Modifying ECS handles.

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by casey, Oct 20, 2001.

  1. casey

    casey Guest
    Messages: 0

    Is there a way to reconfigure ECS control so you squeeze to go forward & release to reverse?
    We are cutting all lawn in reverse due to leaf mulching with doubles & forearms are taking a beating.
  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    It's good to hear from you again.

    I suppose anything and everything is possible. We would first need to determine if there is enough demand for such a product to justify the allocation of resources for such a project. The engineering time and testing would be substantial, just as it was in the development of the ECS controls.

    Until we do a little market research I would not foresee us moving on this project.

    Most mowers will mulch better in reverse but we may be able to improve your efficiency in forward and eliminate the need to spend so much time backing up.

    Do you have the Exmark mulch kit installed? I did receive a call from a cutter last week with a 48" Lazer HP that tried double blades in side discharge, with the mulch kit and single Exmark mulching blades with the Mulch kit. In his opinion he preferred the Exmark mulch kit with the Exmark mulching blades and no doubles. What he found is that doubles simply created too much dust, and he had to back over everything because the double blades were creating too much blow out from the front of the mower deck. Additionally we never recommend double blades because we have not tested this set up against the ANSI specifications.

    Thank you

  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662


    I just wanted to chime here for a minute if I may. :)

    I too have found that my forearms take a beating just as Casey has stated because of the incredbile amount of reverse operations due to the increased amount of leaf deposits by the past two weeks windy conditions.

    If you are going to check into the double blade factor people need to first realize that the trick os two different set-ups. One for turfgrass and one for leaves. the one for leaves needs to have a mulcher as well as a gator so that the debris is forced down and out at the same time otherwise it just makes a mush - LOL!!!

    Eric ELM is the apparent authority and if you ever deem it appropriate to check into the factory's viewed misuse of your machines to avoid potential problems I would suggest checking with him on the exact specs for the proper leaf set-up. ;)

    I have reverted back to just cutting in a circular typoe pattern in which we can cut back every third time to maintain a stripped effect - for what it seems to be worth -LOL!!! Not that it seems to matter for as high as the winds have been lately -LOL!!!

    Enjoy your day.
  4. casey

    casey Guest
    Messages: 0

    I have a micro-mulch kit installed with gators on top & Exmark mulching blades on bottom. Works great but because of blowout & plowing we cut in reverse. Have fashioned an anti-blowout baffle based on aan LS members design which helped but still find reverse cutting more productive.
    What I was wondering is if I can somehow reconfigure the ECS handles myself for squeezing for forward or would that not be possible?
    Thank you.
  5. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    I wish I could tell you that modifying the controls is not possible but it where there is a will there is a way. If someone wanted to make a new handles, new linkages, etc. it is possible but you'd need to have a great deal of time, knowledge and patience.

    Modifying the handles would be unsafe, most likely you would regret doing so and we wold NEVER recommend it.

    In our past conversations you had also noted that you were a proponent of bypassing or eliminating the "OPC" (operator presence control) as well as modifying it. Again I would consider this an unsafe practice.

    The reason I mention this is that if you combine the modification of the controls along with the modification of the safety system you have a combination of modifications the could have dire consequences.

    If you combine these two modifications the first time you stumble and fall the mower will simply go into reverse automatically and the potential for injury will greatly increase.

    My suggestion is to try to make your mower more efficient mulching leaves in forward. There are several things you can try.

    1. Slow down

    2. Add a little more rake to the deck by lowering the front 1 hole lower than the back.

    3. Lower your height of cut.

    4 try combinations of blades - you may find that a single gator or single Exmark mulcher will do what you need.

    5. Remember what works best one deck or one yard may not work best on the next.

    6. Have engine RPM's checked.

    7. Double check the PTO belt adjustment.

    8. In theory the reverse circuit of the mower is so slow you should be able to double cut in forward in the same time or less time than you can cut in in reverse.

    Remember Safety first....................The few minutes you save today aren't worth the price you pay if something goes wrong.


  6. casey

    casey Guest
    Messages: 0

    Take a look at Lawrence Stone's "Leaf Grinding" thread in the Commercial forum. The first pic would be the result of your suggestions after one pass. Using doubles in reverse would be the results seen in the second pic after one pass.
  7. Flex-Deck

    Flex-Deck LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,845

    I like Xmarks reply - SAFETY FIRST. There is always a blade combination that allows forward mowing - moving everything toward the center of the yard that mulches enough that there is never too much coming out the discharge, and at the end you just take a couple of more swipes at the small (very small windrow) windrow that is left. Personally I do not like to hear about 8 hrs of mowing backwards because I have had a couple of friends mow thier toes off falling down, and it could have been worse. I have my JDs set up with gators on top and a regular blade on bottom and I just start on the outside and blow inward all day long, it makes trimming around trees more difficult, but in the end the yard looks like it was bagged, and there is nothing left. This should work with any mower out there.
  8. casey

    casey Guest
    Messages: 0

    Terry I would like to address your response.
    First you say slow down in forward yet you also say reverse is so slow it is faster to go forward. Thick leaves you have to go slow anyway, reverse or forward.
    Second you say lower the front holes. All this will do is plow the leaves more.
    Third Exmark mulchers are fine for grass or light leaves but inneffective in a thick covering. The doubles are necessary for effective leaf mulching.
    Unfortunately with the current design in order to effectively mulch a heavy covering of leaves modifications must be made.
    You could improve leaf mulching in forward capabilities with an effective baffle for blowout & a bracket for doubles that would keep the bottom blade above the lip of the deck.
  9. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    Hey, I'm going to jump in on this one. I do know of a couple of things that can help you out. What we have to do is figure out the best way help you.

    First of all I think that it is important that you understand that the modification I'm going to suggest to you may effect how your mulch kit works in grass. On the other hand you may be fine with it. Your problems with heavy leaves are not new to us. I will have to agree that in thick leave mulching can be improved. I think that there are too many variables to offer one over all fix. Hopefully we can improve your machine.

    The suggestion Terry offered you does help most people. I think that your mulching is more of a severe case. Modifying the handles may not be the best thing to do. The real problem is getting the leaves under the deck. We may be able to do this by modifying the deck or mulch kit.

    Here is what I suggest, you can tack weld a 1/2" strip of 10 ga. steel on the bottom of the mulch kit baffles. There will be an area in the center of the deck that may need to be lowered. This will help reduce blow out and help you get the leaves under your deck. Once we get the leaves under we may have to look at rake, height of cut, and blades.

    Casey if you want to do this give me a call or email me your number and I will call you. That way I can walk you though this., 402-223-6270.

    Thanks, Fred.
  10. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Wouldn't RAISING the front of the deck HIGHER than the back allow you to "SWALLOW" more leaves? Anytime I'm mulching leaves with a walkbehind, I simply push down on the handles and raise the front of the deck. This allows the mower to "SWALLOW" large amounts of leaves and chop them up. So....when you say to "lower" the front of the deck, that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? If anything, raise the front of the deck higher, and lower engine RPM's slightly to defeat blowout.

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