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RE: (ET) Large Frame Mower Deck
From: Andrew Poush [mailto:agp vt edu]
Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2003 9:51 AM
To: elec-trak cosmos phy tufts edu
Subject: Re: (ET) Large Frame Mower Deck
I was thinking about this some more and I realized that there are more
questions I need to add to the survey. So to repeat all the current
questions plus the new ones:
So now to a question:
Does anyone out there use a large frame deck to successfully cut the
lawn in only one cut?
And a survey:
Can all those with large frame mowers tell me: 1) How many cuts does
it take to do your lawn?
One; if it takes two you are doing something wrong (and that's very
2) Side or rear discharge?
Have used both. I like the rear discharge better; the clippings are more
3) With or without baffles?
I never made it cut right (for a factory deck) without baffles.
4) What is cut height (number of spacers below front wheel caster
It depends on what height you want. I use 3 or 4 spacers below the caster.
5) What numbers and/or text appears on the deck nameplate?
Now you're meddling. No, I have used at least 3 types of deck, and they
all can be made to cut well.
6) Is deck OEM?
7) If it came with the ET, what is ET s/n?
Ditto 5; it shouldn't matter. E12/E15.
First, check to see if the blades are turning the right way!
Second, keep the INSIDE OF THE DECK CLEAN! Don't try and mow 'damp'
grass. If you have too, that's fine,
but don't expect it to look good. It sticks in the deck and overloads the
motors. The blades turn slow
and it doesn't cut. I use a 3 fingered weeder to scrape off any grass
thicker than 3/4" on the inside of
Third, sharpen the blades, ESPECIALLY THE OUTSIDE 3" and the tip. If the
tip isn't sharp and square, you
will leave the strips. This isn't unique to the GE; I have seen it on
Bolens and Sears decks too. It IS
more pronounced as the GE tip speed is slower than on many other decks; it
isn't the RPM that cuts, it's
the linear speed; a longer blade is turning faster.
Fourth, are use using the SAME types of blades? The 'lift' blade has more
bend. I have used them, but am
not at the moment. I'm not sure, but I think they were standard on the
side-discharge deck. Either will
work, but your ground speed will be different.
Fifth, is the deck LEVEL? Front to back very important.
Sixth, with rear discharge you want the rubber boot to spread the
clippings more uniformly.
Seventh, when the blade is worn to the width of a butcher knife, replace
LAST, and most common mistake; don't expect it to mow if you can hear the
blades slowing! The GE mows at
about 3,000 RPM as I recall. With a radius of 7.25" or so, that's a tip
speed of 127 MPH. Sound good?
A Bolens 20 HP with 19" blades cuts at 3600 RPM; that's 203 MPH. Don't
get me wrong; anything like 100 MPH
will cut fine, a reel mower is cutting in the 10's of MPH, and it works ON
A LITTLE GRASS AT A TIME! The
problem is that a gas tractor like a Bolens or a John Deere uses a
governor to control the engine speed;
more grass and the RPM doesn't droop too much. The GE gets more load and
the current can go way up to
add power, but the RPM drops off REAL FAST. You have all heard it. When
the roar stops you aren't cutting
well. Go slower. Or raise the deck and go slow too. If you're
re-cutting, wait a day and let the grass
dry out so it doesn't plug the deck. If you don't do this you will ALWAYS
LEAVE TWO STRIPS OF GRASS!
If you do it right, you can cut as good as anyone. My nephew has a 14.5
HP Sears, and I cut along with
him at times. I can leave the grass looking SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than he
can when cutting more than an
inch and a half of grass, but I can't do it as fast.
Now if I could find one of the front-mounted GE reel mowers to try, that
would be fun.
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