Steering Dampners

Discussion in 'eXmark' started by Lazer Man, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. Lazer Man

    Lazer Man LawnSite Member
    from SW Pa.
    Messages: 9

    Does anyone have a problem with the hyro shock dampners wearing out. I love my Lazer but against my judgement my bro when out and bought a Hustler Super Z, now I just don't like that mower, just some poor design ideas IMHO but I do have to give praise where it is due. The steering levers are smoother to operate and they use a larger dampner and haven't shown the slightest signs of wearing out, on my Lazer I get less than a seasons use and I start to feel the slack coming back and soon it's time for new dampners. Does Exmark have any stronger dampners available or have you folks checked out the Hustler set up.

    As a side note the extra speed of the Hustler was a big selling point to my brother and to be frank having that extra there is a nice feature, but I'd still rather run my Lazer, maybe you folks a Exmark are looking at the larger hydro motors that Hustler is useing. Please I don't want to run a hustler when it's time for replacment I WANT MY LAZER nothing else. Thanks folks hope we can find a solution.

  2. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258

    Hey Bob,

    Thanks for the post. No other dampeners are available at this time, but consider this. Steering dampeners are a high wear item. If you think about how many times you move these levers back and forth, I think you'd agree that they get quite a workout. How soon they wear out really depends on several factors, like how many times they are cycled back and forth, the operating environment of the dampener, the design of the drive levers, etc.

    We're always looking at improving these components on our mowers, and if the Hustler dampener is better, we'll take a look at it. We just went through extensive testing on several different brands of steering dampeners. I don't know what the end result of that testing was, but if we can put a better dampener on that mower without increasing the cost, we'll do it.

    Please answer these questions when you get a chance. Look at the square blocks that the drive levers are attached to. Are there two holes or three holes in the blocks? Are the drive levers in the higher position or lower position (provided you have the levers that you can adjust)? Let me know when you get a chance, and I'll forward your suggestion about the Hustler dampeners to others here at Exmark.

    Speed is nice, but how fast can you go without decreasing the quality of cut or subjecting the mower to significant abuse? I could see where the extra speed would help when just moving from point A to point B, but it could also hurt you sometimes. The faster the machine moves, the easier it is to damage something if you hit it and the harder it is to get a good quality of cut. I like speed as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure that I'm sold on making these mowers go faster and faster. Contact me when you get a chance.

    Talk to you later,

    Exmark Customer Support
  3. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    I for one would love to see a speed increase in the Lazer lineup. With DC and Hustler bumping the 15mph mark, 10 and 11mph doesn't seem all that fast. I was a previous DC Flatlander (15mph machine) owner and have always missed that speed on my Lazer.

    Also, making them faster in reverse would REALLY come in handy. Seems like forever getting somewhere in reverse.

    Hows this..... 0-13mph forward, and 0-9mph in reverse.

    Speed sells. Jump on that bandwagon. Offer it as an option, and have speed limiters on the sticks for those that run crews so they can slow down their workers.

    Just a thought.

    BTW....knock on wood. Over 700hrs and no steering dampner problems.
  4. steve122

    steve122 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    I just got six more dampeners from my dealer and he just installed 2 more on a machine that he had in to replace a hydro pump on (not covered by warranty, looks like it died about 1 week after the warranty). I'm mad. Last year I replaced 6 or 7, I'd have to look at reciepts to be exact and alreaday this year I'm having to buy 8 more dampeners. I have 6 lazers all 60" cuts. I have spent two years bragging about them, but am changing my tune quickly. At 28.80 each I would expect a dampener to last longer than 1 year. I read your reply about the number of cycles and I don't buy it. I'm pissed that I'm having to spend so much of my hard earned money on a part I think should last forever. If the shocks on my truck can last 20,000 miles (think of all the cycles they make on a rough road) and only cost $50 to replace, why can't these last longer than one year. Becasue Exmark and it's suppliers won't add a few dollars more to the price of a new piece of equipment and give me a quality machine. I have had too many problems with the hydro systems on these machines in 2 years and now this nickle dime stuff is driving me away. When I start replacing machines I'm going to look at everyone else before I replace with Exmark. Oh yeah, did I say I was pissed?
  5. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    Thanks for the post.

    While we are still working on improving the dampners there are something’s that can help extend their life.

    From what we are seeing the primary cause of failure is dirt and debris. The dirt wears away at the seals around the shaft causing the dampner to loose fluid and then loose their ability to dampen the controls. The dust boot that is on the top of the dampner will greatly increase the life of the seals if it is left intact. Once the boot has been compromised it can actually increase the wear.

    Generally the boot does pretty well. Power washing seams to be the worst thing for the boots. What happens is in the haste to get the machines clean the boot gets damaged or pulled loose from the power washer. If the boot is damaged you may want to remove it completely.

    The dampners generally last one season on the majority of the machines but a larger percentage will fail in the second season. Please bear with us. We've tested several dampners from various suppliers and cost is not nearly the issue one might think. Performance is and right now the dampner we’re using is holding up better than anything we’ve tested. There may be some new options available in the future and we will certainly look at those as well.


  6. steve122

    steve122 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Terry, you said the dust boot is on top of the dampener. All of mine have the shaft and boot pointed down, came that way from the factory. I don't think power washing is the problem, we blow off once a week and wash in the fall before we put them in the shop for preparing for next spring. I really meant it about looking at others when I replace. While you guys (exmark) have been exceptional at helping with repairs on the hydro systems when the dealer was stymied, I think I've had way too many problems in jsut 2 years on new machines. The dealer has several excellent mechanics, but they ruined themselves with me last year over a problem with the height adjusters on the decks.
  7. eXmark

    eXmark Manufacturer / Sponsor
    Messages: 4,258


    You are correct the boot is on the bottom when mounted on the machine.

    I also understand your frustration. I assure you that we are currently using the best dampner we have been able to find at this point. The dampners not only need to be durable but they also need to give proper control and feel to the drive levers. If they are too stiff the machine becomes sluggish and slow. If they don't dampen enough the machine becomes jumpy and difficult to maneuver in confined areas. As better dampners become available and survive our testing procedures we will begin using them.


  8. stang358

    stang358 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    Don't feel bad, I own a Lesco and the DAMpers are $124 each. Mine are pretty much shot after 2 years and need replacing. However, they only have 307 hours on them. I am currently looking into a 72" rider and am looking at everybody BUT Lesco. Parts availability is my main concern. If I need a part, I can almost guarantee that it is NOT in stock and will take at least a week to get. To me that is NOT acceptable!
  9. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    Guys I feel as you do. I bought my Exmark last year. It has only 190 hrs on it and needs new dampeners already.
    Terry is this considered a wear item or is it still covered under my warranty?
    The only part of the machine that gets pressure washed is under the deck. So I dont think that is the problem.
    It would not be as much of a concern maybe if the price were lower. But at around $50.00 a pop, and replacing them at least once per year, its a major problem.
    I can be patient and wait for you to find another alternative but, how about lowering the price.
    After all this is a problem, you know about it but have no fix for it. I love my Lazer but after only one season its hard to believe its falling apart.

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