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G'day all....

Sorry to throw this out without extensive research in the archives, but I am looking for feedback from anyone who might be having, or had, trouble with the current iteration 48X deck not cutting properly with the mulch kit installed.

We have a customer who has issues with his X320......it leaves an unmown strip, and we're going a little nuts trying to determine why. The only thing we've found so far is that his yard has a particularly thick, long, lush type of grass. When we mow with it, it seems fine, but when we put it in his yard.......the strip is there. It almost seems to mow better *without& the mulch kit on it....

Thoughts???

TIA,

Jeb
 

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I had an X320 with the 48" deck with mulch kit. I was generally very happy with the way it cut. But every year, toward the middle or end of summer, it would do what you describe. I'm convinced it has something to do with the moisture content of the grass at that time of the year. And if that is the case, different types of grass might very well respond differently. My X485SE that I own now, with 54" deck and much kit, has done the same thing this year. Other things to consider:
1) Keep the underside of the deck reasonably free of built-up grass.
2) Keep the blades sharp.
3) Always mow at WOT.
4) If the grass is tall, mow at a higher setting and/or overlap your passes as you mow.
5) Watch your mowing speed, especially on curves.

Hope this helps.
 

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First, I'd follow the suggestions of Tractornoob, it's what most mfg'ers recommend anyway for best mowing performance.

Then, since there is no mention of changing blade types, absolutely try that! There are many variations in deck type, grass type and blade type. I'm no mathmatician but I see the amount of variable possibilites in all the above combinations. I myself would not totally believe even the JD Corporation's recommendations for any particular "mulch kit blade" until I've tried different ones under my conditions. In my case it's Gator's regular mulching blade that outperforms the OEM ones.

Air flow vs. type of grass acted upon by the underneath shape and baffling AND CUTTING HEIGHT. My 48C cuts less and less "pleasingly" the higher it's set. Some better with Gator blades, but lower is better with them also.

Don't give up until you can find the alternate blade type that will work with that deck and "factory mulching gizmo". (My mulching gizmo is 2 layers of 3/8" hardware cloth sandwiching a heavy piece of plastic commercial carpet protector held on by a double h.d. rubber bungee over the deck outlet (flap up). I'll put it up against a gen-u-ine JD "kit" anytime grass or leaves.)

I'm guessing the stripe is the grass managing to "duck away" due to improper air flow at the blade tips... Maybe after you have found the better cut we'll all know more about "combinations". Be sure to feed back.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had an X320 with the 48" deck with mulch kit. I was generally very happy with the way it cut. But every year, toward the middle or end of summer, it would do what you describe. I'm convinced it has something to do with the moisture content of the grass at that time of the year. And if that is the case, different types of grass might very well respond differently. My X485SE that I own now, with 54" deck and much kit, has done the same thing this year. Other things to consider:
Thanks for your feedback....how *do* I do an official thanks?

The grass type is a distinct issue. This customer has a particularly thick grass type. He just bought this machine not too long ago, so we don't have any earlier point of reference of moisture content.

FWIW, I work at a JD dealer.....I'm one of those people who realizes the importance of empirical knowledge and real world experience. Hence my delight at finding GTT.
1) Keep the underside of the deck reasonably free of built-up grass.
New deck, checked and cleaned every time we look at it......we have even installed another deck from another machine.
2) Keep the blades sharp.
Have done so......used both mulching, and regular blades......we have even gone so far as to dress brand new blades straight from the box to ensure an almost razor sharp cut.
3) Always mow at WOT.
Check......one of the first things we asked the customer.
4) If the grass is tall, mow at a higher setting and/or overlap your passes as you mow.
So far, our customer has been mowing without the grass being excessively long.....a known issue with mulching kit eqipped machines, but he is unwilling to have to make multiple passes. That's his complaint. We do understand that the basic premise of having to mow twice with a Select Series tractor is unacceptable.
5) Watch your mowing speed, especially on curves.
This is a pretty "normal" lot in an upscale development that isn't rife with undulations and generally bad topography. This is part of our frustration.
Hope this helps.
Yah......thanks. It's good to have gone across that list and know we are doing everything we can. The customer wants to mulch, so bagging or running without a mulch kit aren't options, despite the fact that the machine *does* seem to mow better here at our shop without the mulch plug installed.

We haven't tried mowing at his place without the plug simply because we about half don't want to know it might work better.....what the heck would we tell him then????

We still have to see if DTAC can help us......our service rep has been in contact with us, but so far nothing has worked.
 

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Thanks for your feedback....how *do* I do an official thanks?
Not trying to be a [email protected] You click the "Thanks" button. Go to the helpful post. In the lower left is a "Thanks".

HH makes a reasonable suggestion at trying the Gator blades as well. I can appreciate not wanting to make multiple passes, but the owner should understand, too, that when mulching this is a good idea even if the grass "looks" cleanly cut on the first pass because it chops the grass up even more and allows it to break down that much quicker.

I find that I have an issue with this sort of thing if my grass is simply too long when I attempt to mow (and I have a 62D deck on a 2520). There are a couple of places in my lawn where it simply *will not* cut clean on one pass if I am not mowing often enough. I go back the following day, after it has had a chance to stand back up (which is when it really becomes noticeable anyway), and hit it again.
 

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The customer wants to make only one pass? Sure, who doesn't! The real answer is that JD advertising brochures and TV commercials are simply not realistic, BUT they ARE aimed at people who tend to live in an unrealistic and non-flexible world. Besides, who paints their grass green before and after they mow it? Us counry-ized "folk" know how all this stuff really works in the real world!:mocking:
 

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Yah......thanks. It's good to have gone across that list and know we are doing everything we can. The customer wants to mulch, so bagging or running without a mulch kit aren't options, despite the fact that the machine *does* seem to mow better here at our shop without the mulch plug installed.

We haven't tried mowing at his place without the plug simply because we about half don't want to know it might work better.....what the heck would we tell him then????

We still have to see if DTAC can help us......our service rep has been in contact with us, but so far nothing has worked.
Sometimes, you have to fix the customer and not the machine. :empathy:

I've run into it a couple of times, where a customer bought/ was sold a piece of equipment that was simply not designed for the task they were trying to do in that particular situation. Sounds like you may be butting up against that a little bit here. What are the customer's neighbors doing for lawn care? I presume they would have the same type of grass. It sounds like the X320 is doing it's job, at your shop anyway. It may be that in order to get the best results out of that machine on his particular type of grass he has to concede the mulch kit or perhaps mow more often, where on a different yard the setup he purchased would work just fine. It's not the best answer, and probably not what he wants to hear. It may be time to step back and help the customer re-evaluate his overall needs, and how to best accomplish them.
 

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Sometimes, you have to fix the customer and not the machine. :empathy:

I've run into it a couple of times, where a customer bought/ was sold a piece of equipment that was simply not designed for the task they were trying to do in that particular situation. Sounds like you may be butting up against that a little bit here. What are the customer's neighbors doing for lawn care? I presume they would have the same type of grass. It sounds like the X320 is doing it's job, at your shop anyway. It may be that in order to get the best results out of that machine on his particular type of grass he has to concede the mulch kit or perhaps mow more often, where on a different yard the setup he purchased would work just fine. It's not the best answer, and probably not what he wants to hear. It may be time to step back and help the customer re-evaluate his overall needs, and how to best accomplish them.
+1 on this... This right in line with what I had mentioned in a previous post.

What the customer wants is not always what the customer needs and is also not always what the customer gets. Why does the customer feel it's reasonable to believe that they can mulch in a single pass?

Clearly, the customer is not going to get what they feel they should without changing a variable somewhere. The customer has a long list of options available to them. Some are:

- Remove the mulch kit and use the side-discharge system.
- Use overlapping passes.
- Mow twice as often.
- "Live" with a lawn that is not uniformly cut.
- Get different equipment (this may not actually even be a solution, but it would include possible things like getting Gator blades).
- Hire it out.

When the customer says "I'll mow twice as often", ask them how that's different than making overlapping passes (which would take less than twice as long). :)
 

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Would it matter if the blades were positioned differently? Like if the all 3 blades are pointing the same direction maybe alternate the middle blade or vis versa? My 318 used to leave a lines where the baldes overlapped and it drove me nuts. It had the normal side discharge config. The blades were really old and had been sharpened to a rounded end. When I got new ones it helped, but never totally solved the issue. I sort of wrote it off to the slower tip speed, but I never tried alternating the blades to see if that helped. There is a lot to the airflow on these decks. My 1026R with the 60D has a HUGE difference in the mulch kit and the stock side discharge setup when it comes to cut quality. I just took the mulch kit off becuase I LOVED how well the high lift blades cut my lawn.

I'm not sure how relevent this is, but a guy I work with put the mulch kit on his Cub and left the normal blades on and he really likes the way it works. There isn't anything left from a clipping standpoint, and he has no issues with lines left where the blades overlap. I almost tried this on my 1026R, but I was in a hurry and didn't really feel all that experimental.

-636
 

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Would it matter if the blades were positioned differently? Like if the all 3 blades are pointing the same direction maybe alternate the middle blade or vis versa? My 318 used to leave a lines where the baldes overlapped and it drove me nuts. It had the normal side discharge config. The blades were really old and had been sharpened to a rounded end. When I got new ones it helped, but never totally solved the issue. I sort of wrote it off to the slower tip speed, but I never tried alternating the blades to see if that helped. There is a lot to the airflow on these decks. My 1026R with the 60D has a HUGE difference in the mulch kit and the stock side discharge setup when it comes to cut quality. I just took the mulch kit off becuase I LOVED how well the high lift blades cut my lawn.

I'm not sure how relevent this is, but a guy I work with put the mulch kit on his Cub and left the normal blades on and he really likes the way it works. There isn't anything left from a clipping standpoint, and he has no issues with lines left where the blades overlap. I almost tried this on my 1026R, but I was in a hurry and didn't really feel all that experimental.

-636
I *believe* that changing the position of any of the blades relative to each other will have absolutely zero impact.

The blades all spin independently of each other and have to fixed "connectors" between the spindles. Due to belt slippage and such, they can (and I believe do) change their positions relative to each other each time they are used. This is why it's important to ensure that the blades don't ever occupy the same physical space when spinning or they will eventually hit.

Mulch blades are designed to be used with a particular mulch kit and provide a certain amount and kind of force on the air to lift the clippings and the uncut grass. Essentially, they typically provide more lift than standard blades to keep the clippings inside of the mower housing longer, allowing the blades to strike them repeatedly and chop them up very fine. The biggest issue that I would be cautious of when using ANY blade not specifically designed for a particular mulch kit / deck is whether or not they completely clear all of the structure and each other while in rotation. "Try" to make them hit something when installing them, including each other. Anything that touches will result in damage.
 

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I do agree that the blade position probably wouldn't change much with the cut.

On my 60D the Mulch blades have less lift than the standard blades do. There is a much smaller lip on the back of the Mulch blades compared to the standard high lift blade. I've always wondered what a set of gator blades would do as they have big fingers where the high lift blades have a solid lip.

Meburdick is very correct when it comes to new blades. I got the JD mulch kit and installed it on my 60D. The blades were just a bit too big and did contact. They had to be ground down a hair to clear everything.

I hope I'm not trampeling your thread. The technology behind our decks is pretty interesting and I was hoping someone would have a neat F.Y.I. on what was going on with your customer's cut issue as well as some neat info for the rest of us.


-636
 

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Someone in the know about JD's deck stamping can correct me here, but... JD must think that they are getting their money's worth out of their mower deck shapes as they have been using the exact same stampings for a long loooong time. The "C Series" (for "Convertable To Mulching") was nothing more than welding a bunch of circular baffles inside the old style decks and a bunch of new stickers and advertising.

The 7 Iron deck is the only thing "new" JD mower deck design lately. "They" say it cuts better than an equivilent sized deck in yellow, but I'd sure like to know if it cuts the premium dollar amount better over a regular yellow deck. All customers want a great cut, and all customers are DUE not having strips left in a single pass. Ragged cut in long grass maybe, but NOT uncut strips there is just no engineering reason to design a deck that will have that possible problem.

Bring the side spindles in and move the center spindle forward and "BINGO" automatically eliminate all uncut overlap strips all the time with more blade overlap coverage... But that would require a total redesign and not enough complaints to dealers warrant that expense at this time. Let's face it, the configurations of decks are dictated by the amount of free space under the tractor and front to back wheel spaceing for clearance and ease of installation. We're all going to have to live with this "problem" for a while since, "I'm not having any trouble with MY deck."
 

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Someone in the know about JD's deck stamping can correct me here, but... JD must think that they are getting their money's worth out of their mower deck shapes as they have been using the exact same stampings for a long loooong time. The "C Series" (for "Convertable To Mulching") was nothing more than welding a bunch of circular baffles inside the old style decks and a bunch of new stickers and advertising.

The 7 Iron deck is the only thing "new" JD mower deck design lately. "They" say it cuts better than an equivilent sized deck in yellow, but I'd sure like to know if it cuts the premium dollar amount better over a regular yellow deck. All customers want a great cut, and all customers are DUE not having strips left in a single pass. Ragged cut in long grass maybe, but NOT uncut strips there is just no engineering reason to design a deck that will have that possible problem.

Bring the side spindles in and move the center spindle forward and "BINGO" automatically eliminate all uncut overlap strips all the time with more blade overlap coverage... But that would require a total redesign and not enough complaints to dealers warrant that expense at this time. Let's face it, the configurations of decks are dictated by the amount of free space under the tractor and front to back wheel spaceing for clearance and ease of installation. We're all going to have to live with this "problem" for a while since, "I'm not having any trouble with MY deck."
There's a lot more that goes into deck design besides relation of the blades to one another. Exact position behind the front wheels combined with a design that makes "enough" lift to raise the flattened grass back out is something that gets considered (as an example).

Don't forget that the machine owner has CHANGED the standard setup and is still "insisting" that it cut in the exact same manner... Personally, I don't feel this is a deck design issue at all. Mulching use is a secondary use for these decks, not primary. If the owner wants single-pass mowing with mulching deck, I would expect that to come after purchasing a mulching DECK (not just a kit to change how a standard deck operates).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks ever so much for all the feedback! It's good to get unbiased info from others and y'all pretty much comfirmed what we were dealing with in this case. Though we understand the man's frustration, we don't know what we can do for him. It's a good machine, and under "normal" circumstances, the machine works fine. So we may end up buying the machine back since he's not satisfied. some days you get the bear.....

Thanks again.
 

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One thing that totally limits the "lift" quality of a mower deck is the space OVER the blades. Ya can't get lift if there's no place to lift to. All decks today are fairly shallow by necessity, space under the tractor to lift the deck clear of the grass for transport. A "perfect" mulching deck would have a good deal more space over the blades and this in turn would increase performance with an open discharge as well. You just can't design a deck today like that for todays riding mowers/tractors, there's just no place to raise a deck for transport under there. I hear a bunch of folks over the years complaining that they can't cut their grass as high as they'd like due to the limits of deck lift.

Look under a Snapper 21" HiVac, it's the perfect mower design. It's tapered up and around getting more space over the blade as it reaches the discharge. Of course you can't do that with a 3 blade deck so lift performance suffers in order to be able to carry the deck clear of obstructions when not mowing. Sad to say the blade tip speed limits plays right into the lesser performance issues of some decks/blades. Want more lift and better cut? Spin the blades faster... but then you can't trust cheap-o replacement blades to hang together, etc., etc. So, we all must compromise to keep the masses safer. I don't like it, but I just work here.:laugh:
 
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