TTHP leaving stragglers....

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by fiveoboy01, Sep 3, 2007.

  1. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    My 48" Tracer is leaving stragglers. Not a strip of uncut grass or anything, but random blades that are not getting cut. It's irritating, I have to double cut and there's really no need to in my opinion. If it matters, the problems I'm having are with the "thinner" lawns or the ones with a fair amount of weeds mixed in with the grass. The well-fertilized ones with the denser/thicker grass this is not an issue, at least I don't think. I'll need to be keeping a closer eye on this...

    The blades have been sharpened probably 3 or 4 times(I have 4 sets and change them out every 8 hours).

    There is a VERY slight rounding of the corner on the blades. I do my best to avoid it when sharpening but it's difficult.

    My question is, on a 3-blade deck like this where the two outer blades are staggered reward and in slightly to overlap the cut of the middle blade, how close are the tolerances? Is there much room for a blade getting "shorter" due to being ground on and having the corner even slightly rounded?

    I know I'm not going too fast. It's doing this at walking speed. I'm thinking it may be this particular set of blades, it wasn't doing it to my knowledge until I changed them for a sharp pair. And it's been doing it since the sharp blades were put on, so I know it's not a dullness issue.

    Or are these blades just done with, and I need to get some more? I haven't had this problem in the past...

    Any other things I can look at for this? Here's a pic. Where the shadow ends, you can see the uncut blades.

  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I get that crap all the time with the trivantage.
    That picture looks WAY TOO FAMILIAR.

    It is way-way worse with the wavy mulching blades (not enough lift I think) and various other blades (too much air disturbance).

    All I can tell you to do is try the OEM eXmark excalibur blades.
    I rotate between those with the solid foil w/ long sharpened edge and the notched foils. You can also play around some with the throttle setting. And sometimes adjusting the cutting height helps (really unpreferrable at times due to cutting too low).

    Myself, I have never been able to get it to totally go away on certain turf areas, and it seems to get way worse at times when outdoor conditions change. At times the wider blade fescues will give me intolerable fits. It's like there is no explaination... like it escapes getting cut like dandelions do sometimes.

    I think on some of the wider blade turf it happens more because those blades just happen to catch air escaping the deck just right, which pushes it down where it escapes being cut. I think this is magnified some by the fact that these wider types of fescue are generally found in stands that are less dense than the finest of fescue turfs.

    In any event... I found this among other things to be VERY frustrating VERY fast.

    I have much respect for eXmark and can find many positive points to say good things about, and I try to be nice... but I try to remain honest at the same time, and this sort of thing is not one of the good strong-points.

    To me, I find eXmarks to be very 'snooty' or 'preppy' type lawnmowers. Finicky like cats, in that they seem to only want to cut the very best of turf in the best of conditions. That's what they shine at... and they seem to be picky about the rest.

    So in the end, my solution to such performance in these areas was to buy something else that was not nit-picky that could get the job done.
  3. MTR999

    MTR999 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 145

    Don't waste money on exmark stuff, there are tons of other mowers available with much improved deck and cut for you to choose.
  4. fitzg2md

    fitzg2md LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    i have foundt he Exmark ultracut deck to be great.

    That being said, like any mower on the market, you need to understand the ins and outs of the way it works. I have found that my deck will not cut as well with gator blades (the notched foils) as it will with high lifts. It tends to leave a few uncut blades in weedy lots. With high lift blades, this is mostly taken care of.

    The height you cut at also plays a big role. The higher you cut, the less lift on the grass there is. I dont think the rounded corners will affect it at all. As long as they arent very rounded. Im pretty sure there is a decent amount of overlap...need to look under the deck to confirm.

    For curiosity sake, what kind of blades are you using?
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    I'm using the standard hi-lifts that came with the mower...

    FWIW it seems to be doing it more at the higher settings. 3.5" and above. At 3"(as low as I'll go) it's fine, or like I said in the denser weed-free grass. I'm wondering if the deck is not "sealing" as well around the edges at the taller height and with the thinned turf and is losing some suction.

    I'm starting to rule out the overlap issue. I believe it's a vacuum issue with the deck at certain cutting heights.

    I'm glad it doesn't do this on the lush thick lawns or both of these would be out the door for something else.
  6. joshco84

    joshco84 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    sounds to me like you just need new blades to take care of most of it. i would not use anything besides high lifts on a turf tracer. now reading your last post, the ones that you are mowing at three five, drop it a 1/4 or two and that should help too. i noticed that the tt i used to run did not like mowing high in thin grass. but it never was as bad as your pictures.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Like I said... it is a vacuum and air escape issue.

    The deck seems to exhibit decent vacuum in certain areas and at certain heights. But it also OBVIOUSLY lets a lot of air escape back out of the deck. That's where all that grass comes from.

    Try the solid foil highlifts that are sharpened all the way to the center hole.
    If you can find the medium lift/lower lift solid foils you can try that too in case it's moving too much air and bouncing most of it back down off the deck.

    I also just picked up on the fact it is a 48".

    I don't know where your rake is set at, but you may want to play with that just a little. 48" mowers have rather short blades, and if you run like a 1/4" of rake on them, you are actually running a rather steep blade angle.

    1/4" in 16 1/4" as opposed to 1/4" in 20 1/2" for example (like roof pitch).

    The moral is that eXmark seems to need some rake, but try only a very small amount on the 48". Like go to 1/8" or 1/16" and see if that helps any.
  8. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    Myy Husq. started leaving a few here and there. The final solution was to tighten the belt a little. Now it cuts like it did when new.
  9. The mayor

    The mayor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    Not that I have a exmark...but when I was having your problem, it turned out to be a worn out belt that drives the blades.
  10. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Well I replaced the belt about 50 hours ago, the first one had shredded due to operator error.

    I can't adjust the belt tension anyways on it. At least I don't think so.

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