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how do I tell it it’s a mower deck or brush hog?
All the 30" gravely decks (at least the older ones, I don't know about clamshell decks) could be used to mow either well-behaved grass, or rougher stuff. They are direct drive, and thus better for brush work than something flimsier. That doesn't mean all the 30" decks are as good at it :)

The best deck, IMHO, is the MA106. That's the one with the big pipe plug on top of the gearbox. You may also run across the old-style "left hand" deck, which unlike the others has blades which turn counter-clockwise when viewed from the top. You also may find the MA58A and 185, which have smaller (1/2"?) plugs. Among other things, the 106 has a bulletproof gearbox, and a very sturdy 6-bolt flange to fasten the gearbox to the deck. The others used 4 bolts, and the decks were prone to cracking around the bolts.

Regardless of which deck, for brush work you'll want a heavy single blade, as opposed to the lighter "criss-cross" or "finish" blades. I've found that with a sharp blade, you get about the same cut on grass whether you have the brush blade or the finish blades.
 

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Discussion Starter #62 (Edited)
The blade under this deck is the meatiest mower blade I’ve ever seen. And the cut edges are all the way out on the last 6” of the blade.
 

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That's an old-style left-hand deck.

All the gravely heavy blades are like that. 3/8 thick steel with offset cutting ends. You can see why they're good at brush; the rotational energy in something like that will go right through 2" saplings.

That deck looks in decent shape for the style. Somebody must have had cracking problems, as they installed that wider-diameter reinforcement under the gearbox.

My advice is still to get a 106 if you want to do any amount of serious brush-hogging. It'll hold up better.
 

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The only difference is the blade being used. The bush hog blade is a single blade and it's very thick. The finish mower blade is much thinner, more like a conventional mower blade. And there could be one or two finish blades on it.
 

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That's an old-style left-hand deck.

All the gravely heavy blades are like that. 3/8 thick steel with offset cutting ends. You can see why they're good at brush; the rotational energy in something like that will go right through 2" saplings.

That deck looks in decent shape for the style. Somebody must have had cracking problems, as they installed that wider-diameter reinforcement under the gearbox.

My advice is still to get a 106 if you want to do any amount of serious brush-hogging. It'll hold up better.
I have one of those decks. Now I am going to have to flip it over and see if the cutting edge is opposite my 106. Is there a model number on the left hand gear box?

Sorry to hi-jack your thread.
 

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I dont think we ever had a actual strap, ( but I have one now for my project, cost like $14) we just tied a knot in a piece of rope that we attached a handle to ( dowell rod w/hole in it, then another knot lol!) and we put the knot in the groove on pulley and went with it.
I dont think we knew that they made an actual 'strap' for them.
Whats shocking to me is how good a shape that plate is on that thing, it looks a month old by the pics.
 

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Two things to consider adding are a remote shifter and a magneto kill switch back at the handle bars. Not sure which shifter kit fits that year though.
 

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Two things to consider adding are a remote shifter and a magneto kill switch back at the handle bars. Not sure which shifter kit fits that year though.
I have a new mag kill switch for mine in R.H. handlebar, even got new grips for it w/the hole in one for the button.
Got the wire run thru the h-bar and when I get to that part of the reassembly stage I'll just wire up the mag kill and to the button in h-bar.
I have so much new stuff for this thing its crazy. Right down to the h-bar/wire clamps.
 
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