as they were spinning, so when they made contact with the soil they might have been more likely to come abruptly to a stop putting stress on the belt and breaking it.

It all surprises me, and I would have been skeptical had I not experienced it, but the Cheetah blades did give lots of problems, even with the deck height increased. Since removing those and installing the TT blades I have had no problems, even with the deck back down at the height I had been using.
 

Dawson

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Valrico, FL
I don't know what is causing your issue but I can't see any way it could be due to those blades. Most lawn services (around here anyway) don't use oem blades, they just cost to much. The only oem blades I have ever used are the first set that came with any mower I've bought, after that it's always aftermarket and I've never had an issue like what you're having there. Its got to be a deck or terrain issue of some sort and the timing was just a coincidence.

If you figure it out be sure and post...I'm curious what the issue was.

I run thin stens aftermarket blades on my ferris with a 37 hp engine, no floppiness issues,lol. I also get Rotary brand blades for it sometimes which are thicker, no noticeable difference aside from the Stens blade going in the trash a week sooner.
 
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Derwood

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
SE Wisconsin
I agree with Dawson - even after the Scag Rep‘s response. Something just seems off in the install of the set that is in question (and I don’t mean that as a dig on the OP as I think we’ve all chumped something in our careers). It’s hard for me to think a couple of subtle differences in the blades is to blame for such a failure. Blades upside down is a possibility or as RG said something in the spindle mount area. Idk.... just not sold on it being solely due to the blades purchased.

I’m dying to know what the culprit is!
 

mowfool

LawnSite Member
I've got a Turf Tiger 2. Ran the OEM .250" blades and the .205 aftermarket blades from Forest Depot. The only difference is the .205" blades bend easier when I hit a gopher mound or stump. Otherwise than saving a lot of money on the thinner aftermarket blade, they seem to cut grass the same as the thick and pricey OEM blade.
 

Bitches_Brew

Banned
Location
earth
I've got a Turf Tiger 2. Ran the OEM .250" blades and the .205 aftermarket blades from Forest Depot. The only difference is the .205" blades bend easier when I hit a gopher mound or stump. Otherwise than saving a lot of money on the thinner aftermarket blade, they seem to cut grass the same as the thick and pricey OEM blade.
:popcorn:


OP should send you his blades to try out.
 

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