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What do you look for in a ZTR deck?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by sprinter, May 14, 2012.

  1. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    This issue was raised by ommegang on another thread. Most of us non-pro's don't know what to look for in deck quality regarding cut quality, dispersal, etc. There is little objective information for us, so we tend to concentrate on the other factors when considering a purchase. Yet, this is where the rubber meets the road, so may be one of the more important factors. What can you tell us about decks? We'd be interested in decks found on commercial grade machines as well as residential and prosumer level.

    Personally, I've already purchased a Husq MZ6128 and am happy with the cut, but I was not well informed about deck issues.
  2. jkingrph

    jkingrph LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    It's been six years sinced I purchased my Scag Wildcat, strickly for homeowner use.

    I looked for solid build, thickness of deck material. Mine is a built up, not stamped type and where spindles mount is three layers of steel so it is stiff and solid there. If I were to do anything to bend that I think I would have more problems than bending a mower deck.

    I looked for grease fittings on blade spindles and the size of spindles and bearings, and mine has grease fittings on piviot points where deck is suspended, ie the lift mechanism.

    Basically look at it and think about lubrication of any possible moving part and it it is made to lube that's probably good.

    As far as grass dispersal, you will just have to read and hope you get good info there, I got the Velocity deck and it does a good job so I have been happy. It does help to use good blades. Standard factory blades are ok, super high lifts do a fantastic job of making grass and stems stand up to be cut but create a huge cloud of dust in dry conditions with my mower. I just put some of the Oregon G 6 blades on, a combination of high lift and Gator type, and the seem to be a good comprimise, chopping everything up nicely and sitll giving plenty of lift for a good cut and good dispersion.
  3. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,253

    I have a Scag Tiger Cat 52". Look for a high RPM, heavy blades, a high cutting deck, looks how the grass is fanned out, the size of the discharge, and how one row looks just like the others ( not one side higher than other). Scags let you adjust the baffle on different type of turf. Look for something that is solid welded steel with at least 10 gauge steel or preferably 7 gauge and not a thin stamped deck that will bend or break loose. Probably more than you needed, and finally, just be happy with your purchase.
  4. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    Yes, most folks advise a welded deck. I get the impression that the main reason for that is that it is only the heavier gauge decks that were welded because no manufacturer wanted to stamp heavier decks. Deere, and I think someone else(?) stamps their 7 ga decks with what must be a godawful huge press. (As an aside, my wife wanted a JD because they were prettiest. Now she likes orange...I wonder how many are sold for just that reason).
  5. ommegang

    ommegang LawnSite Member
    Messages: 164

    I think the point here is what landowner mower has the best cut and disperal. However, the problem is, landowners only get one macine and thus don't have the opportunity to evaluate dif machines. Yeah, you can get the machine with the best components for the least price but, will it cut great under all conditions??? Or, will it even cut good under adverse conditions? IE: I could purchase the best ZTR with the best components but, will it cut the best? In landowner models, it seems like it's a hard Q to answer. So, where to find the answer to this Q??
  6. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    I know from my own use that stamped decks seem to have better vacuum for bagging. All of my lawn tractors and the one I have presently have all had great suction when bagging. All the Fabricated decks on my ZTR's have had little or no suction.
  7. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    That actually makes sense. A curved surface would provide more even air flow. Hard corners would produce more eddy currents thus more resistance to flow. I wonder if any actual studies have been done on that. Interesting point.
  8. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,744

    isn't that the purpose of the baffles inside of the fabricated decks?

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

  10. sprinter

    sprinter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

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