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Third (or 4th) caster wheel on fixed decks?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by brucec32, Mar 23, 2003.

  1. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I've noticed that some of the wider fixed deck mowers have quite a spread between the caster wheels, and since they don't have anti-scalp rollers, you could get some nasty scalping in the middle. I suppose I could try to buy some anti-scalp wheel assemblies and have them welded to the deck, but even anti-scalp wheels can do some damage when you're turning into a rise, and they're not as easy to adjust height on.

    So, has anyone tried or thought of adding a 3rd center caster wheel assembly to the middle of the deck to handle terrain better? It could just bolt on rather than require welding and the technical problems of that. And since the wheel casters, the mounting arm wouldn't need to be mounted straight ahead, like the anti-scalp wheels would.

    Is there some technical problem with this I'm not considering?
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    I have an extra front caster assembly that fits on my Scag (52 fixed) and I thought about doing this but the anti scalp wheel on there does its job ok as it is and if you are mowing at least 3" high I don't think it would be that big of a deal in most places... Drawbacks, no but it would take 50% longer to adjust your height, add 50% more chance of flats, add 50% everything including problems and benefits. Would look funny too. I think I'll wait till next winter and see if I think I could have used it this year or not.... why not get a floating deck anyway since I assume you are buying new (from past discussion)?
    BTW if you go Pete's way and get a Hustler they only have floating deck and I beleive they have plenty of rollers :p
  3. wriken

    wriken LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,154

    I have a 48" MTD fixed deck and I don't have a roller on it, but noticed that on the 52 and up has them. On the 48 last season did'nt really have a problem on scalping.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I figured if anyone had done it you would have, BHB. You're right, it would require more time to change cutting height, but I thought maybe just setting and leaving it 1" higher in the middle would eliminate that, but still prevent scalping.

    Some people have complained of having to add weight to fixed decks to keep them down when using a sulky. The 3rd wheel might help with that some too. It would be a funky looking mower though, wouldn't it?

    The reason I was considering this was that I really just want a backup for my ZTR to use on big properties, and if I can't find a used floating deck mower that's not either junk or too expensive, I might settle for a wide fixed deck. I would like to know I could fix a scalping problem if it developed.
  5. Man, I think that’s a cool idea Bruce. Personally, I think a floating deck scalps worse than a fixed deck. But the extra castor wheel is at least worth trying. Leaving the center castor high would also minimize the extra roller mark on the lawn. Who cares what it looks like, form follows function. Didn’t that Hustler Gate-Master had three castors? I’m pretty sure the Great Dane version has three.
  6. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I personally think that center deck scalping is hardly an issue when mowing between 3 and 4 inches.

    What I always wanted to invent is a movable caster assembly. They would mount a bit more "inside" or close together and with a flick of the switch (have to invent that too I guess! :rolleyes: ) the caster support assemblies would slide out toward the edges of the deck. No side scalping at all, and with them tucked in, you would have excellent trimmability.

    This idea started back in the '90's when I was running JD Front runners. They had the trim side caster tucked way in toward the center, and the discharge was all the way out at the end of the deck. I would use the discharge side to ride in berms and little ditches and it wouldn't scalp a bit. Yet the trim side would gouge all the time. Plus these old mowers cut like **** and you couldn't mow at 3.5" and get any kind of decent cut/vacuum.

    Anyways.... I feel that fixed decks are great. I find it very hard to scalp with my 48" SCAG. But, I can see the ease of height adjustability, and other options that come with floating deck WB's. They are however NOT the end all to scalping!
  7. TLS,

    True enough, if you're cutting fescue 3"- 4", scalping isn't much of an issue. Down south in bermuda country, some customers want 3/4"- 1". I don't like cutting that low, 2" is about as low as I like to go, but the customer rules. Still, even at 2" tall, scalping is an issue.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Ok ok ok I'll do it!!!! Be back alittle later with a pic!!! lol.. I already have the wildest mower on LS now I'll have quite a spectacle!
    Back later dont' go anywhere!!!

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