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problem with front caster tires

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MikeKle, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    I have a exmark metro 48"/14hp mower that doesnt get too much use nowadays,but I do use it on some yards that the turf tracer is too big for.Ever since I bought this mower brand new I have had almost constant flats on the front caster tires that are actually listed as maintenance free! Its not puncture type flats ,but coming off the bead, I have tried slime with no luck.Everytime it comes off the bead i have to take it to my exmark dealer so they can give it a quick shot of air until it happens again. Anybody else have this happen to them? My turf tracer has had this happen too but only twice in 3 years. I want to put the type of tires that are found on bush hogs, I dont know what they are called but they look like flaps of tires put together to form the shape of a tire. This will end this problem forever if they make those type in a 9X3.50. Anybody know the actual name of the tires Im talking about?Thanks
  2. dura to the max

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

    i believe these are called casters, solid core, or flat free. if the original tire can even take air it is NOT a maintenance free tire, its a normal pneumatic tire.
  3. MikeKle

    MikeKle LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,253

    I dont know why exmark manuals refer to these caster tires as "maintenance free" They are anything but that on my Metro!
  4. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    On almost all of my front casters I have them foam filled.
    Yes they weigh a bit more but no more flats.
    And in Mesquite country no more flats is an okay thing.
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    I agree, you obviously don't actually have the "maintenance free" tires if they take air. They should be pretty much solid rubber for all intents and purposes if they are. A cross section of them shows that they are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick with a hollow core in the middle to allow them to "give" a little like a standare pneumatic tire. There's no way for them to loose air since they don't hold any. If your tire is coming off the rim and has to be aired up it's just a standard tire.

    Simple fix that's cheap: Put tubes in them. It won't stop leaks, but it will stop them from dismounting from the rim.

    Foam filled I know nothing about, never owned a mower with foam filled tires, actually never owend one with true maintenance free tires either. I've dealt with my fair share of tires off the bead/rim too... No fun!
  6. dura to the max

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

    the added weight isnt always a bad thing on a w/. i want/need more weight on the front of mine so it doesnt wheelie going uphill. (48" tthp w/ proslide, and i have to go uphill at times to prevent stress marks in the centipede.)
  7. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,523

    You'll often break the bead because the tire has lost a little pressure and you hit something fairly hard, fairly abruptly (a curb or a tree during a turn, edge of a concrete drive or walk, an exposed tree root, etc.). Tire sealers can ooze out when a bead breaks and causes problems with sealing the bead unless tire bead and rim are cleaned well before being re-aired. I would venture a guess that if you sprayed some soapy water on the bead area you will see bubbles form.

    You have to keep the pressure up on the casters, or any small tire for that matter. Like narrow road racing bicycle tires, when a tire holds little volume of air to begin with, it only takes a little bit of air loss to be enough to cause a problem. Larger mountain bike tires hold more air and need less frequent checking. Smaller tires need to be checked more frequently. On a machine that gets used infrequently, this is all that much more important. Not sure why you have to take it in to have the tire aired up....you can pull the valve core out of the stem and seat the bead much easier that way. It will allow much more air in faster. First clean the rim and tire bead well. To help, you can also cinch a tiedown strap around the center of the tire, which will expand the beads outward.
    Dawson likes this.
  8. JimQ

    JimQ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,139

    Go to your eXmark dealer and get a set of Semi-Pneumatic 9x3.5-4. They come standard on new Metros. Problem solved.

  9. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Those are the same that were on my past 3 W/B's. I replace them with flat-free from Gemplers.com as soon as I get the mower. It's a rougher ride, but far better than the downtime and resultant scalping that occurs from flat front casters...
  10. JimQ

    JimQ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,139

    Are you saying that you had problems with Semi-Pneumatic tires? What kind of problems did you have? Tell me more. I've never had an issue with a semi-pneumatic.
    Thanks for the info.


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