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Discussion Starter #1
...what type of seal do you have around the air/debris screen that fits over the top of your radiator/top of the engine?

My188 has what looks like cheap foam strips with double sided tape cut to fit. Every half hour of cutting, I have to stop and clean grass and weed debris off of the screen.

My 345 has a formed rubber seal much like a windshield gasket and debris doesn't collect on the screen doing the same cutting on the same yard.

The JD dealer tells me that (2) of M123948 are what should be installed but the diagram isn't very good and I can't find photos online. M123948 is anywhere from $17 to $20 and I need two of them so I'd like to be sure I'm not paying $40 for something I could get on a roll at Lowes for $5.

Thanks!
 

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You can buy the self adhesive weatherstrip up to 5/8" thick. It would be interesting to take the hood off and cut the grass and see why so many clippings are getting from the mower deck to the underside of the hood.
 

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While I wouldn't call the JD version of this foam strip cheap, as mine lasted all of my 18 years of ownership, and 5 more with the new owner. For that amount of money, if the attempt with generic doesn't go well, just get them. They do last a long time if they aren't abused in some strange manner.
 

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I bet when the hood hinges fail and the rubber gasket is bearing all the weight it doesn't do the rubber any good.
 

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He's talking about the shroud that fits on top of the radiator, but no doubt broken hinges probably can exasperate the deterioration.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You can buy the self adhesive weatherstrip up to 5/8" thick. It would be interesting to take the hood off and cut the grass and see why so many clippings are getting from the mower deck to the underside of the hood.
I'm assuming it's due to a poor fit between the hood and the seal around the engine on the LX188, nothing else looks different between the two. I cut the same yard with the 345 and LX188 at the same time (my wife and I each use one) with the 48" decks at the same height, the 345 stays clean and the 188 is loaded.

I'm lucky enough to have good hoods on both of them so I'm going to touch them as little as possible. :tango_face_smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
While I wouldn't call the JD version of this foam strip cheap, as mine lasted all of my 18 years of ownership, and 5 more with the new owner. For that amount of money, if the attempt with generic doesn't go well, just get them. They do last a long time if they aren't abused in some strange manner.
I learned that what is on there is JD OEM. The tractor was a trade in at a local JD dealer from an elderly couple that bought it new and that dealer did all of the maintenance and repairs on it.

I'm glad to hear it hangs in there over time, it just looks like the weatherstripping I can get a roll of at Lowes for way less. If the purpose is to keep debris off of the air intake screens and radiator, it doesn't work well for me. The seal was made much better on the 345 so I assume there was a reason for it but I could well be wrong.

I'll look into rubber alternatives and see if I can find something more like the 345 that helps with the debris getting up there.

Thanks for the responses.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
He's talking about the shroud that fits on top of the radiator, but no doubt broken hinges probably can exasperate the deterioration.
Hinges and hoods are in really good condition on both of them, which was rare among those I looked at.
 

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I was under the impression that the LX188 took all the cooling air in at the upper rear of the upper hood. The slots just in front of the dash. Is this not correct ?
 

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I was going to suggest removing the upper hood so you can really see the gap between the lower hood opening and the radiator shroud. And maybe even cut the grass with the upper hood off.

Actually, it would be interesting to cut the grass with the whole hood removed. It just seems unlikely that there would be that many grass clippings getting under the hood and past the fan/radiator housing and then past the gasket surface and then finally onto the radiator screen. Does your airfilter get dirty super fast ?
 

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I forgot to add the part about where I was going to suggest doing all that disassembly on the hood but the truth is you don't want to mess with it and chance it breaking on you.

I did think of something else. Does the 345 have the U shaped air duct in front of the air outlet on the radiator/fan housing ? This duct deflects air down onto the muffler .

I also wonder if the LX deck is missing some of the anti-blowout baffles.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Here are photos of both arrangements, hopefully they help. Same run time, same yard. I don't have any idea what "normal" time is on an air filter getting dirty, so it's hard to say. I haven't had the 345 long enough to make a comparison.

I was guessing they get air from the vents on the top half of the hood and the gasket is there to keep grass from coming up from the bottom around the deck or through the grille?

The LX188 pretty much looks like it's new except for some cracks in the seat and the dealer took care of it so I think it should be all there?

Neither of these decks have mulching kits (LX had one and I took it off because it packed grass on the underside of the deck). I typically cut with the deck in transport mode because the grass is so thick and heavy where I live so there are clippings that will blow around and build up on the top of the decks. Those clippings don't bother the 345 like they do the 188 and that's what I'm trying to address.
 

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I'm afraid that is totally normal in my 18 years of experience with the Liquid Cooled Kawa LX188. Beneath that radiator is obviously the fan, and that is what's pulling in all of that debris. I found that I had to clear that top filter after every single cut of my 1 acre lawn. Then there is a screen on top of the radiator too that you need to keep clean as well. Even then, you need to remove both and clear the very fine debris out of the radiator fins periodically too. Part of the issue is the vents on the hood just allow too much debris through compared to my newer x540 which is a similar layout. The series of preferated holes on the top and sides of the x540 do a very nice job of keeping the debris at bay.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm afraid that is totally normal in my 18 years of experience with the Liquid Cooled Kawa LX188. Beneath that radiator is obviously the fan, and that is what's pulling in all of that debris. I found that I had to clear that top filter after every single cut of my 1 acre lawn. Then there is a screen on top of the radiator too that you need to keep clean as well. Even then, you need to remove both and clear the very fine debris out of the radiator fins periodically too. Part of the issue is the vents on the hood just allow too much debris through compared to my newer x540 which is a similar layout. The series of preferated holes on the top and sides of the x540 do a very nice job of keeping the debris at bay.
Thanks for the information! I take everything apart and blow it clean with my air hose so it doesn't build up now that I know it's happening. That's what I thought (normal for the LX188 because there was nothing "wrong" I could see) and wondered if JD addressed the problem with the 345 by upgrading the seal. The hoods appear to be the same between the two with regards to air intake slots on casual inspection, they are both water cooled Kawasaki V twins (only 1hp different from the 188 to the 345), so the seal seems to be the big difference.

I'm going to have a look at the shroud edge and see if I can't find some kind of rubber seal to try to improve the problem. If I find something that helps, I'll update this thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The hoods appear to be the same between the two with regards to air intake slots on casual inspection,
I need to correct myself on this one, I looked at them again last night and the LX188 does have some hood vents up by the dashboard/cowl area that the 345 does not have but little to no grass makes it up that high so I don't think it matters much.
 

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What is the path the clippings take from the time they are cut until they end up in the screens ? It seems like there should be a trail of clippings under the hood if this is the route the clippings travel. Is the battery covered by clippings ? Is the lower part of the motor covered ? Is there a layer of clippings laying on the top of the frame ?

You should let the wife make a few passes with this mower while you watch closely and see if you can see what's happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What is the path the clippings take from the time they are cut until they end up in the screens ? It seems like there should be a trail of clippings under the hood if this is the route the clippings travel. Is the battery covered by clippings ? Is the lower part of the motor covered ? Is there a layer of clippings laying on the top of the frame ?

You should let the wife make a few passes with this mower while you watch closely and see if you can see what's happening.
What I have noticed is that clippings build up on top of the deck and on the inside of the frame rails where the PTO plug and cable run. There is nothing to speak of on top of the battery, not much on the sides of the engine, but I would think that the air passing by the sides of the tractor would remove anything that landed there. The inside of the frame rails and engine cover are pretty well shielded by comparison.

I used the LX188 for the better part of a cutting season before buying the 345 and I watched the clippings blow around trying to figure this out. There are always clippings blowing out from under the deck while mowing since I'm cutting with the deck raised to transport height. I just don't see enough flying up to enter the hood slots from the outside to cause what I'm seeing so I think it must be coming up from the inside past the engine cover seals somehow. That OEM seal isn't made to handle corners so there are voids on the corners of the cover so it could be coming up there?

When I first got the tractor, it had a mulching kit installed but I removed it almost immediately because my grass is so thick that it packed the underside of the deck and held moisture and I wanted to get the clippings out of there. There were brackets with rubber lips mounted to the front of the deck and I removed those along with the perforated metal unit that blocked off the exit chute. I could probably reinstall the brackets to better contain the clippings blowing out from under the deck but then I'm back to holding grass under the deck and I don't want that.

I don't recall whether the clippings migrated to the engine cover with the mulching kit on or not, it wasn't on there long.
 
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