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RE: (ET) Large Frame Mower Deck

-----Original Message-----
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 
evenly distributed.

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 
the deck.

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 
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 

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.

Larry Elie

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