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Hey guys, z950m 72” cut. It’s got 150hours. I just changed the blades and on the first cut noticed that it’s a little streak of grass about 4-6” wide that’s not getting cut the same height. This streak is just to the left side of the front wheel. Also, it is leaving a small clumping of grass down this streak when it cuts. It’s not scalping on one side or the other just a small streak of grass that’s cut just not the same height. I’ve looked under it, measured the deck height and even pulled the blades off and put them back. The only thing I noticed was a tab under the front of the deck that was slightly bent so I hammered it back up. Nothing really changed. I’ve thought of moving the blade on that side of the mower to another side just to see. It’s weird and I know it sounds weird. Just wondering if anyone has had the same problems.
 

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You need to verify is one blade is installed upside down. I know....that never happens...but has to the best of us.

If that isn't the issue you need to accurately measure the length of each blade. Are these new blades OEM or aftermarket?

When something like this happens you need to go back to the last thing that was done to the machine - which in your case is changing out the blades.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’ve checked the placement of the blades twice because that would be a classic move I’d pulll, to put one upside down. Yesterday when I pulled the blades I measured each one against the old blades but not with a tape. Each blade end almost touches the next when I hand turn them.
These were OEM blades from my JD dealer. I paid a little extra ( maybe $20 vs online prices ) for the convience of being able to drive 2 mins and pick them up and ensure I was getting the right blades.
 

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That is strange then.

I know it’s all time consuming - but to further diagnose I would put the original blades on and see what happens. From what you said it cut fine until you changed the blades. Time to go back to what worked and see if it still works.

Other stuff happening is just too coincidental for me - like the spindle in that side going bad and dragging - or the belt slipping only on that spindle - and that happening just when you happen to change the blades. 9 times out of 10 the answer is something really simple. It’s just a matter of finding it....
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Moved new blades around. Same. Changed to old blades. Same. I’ve included pics to show what it’s doing albeit it’s hard to see. Follow the red line. I’m pointing at where the streaking falls on the deck. It’s between the rear tire and the deck guide. I feel like if it was somethjng bent it would shake or scalp on a corner. Weird
 

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I know I’m not much help shooting in the dark like this....

With all you have done so far my next step would be to remove the belt and check the spindle. But as I write this you would think if a spindle were bent there would be vibration like you said. Or if it were seizing up you would be getting a drag on the engine or a smoking belt.

Just another shot in the dark - how are your tire pressures? One softer rear tire can skew the deck quite a bit. But that would give you an uneven cut - not a streak like you are getting.
 

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Mulch kit?
 

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No mulch kit.
Random thought. My grass had gotten tall, been trying to get it cut back to height, I dunno. I ll check the air pressure.
 

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Fall grass is much tougher than spring grass - that could be the issue right there. Have you tried slowing down to see if it makes a clean cut? If it's really tall how about a second cut at an opposing direction?

That blade on the left has the most work to do to get the clippings all the way over to the discharge.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Haven’t tried slower, only when the tall grass slows it. There are some ends that I double on and it did do better. Maybe the season and the missed cut has created this. I mean there’s no explanation!
 

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Well... you were right! Bent spindle. I stopped by the dealer to pick up my generator for Hurricane Florence and was talking to the shop guys. They said to line the blade tips (which I had done) and then turn 180 degrees and line the tips (which I had not done). When I spin the blades the middle blade was off 1/8-1/4” but on the other end the blade lines up , turn 180 degrees and it’s off 1/4”. Mind you this gap is up and down not from end to end. This lines up with the spot it’s leaving. I told them it wasn’t vibrating and I don’t recall hitting anything. They said that vibration is not always the case. Thankfully the $192 not including labor spindle is gonna be covered under warranty. Thanks for the help!
 

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I also want to add that maybe I was blaming the bad cut on the old blades. Granted they were past worn but I think the new blades made me very aware of the cut. So probably didn’t coincide with blade change
 

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I'm happy to hear you found the culprit - not happy about the cost to repair - but at least you know you aren't going nuts!

Thanks for letting me know - I was kind of frustrated myself not being able to help you figure it out.
 
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Well... you were right! Bent spindle. I stopped by the dealer to pick up my generator for Hurricane Florence and was talking to the shop guys. They said to line the blade tips (which I had done) and then turn 180 degrees and line the tips (which I had not done). When I spin the blades the middle blade was off 1/8-1/4” but on the other end the blade lines up , turn 180 degrees and it’s off 1/4”. Mind you this gap is up and down not from end to end. This lines up with the spot it’s leaving. I told them it wasn’t vibrating and I don’t recall hitting anything. They said that vibration is not always the case. Thankfully the $192 not including labor spindle is gonna be covered under warranty. Thanks for the help!

I wouldn't be so eager to buy a spindle when it may be a bent deck. It's almost impossible to bend a spindle on these commercial mowers. The spindle housing will crack first. Here's what I would do first. Jack up the tractor and remove the spindle that you think is bad, and move it to the right or left side and "measure" again to see if the blade is 1/4" off plane. If that blade on the "same area" that you moved what you thin k is a bad spindle is off plane, than you have a bent deck there where the spindle housing bolts to.
 

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Sorry my post wasn’t very clear. The replacement of the spindle including labor is covered under warranty so it’s no cost at all to me. If it isn’t the spindle when they pull it they’ll let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I guess it certainly could be a bent deck. Maybe when the pull the spindle they’ll see? Maybe. I don’t know. I ll keep y’all updated. Probably have it back tomorrow
 
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