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OK, all you guys that know your sickle bars.....

I was using my new bar, and all was working well. All of a sooden the enigne stalled. Seemed the cutter bar was kinda tossed out one side, and the lever that moves it came out of its place, and jammed. Nothing seems to be broken, or loose, where is the first place to look for a problem? How much slop should there be where the ball type thing on the lever, fits into the cutterbar? it did not seem that slopppy, but there was some "chuck" in it.


Any one can walk me through diag on this thing? Thanks!
 

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there is a little slop in those. As you described it is how mine is. Play or slop wise. All I can think of offhand is the wear strip , for the lack of a better term. The part the knives are riveted to. Maybe that was run too dry and is worn.

I just had my knives off the other day. If it were my sicklebar, I would remove the stops, and pull the knives out. Check the wear strip. Check for a missing rivet that may have jammed things up. Might as well sharpen the knives while its out. I just used a file. It is like a different machine.

I can't think of anything else without seeing it. It's a pretty basic thing. Can't be much.
 

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just thought of something. Were you using this in high gear? According to my manual low gear only. I accidentally used mine in high gear and it does vibrate a lot more. Maybe you just vibrated it out of position?
 

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My sickle has a little movement in the knife head also,,, could it be that you need to move your wear strips out against the knifebar a bit and make sure your knife clips are not loose/ bent up away from the bar to much?
 

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Like the other folks said, check the fit of the slider bar, and the dingus where the actuating arm shoves it back and forth. And yes, low speed only, and not too much throttle!

When I rebuilt mine, I discovered that the way you adjust it is with those 4 clamp-like things that bolt to the top of the cutter bar, and hold the sliding part in place. Under each one there's a plate with a sort of lip on the front edge, the lips hang over the edge of the fixed part of the bar and butt up against the sliding part. You want a snug fit there, ie little fore and aft play in the slider. There are shims under the back part of the four clamps, those shims adjust how hard the fingers are holding the slider down in the channel. I fiddled the shims until I had the teeth riding fairly snug along the tops of the pointy things that stick out the front, whatever the **** they're called. The net effect is that the slider bar is fairly well captured in its channel, it doesn't wiggle much either fore and aft or up and down.

After doing all that, the thing ran much more smoothly. It still shakes and makes noise, but no longer sounds like it's trying to deconstruct itself :)
 

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Thanks I will look into the adjustment of those clips.Mine seemed pretty loose.

I also ran it on low speed. I turned it to high once, and decided it did not realy like it there. :D :D

Here are some pic's... I started taking it down
 

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OK, you can see in these pic's that the cutter kinds "overshot" the bar. Slipped out of lever. Looks like the cutter bar bent up a little on the right side also. Bound on SOMETHING, but I dont know what yet.

BTW any tricks on getting those flat head bolts out that hold the cutter bar clips in?
 

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from your 1st description I thought it just shot out one side. But I see it mainly shot forward. Then out the side. I bet the retaining clips were too loose. Beleive it or not my 55 Gravely manual says the adjustment for those clips is to hit it with a hammer! Yours looks as old as mine, but who can tell.

I haven't had to remove my retaining clips, so I can't help you there.

The "drive" bolts for the lack of a better term (the 4 in the center ) are pretty easy to remove. Block the bar up on a 4 x 4, and just work the cutter side to side until you find the bolt head in the bottom. Move it again to find the next one.
 

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Your clips look different than mine, but I bet they work more or less the same way. From the pix, it does look like they were too loose, and the thing escaped from the channel that it rides in. I'd take 'em off (just a couple bolts per) and adjust them. Dunno about adjusting them with a hammer, but maybe that's what they need :)

The reassemble. Lube the bleep out of it too!
 

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Your clips look different than mine, but I bet they work more or less the same way. From the pix, it does look like they were too loose, and the thing escaped from the channel that it rides in. I'd take 'em off (just a couple bolts per) and adjust them. Dunno about adjusting them with a hammer, but maybe that's what they need :)

The reassemble. Lube the bleep out of it too!
I'll quote my 1955 Gravely manual
"the clips should be adjusted close enough to hold the knives in firm contact with the shear plates on the guards, but not tightly enough to bind. The knife should slide back and forth easily with the pressure of a finger and a thumb.
The usual method is to knock down the clips gradually with taps from a light hammer.
If your mower has seen quite a bit of use, the iron in the clips may have "crystalized" slightly. This does not affect operation, but a sudden sharp blow from a hammer may crack or break the clip. So tap the clips down lightly and firmly"

Yours looks just like mine Paul, and my manual is the one that came new with the L and attachments in 1955. The guy I bought those attachments from, his FIL purchased the stuff new in 55 in springfield mass.

thats my sicklebar below, on the CI
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Cool thanks Tom!!!

I am pulling it apart [if I can get those flat head bolts off the clips!!] and going to sharpen, and lube it all up, then I will reassamble, and make sure those clips are tight. Im sure now that that was the case. I know they were not tight enough. If you look at the pic's you will not see any marks on the cutter from most of the clips.
 

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you shouldn't need to remove the clips to sharpen the blade. Remove the 4 bolts that got thru, in the center. The ones around the vibrating arm. Remove the iron actuator thingy (note the technical term) that the bolts were holding, then slide the blade out either side. One of the teeth will fall out, so be ready for that. The 2 center bolts hold that rather than rivets.

I just sharpened mine with a file, and holy batcrap batman, what a difference. Slices thru 1 inch trees without slowing down.
 

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Agreed about sharpening; that made a big difference on mine as well. Though I may need to do it again soon, I've been cutting a bunch of ugly brush and crap, including that barbed wire :(
 

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OK, cool. Yours is a lot tighter then mine was. As I said, mine were not close to touching. Im guessing yours is a lot older also. Looks like the clips are cast on yours. Mine are tin
 

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I dont sharpen my sickles, I replace them. I bought a pack at TSC last year, I think they were in the area of 6 bucks and change for 25 knives, and the rivets weren't all that expensive either. Take an old section with ya and match em up, notice the A- if you find the same brand. Second pic is of the actuator arm and drive head in the neutral position.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Realy, that cheap??? Maybe I will replace them, and start with new...


I will have to eye ball them... they did not look THAT dull.. Well hoping tonight to tear it apart.
 
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