Shindaiwa Brushcutters

Shindaiwa Brushcutters

Whether you’re taking care of your own yard or you landscape for a living, having the right tool can make any job faster and easier. Shindaiwa has listened to their customers, updating their brushcutters to deliver more power and torque to get the most out of cutting blades while being easier to operate and maintain, so they’ll still be your first choice for trimming grass.

Shindaiwa currently offers four models. The C262 and C302 are all new, while the C282 and C344 have been updated.

C262

Shindaiwa’s smallest model is 70.5 inch long and weighs just 12.3 lbs. It’s powered by a 25.4 cc two-stroke and uses a 1.62:1 gear reduction for more torque at the head. The head and engine are linked using a solid steel drive shaft.

The C262’s 2-in-1 debris shield works with both trimmer line and blades, making it easy to switch between mowing and cutting. When using line, this model cuts a 20-inch swath. A shoulder harness is included.

C282

While slightly shorter than the C262, this brushcutter weighs in at 15.7 lbs. This added weight is due to a larger 28.9 cc engine with electronic ignition and a bicycle-style handlebar that makes the cutting head easier to control when cutting brush and saplings.

This model is intended mostly for cutting, limiting the maximum cutting swath to just 15 inches, Both a speed-feed head and blade hardware included. This model uses a solid steel drive shaft.

C302

With its 30.5 cc engine and 1.8 hp output, the C302 is the most powerful trimmer in Shindaiwa’s lineup. A 1.62:1 gear reduction head increases torque. Even with all this power, it weighs in at 14.8 lbs.

It has a bicycle handle like the C282, but it comes with over-molded hand grips like you’ll find on power tools. This adds a rubber layer around the plastic where you need it to quell vibration while keeping weight down. Weight is further reduced by using a magnesium fan housing. A flex cable sends power to the head while absorbing engine vibration. The cutting swath of this model is 20 inches.

For easier restarts, the carburetor is equipped with a bellows intake that draws in cool air away from the engine.

C344

Want a powerful brushcutter without the compromises of a two-stroke? This model comes with a 34 cc 2/4 stroke engine.
This Shindaiwa-exclusive design combines a four-stroke cycle with a two-stroke oiling system, so it stays lubricated no matter how you turn it. This keeps emissions and fuel consumption down and makes the engine much easier to start than two-stroke models.

The C344 is the heaviest brushcutter at 15.6 lbs, but otherwise, it’s mostly similar to the C262. A speed-feed head and blade hardware are included, it uses a solid steel driveshaft, and it cuts a 20-inch swath. The controls are mounted on a bicycle handlebar with rubber grips.

Blades and Accessories

The 9-inch. 4-tooth blade fits all blade-capable straight shaft brushcutters. It’s perfect for light brush, shrubs, and grass.

All other cutting blades are designed to fit the C242, C254, C282, and C344. The 10-inch, three tooth blade is perfect for cutting thick brush. The 9-inch maximum duty blade works well cutting undergrowth and thinning out small saplings. The 8-inch heavy-duty blade has saw teeth that can chip away wood, which is great for cutting down young trees.

Shindaiwa redesigned their debris shield, adding more protection while still being compatible with older models. The Pro Harness distributes weight using wide hip and shoulder pads, increasing operator comfort and reducing the chance of contact with the line or blade.

Getting parts for maintenance is easy thanks to Shindaiwa’s “Youcan” maintenance kits. Two versions are available: one has everything you need to do a tune up, while the other includes everything needed to rebuild the fuel system.

Warranty

Shindaiwa guarantees all of their brushcutters for two years commercial of commercial use or 5 years of consumer use.

When You Need Service for Your Shindaiwa, Go to Shank’s

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is an authorized dealer for Shindaiwa, so we can provide you with equipment, parts, and support for anything from the company. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of Interstate 81 via Exit 10 to Marion.

We also ship OEM parts and accessories for Shindaiwa and many other brands across the U.S. and Canada. If you need something for your brushcutter, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Tips for Fall Lawn Care

Tips for fall lawn care

Summer lawn care is mostly a matter of fighting the heat, while late fall brings preparation for harsh winter weather. What about the time in between? As temperatures drop, there are some changes you can make to keep your lawn green and healthy.

Watering

Your lawn needs plenty of water to survive the heat of the summer, but as temperatures drop, heat and evaporation are less of an issue. Gradually lower the amount you water you use to keep the soil moist without saturating it. To keep your lawn at its healthiest, you’ll need to keep watering until the first freeze.

If you have an irrigation system, now is a good time to schedule end-of-season maintenance and shutdown.

Mowing

Mow by height, not by time. Grass growth will gradually slow down from late summer to the first freeze; your final mow may be as long as a month after your previous mow. As always, limit the amount of grass you cut to 1/3 of the total grass height. If you need to mow more, split it into two mows with a couple days in between to let the grass recover.

Diagnosing and Treating Brown Patches

Summer weather can force grass to become dormant, turning it brown. This is fine, as it helps the grass survive drought and heat. Once temperatures drop, this grass will come out of dormancy and turn green again. If brown areas don’t spring back to life, your soil is probably lacking in nutrients. Now is a good time to get a soil test so you know exactly what your lawn is missing.

As daily high temperatures drop into the 60s, warm-season grasses will retreat as warm-season grasses spring to life. If your lawn turns brown during this time, overseeding with a cool season variety will extend the growing season.

Treat Grubs

A few grubs are a normal sight toward the end of summer, but an infestation can cause major problems for your lawn. Their activity can turn soil spongy and even separate the root system of your grass from the ground, letting you peel it up like it’s freshly-laid sod. Grubs are also food for birds, armadillos and raccoons, drawing these pests into your yard.

To see if you need to treat for these insects, dig up a small section of your lawn. If you have more than 10 grubs per square foot or 5-10 grubs per square foot in a lawn that has other issues, you should consider applying an insecticide.

Ideally, insecticides should be applied in the spring when grubs are young, but you probably won’t see the infestation until this time of the year. Using a treatment now will help slow the damage and manage the population. There are effective natural treatments based on neem oil that can be used without affecting the rest of your lawn, making it a good choice if you’re trying to fit insect control, fertilizing and seeding into a packed lawn care schedule. The sooner you can treat the lawn, the better: depending on where you live, grubs will feed on your lawn through October or November. After that, they’ll burrow deep into the soil to survive the winter, putting them out of reach.

Prepare for Fall Lawn Care

Now is a good time to plan out your fall lawn care strategy.

Thatch — This layer of woody material covering the soil can be healthy, but it can cause irrigation and root system problems if it’s too thick. If the thatch layer is over ½ inch thick, it needs to be removed.

Soil compaction — Heavy foot and vehicle traffic can crush soil, making it harder for water and air to reach the root system. When the soil is moderately dry, try pushing through the turf with a spade. If this is hard to do, the soil is compacted.

Fertilizer — If your soil test shows some deficiencies, plan on applying a fertilizer that matches what your grass needs.

Overseeding — If your lawn is turning brown early in the season and there aren’t any major problems with pests or nutrients, it’s simply warm season grasses going into hibernation. Overseeding with cool season grasses in the fall will extend the growing season so your lawn can stay green longer.

Need Help with Your Equipment?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has helped homeowners and professionals with their outdoor equipment for over 30 years. We cover a wide range of brands and equipment from Oregon’s cordless lawn care tools to commercial mowers from Skag, Exmark and Woods. Whether you’re looking for something new or you need service or parts for your current lawn care equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

We can also ship the parts and accessories you need to any address in the USA or Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Woods Batwing Mower

Woods Batwing MowerWoods built the first flexwing cutter over 50 years ago, giving landscapers and road workers the tool they needed to mow large sloped areas. While most development on these mowers has concentrated on power, the newest Batwing mowers address their owner’s most common issues and requested features, making this wide area mower attachment easier to use and maintain.

New Sealing Technology

The quickest route to bearing wear and breakdowns is a leaky seal. Add in some gear oil and grass clippings, and you have a recipe for a messy, expensive repair. The new Batwing design brings seals made with new materials to help the seals stand up to heavy use and harsh environments, making them less prone to break down when exposed to UV light, dust and debris. Woods is so confident of their design that all seals are included in the equipment warranty.

Easier Attachment

Connecting to the PTO is an awkward process with any attachment due to the weight of the driveline. To make this easier, Woods added a lift assistance system that supports the driveshaft so you don’t have to lift it while trying to get the splines lined up with the PTO. The shaft rests on a steel roller, making it easy to extend and retract the driveline.

Tougher Deck

There’s no telling what may be hiding under tall grass, so Woods has added some enhancements to help the Batwing withstand impacts from stumps and foreign objects. This starts with steel tubes welded into the corners of the deck, reinforcing the joints between the deck tops and skirts. Baffles are standard, increasing vacuum for better cut quality. These are welded in place so they won’t loosen when subject to jolts and vibration. Heavy-duty steel skid shoes are mounted to the front and sides of the deck, and an integrated chain shield on the front edge of the deck keeps debris from being thrown forward. Side skirts on these decks are a quarter inch thick.

The deck now has curved deck edges makes it easier to maneuver around trees and keep it from getting caught on branches and fence posts, while the top is sloped to keep debris from collecting on top of the mower. Power is transferred from the PTO to the gearbox using a Cat 6 driveshaft, while the spindles connect to the gearbox with Cat 4 driveshafts on .50 and,60 models and Cat 5 shafts on .70 models.

Easier Maintenance

Shaft joins are protected by hinged metal shields that can be flipped up without tools for easy access. Hydraulic hoses are also shielded to prevent tears while still providing access to connectors. Greasable quick-change blade pins on the top side of the deck make it easier to replace blades or remove them for sharpening.

Better Performance

Blade tip speeds can reach 15,000 FPM at 540 RPM and 16,000 FPM at 1,000 RPM. Cutting height can be set anywhere between 2 and15 inches.

The wings can flex up to 90-degrees up and 22-degrees down, helping them hug the ground for a consistent cut. With the wings up, all models have a 96-inch transport width.

Models

Woods makes three models available in two wing 15 and single wing 10 versions.

BW 15.50 and 10.50
45-200 hp PTO
2.5-inch diameter cut capacity
210 hp splitter gearbox
200 hp wing gearbox
Two-inch output shaft

BW 15.60 and 10.60
55-275 hp PTO
4-inch cut capacity
275 hp splitter gearbox
225 hp wing gearbox
Three-inch output shaft

BW 15.70 and 10.70
65-300 hp PTO
4.5-inch cut capacity
275 hp splitter gearbox
225 hp wing gearbox
Three-inch output shaft

Accessories

These accessories are available on all models:
Double row chain shielding for mowing land covered in thick, woody plant growth
Dual wheels for better support on uneven terrain and lower ground pressure when operating on muddy ground
Rear LED lights add visibility when working near roadways

These accessories fit .60 and .70 models:
The shredding kit adds two blades to cut thick stalks
Deck rings reinforce the spindle mounts to better withstand impacts
Spring axle absorb bumps
Walking tandem axles let the wheels move independently of the deck for better tracking on uneven soil

Warranty

Woods guarantees all components of their Batwing mowers including the gearbox and seals for 6 years.

Get Professional Service for Your Professional Equipment

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has been in business for over three decades, providing professionals with the equipment and support they need to do their jobs. If you’re looking to add a Batwing mower to your collection of equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from I-81, take Exit 10 and drive one mile East.

We also ship parts and accessories for Woods and many other major brands of lawn care equipment across the US and Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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How and When to Aerate Your Lawn

How and When to Aerate Your Lawn

Poking holes into your lawn may seem crazy, but aeration can relieve pressure that is preventing your grass from reaching its full potential. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the equipment to aerate your lawn, the right time to do it and the right techniques to make it as easy and effective as possible.

What is Aeration?

Surface soil can become compacted due to foot or vehicle traffic. Without microscopic holes running through this dirt, roots can’t get the oxygen and water they need to thrive, and the roots of new plants can’t penetrate the soil. Aerating is the process of cutting into the soil to relieve this compaction. Aerating is needed after heavy construction and in areas that see heavy traffic. Typically, aerating is only necessary every two or three years.

How Does Aeration Fit in With Dethatching?

Aeration and dethatching are not the same process, but they can solve similar problems and are often done together. Thatch is a layer of woody plant material that gathers on top of the soil. If the lawn is in good shape, the microorganisms in the soil will break down this material rapidly. Overfertilizing, bagging, and other bad lawn care practices can lead to thatch building up faster than it can be digested, leading to buildup that can prevent water and oxygen access, just like compacted soil. For most lawns, thatch becomes a problem if it’s over ½ inch thick.

Both dethatching and aerating are usually done before planting grass seed. With the thatch out of the way, the seeds can fall directly onto the softened soil where they can take root. Dethatching first makes it easier for the aerator’s tines to penetrate the soil.

What’s the Difference Between Spike and Core Tines?

Core tines are hollow so they can cut plugs out of the soil. By removing parts of the soil, the remaining dirt can spread out. The soil plugs left behind are unsightly, but they can be mowed into smaller pieces that will blend into the turf.

Spike tines punch holes into soil, breaking up the surface to reduce compaction. However, this force compacts the walls of the hole left behind, so it’s less effective than coring. Jrco’s hooker aerators get around this by moving in and out of the ground diagonally. This pulls out soft soil instead of hard cores while minimizing compaction around the holes.

Choosing an Aerator

Not long ago, the aerator market was dominated by drum rollers. These heavy objects had tines that would poke through as they turned, punching holes into the ground. Weight distribution was uneven, and turning was a complicated process requiring the tines to be disengaged before lining up the aerator for the next pass. It was common for operators to simply drag the drum across the lawn, damaging the turf. Advances in technology have led to designs that eliminate these problems, making an aerator no harder to use than a lawn mower.

Exmark makes both walk-behind and stand-on aerators. The walk-behind model uses an engine to propel the machine, while weights over the tines to help push them into the soil. The tines can be lifted mechanically when it’s time to turn the machine.

A stand-on aerator uses hydrostatic drive motors to deliver zero turning radius operation, while supporting large tine reels to bust through soil quickly. These machines are far faster than walk-behind aerators, which can be a huge benefit for professional landscapers. Depending on the model, an Exmark stand-on aerator can cover between 1.4 and 1.8 acres per hour.

Looking for something between these two extremes? JRCO’s hooker aerators attach to either the front or rear of your riding mower, letting it do most of the work. These aerators use the company’s universal mounting system, which is compatible with a wide range of mowers including models from Wright, Scag, and Exmark.

Tips for Aerating

The ground needs to be moist for the tines to penetrate the soil. Watering a day ahead of time will make the job faster and easier on your equipment.

Mark sprinklers before aerating. The tines move with enough force to break these underground fixtures.

Giving the soil plugs time to dry out will make them easier to mow. Cutting plugs is hard on the edges of mower blades, so plan on sharpening the blades before your next mow.

Unless you’re overseeding or helping a lawn recover from a construction project, you can save time by limiting aeration to areas that have seen heavy traffic.

Need Help With Your Aerator?

If you’re looking to buy a new aerator, or you need your current equipment serviced, visit Shank’s Lawn Equipment. We’re an authorized dealer for several manufacturers including Jrco and Exmark. Stop by our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

Is your current aerator due for a set of tines? Do you need something to get it running? We can ship the parts and accessories you need to any address in the United States or Canada. To order, visit us at www.shankslawn.com.

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Mantis XP Cultivator

Mantis XP CultivatorIs a mini-tiller not big enough for your needs, but you still want something lightweight and easy to move around? Mantis’ XP cultivator pairs the same innovative design that makes their smaller tillers the industry leader together with a reel that’s 50% wider than their other models. Add some accessories, and this tiller can be used for lawn and garden chores throughout the year.

Power

The XP is powered by a Honda Mini 4-Stroke engine. This diminutive motor delivers as much power as comparable two strokes, but it doesn’t need pre-mixed gas, it uses less fuel, it’s easier to start, and it has a wide powerband, so it doesn’t get bogged down easily. A clever oiling system keeps the inside of the engine lubricated no matter which angle it’s operating in. Its four-stroke design also gives it a long service life.

Like Mantis’ other tillers, this cultivator has its engine and transmission mounted directly over the tines to help push them down into the soil. The solid worm gear transmission has a low gear ratio to deliver the torque needed to cut through the toughest dirt at speeds up to 240 rpm.

Performance

At 16 inches wide, the XP’s tine reel is the biggest in Mantis’ lineup. It’s fitted with curved tines that dig into the soil better than standard flat tines, so there’s no need to fight the tiller to keep the tines in the ground. Mantis will replace worn tines for as long as you own your tiller. In their normal position, these tines have a maximum tilling depth is 10 inches. If the tines are flipped around, the back sides of the blades will skim across soil which is great for pulling out weeds.

This tiller weighs 35 lbs, which is far lower than comparable full-size models. That makes the XP easier to transport and lift into truck beds and trunks.

To reduce hand and wrist strain, this model is fitted with Mantis’ Sure Grip handles. These use over-molded grips that combine thick plastic grips with rubber inserts, just like the handle on an electric drill. This ergonomic design supports the hand and limits the transmission of shock and vibration. The handle is also adjustable, giving the XP a comfortable arm position for operators of any height.

Attachments

By itself, a tiller’s use is limited to a few big landscaping projects during spring and summer. By adding these accessories, you can use your XP for a variety of jobs through the year.

The furrowing attachment uses a pair of tines to dig 6 inch wide furrows for planting or making trenches to run underground irrigation hose and low voltage wiring. The plow attachment digs shallower furrows while tilling, preparing garden beds for vegetable planting.

The dethatcher and aerator attachments expose soil to increase water and air access and prepare turf for overseeding. The dethatcher replaces the tilling tines with a wheel-supported reel that has 60 spring steel tines, dethatching 15 inches of turf with each pass. The aerator attachment replaces tilling tines with flat-bladed aerator tines that slice through soil compacted by foot traffic, vehicles and construction equipment.

The border edger replaces the tines with a 6-inch wheel and spring steel edging blade to cut clean edges around driveways, sidewalks, flowerbeds, and bushes for a perfect finish.

The wheelset attaches to the rear of the tiller, making it easier to transport and allowing it to stand freely for maintenance and refueling. It also adds stability when using the tiller with the border edger attachment. Once the mount is in place, the wheels can be attached or removed in seconds.

Warranty

Mantis will replace bent or broken tines for the life of the tiller. The Mini 4-Stroke has a three-year warranty from Honda, while Mantis guarantees the rest of the tiller for 5 years.

Looking for More from a Tiller?

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is more than a Mantis dealer: we’ve helped homeowners and professionals with their lawn care equipment for over 30 years. We can help you find a tiller that fits your gardening needs and offer the parts and support you need to keep it running. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from Interstate 81, take Exit 10 to Marion and drive East one mile.

Not in the area? We can ship parts and accessories to your door whether you’re in the US. or Canada. To order, visit us at www.shankslawn.com.

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Selecting the Right Mower Blades

Exmark Mower Blades

Which mower blades should you be using with your mower? There are several designs out there, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here’s how you can tell them apart and choose the right ones for your needs.

Lift, Vacuum, and Cutting

A blade doesn’t just slice: it also acts as a fan, pulling the grass up to get an even cut. By adding extra lift, large clippings can be blown back up into the mowing chamber to be cut again. Modern mulching decks use this to slice grass into small pieces that can be digested by microorganisms in the soil. Due to their lower surface area, small clippings don’t catch as much wind and can fall through the blade and onto the turf.

A stamped deck can be shaped to have a round chamber that hugs the blade, increasing vacuum. Constructed decks have flat sides, creating turbulence and increasing the chamber size, decreasing vacuum. Most companies that sell mowers with constructed decks offer mulching kits that include baffles. These reshape the mowing chamber to give it more vacuum while still letting grass move across the deck toward the discharge chute.

By fine-tuning the shape of a blade, it can be built to suit specific types of mowing.

Side Discharge Blades

These blades have an almost flat profile that flings clippings out of the chute instead of throwing them up to be recut. This reduces the amount of grass being cut at a time, lowering the stress on the deck. These blades are lighter than other designs, increasing maximum blade speed and taking stress off of the spindle bearings. By moving clippings out of the deck as soon as possible, the mower is able to cut thicker, taller grass.

Mulching Blades

These blades use steep angles to move more air, increasing vacuum. Some manufacturers also add cutting surfaces to the back edges of their mulching blades. While this doesn’t help with the initial cut, it does help chop clippings down to size so the deck can handle thicker grass. Dixon takes this a step further with their Gator blades, offering three designs that let buyers choose between low weight and high tip speeds or more cutting power and a longer lifespan.

Multi-Use and Bagging Blades

The type of blade needed for bagging will vary depending on the mower design. Some decks need to be used with a low-profile side discharge blade to hurl clippings through the side discharge and into the hose that leads to the bags, while others are designed to mulch clippings, compacting them for more onboard storage.

Blades designed for bagging and either side discharge or mulching are commonly labeled “2-in-1.” These blades are designed with the deck in mind for the best bagging performance, using a profile for bagging and side discharge or bagging and mulching. “3-in-1” blades are designed for mulching, bagging, and side discharge, but covering all three modes means making some compromises to performance. If you have a choice between 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 blades, go for the 2-in-1 design.

Scag’s Marbain Blades

Most mower blades use a quench-and-temper process to create a hard surface on soft steel. This results in a blade that is flexible enough to absorb impacts while having a long-lasting cutting surface. Fisher Barton’s Marbain blades use austempering instead of quenching and tempering. This process takes longer, but it leaves the blade with a surface that’s harder than standard blades and is free of microcracks that can lead to failure. Scag worked with Fisher Barton to make these blades the OEM standard for their mowers. While they may be pricey, owners report lower cost of ownership and less maintenance thanks to these blades’ ability to hold an edge.

Get the Blades You Need for Your Mower

No matter which mower you use, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has the blades you need to get the best cutting performance. We’re an authorized dealer for several major mower brands including Dixon, Scag, and Woods, and we stock aftermarket parts from manufacturers including Oregon, Rotary and Stens. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10.

We also ship parts across the U.S. and Canada so you can get the blades you need for your mower with a few clicks of your mouse. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Exmark Stand-On Mower

Exmark Stand-On Mower

When it comes to stand-on mowers, it’s hard to beat Exmark’s Vantage S-Series. Standers give you a better view of the area you’re mowing and better traction than regular ZTRs, making them a great choice for hilly landscapes and obstacle-filled lawns. Exmark’s standers go a step further, adding features that make them more versatile including a walk-behind mode, an adjustable speed governor and a wide choice of engines including EFI and propane options.

Easier Control for All Situations

The operator stands on a rubber-padded platform with a weight compensation system. This lets them shift their weight when on hills to stay stable. The thigh pad offers plenty of support but won’t get in the way when folding up the platform for storage.

With the platform tilted up, the Vantage can be used as a walk-behind mower for low-speed maneuvers around landscape features. To make control easier in this mode or when tackling steep slopes, Exmark includes an adjustable front reference bar that puts a limit on the mower’s top speed. The PTO, starter and other controls are mounted at a slant ahead of the levers, making them easy to see and reach.

The mower is controlled just like a lap bar ZTR with a pair of levers mounted next to the grab bar. These operate 12 cubic inch Parker hydraulic motors connected to 10cc Hydro-Gear pumps. This system is able to propel these mowers to a top speed of 8 mph going forward and up to 4 mph in reverse.

Decks

All S-Series mowers come with an UltraCut deck. 36-inch models use two blades, while 48, 52 and 60-inch models use three blades.

The deck is constructed using a 10 gauge steel top plate paired with 7 gauge spindle reinforcements and 7 gauge side skirts. The blades mount to Exmark’s signature maintenance-free sealed spindles. The deck height can be set between one and 5 inches high in quarter inch increments. A spring assist system and long handle make it easy to adjust the height from the operator’s position.

Engines

Vantage standers with a 36-inch deck are powered by a Kawasaki FS Series producing 15 hp. This compact engine delivers commercial performance in a package that’s small enough for compact equipment like this mower.

A 22 hp Kawasaki FX Series is available for both 48 and 52-inch decks. The big brother of the FS, it adds an improved air filtration system that keeps the engine clean, even when working on dusty lawns or chopping up leaves.

Mowers with 52 and 60-inch decks are available with the Kohler Command Pro EFI. Its fuel injection system decreases fuel consumption and all but eliminates throttle droop. A 23 hp engine is used with 52-inch decks, while 60-inch mowers get a 25 hp engine. A 24 hp version that runs on propane is also available with both deck sizes for those looking to cut emissions and fuel costs.

Gas-powered mowers come with an 8-gallon fuel tank with a single cap and a float gauge. It’s mounted between the operator station and engine. Propane models use a 33.5 lb. tank mounted over the right fender.

Accessories to Fit Your Mowing Needs

A three-bushel bagger kit is available for all non-propane models. The bag fits directly over the side discharge, so there’s no hose to clog. The Micro-mulch kit comes with high lift blades and deck baffles to get maximum vacuum. This keeps clippings airborne so they can be chopped into small, digestible pieces. An operator-controlled discharge door is also available to switch between mulching and either bagging or side discharge on the fly. Want to make it easier to access the blades for sharpening? Exmark makes a jack and receiver specifically for these decks.

Exmark also offers accessories to tailor these mowers for specific needs. Plan on using your stander on hilly lawns? Adding a weight kit keeps the mower stable on slopes. Want to work early or late? Add a light kit. There’s also a trash container give the operator to throw garbage while mowing, while a cup holder keeps drinks on hand for hot days.

When You Need Professional Equipment, Turn to the Experts

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has been in the outdoor equipment business since 1984. We’re a certified dealer for Exmark and every engine manufacturer they work with, so we can provide you with the parts and support you need. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10.

We also ship parts and accessories for Exmark equipment across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Echo Bear Cat SG340 Stump Grinder

Echo Bear Cat SG340 Stump Grinder

Most stump grinders are big machines that are built into trailers or attach to large tractors. While that’s fine for heavy work, they have a hard time reaching smaller stumps near buildings and in residential lawns. To reach these places, Echo Bear Cat makes the SG340. Thanks to a design that resembles a trimmer mower, it can get into these hard-to-reach places while still delivering plenty of cutting power.

Power

The stump grinder is powered by a 340cc Honda GXV engine. If you’re a professional landscaper or have an equipment rental business, this engine should be familiar as the GX series is by far the most popular small equipment engine on the market thanks to its reputation for unfailing quality. Its compact overhead valve designed isn’t just durable, it’s also built for low vibration and noise, making it a great choice for all day use. An automatic decompression system makes the engine easy to turn over, while Oil Alert shuts off the engine automatically if there isn’t enough lubrication to protect internal components. This engine is CARB certified, making the SG 340 legal to use in all 50 states.

The engine connects to the head’s 1.5-inch steel shaft using a double banded belt drive. This handles power transfer while absorbing shocks that could damage the crankshaft.

The 7-inch diameter cutting head has 12 hardened carbide steel cutting teeth. For of these blades are straight for making a pilot cut, while the other 8 are curved to dig into the stump. The head can reach a speed of 3,600 RPM.

Despite all this power, the SG340 is just 23 inches wide. This lets it get next to buildings and sidewalks where stand-alone and trailer-based grinders can’t reach.

Control

The SG340 has a wheel brake built into the rear left wheel. When engaged, it keeps the machine in place while still letting the operator pivoting the cutting head across the stump, trimming it down layer by layer. The handle has two bails: squeezing the top bail engages the brake, while the bottom bail engages the head.

On the left side of the cutting head, a steel shield deflects wood shavings, while the right side has a guard with a screen-covered opening that gives the operator a clear view of the head.

The wheels ride on sealed bearings and are fitted with foam-filled pneumatic tires, virtually eliminating maintenance while making this grinder easy to roll around.

Warranty

Echo Bear Cat guarantees the SG 340 for three years of consumer use, one year of commercial use and 6 months of rental use. Honda guarantees the engine for three years of commercial use.

When You Need Professional Equipment, You Need Shank’s

Shank’s Lawn Equipment has helped residential and professional owners with their outdoor equipment since 1984. We’re a certified dealer for most major commercial equipment brands including Echo Bear Cat and Honda Engines so we can provide you with the parts and service you need. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here, take Exit 10 from I-81 and drive one mile East.

We also ship parts across the U.S. and Canada. If you need something for your Echo Bear Cat equipment, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Should You Get a Diesel Mower?

 Should You Get a Diesel Mower?Just a few years ago, there was a massive gulf between gas and diesel-powered mowers. Diesel engines offered more power and better fuel efficiency but came with a hefty price tag. Today, that gap is closing as manufacturers have introduced fuel injected gasoline engines. Are diesels obsolete, or do they still offer superior performance?

Fuel Efficiency

The energy created by burning fuel comes from breaking molecular bonds, and diesel has bigger molecules than gasoline. As a result, a gallon of diesel has more potential energy than a gallon of gasoline. All things being equal, a diesel engine should use about 10% less fuel than a gas engine.

Diesels are even more fuel efficient due to their design. Diesels use compression ignition, squeezing the air/fuel mixture until it gets so hot it explodes. These engines use a high compression ratio to get compression ignition with each power stroke. Gasoline engines use spark ignition, lighting the fuel to create detonation. The compression ratio in these engines is low to avoid compression ignition. A higher compression ratio results in improvements to the air/fuel expansion ratio, intake velocity, and exhaust velocity. While you may need to be a professional engine builder to understand how these factors work together, they all come down to one result: compression ignition engines are a lot more efficient than spark ignition engines.

On average, a 25 hp diesel will burn around one gallon of fuel per hour, while an equivalent carburetor-fueled gasoline engine will use 1.5-1.6 GPM and a fuel injected engine uses around 1.2-1.3 GPM. That means a diesel will use ¾ of the fuel of the best gas mower.

How much can you save on fuel costs? That depends on the price of fuel where you live. Here in Pennsylvania, diesel is usually $0.50 per gallon more than gasoline, but it’s only about $0.30 more if you cross the border into Virginia. The savings can vary widely depending on this price difference and the total price of fuel, but even in the worst case scenario, you’ll spend less fueling a diesel mower.

Fuel Storage

Old gasoline will either cause corrosion from gasoline blended with ethanol or varnishing from ethanol-free blends in carburetor-equipped engines, while fuel-injected engines are usually fine as long as the fuel is stabilized.

Water contamination and algae growth can be a problem with diesel, but only if the fuel is improperly stored. Fuel can be left in a diesel engine for up to 6 months before any preventative maintenance needs to be taken, and that’s usually limited to running the engine long enough to flush old diesel out of the fuel lines.

Performance

This is easy to overlook, but it’s the biggest benefit when buying a diesel mower.

Horsepower is a measurement of work over time, and in this case, “time” is RPM. Gasoline engines make power at higher engine speeds than diesels, so they have higher horsepower ratings than an equivalent diesel mower. As with gas mowers, you can expect companies to match the output of a diesel engine to their equipment, even though on paper a diesel may seem less powerful than a gas engine.

With a wider torque band and more low-end torque, a diesel-powered mower will be able to maintain blade speeds better than a gasoline engine. This is especially noticeable on mowers with 60 and 72-inch decks. Owners often report being able to climb slopes with the blades engaged where in the past their gas-powered mowers would only cut when driving downhill.

Reliability and Repair Costs

Fuel injection, better air filtration and improvements to lubrication and cooling systems have increased the life of commercial gas engines, but that also makes repairs more expensive. Diesels have always had higher repair costs, but they also have a reputation for long-term durability. It will be years before we understand how far new gas engines have come when it comes to reliability, but buying a diesel is a sure thing if you want to put as many hours on your mower as possible.

Price

In the past, a diesel could easily cost a third more than an equivalent gas mower but again added complexity has closed the gap. Depending on current sales and financing options, the premium for a diesel may not be that much. Factor in fuel savings and the return on investment can be far shorter than the term of the loan.

When You Need a Commercial Mower, Talk to the Experts

We’re a certified dealer for several diesel engine and diesel-powered mower manufacturers including Kubota, Scag, Exmark, Woods, and Yanmar. If you’re looking to add a diesel to your fleet or need your current mowers serviced, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. Need parts? We ship across the U.S. and Canada. To order, go to our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Summer Mower Tune-Up

Exmark Lawnmower

Is your mower not performing as well as it should? Even if you give it a full service when you pulled it out of storage, your mower may be due for some work to keep it going through the rest of the season. Here are some repairs that are easy to miss, but can make a big difference in how your equipment performs.

Before You Begin

The exhaust on your mower can stay hot long after the engine has stopped. Letting the engine cool for at least 20 minutes before working around the engine will keep you from getting burned. It’s also a good idea to disconnect the spark plugs will ensure the engine can’t start while you’re making repairs.

Clean the Deck

We covered blade sharpening in a recent article, but it’s only part of what your mower needs for good cutting performance. As layers of grass and dirt build up in the mowing chamber, there’s less vacuum to pull grass toward the blades, leading to an uneven finish and poor mulching performance.

Today, most riding mowers and a few walk-behind models have a built-in washout port. This directs water from a garden hose into openings on the underside of the deck that blast away grass buildup. This works the best if used shortly after mowing before the grass has had a chance to dry. If your mower doesn’t have a washout port, wipe out the deck with a moist rag. Heavy build-up can be removed using a wire brush or a putty knife. Never use a pressure washer on the deck, as this can force water into the engine on walk-behind mowers and into the spindles on riding mowers.

Clean the Air Filter

A dirty filter can seriously hamper engine performance. Paper elements can be cleaned by tapping them against a hard object to loosen any surface dirt, or they can be blown out with compressed air using a tip that limits air pressure to 30 psi. Using high-pressure air or tools that make direct contact with the filter medium can push dirt into the pores, clogging it up.

Check your engine’s owner’s manual on how to properly clean foam air filters. All filters can be cleaned by washing them in water and a mild detergent, but what you need to do after that will vary depending on the manufacturer and model. Honda’s filters should be saturated with clean engine oil, then squeezed out. Some Briggs & Stratton filters should be oiled, while others must be kept dry. Some older mowers and even a few current Subaru engines use an oil bath that needs to be topped up with fresh oil whenever the filter is cleaned.

Wipe out the air box before reinstalling the filter. If your engine has a cyclonic filtration box, be sure to clean the vanes of the intake thoroughly.

Grease and Lubricate

Adding grease to spindles, bearings and other components keeps them moving freely while flushing out old, dirty grease that can wear down metal components. Before you reach for your grease gun, clean out any gunk that has collected on the Zerk fitting. This keeps dirt from being pushed into the bearing and reduces backpressure that can blow out the seals in the gun. For most applications, any high-quality waterproof grease will work fine.

If the cables aren’t moving freely, check for kinks. It’s common for housings to get pinched between the joints on folding mower handles. Lubricate sticky cables with silicone spray, cable lube or non-detergent oil. This keeps them sliding freely and it forms a protective barrier that prevents rust.

Inspecting the Belts

Belts are used on riding mowers to transfer power from the engine to the deck and in self-propelled mowers to transfer power from the engine shaft and the transmission, located under the deck. If the belt is fraying or cracked, or it has stretched to the point that the idler pulley no longer engages, it’s due for a replacement.

Everything You Need for Your Mower

From small push mowers to commercial ZTRs, if it’s a lawn mower, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has the parts and service you need to keep mowing. We’re a certified dealer for most major mower brands including Wright, Exmark, Dixon, Scag, Troy-Bilt, and Murray as well as engine manufacturers including Briggs & Stratton, Honda, Kawasaki, Kohler, Subaru, and Tecumseh. Our shop is at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from I-81, take Exit 10. We also ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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