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View Full Version : ZTR Deck Cleaning - How Do You Clean One?


Hedgemaster
03-01-2012, 09:19 PM
In a few short weeks the mowers will be running.

I recently picked up my first ZTR and I've never operated a large mower before - not even a wide deck walk behind, so I thought I should figure something out BEFORE I need to do this.
(my mower: http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15479&highlight=husqvarna)

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Husqvarna%20RZ5424%20ZTR/Husqvarna%20RZ5424%20Outside/HusqvarnaZTROutside021.jpg

I'm used to unloading my 21" mower at home, tipping it on it's side, and blasting the grass clippings away with a garden hose.

NOW what do I do???

I mean, it DOES have a washout connection to snap a hose onto the deck, but my Toro has one too and it's pretty much useless in my opinion, as it only does a partial job of clearing the gunk built up under the deck - that's why I just tip it on it's side.

Any suggestions from those who work with this type of unit is appreciated.

wandfsmall
03-02-2012, 07:17 AM
In a few short weeks the mowers will be running.

I recently picked up my first ZTR and I've never operated a large mower before - not even a wide deck walk behind, so I thought I should figure something out BEFORE I need to do this.
(my mower: http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=15479&highlight=husqvarna)

http://i802.photobucket.com/albums/yy309/IntegrityLawnCare/Lawn%20Care/Equipment/Husqvarna%20RZ5424%20ZTR/Husqvarna%20RZ5424%20Outside/HusqvarnaZTROutside021.jpg

I'm used to unloading my 21" mower at home, tipping it on it's side, and blasting the grass clippings away with a garden hose.

NOW what do I do???

I mean, it DOES have a washout connection to snap a hose onto the deck, but my Toro has one too and it's pretty much useless in my opinion, as it only does a partial job of clearing the gunk built up under the deck - that's why I just tip it on it's side.

Any suggestions from those who work with this type of unit is appreciated.
I do not recomend the washout connection as it can damage spindles and does not really do a good job. the best job comes from a putty knife rounded off with a little work.

mark123
03-02-2012, 07:23 AM
JUNGLE JACK (http://www.junglejimsap.com/jack.html)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use some jack stands if you ever have to get under there though. :)

wandfsmall
03-02-2012, 01:29 PM
JUNGLE JACK (http://www.junglejimsap.com/jack.html)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use some jack stands if you ever have to get under there though. :)

I would not trust that not to bend the deck or frame on a homeowner unit I would look at a mojack system. or maybe use some car ramps.

brian'slawncare
03-02-2012, 02:40 PM
JUNGLE JACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Use some jack stands if you ever have to get under there though.

I have heard nothing but bad reviews on those units...

mark123
03-02-2012, 02:50 PM
I have heard nothing but bad reviews on those units...

yeah? I like them.

Steve
03-02-2012, 03:27 PM
I do not recomend the washout connection as it can damage spindles

How can they damage spindles?

Hedgemaster
03-02-2012, 03:37 PM
I do not recomend the washout connection as it can damage spindles and does not really do a good job. the best job comes from a putty knife rounded off with a little work.

Are you related to the underpants gnomes?


Step 1: ?

Step 2: Putty knife

Step 3: It's CLEAN!


:D

Was more or less wondering how you GET to the underside to clean it. ;)




p.s.
I picked up a pack of "composite" scrapers at Harbor Freight last season for scraping the built up debris from the underside of my Toro deck. They work great and wont scratch. (not that there's much paint left under there)

http://hfreviews.com/thumbnails/95832.gif

Hedgemaster
03-02-2012, 03:46 PM
I just Googled "Mojack".

http://www.themojack.com/media/962/home-fpo-lift.jpg

Looks nice, but for $300 it's going to have to wait.


I'll have to use the truck ramps I already have, or dig myself a service pit in the driveway.

wandfsmall
03-02-2012, 05:16 PM
I just Googled "Mojack".

http://www.themojack.com/media/962/home-fpo-lift.jpg

Looks nice, but for $300 it's going to have to wait.


I'll have to use the truck ramps I already have, or dig myself a service pit in the driveway.

I sell them less then $250 in my shop I am not sure what shipping would cost on it but I am sure other dealers sell them cheaper locally as well. Not a high markup item nor something that flys out the door so you can buy in bulk enough to get a discount.

Hedgemaster
03-02-2012, 05:48 PM
It's been a long winter with no income. If it were $200 it would still have to wait.

That doesn't change the fact that I will need to clean under the deck and I'm sure I'm not the only one who will benefit from the input given in this thread.
As I learn more, I'll be able to make an informed decision on what method/product would be best for me when the time comes.

I haven't looked into what all is involved in removing my deck - perhaps that would be just as easy?


How often do you guys with ZRTs clean under your deck?
Like I said, I hose off my push mower EVERY day so the grass doesn't get a chance to harden on there.

mark123
03-02-2012, 07:02 PM
Mo-jack is too big to take with you daily. Junglejack is portable, just stick it in the pickup or lash it to the trailer.

MICHPLOWER
03-02-2012, 07:14 PM
It's been a long winter with no income. If it were $200 it would still have to wait.

That doesn't change the fact that I will need to clean under the deck and I'm sure I'm not the only one who will benefit from the input given in this thread.
As I learn more, I'll be able to make an informed decision on what method/product would be best for me when the time comes.

I haven't looked into what all is involved in removing my deck - perhaps that would be just as easy?


How often do you guys with ZRTs clean under your deck?
Like I said, I hose off my push mower EVERY day so the grass doesn't get a chance to harden on there.

First time I cleaned mine!
I drive mine up on truck ramps and used a puddy knife I rounded off so it would be easy to scrape the grass build up off and would not catch on the corners. Then spray clean with a garden hose.

Now all I have to do is just spray off little if any grass build up. I found some silicone spray at Menards, Almost just like (fluid film) but way cheaper and spray that on there.

Sorry for such a long reply I hope this helps.

Hedgemaster
03-02-2012, 07:22 PM
Mo-jack is too big to take with you daily. Junglejack is portable, just stick it in the pickup or lash it to the trailer.



My first thought was "WHY would you want to take it WITH you every day?", but I started thinking about mowing when grass is a little wet and how I will clean the gunk off between jobs - on my 21" mower.


I was thinking "end of day" cleaning, or "as needed".

Do people really clean ZTRs between jobs? I don't know - that's why I'm asking.

mark123
03-02-2012, 07:26 PM
Sometimes you've got to stop and scrape the deck in the middle of a job.

Ducke
03-02-2012, 07:30 PM
Well you could do this.
http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmnq8wd2ttO5uUVQ35sDvEDx5XES7FZ A1CGXAsJPfx2N2xutVIXpoIPYT7DA
or
http://www.instructables.com/image/FJNF540GCZZP2DW/Mower-Deck-Spray-Washer.jpg

or
http://media.toro.com/PublishingImages/ProductCatalog594X694/jackstandGM7200_JackStand.png
or
http://media.merchantcircle.com/20707601/My%20pictures%20007_full.jpeg
or

http://www.hyway.co.nz/images/mowermate-pic3-big.jpg

or
http://www.compacttractorsyork.co.uk/img/garden_machinery/cliplift.jpg

or
http://content.mamotorworks.com/img300/fr6123.jpg

Now take some time and make your own contraption to life the mower so you can get under it......
like dig a 6 foot pit in the back yard and put two planks over it. There you know have a place to clean the underside of your mower.. :D

mark123
03-02-2012, 07:35 PM
http://media.toro.com/PublishingImages/ProductCatalog594X694/jackstandGM7200_JackStand.png
Love that one! :D I'm going to do it.

... dig a 6 foot pit in the back yard and put two planks over it. There you know have a place to clean the underside of your mower.. :D
Well, if you're squirting water while your under there, you're going to get wet and grassy. :p

Spartan
03-02-2012, 09:19 PM
We use the Mojack EZ, standard hose and spray nozzle. Was well worth the money! Makes the cleanup simple and fast.

Hedgemaster
03-02-2012, 11:05 PM
Mo-jack is too big to take with you daily. Junglejack is portable, just stick it in the pickup or lash it to the trailer.

The portability of the Jungle Jack is definitely a plus. It's gotta take up less real estate in the garage as well.


My biggest concern in looking at how it operates is that you're lifting the mower by the bottom lip of the deck.
Is that "normal" to lift a ZTR in such a manner? It seems to me that it would be better to lift by the frame, or in the case of the Mojack, by the front wheels.

Thoughts anyone?

brian'slawncare
03-02-2012, 11:40 PM
My biggest concern in looking at how it operates is that you're lifting the mower by the bottom lip of the deck.
Is that "normal" to lift a ZTR in such a manner? It seems to me that it would be better to lift by the frame, or in the case of the Mojack, by the front wheels.

I never even thought about that. That kind of makes sense actually, because decks probable were not made to supper the mower. However, I could also see saying that the mojack could stress the wheels...

mark123
03-02-2012, 11:41 PM
I can't speak concerning a homeowner model but I used it on my old boss' Exmark on a daily basis.

shadrach
03-03-2012, 05:40 PM
Putty knife. Park mower on trailer gate with part of mower hanging over side & scrape half of deck - switch sides & do it again. I have 4x6 I block back tire with for safety.

Ducke
03-03-2012, 06:00 PM
http://www.instructables.com/image/FJNF540GCZZP2DW/Mower-Deck-Spray-Washer.jpg

I like this set up.
I think maybe a bit higher up and then hook up a pressure washer to a hose system set at about medium pressure. I think this kind of set up would be great a kind of drive-thru mower washer.

http://www.homehardware.ca/products/300/51105001.jpg

I use a knife like the one above to clean my mower. I got mine at Lee Valley tools but Home or Ace Hardware have them too.

wandfsmall
03-04-2012, 11:40 AM
I can't speak concerning a homeowner model but I used it on my old boss' Exmark on a daily basis.

on a quality mower I have never seen a problem but on a homeowner unit where the deck is almost thin enough to see threw it could destroy the unit.

wandfsmall
03-04-2012, 11:42 AM
http://www.instructables.com/image/FJNF540GCZZP2DW/Mower-Deck-Spray-Washer.jpg

I like this set up.
I think maybe a bit higher up and then hook up a pressure washer to a hose system set at about medium pressure. I think this kind of set up would be great a kind of drive-thru mower washer.

I had a customer that did this until we found his spindles were not lasting very long.

grass guru
03-04-2012, 12:13 PM
I just drive the front wheels of mine a few feet up my lift gate. works ok to change the blades, and do a half way cleaning job. To clean mine I jack it up and use jack stands, or just take the deck completely off if I really want to clean it, repaint it, and silicon it.

Also hedge, that Husq 5424 was the first ztr I bought when I was starting my business up, and let me say... it didn't last 80 hours. The only thing I like about it was that it was light. However, the problems far outweighed the one benefit.

#1. Bad muffler design, will cause burns in lawn if you stop for a few seconds, when you stop to get off and move something, or even just stop and turn it off after running for a while. Had numerous complaints from customers.

#2. Blades lasted about 20 hours. I was burning through blades at an alarming rate. In the 80 hours that I owned it, I bought 4 sets. They were all used to the point of they would only be about an inch wide. Any more use out of them and they would disinegrate.

#3. I hit a small pot hole in a customers lawn, and it bent the rear wheel spindle. So as I would ride down a smooth lawn or other surface, I would be hopping.

#4. control arms broke off in my hands. Just mowing along, and where they are bolted into the cast parts on the mower, they just broke.

#5. It was falling apart... litterally. Decorative pieces were falling or breaking off.

I took it back to the dealer, who also sold Gravely, and John Deere, and he was willing to give me full credit on it towards the purchace of a different mower. I bucked up, and bought the Gravely, and haven't had a problem with it. It now has about 500 hours on it. I also bought an Exmark Turf tracer, and haven't had a problem with it. It has about 350 hours on it, so I know it wasn't me, and the way I was using the equiptment.
For that being Husqvarna's top of the line residential mower, I would have hoped it to hold up better. 80 hours is only 4 years of use residentially.

Hedgemaster
03-04-2012, 01:28 PM
I just drive the front wheels of mine a few feet up my lift gate. works ok to change the blades, and do a half way cleaning job. To clean mine I jack it up and use jack stands, or just take the deck completely off if I really want to clean it, repaint it, and silicon it.

Also hedge, that Husq 5424 was the first ztr I bought when I was starting my business up, and let me say... it didn't last 80 hours. The only thing I like about it was that it was light. However, the problems far outweighed the one benefit.

#1. Bad muffler design, will cause burns in lawn if you stop for a few seconds, when you stop to get off and move something, or even just stop and turn it off after running for a while. Had numerous complaints from customers.

#2. Blades lasted about 20 hours. I was burning through blades at an alarming rate. In the 80 hours that I owned it, I bought 4 sets. They were all used to the point of they would only be about an inch wide. Any more use out of them and they would disinegrate.

#3. I hit a small pot hole in a customers lawn, and it bent the rear wheel spindle. So as I would ride down a smooth lawn or other surface, I would be hopping.

#4. control arms broke off in my hands. Just mowing along, and where they are bolted into the cast parts on the mower, they just broke.

#5. It was falling apart... litterally. Decorative pieces were falling or breaking off.

I took it back to the dealer, who also sold Gravely, and John Deere, and he was willing to give me full credit on it towards the purchace of a different mower. I bucked up, and bought the Gravely, and haven't had a problem with it. It now has about 500 hours on it. I also bought an Exmark Turf tracer, and haven't had a problem with it. It has about 350 hours on it, so I know it wasn't me, and the way I was using the equiptment.
For that being Husqvarna's top of the line residential mower, I would have hoped it to hold up better. 80 hours is only 4 years of use residentially.

Hey, thanks for your input. It would have been better to hear before I paid for it (and it's too late to return it now), so I'll have to deal with it.


As for the muffler thing - did yours have the heat shield on it? I did recall seeing complaints about that, but more recent reviews said that they eliminated the problem, and mine has a heavy steel "box" around the muffler with some sort of "aluminum shielding" on the side facing the heat. I guess I'll find out.


I do fear the worst with the arm control mounts. Why in God's name they would use pot metal on such a part is beyond me. I'm considering ordering one of the mounts (universal I believe - left or right) just to have handy in case one snaps.


Even though it wasn't very encouraging, I DO appreciate you taking the time to post what you did. I'll keep an eye out for the things you mentioned. I will update my original mower thread as I use it to let everyone know how it works out for me.

Hedgemaster
03-04-2012, 02:17 PM
on a quality mower I have never seen a problem but on a homeowner unit where the deck is almost thin enough to see threw it could destroy the unit.

I agree. I'm less concerned with the lip of the deck though. What concerns me with this method of lifting is that you're essentially pushing the deck up into the mower until it makes contact and then the weight of the mower is being pressed into the top of the deck or whatever mechanism connects the deck to the frame to lift it of the ground.

At least with the Mowjack, it's being lifted by the front wheels. Unless I find a reasonable homemade way to get under it, I think the Mowjack is the best option, as it's a purpose-built design. At least there's nothing in the way on the sides when it's lifted, unlike the use of ramps.




Also, you've mentioned spindle problems a few times in relation to washing the underside. Could you expand on that? What causes the problems?

Ducke
03-04-2012, 05:34 PM
Also, you've mentioned spindle problems a few times in relation to washing the underside. Could you expand on that? What causes the problems?

Yes how dose washing effect the spindles ???

grass guru
03-05-2012, 08:20 AM
I understand it's a res unit, but why they would use such cheap parts and workmanship is beyond me. I bought it about 2 years ago, and it did have the box around the muffler, with the aluminum "heat shield". I'm not sure if it was the muffler that was burning the lawn, or the motor. In either case, all the patterns of burnt lawn were the same. I thought about putting some steel on the bottom to protect the turf, but then again, what is the R&D department at Husqvarna for? I was just so pissed that I had spent $3800 and was having all these problems. It took some persuasion for the dealer to take it back (I had it for about 1 month and put 80 hours on it, the equivalent of 4 years for residential use). That, and the sales rep from Husqvarna was tired of hearing from the dealer about all the problems. If you haven't used it yet, you can always check with the dealer and see if he would exchange it. Never hurts to ask. They just don't want it looking used, and with a bunch of hours on it (although mine did). They might even give you a refund if you wanted to buy one from someone else. Never hurts to ask.

Hedgemaster
03-05-2012, 10:18 AM
I understand it's a res unit, but why they would use such cheap parts and workmanship is beyond me. I bought it about 2 years ago, and it did have the box around the muffler, with the aluminum "heat shield". I'm not sure if it was the muffler that was burning the lawn, or the motor. In either case, all the patterns of burnt lawn were the same. I thought about putting some steel on the bottom to protect the turf, but then again, what is the R&D department at Husqvarna for? I was just so pissed that I had spent $3800 and was having all these problems. It took some persuasion for the dealer to take it back (I had it for about 1 month and put 80 hours on it, the equivalent of 4 years for residential use). That, and the sales rep from Husqvarna was tired of hearing from the dealer about all the problems. If you haven't used it yet, you can always check with the dealer and see if he would exchange it. Never hurts to ask. They just don't want it looking used, and with a bunch of hours on it (although mine did). They might even give you a refund if you wanted to buy one from someone else. Never hurts to ask.

You'll see in my thread linked in the OP that I didn't get it at a dealer, so I'm stuck with it. That's the risk you take with buying a mower in January (4 months before the grass starts to grow) that has a 30 day return policy.
Although, if it's THAT bad right off the bat, I'll raise a stink anyway.

wandfsmall
03-05-2012, 12:57 PM
Yes how dose washing effect the spindles ???

when you spray the deck with the spindles on the heat sucks the water up into the bearing, same thing happens as you drive threw water with the blades on. It will displace and water down the grease, as well as cause rust both shortening the life of your bearings. The same thing happens when you pressure wash directly aimed at the bearings.

Hedgemaster
03-05-2012, 05:43 PM
I happened to be near a Tractor Supply today, so I stopped in.

Glad I did because they had two mowers on display with two jacks that they sell. One was the Pro Lift for $149 that was displayed lifting a garden tractor...

http://media.tractorsupply.com/is/image/TractorSupplyCompany/1027684?$lnkshr$

The other was the Mowjack EZ for $199 and they had a Cub Cadet ZTR on that...

http://www.themojack.com/media/6123/car-ez-large.png



It was nice to SEE them side by side in use. The Mowjack definitely gives you more clearance and looks to be a better unit overall. I'll still see what I can rig up at home, but eventually, I'l probably end up with a Mowjack.

Steve
03-06-2012, 03:19 PM
It will displace and water down the grease, as well as cause rust both shortening the life of your bearings. The same thing happens when you pressure wash directly aimed at the bearings.

That is fascinating! I never even thought of that!

I do wonder how many people take this into consideration and repack those bearings on a regular basis.

wandfsmall
03-06-2012, 06:29 PM
That is fascinating! I never even thought of that!

I do wonder how many people take this into consideration and repack those bearings on a regular basis.

I do not know of anyone that repacks spindle bearings, but then again I also do not know of anyone who sets the valves on a briggs engine each year either.

Hedgemaster
03-06-2012, 06:40 PM
So are you saying "DON'T hose it off - PERIOD", or just not blast the spindles with excessive water - especially if they are still warm?

I don't know how else you could clean it without a garden hose.

:confused:

brian'slawncare
03-06-2012, 07:29 PM
So are you saying "DON'T hose it off - PERIOD", or just not blast the spindles with excessive water - especially if they are still warm?

I don't know how else you could clean it without a garden hose.


I lift mine up with a jack under the deck. Then, I use a plastic putty knife and something pointy and metal to scrape the underside. I know it may not be "good" for the deck, but it can't be too bad

wandfsmall
03-06-2012, 09:59 PM
So are you saying "DON'T hose it off - PERIOD", or just not blast the spindles with excessive water - especially if they are still warm?

I don't know how else you could clean it without a garden hose.

:confused:

washing the deck is fine, just running the blades while spraying water under the deck will cause problems. and lets be honest spraying water under the deck without starting the blades just makes wet moldy grass you have to pull out it does not really help.

Hedgemaster
03-06-2012, 10:31 PM
washing the deck is fine, just running the blades while spraying water under the deck will cause problems. and lets be honest spraying water under the deck without starting the blades just makes wet moldy grass you have to pull out it does not really help.

OK. Makes sense I suppose.

I'd never be able to use the washout port on the ZTR anyway if you have to run the blades for it to work. I have a gravel driveway and that would be a disaster if I turned on the blades there. PING! BANG! TING! PING! BANG! AAAAHHHHHH!!!

I dunno, when I spray my Toro it comes clean. It's really the only way to get it all off. If I don't do it every day, then I have to scrape off a 1/2" of buildup. That's why I wanted to know how you get UNDER there to clean it out. Obviously just bending over and sticking the nozzle under the deck and randomly spraying isn't going to do much, but if you can see where you're spraying, you should be able to get it pretty clean - or at least as free of grass as possible.

Hosing it off makes it easier. I just hate the mushy pile of grass that is left behind. I've yet to solve THAT issue beyond laying down a trash bag to catch some of it and then just throwing it away when the water drains off.



I guess I also need to look into this "Fluid Film" that I've heard mentioned and get some on there before I start using it.