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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, newbie to JD here. bought a used, near 1st serial # of 445 tractor and another used MC519 bagger from another party . . . putting it all together now that bagging season is close.

Buying blades at the dealer here in Rogers, Mn and the parts guy seemed pretty convincing that you don't need the high lift blades if you already have the power flo system mounted. . . What is YOUR experience? Is he right, maybe I will return them and be satisfied with the standard blades.

I have been using mulching blades(that was what was on it) but there is no mulching "kit" on the machine. Clippings just fly out the deck slot. To pick up big bunches of oak leaves and cut, possibly wet grass I was thinking I should still put the high lift on. Why not? What is the down side here?

Finally, if anyone is using a mulching "kit" It would be nice to know if they feel it necessary and useful at $260?!

thanks.
 

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I think mulching blades are a better match to the power flow then high lift. They still create lots of airflow, but they make the grass and junk easier for the powerflo to digest.
 

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The mulching blades might be a little better. The high lift blades will work fine also. It's grass, don't over think it too much.
 

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I dont know how the deck on the 445 is, but in my experience with my 318 and 50" deck with speed up pulley (which is very likely a much different animal than your 445 and its deck given the difference in age and deck design), the medium lift (which are the highest lift blades available) do not work as well with the power flow as the low lift do. It seems like the power flow can get overwhelmed and cant quite keep up with the higher lift blades. Is it bad? Not really...I just slow down if it cant keep up.
Either will work, but you might find one works better than the other, as I did.
You might also find that having high lift blades might be useful at other times even if they dont work so well with the power flow.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What is interesting is NOBODY so far agrees with the dealer to just use the STANDARD blades.
 

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I used a power flow and a Mc 519 cart on my 1994 445 for 16 years. I never used any blade other than the standard blade that came on the 60" deck. It did a beautiful job and picked up everything in its path. As said above- keep it simple!!!
 

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Same as Dukester, I used a 519 cart on a 54" deck on a 345 garden tractor with standard lift blades and it was like the lawn was completely vacuumed.
Don't think I used it on a wet lawn though, too worried the leaf litter would turn to mud and clog the mesh of the cart air flow panels.
 

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High lift vs standard vs mulching. Right or wrong here's my "theory"! Standard or high lift blades have nothing to do with the clippings collection system, whether JD MCS or aftermarket. The type of blade has more to do with the quality of cut. As you mow, your grass is pushed down by the front of your deck. As you continue, the grass "springs" back up or is sucked back up with a high lift blade. Blade speed, ground speed and type of grass also have an affect on quality. AFTER the grass is cut is now the job of the collection system, unless you're mulching! When mulching, the kits may be the best...don't know, never had one!... but you must cover the discharge opening. When mulching, the blades cut the grass and the clippings lift up and then drop down to be cut again, lift, drop & recut. This cuts your clippings into very small, nearly invisible pieces. With an open discharge chute, your clippings may only be recut once before being discharged, resulting in a yard full of clippings!

So I guess I too disagree with the parts guy. Blades control the quality of the cut and are not dependent on a collection system. I'd go with a high lift. Bob
 
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High lift blades do use more HP.
 
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I just added a Power Flow bagger system to my 1026R and went from mulching blades to high lift. I really like how the high lift cut with or without the bagger, I was never bowled over with the Gator G6 mulching blades. I just didn't notice much difference in the clippings. I like rwmeyer's theory. BTW, my dealer sells mulching blades, but otherwise only stocks high lift.
 

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The high lifts are required for baggers where there isn't any active air flow to get the clippings into the bagger. With a powerflow i don't see much added benefit in having them. In the dryer time of year they also kick up more dust than standard blades. They will both work. I'm with Gizmo on the high lifts taking extra hp vs standard.
 

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I used a power flow and a Mc 519 cart on my 1994 445 for 16 years. I never used any blade other than the standard blade that came on the 60" deck. It did a beautiful job and picked up everything in its path. As said above- keep it simple!!!
This is what I did with my 1992 425 with a 519 cart w/power flo.
 

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It's important to note that when the 445 came out and the Power Flow kit for the MC519 was first offered in the mid 1990's, I am pretty sure the only blades sold were the standard blades. Thirty years ago, it was simply about cutting the grass and getting it picked up. It's just in the last decade or so when all of the focus on the "right mower blade for the right job" seemed to become such an issue.

Mulching kits have been around for a long time, but I have never felt the need to use one on any of my mowers. I do like to run the high lift blades on my Zero Turn mower because it stands the grass up nicely before cutting it and it also seems to result in smaller clippings being discharged.

As was said above with tremendous wisdom, don't over think many of these things. A PROPERLY sharpened blade of any type is better than a dull High Lift or dull regular or dull Mulching / Gator Blade.........

Many of the high lift blades actually have a longer cutting surface. Take a look at your mower blades and the portion with the beveled cut is the ONLY portion of the blade which actually cuts grass. That means that just about 1/3rd of the total blade cuts grass, which is on the outer portion of the blade. I do know from years of personal experience, the larger the official blade cutting area, the smaller the clippings and the better the end result.

Keeping the deck cleaned and free of all accumulations underneath will actually have more of an impact on the mowing result that will anything else you can do to the machine. The better the air flow under the deck, the better the quality cut, the better your MC519 cart will work.....Keep the blades sharp and the underside of the deck clean and you will get the result the machine was designed to produce.

Make sure to NOT allow the MC519 cart to get "over full" with grass and leaves before you empty it. I reach back and push on the front of the MC cart's hopper to feel when the grass depth is getting near full. When you feel it is 3/4's full, that's the time to empty the MC cart.

If you allow the cart to over fill, it will plug the chute which goes from the deck mounted blower back to the cart. Also, the deck mounted blower will plug up and its very hard on the impeller drive belt. To clean the plugged up chute and blower, you have to remove both completely and reach into the impeller area and pull out all of the plugged material. It's a messy process and time consuming and dangerous, when the unit is on the tractor.

So, pay attention and empty the Mc519 cart before it fills to the point of plugging the chute and deck blower. It will save you a lot of time and messy labor...............

When you are running the mower deck with the MC 519 cart, the moment you notice a narrow line of grass debris behind the tractor, it means the unit is past full and ready to PLUG. Don't proceed using the machine when you notice its not picking up 100% of the debris as it is time to empty the cart. You will get the feel for this quickly.

The MC519 system is outstanding for clean up. It's one of the very best out there. It doesn't jack knife behind the tractor when you back up, its very easy to install and use and its also very efficient at cleaning the lawn when used properly.

Also, avoid running the entire system and the mower deck so low that the front of the plastic blower housing makes contact with the ground. Many people make this mistake and over a short time, they wear a hole in the plastic blower housing from the friction with the ground. This destroys the proper function of the system and it requires either replacing or rebuilding the blower housing. I just rebuilt one of the Deere blower housings for a friend which had been worn out from running too low, and the parts cost alone was over $450...............plus the 2 hours of labor it took me to completely rebuild the unit....

You will love this system......used properly, its one of the very best on the market. If you have any set up or use issues, let us know, as many of us have and use this great clean up system.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
OK guys. I think I have all the input now! thanks. Here is my final conclusion:
I will go with standard blades, for now. Main reasons:
-- my lawn is not a masterpiece, live in the country. If it's green, it's good enough. No more fertilizing, broadleaf weed control, or even watering. SO. I am not concerned about the quality of cut much more than is it cut clean(sharp blade) and even(level deck)
-- Both the slightly higher HP drain on my gas bill and the higher dust in dry times turn my a bit against the High Lift
-- "my dealer sells mulching blades, but otherwise only stocks high lift." may mean this decision is wrong because a lot of his customers use high lifts only. . . it seems.

SO, I bought high lift blades yesterday too and will try them. . . maybe next time I pull the mower deck.

Thanks a bunch for all your help guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks SullyBear!
I have used baggers for years on my little suburban lot / walk behind mowers before I retired to the country home. I recall the row of clippings building. . . but with those, it was already too late. Chute was plugged.
I REALLY appreciate all the details; learned a lot. For the record the length of the standard vs the high lift cutting surfaces is. . . wait for it! 3/8" LONGER than the high lift. Regardless, insignificant difference, being the high lift measures 5 3/8" cutting face, is only about 5%. The main thing is the RPM, how many cuts per rev go past a blade of grass. Both should be about the same.

Sharpness, as you said, is the main variable!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
one more question:
As to mulching blades: The 445 I bought had ONLY the mulching blades and not "Kit" to block the discharge. Apparently, the kit must be more than just a discharge blocking plate. JD dealer wants $260 for the "kit"! Wondering if anyone here actually paid for the kit and believes all its parts are of "use" in the process?
 

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I've got a mod 46 deck, no mulching kit, and a piece of sheet metal with a 90º bend & screwed to the top of the deck and blocking the discharge opening. NO problems as long as the grass doesn't get too long! I can't say what the difference would be with the kit, but for $260, I'd say, "Not worth it!" Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Going to the dealer this morning to pick up the new seal for the gearbox. I will ask to "see" the kit and report back.
 

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Many people run the mulching baffles without the the end cap, especially if bagging. It helps reduce ‘blow-out’ where things are pushed ahead of the deck like leaves clippings and dust.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Many people run the mulching baffles without the the end cap, especially if bagging. It helps reduce ‘blow-out’ where things are pushed ahead of the deck like leaves clippings and dust.
So, from this I gather that some folks DO BUY THE KIT to acquire the mulching baffles but then do NOT use the chute block while bagging but also NOT using either the high lift or standard blade but the mulching blade.

Did I get that right?
 
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