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Scag Spindle

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by CT18fireman, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    OK I have a problem that has me stumped. I had a spindle go out on my scag 48 fixed deck. It is the left spindle as you stande over the mower, so the belt comes off the engine around the idler then this spindle, the center spindle and back to the engine.

    I rebuilt the spindle using good bearings as I have done others with no problem. Pressed everything etc. Filled with grease and put back on. Lasted about 4 weeks of mowing. So thinking something was bad with the housing, shaft, pulley, blade. I replaced them all. Factory new scag spindle, new bolt, pulley, blade etc. Greased when installed. Lasted about 4 weeks again. So know I am thinking belt tension??? What else could be causing the spindle to blow so fast. Deck is clear underneath, deck is straight and true in terms of where the spindle mounts. I also replaced the idler and the center spindle spins fine.

    Mower is about 4 years old. We grease them every morning. I have had a few spindles go over the years and rebuilt them with no problems. Something is up to have this one fail twice like it did. Before I fix I need some ideas.
  2. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    First dont grease spindles EVERY MORNING!!! Once a week better yet once a month is plenty! Second Have you replaced the belt yet? Make sure the tensioner has all its springs and moves freely.
  3. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    We don't go crazy. Each one gets like one or two pumps, same with wheels etc. Just pushes the dirty stuff out the bottom. I was told this from factory reps when I worked as a mechanic at a dealership years ago. Beats having to put 40 pumps in them every week. These mowers cut big yards so the are cutting for 6+ hours a day.

    Yeah belt was replaced. It is definately no too tight, I am thinking it could be a bit loose and maybe slack a bit causing strain on the spindle.
  4. Breezmeister

    Breezmeister LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from South Jersey
    Messages: 1,784

    There are so many variables. It could be belt tension, belt vibration, blade vibration, the type of grease you use or even the bearings them selves. Over the last thirty years, I've done alot of rebuild and all it takes is one thing to be just alittle off. I've had spindles last as little as a single day, that was a cheap bearing made in Czechoslovakia. Now adays I only use Federal Mogul bearns if they are tapered or NTN or Fafnir if they are flat type. I recommend an aluminum based grease, spindles get very hot. When you rebuilt the spindle, was there any evidence of moisture or rust on the inside of the spindle ? As a spindle cools off, it can draw in moisture from a wet or damp lawn. The new pulley you put on, was that balanced ? you can tell if there are drill holes in the pulley groove where material was removed.
    Buy top of the line bearing, use good grease, but don't over grease, your manual should have a maintenance schedule, don't stop you mower on a lawn and let it set there cooling off. About two months back, I did a Lesco 48 WB, center and the right side if you are standing behind it. three weeks after that it can back in, the spindle on the right had failed. But the owner had tighten the belt so much that the idler pulley was cocked over. My Spanish is not so good :dizzy:
    ericg likes this.
  5. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    If multiple spindles were failing I would then point to bad bearings (I use top of the line) or bad grease or even my poor rebuilding. When they failed the grease was actually still in very good condition, no rust, no water and no burning. I use Schaffers Hi Temp grease and as I said all my other spindles, wheel bearings etc are doing fine.

    The fact that first a rebuild failed and then a factory spindle failed actually narrows it down.

    I am going to try running the belt a little tighter. I am thinking that it may have enough slack now to be lopping a bit as it turns the spindles.
  6. Breezmeister

    Breezmeister LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from South Jersey
    Messages: 1,784

    When I was working for my first landscaper, I would use Zeniplex Hi Temp grease for just the spindles, back then 20 years ago it was 15 dollars a tube, I'd hate to see what it costs now. But for everthing else, you could use a red grease.
    You can balance a blade all you want, but if you have to much or to little tension on your belts, it can be just as bad. Even the quality and the way a belt is stored can effect a spindle. I was taught that a long belt, like the one coming off your engine should be hung with out being looped back on it's self.
    A belt can develop a memory, I had a batch of B90s that I got from a auto parts dealer like that. Every time you disengaged the blades, the belts would pop off.
    Good luck, hope you figure it out :)
    ericg likes this.
  7. smokediver

    smokediver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Hey CT18, you a career firefighter?
    Me, 21 years now, Columbus, Ms, Senior Engineer (chauffeur).

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