42" mower deck scalping
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Thread: 42" mower deck scalping

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    42" mower deck scalping

    Every once in a while, one side of the 42" mower deck will scalp a spot the exact size of the blade. It will do this some times when I stop to turn around or when I hit a small hump or dip in the yard. Doesn't always do it in the same spot in the yard. Its on a 3 year old S240 lawn tractor. Has anyone else experienced this or have a cure for the problem?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vanguard2010 View Post
    Every once in a while, one side of the 42" mower deck will scalp a spot the exact size of the blade. It will do this some times when I stop to turn around or when I hit a small hump or dip in the yard. Doesn't always do it in the same spot in the yard. Its on a 3 year old S240 lawn tractor. Has anyone else experienced this or have a cure for the problem?
    One of your wheels is probably falling into a hole or low spot. Sometimes the blade will also find a higher spot of the lawn then the rest of the tractor or deck.

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    xcopterdoc's Avatar
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    Nature of the beast. When you dive into a dip with a mower it will scalp. Make sure your wheels on the deck are set to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch off the ground at whatever level yur cutting at. Check tire pressures and deck level. These decks are not terrian following decks.

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    I had similar with the outside blade when making sharp turns on a slope.
    In other words, driving forward with a slight slope down to my right, making a sharp left turn would cause the outside blade on the right to scalp a little.
    I'd already leveled the deck with the chess piece but decided to follow the 2nd procedure in the manual so I bought the Stens 750-656 Metal Deck Leveling Gauge (John Deere makes a less expensive plastic version that undoubtedly works fine - AM130907).

    Honestly, it took me about 30 minutes to fine tune the level with this method but much of that was me being a bit slow to catch on to the impact of the adjustment on one side to the other. I kept setting the blade height exactly where I wanted it to find that it moved when I adjusted the other side. Eventually I caught on that I had to anticipate the adjustment I'd be making on the opposite side and leave the current side too high or low in the opposing direction.
    I also have the mulching blades which vary quite a bit in distance from the ground depending on whether or not you're measuring from the cut side or the back/blunt side. I measured from the back/blunt side which was closest to the ground.
    I measured the blade on the same way with my mulching push-mower so they both match up perfectly now. It may make more sense to measure from the cut side but it's harder to get the measuring tool to sit on that end consistently.

    Oh... and probably most importantly. My anti-scalping wheels were not in the right spot. There are only 2 in the front of the 42" deck and, while my manual indicates you need to adjust them a certain distance from the ground, you really only have 4 slots you can set them in with numbers stamped into the metal next to the slots representative of the cut height setting. Mine were too high.

    The scalp wheel adjustment probably made the best anti-scalping difference but the cut height is also perfect now.

    Probably more detail than anybody wanted.
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    Turns out most of the issue was related to a rear tire that was slightly low on pressure. When weight would shift to that side, it would lean enough to cause the deck to scalp on that side. Much better now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanguard2010 View Post
    Turns out most of the issue was related to a rear tire that was slightly low on pressure. When weight would shift to that side, it would lean enough to cause the deck to scalp on that side. Much better now.
    Thanks for posting your finding. It helps others by knowing the resolution to your original issue and makes threads valuable for future readers.

    Sometimes, there will be terrain issues which just need to be mowed differently. One neighbors yard that I mow to help them (because they are super busy at work farming 15,000 acres) has a side hill that no matter how you make a 180 degree turn, it's going to be uneven because of the shifting of the machine and also the rider leaning into the hill and not even realizing it. I just mow over the crown of the side hill before making the 3 point turn around and problem solved.......

    Even though the neighbors property line is on the side hill, I talked to their neighbor and he agreed that if I mow over the hill a few feet onto his lawn, it prevents him from having to make the opposite turn on the hill facing down or mowing the hill from side to side. Essentially, he feel the less he has to mow, the better..........Works for everyone.

    If the hill has a sharp crown, I will lift the deck right as i reach the top of the hill to avoid any scalping and then drop the deck back to mowing height as I pass the crown of the hill. Mowing up and down inclines always provides a better looking cut, not to mention is much safer that side hill mowing.

    Also, unexpected dips and holes in the lawn which cause a wheel to drop will cause the uneven cutting and it is often noticeable when looking across the lawn (not to mention the jarring on your spine when you hit the hole). If you suddenly develop a dip or hole in your lawn about the size of a lawn tractor tire and it's not due to animal activity, it can mean you have a leak in your underground irrigation piping, which washes out the subsoil because of the pressure of the leak. I have seen this numerous times over the years when the poly pipe either fails or the sprinkler head housing ruptures underground. So if you have a new "BUMP" in your lawn which you didn't have before, consider the option of a water leak from irrigation or drain piping as a possible source.

    It's not how fast you mow, it's how well you mow when going the proper speed.........

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    xcopterdoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanguard2010 View Post
    Turns out most of the issue was related to a rear tire that was slightly low on pressure. When weight would shift to that side, it would lean enough to cause the deck to scalp on that side. Much better now.
    Thanks for posting back. Sometimes it is the simple things that come into play. Even as a tech, we often have to go back to square one. Start all over, disregard what was done, flush the crapper and lose the tunnel vision.

    Sent from my LGL52VL using Tapatalk

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