Tweaks and Fixes for 48" Proline Fixed Deck

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by topsites, May 6, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I just bought a new 2005 48" Toro Proline to replace my aging 1998 48" Proline (yup, same mower). Since I had never bought a new mower before, the experience was new thou I've also learned a few things from the old mower which I put into effect on the new mower.
    The 48" proline fix-deck with the 15hp Kohler is my mainstay grass machine of choice. With a top speed of over 6 mph and blade-rotation speeds over 3000 rpm (18,500 fps), this is the most accurate, hardest working and fastest machine for the money. And yes, you need a single-wheel Velkie. The double-wheel Velkie can not be used as it fish-tails at high speed and besides, dual-wheel velkies are training wheels.
    What I found is that most new mowers aren't really sold to be used to their full potential. Toro and the dealers apparently assume the new owner will be so pleased with their new machine that they will not use it to the point of exacting vigorous demands upon specifications that I am certain violate warranties and insurance regulations... I was even told not to use the mower in 5th gear, that 5th was only meant for 'transport' such as when leaving the grass area...
    As for me, I am a single owner-operator and have 48+ grass customers alone. With that many yards, I average 10+ yards a day by myself and for that to happen, the mower needs to run like a Formula 1. After all, if the Proline wasn't meant to cut grass in 5th gear, then why build it with a 5-speed transmission ??? Alas, the mower needs tweaks and fixes so it can achieve its top-rated speed of 6.2 mph without streaking or other nonsense.
    Before I go any further, I have over 2000 yards under my belt and the below tweaks and fixes are 'at your own risk.' Some are dangerous to perform and some make your mower dangerous, however, if you are a responsible operator, these things make the mower scream.
    If you have employees, they can not operate your mower because if anyone gets hurt, you can get sued. This is not meant for the faint of heart, and if you've never operated a fix-deck mower, then this is likely not for you. If you get hurt, it is your own fault.

    That having been said, here is what I did:

    1) Check everything for tightness and correctness. Specifically, I found the transmission belt needed tightening, as did the blade belt.
    - For the transmission belt, it needs to be about as tight as an automotive alternator belt.
    - For the blade belt: Remove the deck lid and loosen the 'tightener' bolt/nut. Now start the mower, run it up to full throttle and engage the blades. Once all is running at full speed, tighten/loosen the belt until the 'slapping' is gone from the belt. Watch your fingers and do NOT let the wrench fall !
    CAUTION - Your fingers/hands will be very close to some FAST, moving machinery that easily cuts bone and flesh. Your face will also be close and exposed to possible flying material (do NOT drop the wrench!) and this is very dangerous. But, it is the best way I found to tighten this belt correctly.
    Do not re-install the deck lid just yet.

    2) Inflate rear-tires to 30 psi, front tires to 50 psi. This eliminates hippity-hopping around thou the rear tires will spin more easily and skid around turns if you're not careful.

    3) Get a grease gun and re-grease all zirc-points. I found a few had been omitted by the dealer, even thou I was assured the mower was 'ready-to-go.'
    Again - Check and re-check everything.

    4) Adjust blades and deck as follows:
    - For the rear-wheels, I found Toro had them set to the second-to-last hole from the factory, which is adequate.
    - For the front casters, move all FOUR spacers below the caster.
    - Remove all 3 blades and place all FOUR 1/4 in. blade spacers below spindle.
    What this does is it raises the deck into the air while lowering the blades to the ground. In the end, your blades should be about flush with the bottom of the deck AND the front of the mower actually is about 1/8 inch higher than the rear, giving you a type of double-edge approach (blades cut first in front, then again in the rear of the revolution).
    Benefit: Almost completely eliminates streaking at top speed. All mowers streak, you have to watch out for it, but this fairly stops the bs.
    Drawback: Just because the deck clears an object (sidewalk, rock, root) doesn't mean the blades will !
    Cutting height after adjustment: 3-1/8 inches at front of blade, 3 inches at rear-most part of blade (79-76mm)
    IMPORTANT: When loading/unloading from trailer, you will need to 'lift' the deck (pop a wheelie) or the spindle bolts (blade-bolts) will catch on the top edge of the gate. After you catch it once or twice, you will understand this concept better.
    You can re-install the deck lid.

    5) Remove the Bail. Then use electrical tape to tape down the shut-off switch, over-riding the safety feature. You see, when you operate the mower at full speed you will trip this security switch as you will be unable to hold the Bail at all times, and this shuts down the whole machine wasting your time as you attempt to re-start a HOT Kohler which got shut down from full throttle. Not only that, but this type of emergency shut-down is not good for the machine and is responsible for premature wear and tear.
    CAUTION - This violates insurance policy regulations and you need a new rule for your business: No bystanders or watchers near the machine!

    6) Fill her up with Amoco Premium (93 Octane). Never use anything less.

    7) Remove the air-filter cover, then remove the pre-cleaner. Spray the pre-cleaner lightly with WD-40. Re-assemble.

    8) Adjust the Traction control rod away from the Fixed control bar until you have an inch (or more) of clearance between the two. This will help keep you from smashing your fingers should they be curled around the traction rod when the mower suddenly stops (like if you hit a stump you did not see). Once this is done, you will need to re-adjust your brakes as follows:
    Tighten them until setting the Parking brake lever takes a firm grip. You see, when I load the mower onto my trailer, I simply set the parking brake and I am done. This saves a TON of time vs. straps and so long you drive carefully, is not a real problem. It helps to put the mower right up to the front wall of the trailer so if you have to slam on brakes, the mower doesn't slam into the front wall, pushing your truck further.

    9) Unclip and remove the side-discharge chute spring. The chute stays in place without the spring, and if you need to flip the chute over the deck, the lack of spring will keep it from snapping back down.

    10) Start it, run it full-throttle with blades engaged for a few minutes and until the worst of that new-car burning smell is gone. Then, cut some grass for about 10-15 minutes until you get the feel of it (I recommend using your own lawn for this).

    11) Go to your local auto-parts store and buy a small bottle of red touch-up paint. Red nail polish is good, too.

    First day:
    - Pick an average size yard that is not the most difficult and cut the whole yard with throttle one click below full and in 4th gear.
    - For the second and consecutive yards, open her up wide but treat with care. I did 10 yards my first day with the new mower.

    End of day:
    - Replace blades with sharp ones or sharpen them. Re-grease all the 8-hour zirc-points, re-fuel with 93 octane. Clean off the dirt, touch up any parts you scratched with the paint and you're done.

    Second day:
    - Run between 7-8 average yards, thou 10 is ok, too.
    - In addition to the usual:
    Replace the pre-cleaner with a clean one (wd-40 treated). I found that buying 3 or 4 pre-cleaners works good, keep the dirty ones someplace and when you have enough, the washing machine cleans them good but do NOT use the dryer - let them air-dry.
    Change the oil and filter and re-fill with a synthetic or synthetic blend.

    Now you're ready.

    10+ yards/day, one person.
    Gross income: 300+/day.

    Do that 6 days/week and you clear 2000 dollars/week by yourself cutting grass. Only problem now is scaring up that many customers, LOL !
    As for me, I cut grass 2-3 days/week then I do other stuff.

    Peace out,

    p.s.: Yes, it's a walk-behind.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Quick thing I forgot to mention:

    If you've never cut grass at top speeds of 6+ mph on a walk-behind :


    Should your mower hit a solid object such as a tree stump at high speed, it will likely stop immediately and throw you into the handle bars. The handle bars will hurt you very badly and can crack and break your ribs but will not stop you completely as your body will continue to fall forward over the top of the mower. You will see the engine and muffler coming towards you and you had BEST have the deck lid installed or you will be also faced with the moving belt and spinning wheels.

    Just thought I'd share that with you.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The transmission belt for the proline costs around 20 bucks from the dealer.
    However, NAPA sells an agricultural belt part-number 4L400W which retails for $11.97 and works great!

    I believe for the float-deck you need the 410W or maybe 420W
    Further info: the number before the W indicates inches as follows:
    A 400w belt is 40.0 inches in length. A 410w is 41.0 inches, and so on.

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