Tips for new ExMark user: Tearing turf on turns

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by thebland, May 22, 2005.

  1. thebland

    thebland LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Just picked up a 52" HP 23 Kohler. Great machine.

    However, when turning after each pass, I am tearing turf up on my turns.

    1. How do I avoid this?
    2. Is there a pattern cut to follow to minimize this?
    3. Should I slow down

    What can you veterans tell me to get me cutting with less damage? Any tips appreciated!
  2. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Make sure the pivot tire keeps moving, which means making wider turns..
  3. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,309

    three point turn.
  4. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Is this a Metro HP (Belt) or TTHP (Hydro)? If it is a TT, you will need practice reversing the inside wheel slowly while reducing the forward speed of the outside wheel. Lots of practice and you will get it.

    If it is a Metro (Belt) then the first thing you need to do is adjust the wing nuts that control the brake tension. You want to be able to pull the lever back half way without engaging any break. It needs to freewheel. My dealer always cranks the wing nuts so the break is at MAXIMUM engagement, which is just asking to tear up the turf. When you loosen it, it is much easier to regulate between freewheel (Neutral) and light breaking pressure. Once you have that adjusted, it is a matter of practice. I slow both wheels comming into a turn, and then alternate between light brake, and freewheeling to get me through a turn. You want just enough freewheel that you dont tear up the grass, but enough break that you are turning tight enough. I can turn my belt drive on a lawn in just under 1.5 times the width of the mower without doing any damage.

  5. thebland

    thebland LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Thanks guys!

    Kevin, it is a Lazer Z HP..So you are saying to slow down the speed on the outer tire on the turn while reversing the inner tire. As I tried today, it is that inner tire that seems to come to a stop as the machine rotates on it and there goes the turf...Is the inner tire always reversing or is it supposed to be stationary when turning the machine??

    What is 3 point turn?
  6. BladeRunner1967

    BladeRunner1967 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 202

    I've had my 52 for a good year now and I still tear. It's not worth the aggrevation. As you are slowing turn right, stop. reverse straight back, then turn right again. 3 point turn. It takes some "stick time" to learn.
  7. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    Go to a local park and practice. You can turn without doing a 3 point turn, thats the whole purpose of having "Zero-Turn" ability. Otherwise just run single hydro's.

    You can also practice is on dry pavement. Any mistakes you make will result in tire squeeling, so you know you would have torn up the grass. If you can turn on pavement, you should be able to turn on grass. Realize that reverse is not as fast as forward, so you need to slow down the outside wheel during the turn. You may need to come to a complete stop at the end of your run, and then start your turn. There is a slight pause on the inside wheel before it starts reversing, you need to practice to find the right duration of this pause, if you reverse too quickly or too slowly you will tear. If you are not reversing the inside wheel at all, you will definitely tear like crazy.

    The main thing to remember is you need to be comfortable enough with the machine and its controls to make your direction changes fluid and consistent. Do not try to throw the controls forward or back to try and hurl your way through the turn, start slow, feel the movements, and get a feel for the machine. You will have it down in no time once you are comfortable with the machine.

  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Most importantly you need to change patterns every week so you are not turning in the same spots except for every few weeks. This will give the grass some chance for recovery. I still get bare spots in tight corners but luckily no one complains. You do not want a run of bare spots however spanning across the lawn.
  9. clncut

    clncut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Three point turns as mentioned earlier

  10. jackflash

    jackflash LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    keep both wheels moving all the time. the inner tire needs to reverse slightly, and you'll get a fast whip around. a tire that is rolling (forward or backward) isn't tearing up grass, but a stationary wheel that is pivoting will almost always tear up grass.

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