In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Mower Deck Madness

With some help for the two handed requirements, a good set of extra eyes, some elbow grease, select curse words, and good old sweat, I added some of my blood to the grime removed to change the spindles on a riding mower deck. It was about a three hour task, which means a well trained mechanic could accomplish the task in about an hour. It was an interesting experience, and made me aware of some things I didn't know. 

The mower is a Cub Cadet ZT 1 zero turn mower, with a 54 inch deck. It has three blades, so there are three spindles, two idler pulleys, one tensioning pully, and a really long drive belt. That's pretty standard, but what I really found to be odd are the spindles. 

My earlier experience with mower decks was with spindles that could be rebuilt, if you had a good press. The housing were steel, the bearings were greased once a season, and the assembly was held on the deck with 1/4 inch bolts. The pulleys were easily replaced, if needed, and reused during a change. 

This deck is different. The bearing housings are some type of lightweight alloy, the bearings are sealed, and the spindles are mounted with self-tapping screws. Rebuilding the spindles could probably be done, but realistically, it would requires more than I have available. Small mistakes could ruin the fragile housings, and remounting the spindle would require drilling out the mounting holes, and replacing the self-tapping screws with bolts. That, and removing the pulley would probably guarantee disaster. 

It went well for a first time effort, and will probably need to be done in about three years. According to the experts, that's about the life of a mower spindle with amount of grass that's is cut during our season. I was satisfied, and the whine, with the uneven cut disappeared. 

From my research, I determined the mower is one step below a commercial mower. That's understandable, since a commercial mower is around twice the price. I was impressed with the deck, since it's a welded deck, the condition is excellent, and will probably last the life of the mower. I've had to change stamped decks, which don't ever seem to last the life of a mower. 

So, I have some new knowledge of mower deck repair, and old fart's remorse. Moving around under a mower deck is not nearly as easy as it once was, and muscle cramps lead to strange contortions, which spectators find disconcerting. 


  1. Your choice of mower was rather poor as it has a critical design flaw on the deck. The exit point on the deck has a metal lip that will collect grass clippings and clog. Plus this will throw huge grass clipping balls making a mess. I've taken the sawzall and cut this item off with great results.

    1. The lip on this one is a small angled area at the back of the discharge chute, which from what I can see, is structurally necessary. I get some clumping, when the grass can't be cut due to weather, but I raise the blade, and pass over the area again to spread the clippings. That, and making the cuts so the grass isn't discharged in only one direction for multiple passes.

      For the price, it was the best choice. I think most people would enjoy a large commercial mower, but the price is beyond their budget.

  2. Perhaps if you sold tickets the spectators might pay for the new deck?

    1. That would be grand. It would be like a reality show, with commercials for tools, a good budget, and more fans than "Naked and Afraid".....or not. More than likely, they'd be asking for their money back, wonder how they were duped, and I'd be getting letters from attorneys.