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Gator or Mulch kit?

2213 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Russ359
I bought a new X500 with a 54" deck and mulch kit. Pulled the deck off for the first time and the underside was caked in grass and had white stuff growing on it!! This is after maybe 6 or 8 mowings

Now I am wondering is I should take off the mulch kit and install some Gator blades and side discharge. Will I get as clean a cut and no noticeable clippings on the lawn?

Also, if I get the Gators, what part number for the Gators. there seems to be a lot of different part numbers for a 54" deck.

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Russ, yep it gets pretty nasty under there, had the same thing under my 48" deck. Thats what happens when you have to mow wet/damp grass unfortunatley. I've ran gators for years and only way I can combat the crap building up under the deck when I have to cut wet grass is to take the mulch plug off and side discharge. Course they say you don't even need a mulch plug with gators but I prefer it on when possible.

As far as ordering gators for your machine, you can call this folks and they will tell you if they have them. You'll need your OEM blade # when you call though

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I don't really think it matters much what deck you have
or whether you have a mulch kit or gator blades. If you
mow when it is a little damp or wet, it is going to stick, and
unless you clean up under the deck, it gets nasty. I try to
clean mine the same day I mow if it was a wet mowing.
Also, if I get the Gators, what part number for the Gators. there seems to be a lot of different part numbers for a 54" deck
If you clean up an original equipment JD blade there should be a part # on it to match up the proper Gator blade. Some folks never even notice them but they're there..
A few things to note about mulching. The depth of your deck, height you mow, and conditions of the grass play a big part in mulching. I have a 318 with a 46" deck. I run Gators but I don't really think they have made much of a difference in my situation. My deck is about 3 1/2 inches high in the front and only about 2 inches high in the back. There is maybe an inch between the top of the Gator blade and the roof top of the deck. This presents several problems for mulching. There is not enough space between the blade and the top of the deck.. that grass needs to be able to make a couple of passes through the blades which means you need some "air" room for this to happen. A shallow deck like mine is unable to create a good vacuum to maintain a good recycling air flow. Mowing too high can also mess up the recycling action because the air is coming in from the sides instead of up through the grass.
With all that being said... your mower is a lot newer than mine and obviously has a mulching kit, so when they build your deck they were hopefully taking some of these things into consideration. I have a friend who is a Ferris dealer and he says all of his commercial mower clients swear by Gators except for wet conditions. So I guess my advice would be to look at the design of your deck, the space between the blade and the top of the deck and determine if there is room for recycling action to happen. If the mulching kit is nothing more than a plug to force grass from the discharge, then that might explain why you are getting the build up, and Gator blades will probably not do what you hope they will.
I have a push mower that is a "mulching" mower without Gator blades but does an awesome job of mulching. There is 3 1/2 inches between the blade and the top of the deck, and is shaped to encourage a recycling air flow. Keep us posted on your decision.
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I use both the gators and mulch kit at the same time when it's drier than it has been around here. Right now I have the mulch kit off as the grass is really growing fast and thick with all of the rain we've been getting. Even with the mulch kit off I'm getting a lot of build up under the deck this year and normally for me thats not the case. I use a 54C deck. slkpk
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Thanks all,

Just ordered the Gators Magnum 3 n 1. Going to take the mutch kit off, install the Gators and try it out!
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