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Gator Blades for 48C Deck with Deere Mulching Kit

11416 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Markcuda
I know there are a ton of topics on these blades, and I apologize for starting another, but I honestly could not find a definitive answer as to which gator blades I should be purchasing for this setup, based on what I'm hoping to accomplish.

I just picked up '08 x324 with the 48C deck. After the first mow with it, I decided I'm really not a fan of the side discharge, too many clippings blowing where I don't want them. I don't want to bag, as I'd like to leave the clippings on the lawn, so that left mulching.

I picked up the mulch kit and installed it last Saturday. I re-leveled the deck, and headed out to mow, only to be disappointed by the result. Clippings were being mulched pretty well, but the cut was uneven.

I started doing a bunch of reading on here, and came to the conclusion I would likely be happiest by putting a set of high lift gator blades on in conjunction with the mulch kit. I'd much rather have an even cut, even if that means I need to make a couple of extra passes to get rid of clippings.

What I can't figure out now, is which blades I need. I've heard people on here say the correct part number is 90-348, 96-377, or 96-477. From what I can gather is 90-348 blades are more or less an exact replacement for the deere mulch kit blades. 96-477 appears to have a different length/hole diameter than the stock blades, and I've seen other threads where people have said the 96-377's absolutely won't fit if the mulch kit is left in.

Not to mention, it sounds like there are multiple options for lift, fusions or non-fusion, 3-IN-1 or .... 1-In-1... ?? Oregon's website doesn't seem to have current detailed information on the blades, and the lady I talked to at AgriSupply didn't know anything about them.

So... If there's anyone out there who's running the 48C, with the Deere mulch kit installed, and gator blades, and is pleased with the quality/evenness of the cut they're getting from it, I would be much obliged if you'd share with me which blades you're running.

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Look at the number in my signature, them are what I have.
I've heard people on here say the correct part number is 90-348
I am very happy with my quality of cut.
Do yours have fins cut into the backside, or do they look like standard mulching blades?

When I Google 90-348's, I'm getting different pictures from different companies, some have fins and some don't. Mow part is also listing a 96-354, which I hadn't run across before. This looks to have the correct dimensions for this deck, and has fins (although after looking at two different pictures of them on two different sites, they show different fin configurations, so who knows which is correct).

If Oregon had a decent catalog of blades on their website, this wouldn't be so frustrating...
I've been planning on upgrading from a X300 to a X500 and I was going to order the 96-354 blades for on it as they are the newest JD 48" blades in the 2009 catalog. As you mentioned, Oregon makes several type of blades including direct replacement blades, the Gator blades and the Fusion, etc. If you want the Gators that everyone here is talking about then they will have the fins on the back edge. I have the Gators on the X300 now and they were actually the only blades that solved my cut quality issue as the JD blades just did not work with my yard, whether they were the side discharge blades or the mulching blades.

I really like the Meg-Mo System. Not cheap but after almost an entire season with the same blades and only touched up once they are worth it to me. slkpk
Here, you might be able to see the blades and what they look like.


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Here, you might be able to see the blades and what they look like.
Those look like a set of Predator's like I've got. slkpk
Those look like a set of Predator's like I've got
If you look real close, you can see the little alligator:trink40:
I was finally able to track down a current Oregon catalog online:

Oregon Chain 2010 Catalog

Based on this, I was able to narrow down my options and finally settle on the 96-354 blades. The 90-348's are also listed there are a direct replacement for the M145476 blades... they do not have fins, are are not high-lift blades.

The other likely option, the 96-377's, have a center hole that's an extra 1/32" larger, and the blades are also 1/32" longer. I didn't want to worry about the extra length and slop causing the blade tips to hit, so I scratched those.

Ordered the 96-354's from at 4:45 PM on Wednesday, and they were delivered by 2:00 PM on Thursday with standard ground shipping! I was amazed...

The only thing I'll say, is with the coating that's on them, they didn't seem anywhere near sharp enough to me. I ran each edge across the bench grinder once, and they were knife-edge sharp after that.

Put them on the x324 last night (48C Deck), with the Deere mulch kit still on, and they fit perfectly. No rubbing, blade tips clear, and still overlap enough side to side.

The grass was still pretty damp, but I decided to give them a quick test anyway. Cut quality was definitely better. They didn't really seem to 'lift' as much as I'd hoped where the tires had matted the grass down, but considering how wet it was I'll give them a pass on that, and see how they work when the grass is dry.

Mulching quality was fantastic though, especially considering the wet grass. I didn't see squat for clippings on top, and the mulch kit kept everything from blowing all over my patio and flower beds.

A lot of people had commented on the noise... these may have been a little louder than the previous blades, but not enough that I would have thought anything about it, if others hadn't made comments.

Thanks for all the advice.
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The 90-348's are also listed there are a direct replacement for the M145476 blades... they do not have fins, are are not high-lift blades.
Can you not see the fins in my pictures???
I can see fins, but not part numbers. The blades I received had a part number on the box, but not marked anywhere on the blade that I can see.

Take a look at the Oregon Chain catalog I posted a link to. The 90-348's definitely do not have fins, they look just like the stock blades.

If you do some searching around in that catalog, you will see that the part number 96-354 supersedes part number 90-348. I have seen a couple of websites selling the 96-354's that list part number 90-348 on there as an obsolete/alternate part number.

Obviously, I'm no expert on these blades, but after doing some digging around in the Oregon catalog myself, I came to the conclusion that the pictures you posted were actually of 96-354's, which, if it helps, is part of the reason I ordered those, based on how well you said they mowed.

And please, I mean no disrespect, I'm purely working off what the Oregon catalog is showing.
If I'm not mistaken, I think the part number is stamped into the blades I bought.
I know when I ordered them from Agri Supply Company, the man said they were high lift blades and can't be used with the Deere mulching kit.
They rubbed on my plastic mulching kit for a few minutes and now they don't:biglaugh:
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