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Discussion Starter #1
Machine use is good but machine abuse is bad - right? But what are we to do when we discover that some abusive use is VERY useful?

Particulars. I have hundreds of concrete crack feet into which air borne dirt accumulates which dirt supports air borne plant growth. Filling all that crack length with some elastic crack filler may be rational but I haven't allocated the time and $ that effort would require. So plants grow from those cracks. I've mowed them and pulled my 3-point scraper blade over them, ripping out most of those plants and much of the dirt that soon begins to accumulate around those plants.

Yesterday, while using my Snapper Comet Rear Engine Rider, I passed over one of those long plant-filled cracks. So I dropped the deck lower than lawn-cutting height. I was pleased that it began aggressively ripping away those plants. So I lowered it some more producing even better results. I had not realized that this machine's design does not prevent me from lowering the deck all the way to ground contact along the deck's front rolled-out lip. Clearly that lip shape design was intended to act as a deck-surround stiffener. But the silly thing started simultaneously scrapping followed by the rotating 30" blade blowing dirt and plants out of those cracks better than anything I've tried before. Finally I was rolling along slowly in the lowest speed ratio with my left foot holding the deck-height adjuster down so it would not bounce up and lock at a higher position.

Obviously that forward-projecting lip can't endure that kind of abusive wear without reinforcement. So now I'm trying to think of a suitably-sized and suitably-shaped piece of steel that can be attached to the deck's leading edge. I want to enable this machine to endure this use over and over, converting this abuse into good use.

So, what donor part ideas come to your minds? I'd like the new leading-edge deck scraper to project forward about 1 inch, following the deck's curve from side to side. Cutting that shape from a piece of plate steel would leave more scrap than the target piece. Something out there has that shape which we can adapt as deck edge stiffener/scrapers.

If you have any such concrete cracks, as are common in parking areas of commercially-sized sites, you should be aware of this abusive but very useful Snapper capability. It REALLY does a great job! For short abrasive lengths, deck-lip wear is minimal.

Your donor material piece suggestions please -
John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's a fair and reasonable request. The following quick and dirty 3D illustrations show three views of the proposed bottom deck edge reinforcement in color blue. The deck is in a Snapper-like red. Observe that the blue reinforcement projects furthest toward the front, tapering to the deck's width at the sides, so it does not increase the deck's total width.

While the proportions are not exact, I hope this enables you to envision what I have in mind.


I imagine somewhere round plates are being cut about the same diameter as our Snapper decks, leaving waste which we could use to reinforce our decks adding reasonably-durable scrapper capabilities.
John
 

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How about a piece of 1" X 1" Teflon or other plastic that is wear resistant that is bolted and formed to the front of the deck. You could anchor one end and bolt/form it as you go around the deck.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The deck-reinforcing plate steel, single crescent-moon shaped piece I proposed would both provide good ground-scraping capabilities AND serve as a highly-effective impact absorbing and distributing front bumper. Such protection is needed during accidental frontal impacts to prevent decks from occasionally being bent inward into their spinning blade(s). Forming this barrier from short segments would destroy most of that deck-protecting capability.

Due to the nature of the large property I own and maintain with my mowers, I frequently hit concealed ground projections. I don't know how many deck fronts I've bent inward enough to be hit by spinning blade(s) from unintentionally running into these concealed objects. A stump cut off at what seems to be about 1" never caused problems before, but when a tire dropped into a ground depression, that bent another of my decks again, causing the too familiar sound of a blade striking the inside of a deck. Variants of that event have happened to my machines lots of times. Font deck rollers, axle-mounted between two axle-shaft supports bolted or welded to deck fronts, similarly fail the deck frontal shape protection function. Hard impacts by those rollers push their support axles rearward, occasionally loading their axle support brackets beyond the deck's strength limits. I'm not talking only about light duty decks. This has happened on my 72"-wide deck which weighs over 500 pounds, also recently on my 60" wide deck on another machine, and on various others which are smaller and formed from thinner steel.

This proposed robust deck-width-wide single-piece front bumper, which in the special case of the Snapper RER will allow lowering the deck all the way to ground-contact scraping, would server both as a shape-protecting bumper and as a ground scraper. I described this to a local friend who said it reminded him of his canoe ribs which stiffen its thin, tough, water-sealing skin. The canoe's bending resistance is provided by its crescent-shaped ribs. Pretty similar.

I think an unmet need for robust load-distributing mower bumpers is more common than most mower buyers suspect. Visit used rider mower vendor sites. Examine used rider deck fronts, especially around ground-roller axle support brackets. When they were sold new, those deck fronts were smoothly formed. You'll see many which are bent or appear to have been straightened after frontal impacts deformed them beyond their elastic limits. That's VERY common. How many old decks have weld repairs? Lots. Sure, rust damage is common, but impact damage even more frequently causes welding repairs. Each flex work-hardens deck steel, increasing metal crystallization, reducing its cracking resistance.

That's why I don't like the trade-offs from going to any segmented bumper/scraper version. I'd greatly prefer to include steel's strong bending resistance when formed as a single piece rather than creating an easily deformed segmented barrier.

Am I the only person participating in this forum who has stood their Snapper RER up on its rear standards and then used a mall to bend their deck front back after it was pushed into the spinning blade? I don't think so. I saw those blade-strike marks on the inside of that deck before I got it running for the first time after buying it as a non-operative machine. Somebody bent this one back before I owned it. No blade-strike marks inside your deck's surround?
John
 

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LL : been there,done that. he could use the shoulder bolt holes in the front of the deck, that are for the Gauge wheels,they take a 5/16 shoulder bolt.using a flat piece would be easy to form but would bend easier.
 

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rebar welded to the front edge would be my choice
 

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Discussion Starter #8
While chatting with a local friend about this, he suggested recycling a used automotive leaf spring. He pointed out that it could provide a tough yet low-cost mower deck frontal reinforcement solution and was tough enough to be a scraper when mounted on Snappers. An automotive leaf spring arched to any mower deck's front curve could be attached with bolts passing through vertical slots in the deck sheet metal. A horizontal line on the deck sheet metal at a known distance above the intended bottom edge would enable readjusting the bottom scraper edge height in response to scraping wear against concrete. Not only would an automotive leaf spring be likely to be tough enough to resist permanent bending from direct mower impacts, but it would provide a damage-resisting surface for supporting deck roller axle brackets. Say goodbye to deck-bending from roller strikes against concealed objects.

Automotive shops have changed leaf spring arch curves to obtain specifically desired curves for over 50 years. We can re-arch a leaf spring selected to already have an arch curve which almost aligns with the mower deck you want to reinforce.

I've seen discussion treads in this forum and others asking for suggestions about how to reinforce mowing decks. The deck surface which takes the worst beating is the frontal edge. I haven't yet had a lot of time to consider this suggestion. But it seems like a great fit to me. What are your thoughts about reinforcing mower deck fronts by attaching form-fitting recycled automotive leaf-springs?

Also, if anyone knows of an automotive leaf spring that is already ached to a curve that's close to Snapper Comet deck fronts, please tell us that donor candidate's identity.
John
 

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some dodge caravans has a long mono leaf, not sure if its the curve you want but its a thought
 

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Those small trailer leafs (like off of a 5x8 type) can be had for under $30 new at most farm supply stores. Tractor Supply here in Louisville, KY has them for around $26. I'd say drill a couple holes and bolt it on. They are small, cheap, and have a pretty decent arch already in them.
 
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