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I have a C21ZPN. Was using it to cut some really tall grass a few days ago. The grass would hang up across the toe bar(part number 608175) and clog the discharge.

Is it OK to remove that part? Or is the toe bar something structural to the deck?
 

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It is a semi-structural piece of the deck but it is fine to remove it. The cast aluminum decks are more than strong enough to be fine without them and all the toe bar really does is tie the corners together. I keep a 3/8 ratcheting wrench in my truck to take them off my mowers when side discharging tall grass.
 

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This will generate a lot opinions so I will offer mine. First and foremost, it is called a toe guard for a reason. 'Nuf said about that. I know a lot of safety features are removed for whatever reason but each to his own regarding why. I probably bag 99.9% of the time so the grass collecting on the toe guard is not an issue for me. I have used my mower(s) on occasion to side discharge when the grass is long and it will clog up easily, especially when wet, on the toe guard. I do, however, feel that there is definitely a structural advantage to leaving them in place and all my mowers that came with one, have one. That toe guard bridges across a very narrow part of the deck and if a person is careful in mowing, the lack of the guard should not cause any damage, however if you happen to bang the front corner of the discharge chute you may cause the deck to crack right behind the discharge chute through to the deck opening. I have seen many decks cracked in this area and can't say for sure why but for me, better to be safe then sorry. Also not 100% sure but pretty sure the reason the toe guard is such a funny shape versus just being flat is because the mulch plate and/or the chute actually go behind the toe guard keeping the part that sticks down away from the blade. Obviously when using a side discharge plate there is nothing to interfere with the blade. Bottom line is that it is a safety feature and a structural part of the deck design so remove and use with caution and with safety in mind. Bill
 

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The toe bar not only protects some what to help keep feet out of the discharge but also helps keep the grass and discharge of other items into a safe area. In order to receive a safety label the discharge can not send objects out side of a given pattern. I went to an Ariens service school some 30 years ago and they showed us how they had to throw some items under a running mower and the objects had should keep most of them in a restricted area on a sheet of cardboard a distance away. Any time you remove a safety device on any piece of equipment including cars you are liable. Even if you are using one that someone else removed prior to your purchase and you know it is missing. Also as Yard Nazi said, it does help protect the deck. I have seen a few decks cracked from the discharge to the chute opening and all had the toe guard removed. If you work on mowers for others, it is a good practice to note any safety items missing or not working on repair order and have the customer initial the fact that you told them it was missing and should be replaced. Even that will not automatically protect you. Engine should stop in less then 3 seconds when handle bail is released, engine speed should not exceed manufactures set speed, training child should be in place and not torn, plate or chute catcher should be in place with bag attached if chute if equipped. Also toe guard in place as well as deck should not have any holes that objects could be released to of the deck. When you give the mower back to the customer you are saying it is repaired in good condition unless you note on ticket otherwise. The same goes for selling mowers you may have repaired. The chances of someone getting hurt and it coming back to you are slim, but likely more of a chance then you winning the lottery, but I am sure some of you by those tickets.
 

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I have seen quite a few decks cracked from people taking the toe bar out, when I picked up my 10550 before I even left the junkyard I stole one off another mower just for the peace of mind. That said, my 10651 was missing it when I picked it up, and the deck is so ground down on the left hand side I figured who cares if the deck cracks, I know where I can get replacements, and the fact that the side discharge is un-colggable imo makes it worth the risk. I think Ben had a good idea, just take it out when you are discharging.
 

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Under normal conditions, not cutting real tall grass or weeds, the toe guard does not cause any problems. Unless you are using a mower that has had the toe guard removed before, You are taking a chance on one of the bolts twisting off in the deck. I have seen this a few times.
 

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Under normal conditions, not cutting real tall grass or weeds, the toe guard does not cause any problems. Unless you are using a mower that has had the toe guard removed before, You are taking a chance on one of the bolts twisting off in the deck. I have seen this a few times.
I've broken a few of the mounting bolts off myself. It's not fun drilling them out and re-tapping the holes.
 
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