Busy in Howey
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Lake County, Florida
Cheap Alternative for Deck Cover Replacement
This article will cover a cheap alternative for repairing a deck cover as opposed to a complete replacement.
My intentions are to suggest an idea for repairing the deck cover which is not covered by the manufacturer but to offer a cost effective option that may save you a couple bucks.
This technique is merely a suggested idea and not an official method, therefore I am not responsible for any damage or injury to any person or property that may occur or arise from any person attempting to utilize the described techniques that are discussed in this article...Nope, I'm still not a lawyer!
This repair was performed on a deck cover from a 42" deck from an Ariens EZR 1742. The repair itself is not item or brand specific and could be utilized on any similar cover.
In my opinion, The purpose of these covers are mainly to keep debris from getting into the belt/pulley system and add life to the assembly more than it is for safety, however it does provide some protection such as a slipped finger, baggy pant leg or a loose shoe string.
This is the Ariens EZR 1742 that was utilized in this repair.
This shows the damaged cover. I believe this occurred from the operator stepping on the deck while the PTO was engaged and the deck/mower running.
This shows the contents of the enclosed deck assembly with the covers removed.
Once you have the cover remove, you will want to make a template from a piece of paper. This process makes it easy to accurately mark out and plan any bends you might need to make. This step may not be necessary if you're making a patch on a flat area, however this one had a rib so I opted for the template.
Template made for size of patch as well as markings for bends to be made for the rib. Make sure to go bigger than the hole being repaired to allow room to attach the repair patch.
You can make a patch from any scrap piece of sheet metal you may have laying around. Just choose a thickness that would be appropriate for the application that you are repairing. I had a scrap from my garage when I built it nine years ago.
Piece of scrap 22 gauge galvanized sheet metal.
The next step would be to lay out your template on the sheet metal, mark it out and cut it out. You will also want to mark the areas where you want to make any bends.
Cutting sheet metal can be accomplished with the use of aviation shears. The different colors represent the different cuts each one makes such as straight, left or right.
The next step will be to make your bends. You may want to check your fit during the bending process to achieve a good fit. I used an inexpensive metal brake for making the bends but you can still accomplish the same results from using angle iron, clamps and a piece of wood. Patience and a little ingenuity goes a long way!
Once you are happy with the fit, you are ready to attach the piece.
Patch fitted and ready to be attached
The next step will be to be align the patch over the hole and center it. Then, using a marker, draw a reference line from the hole side so you can mark where you want to drill your holes.
Marking the underside of patch
Now you can drill your rivet holes. Make sure you center the holes so they are not to close to the edge. You will also want to make sure that the protruding rivets will not come in contact with any moving parts on the underside. In this application, I made sure to keep the rivets on the outside of the belt and pulley path.
Holes drilled in the patch outside the marked area.
Now that your holes are drilled in the patch, place the patch back on the cover and line up your marks from the other side. Holding the patch in place, you can use it as a template to drill the holes in the cover.
After drilling the first hole, temporarily stick a rivet through the two items to keep the alignment correct for the drilling of the other holes.
After drilling the holes, use an over sized drill bit to clean the burs from the holes. You can do this by hand. The purpose for this is so when you rivet the items together they will be tight with no gaps.
Once all the holes are drilled and cleaned you are ready to secure the patch.
I used 3/16 x 1/16 - 1/8 rivets with 3/16 washers to back them because I was pulling rivets in a plastic piece.
3/16 x 1/16 - 1/8 rivet with 3/16 backing washer
Common "Pop Rivet Gun" available almost anywhere!
TIP: You should always use the same type rivet as the metal you are using them in to prevent dissimilar metal corrosion. Steel = Steel Rivet, Aluminum = Aluminum Rivet.
You can also use a small bead of sealant around the perimeter of the patch to help keep water and dirt out of the deck belt/pulley area.
After placing a small bead of sealant on the perimeter of the patch, you are ready to rivet the patch in place.
Once you insert the rivet, place the washer over the rivet on the back side and while keeping the patch tight on the cover, squeeze the rivet gun and pull the rivet. Repeat as needed for each rivet.
Washer in place on the rivet
Rivet head after installation
All rivets installed "Top"
Before bolting everything back together, you may want to make sure everything is aligned and fits together without making contact with any moving parts.
Bottom side of rivets installed with washers
All that is left to do is paint the patch, reinstall the deck cover and reinstall the deck.
Patch masked off and painted
Now, If you're wondering why all the hassle for a small repair on a piece of plastic, the replacement cost for just the half I repaired was $53.00. The other half costs $51.00.
The sheet metal - scrap
The rivets and washers - ? a couple cents +-
The sealant - leftovers that would probably dry up!
The paint - two squirts ??
You get the idea! Good luck and be safe!
You can't have everything, where would you put it?
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Last edited by Brad; 09-01-2012 at 02:01 PM.