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Figured out another difference between early HC series decks and late HC series decks.
Turns out it's also visible in the pictures already posted.

The ride-over ramp/belt shields on the new ones are plastic and snap-on / snap-off vs bolt on (and I assume metal) on the older series.

New design makes it simple to pop off the the covers to blow off debris when finished cutting.

Kudos to those responsible for the design change!
Did they make them [email protected]#$ belt guards simple to pop off too?
 

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Yupp -- that's what I was trying to say, but I guess I didn't do a good job.

The belt guard and ramp are one piece of plastic.
It hooks into a bracket at the rear and snaps down at the front.
Nice finger hold for lifting it to snap it off.

Only adds about 3 seconds per side to the blower/cleanup job after mowing.

Of course black plastic isn't going to rust and there is no hardware to get lost or threads to damage.
Thanks! I dislike spending 15 minutes with the leaf blower blowing off grass and it STILL comes out of under the belt guards. They're comin off this season. (y)
 
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