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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How to Sharpen a Lawn Mower Blade

Toro

If you‘re a professional landscaper, you probably sharpen blades weekly, but the rest of us may only think about it after the mowing season has ended. However, your lawn will better off if you sharpen the blades based on their performance: if you see the tips of the grass are jagged, the blade is so dull that it’s ripping off clippings, leaving your lawn open to infection. Here’s how you can get your blades performing the way they should.

Accessing the Blade

First, disconnect spark plugs. This will keep the engine from starting on accident, whether the starter is bumped, or pushing on the blade kicks the engine over.

On riding and wide area walk-behind mowers, raise the deck to the highest position. On walk-behind mowers, tilt the mower on its side with the carburetor facing up.

A blade removal tool clamps onto the edge of the deck, trapping the blade. This is the easiest, safest way to secure the blade when loosening the bolt. If you don’t have this tool, wedge a wood block between the blade and the deck to keep the blade from spinning.

Loosen the blade bolt. As you take off the blade and surrounding components, pay attention to their order and position. Some models will only have a washer on the blade bolt, while others will have a separate blade adapter that will slide off of the spindle. If the washer is curved, take note of its direction.

Some blades are clearly marked so you can tell which direction they should be installed. To make this easier, mark the underside of the blade with some paint or a bright permanent market so you can tell at a glance which side should be facing out when you put it back on the mower.

Inspection

Take a moment to check the blade for signs that it needs to be replaced. Mower blades are curved to create a vacuum inside the mower chamber; mulching blades having a higher curve than side discharge blades. If there are any other bends, then the blade should be replaced. The blade should also be replaced if there are signs of cracking. Eventually, severe wear will make the blade unusable. If it has a thin trailing edge, it’s worn out.

Sharpening

The blade needs to be as sharp as a butter knife to cut grass effectively. Sharpening it more won’t make it cut better, it will just wear down the cutting surface faster.

If you’re sharpening by hand, you’ll need a 10 inch or longer mill bastard file. Yes, that’s really what it’s called: a bastard cut has a medium grain that’s perfect for sharpening mild steel. Clamp the blade in a vise to keep it steady. The file will only sharpen when it moves across the blade from the tip of the file to the handle. By wearing gloves, you can hold onto the handle and the tip of the file, making it easier to maintain steady pressure and angle. Sharpen from the top side of the edge, moving toward the front of the cutting surface.

Blades can also be polished with a bench grinder. The principles are the same, but unless you’re certain of your skills, it’s best to rely on a tool that’s less likely to eat away the blade surface if you make a mistake.

A blade sharpening kit will include a sharpening stone designed to fit an electric drill. Clamp the blade in a vise and make several passes with the sharpener, sliding the blade between the stone and the backing plate.

Mulching blades sometimes have curved edges. These angles can be sharpened with smaller files, an angle grinder, or a rotary tool.

Balancing

For the best results, use a balancing tool. The center of the blade sits on top of this cone, letting you see the balance of the blade in three dimensions. Sand off the metal on the corner that points down. The blade is balanced when it sits level.

You can do a less accurate test by hanging the blade by a nail. As before, sand off the side that hangs low, and install the blade once it sits level.

Reinstallation

Install the blade in the reverse order you removed it. When installing the blade bolt, first tighten it down by hand, then tighten it with a wrench, and finally, use the torque wrench to tighten the bolt to manufacturer’s specifications. If the bolt isn’t torqued correctly, the bolt may unscrew if it’s too loose or it can snap off if it was overtightened.

Get What You Need for Your Mower from Shank’s

Do you need a new blade for your mower? Shank’s Lawn is a dealer for most mower brands including Woods, Scag, Exmark, Yard Machines, MTD, and Murray, so we probably have what you need in stock.
Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA, one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10. Not in the area? We ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To see what we offer, go to www.shankslawn.com.

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Fitting a New Style Clutch to Your BCS Tractor

Fitting a New Style Clutch to Your BCS Tractor

If you order a clutch for an older BCS tractor, it’s not going to look the same as the one currently on your equipment. In 2007, the company introduced the “New Style” clutch. This unit is backward compatible with tractors made as far back in 1995, but it integrates several components, making it easier to work on. Here’s how you can fit this new clutch to your old tractor.

Which Clutch Do I Have?

All BCS tractors made since 2007 came with the New Style clutch from the factory. If you have an older tractor and aren’t sure if the clutch has been replaced, look for a jam nut and set screw on the clutch next to the adapter plate. If it has one, it’s the older design. New Style clutches are compatible with 1995 and newer tractors.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • ¼ inch or 7/32 inch Allen head socket: BCS includes the 7/32 inch wrench which works with one-inch driveshafts that have a 3/8 x 24-inch thread set. All others use the more common ¼ inch bolt. Even if you can use the 7/32 wrench, you’ll still need a matching socket to torque the captive bolt.
  • Torque Wrench — The needs to measure torque in ft-lbs. and work with your Allen head sockets.
  • 4 mm Allen head wrench or socket
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Bearing driver — An appropriately-sized socket can be used in a pinch. It needs to push on the bearing without catching on the clutch body.
  • Hammer
  • Ratchet with a long extension
  • 13mm thin wall socket
  • 14mm socket

An impact wrench is useful, but not required. A pry bar may also be needed if the clutch is stuck on the shaft.

Parts You’ll Need

BCS includes all the parts you’ll need in their clutch kit. Before you start, make sure the following are in the box:

  • Tapered, split bushing
  • Spacer
  • Clutch
  • 7/32 inch Allen wrench

The key, lock washer and bearing that are removed from the tractor will not be needed when installing the new style clutch.

Removing the Old Clutch

There’s a jam nut on the side of the clutch closest to the engine. Turn the clutch so the nut is lined up with the notch in the adapter plate.

Place the straight edge on the inside flats of the L-shaped cone tabs at the end of the clutch. Use the measuring tape to measure the distance from this edge to the flat machined edge, not the inner raised edge, of the adapter plate. If the clutch is installed correctly, there should be 4.5 inches between the two points. If it isn’t, you need to check for damage or wear to the clutch and driveshaft.

Loosen the jam nut using the 13 mm socket, then loosen the set screw inside the nut using the 4mm Allen wrench. The clutch should slide off of the engine shaft. If it doesn’t, use a pry bar between the adapter plate and clutch.

Use the flathead screwdriver and hammer to pry out the crankshaft key. It should take just a couple light taps to get it out. Slide the lock washer off of the crank.

Use the 14 mm socket to remove the bolts on the adapter plate. With the plate’s back side facing up, use the bearing driver and hammer to knock out the bearing. Reinstall the adapter plate, making sure each bolt is fitted with a washer.

Clutch Installation

Slide the spacer onto the driveshaft, followed by the split bushing. Use the flathead screwdriver to spread the gap on the bushing to get it to go over the shaft. The spacer should be flush against the wide rear end section of the crank, and the bushing should be flush against the spacer.

Slide the clutch onto the crankshaft with the flats facing out. Use the Allen wrench to hand-tighten the captive bolt on the end of the clutch.

Check the distance between the clutch flats and the machined edge of the adapter plate. As before, the distance should be 4 ½ inches. It should be close to this measurement after the bolt is hand-tightened, and dead on after the bolt is torqued down.

Use the torque wrench to set the correct tightness on the captive bolt. The correct torque depends on the driveshaft size:

  • 3/8 x 42 – 25 lb-ft.
  • 5/16 x 24 – 14 lb-ft.
  • 7/16 x 20 – 40 lb-ft.

Recheck the distance between the flats and the adapter plate.

Turn the flats at the end of the clutch, so they look like an “L” from the side.

Get the Service and Parts You Need for Your BCS Walk Behind Tractor

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services a wide range of professional outdoor equipment including smaller brands like BCS. If you need parts for your tractor or you want a professional to handle clutch replacements and other repairs, visit our shop, located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. That’s one mile east of I-81 from Exit 10.

Looking for parts and accessories for your BCS tractor? We can ship what you need to any address in the United States or Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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JRCO Turf Attachments

JRCO Turf Attachments

Making a lawn look good is one thing, but making it perform is another. When you have to take care of grass for sports, recovery times need to be minimal and consistency needs to be uniform to get a quality playing surface. JRCO’s turf attachments are designed for the needs of professionals who care for golf courses, sports fields and other areas where perfection is a must. Even if you don’t need this level of quality, the hooker aerator and electric broadcast spreader are great alternatives to traditional implements.

Hooker Aerator

Compaction is a major problem on fields, but hollow tine core aeration leaves a mess that isn’t just unsightly, it can hinder playing performance. Spike aerators don’t leave cores, but they aren’t as effective at relieving compaction and can actually increase it around the holes they create. The hooker aerator gets around these problems by using a method that bridges the gap between spikes and hollow tines. Its curved tines dig into the soil, hook onto it and pull it out. This leaves small, uncompressed holes and uncompressed soil that blends into the grass. With no hard cores left over, turf is ready for use immediately after aeration.

The benefits don’t stop there. This simple method of aeration is faster than using hollow tines, and lower force eliminated the need for a separate engine or heavy weights to push the tines into the soil.

Each tine is a half inch wide, 1 ¼ inch long and up to three inches deep, removing about as much soil as a 5/8 inch core aerator. 5 tines are built into a one-piece rotor, reducing maintenance. The 10 rotors are grouped in pairs, each with its own moving support. This lets the tines glide over rocks and other obstacles for a clean finish. The aerator mounts to the mower using two-point hitch. Together with support from swiveling caster wheels, the tines track the tow vehicle with no jackknifing. A pair of sight flags at the corners of the unit makes it easy to track from the operator’s position.

An electric actuator is built into the aerator. The switch for the motor can be positioned next to the operator, making it easy to lift and lower the tines when moving between lawns and over pavement.

Electric Broadcast Spreader

A broadcast spreader can be little more than a hopper and a spinning cone on a pair of wheels, but it takes more than that to get precision seeding. JRCO’s electric broadcast spreader mounts up front within view of the operator and has a sophisticated spreading system that works equally well with seeds, granular fertilizer, pelletized fertilizer and ice melting products.

No matter what type of salt is used, ice melt can be corrosive. To protect this device, every component that will touch the material is made out of stainless steel. The hopper holds up to 2.2 cubic feet or 120 lbs. of material. A vibrating agitator keeps material of any diameter flowing freely.

The spreader can be set from the base of the hopper to drop materials at a width of 5 to 24 feet. Once underway, the drop rate can be changed using an electronic speed control that mounts next to the operator. The electric motor is mounted to the base of the attachment, counterbalancing the weight of the hopper. While it is out in the open for cooling, the motor is protected from collisions by a 180-degree metal bumper.

JRCO makes three versions of this spreader. The 503 uses a foot-operated gate, which is perfect for mowers with mid-mount decks, while the 504 has a push/pull cable gate to put the controls within each reach on walk-behind and front mount mowers. Both spreaders are designed to work with a JRCO mount bar. The 504U is designed for use with UTVs. It has a longer push-pull cable and attaches using the company’s 1 1/4” hitch receiver mount. The wiring uses a quick disconnect, making it easy to mount and remove the spreader.

Get More from Your Mower

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for JRCO along with most major mower manufacturers including Exmark, Wright, and Scag. If you’re looking for ways to major lawn care jobs easier or you need parts or service for your current equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from Interstate 81, take Exit 10 to Marion.

We can also ship the OEM parts you need to maintain your JRCO attachments to any address in the US or Canada. To order, visit our website, www.shankslawn.com.

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Mantis Tillers

Mantis TillersMantis invented the mini tiller over 40 years ago, and since then their models have remained the best-selling on the market thanks to constant innovation. Today, their lineup includes models with tillers with two-stroke and four-stroke engines as well as plug-in and battery-powered electric motors, letting gardeners and landscapers get a machine that perfectly fits their needs.

Why Mantis?

Mantis has created a range of models that have full-size performance in a package that’s easy to manage in small gardens. Instead of relying on brute strength, these tillers use design features to the most out of their small engines to keep weight low.

Their 7000 Series uses tines with a curved shape that cuts down on bouncing and deflection, so they’ll dig into soil with less effort. The tines can be flipped to limit the depth to two to three inches, which is perfect for weeding and shallow cultivation. 3000 models have trowel tines that scoop as they cut, making them ideal for shallow cultivating. Mantis guarantees the tines on all of their machines for life.

The powerplant is placed directly over tines to help push them down into the soil. It connects to the tines using a solid metal worm gear transmission designed to last the life of the tiller.

7000 Series 2-Cycle

The classic Mantis mini tiller is the lightest at just 20 lbs, but the can still cut up to 10 inches deep, have 9 inches of tilling width and can hit a top speed of 240 RPM. Mantis makes a standard 2-Cycle as well as a Plus version with FastStart. This adds fuel directly to the ignition point using a fuel bulb, making the engine easier to start. Two strokes work best when running at top speed, so the throttle lever is built to fit flush with the handles, letting the operator use a comfortable hand position when keeping the throttle open. These handles can be folded down, allowing the tiller to be lifted and carried using a grab handle.

7000 Series 4-Cycle

Want the features of a 2-Cycle with the ease of use you get with a four-stroke engine? The 4-Cycle uses all the same components, but it’s powered by a Honda Mini 4 Stroke. Thanks to clever baffling in the crankcase, this engine will stay lubricated and fueled no matter how it’s tilted, just like a two-stroke. Opting for this engine increases the tiller’s weight to 24 lbs. The 4-Cycle XP comes with a 16-inch wide tine bar.

7000 Series Electric

This plug-in electric tiller is just one pound heavier than the 2-Cycle. It uses a 3-speed transmission with the same top speed as the other tillers in this model range thanks to a 540 watt, ¾ hp motor.

3000 Series Tiller Cultivator

Mantis recently introduced the 3000 series, an even smaller mini tiller that uses either A/C or battery power. It’s built for shallower work, tilling up to 8 inches deep and a width of 12 inches. Instead of separate handles, these tillers use a padded V-shaped loop handle with three height positions for a comfortable arm position for all operators.

The plug-in Tiller/Cultivator weighs in at 24 lbs. and uses a 9 amp motor. The cordless version weighs two pounds more with the battery installed. The 58-volt system can power the tiller for up to 30 minutes on a charge and takes just 90 minutes to fully recharge. Both corded and cordless motors have two speeds for a maximum speed of 300 rpm for cultivating or 200 rpm with added torque for tilling.

Warranty

The 3000 series is guaranteed for two years of residential use, while the 7000 series is covered for 5 years. Tines are replaced free for the life of the tiller. Honda guarantees the Mini 4 stroke for three years of residential use.

Large or Small, Shank’s Lawn Equipment Has What You Need

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most major brands and types of power equipment from mini tillers to larges commercial mowers. If you’re looking for a new tiller or need parts or service for your current equipment, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from Interstate 81, take Exit 10 and drive East one mile.

Need parts or accessories for your tiller? We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada. Visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Lazer Z E-Series

Lazer Z E-Series

Are you looking for a ZTR that has the features and quality you need for professional landscaping without breaking the bank? eXmark’s E-Series includes the most basic mowers in their Lazer Z lineup, but they still have high-quality engines, low maintenance components and a high level of operator comfort. eXmark even offers the E-Series with a pair of rear discharge decks, a rarity in this segment.

Engines

The Kohler Command Pro EFI is available with a 48-inch deck. This was the first EFI small engine on the market, becoming a favorite for buyers looking to reduce operating costs. Thanks to fuel injection, this powerplant recovers from droop faster, uses 25% less fuel than similar carbureted engines, and it’s less sensitive to aging fuel.

All other E-Series mowers are powered by a Kawasaki FX. It has all the features you expect from a high-end commercial engine including built-in clean out ports and a multi-stage canister air filter.

Deck

All E-Series mowers are fitted with a fully-floating Ultracut Series 4 Deck. It’s constructed using a 10 gauge steel top plate and reinforced 7 gauge side skirts, and it uses eXmark’s trademark sealed spindles. Splined blade mounts keep the bolts from over-tightening if the blade tip collides with a rock or other obstacle. The deck connects to the engine using a MagStop PTO clutch rated at 175 lb-ft. in Kohler-equipped mowers and 200 lb-ft. in Kawasaki-powered mowers.

The E-Series is available with side discharge decks in 48, 52, 60 and 72-inch widths as well as rear discharge decks in 60 and 72-inch widths.

Comfort and Maintenance Features

Unlike other Lazer Z’s, these mowers don’t get eXmark’s RED control technology, but the same digital display carries over, combining a fuel gauge, battery voltage meter, hour meter and an indicator for the Operator Presence Control safety switch.

One thing that does carry over from the rest of the Lazer Z line is a full suspension seat. To fit the arm length and control style of different operators, the lap bars have two height settings, and their dampers have three stiffness settings to get the right amount of sensitivity.

Gas is carried in a single 8-gallon tank, making these mowers simple to refuel. There are only four grease points on the entire mower, and these only need to be serviced annually. Belts for the PTO and deck can be replaced without tools.

Hydrostatic Drive

eXmark worked with Parker to develop wheel motors and pumps specifically for these mowers. The pump, motor and fluid reservoir are integrated so there are no hoses. The Kawasaki-powered 46-inch deck model can reach 8 mph going forward and 5 mph in reverse, while all other E-Series mowers have a top speed of 10 mph going forward and 6 mph in reverse.

Accessories

Looking for more comfort? The seat isolation system adds a half inch of free movement in all directions, keeping vibration and bumps from being transferred from the mower to the operator, while the air ride seat adds another layer of vibration control. Extended drive levers provide more room to maneuver, and a ROPS-mounted sun shade helps keep the operator cool. There’s also a 12-volt power adapter that can be used to keep your phone charged. Working early or late? The Hella work lamp kit mounts to ROPS and has a pivot to get the light just where you need it.

Need to mulch or collect clippings? The Micro-mulch system adds high lift blades and baffles to slice up and disperse grass clippings back into the soil. For bagging, there’s the Ultravac collection system which holds up to 7 bushels of clippings. Opt for the quick dump version, and the bags can be emptied by moving a release lever that’s within reach of the operator position. A turf striping kit is available for 48, 52 and 60-inch decks. It adjusts for different deck height settings and won’t get in the way when you need to drive over curbs. The foot-operated discharge control allows the deck discharge to be closed when driving around cars and windows.

Warranty

eXmark guarantees the E-series for 5 years with up to 1,250 hours of operation and unlimited hours for the first two years of ownership. Kawasaki and Kohler both guarantee their engines for three years with no hour limit.

When You Need a Pro Mower, Go to a Pro Shop

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for eXmark, Kohler, and Kawasaki, so we can provide you with the parts and support you need to get the most from your ZTR. Visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from I-81, take Exit 10 to Marion. We also ship parts and accessories across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

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Little Wonder Hedge Trimmer

Little Wonder Hedge Trimmer

Little Wonder is known for their top performing commercial blowers and vacuums, but that focus on design isn’t limited to their largest machines. Their gas trimmer is built for landscapers who need something that works day in and day out, while their electric models carry many of the same features, making them easier to use than comparable consumer models.

Built for the Serious Work

Little Wonder knows these trimmers will be bought by people who will put some serious time into trimming, so they’ve taken steps to get better wear and comfort than run-of-the-mill models.

This starts with a blade made from a high carbon tool steel, giving it enough abrasion resistance to last 6-10 times longer than standard blades. These blades are driven by the motor through case-hardened steel drive gears. This process creates a super hard outer surface around softer, less brittle metal, making them hard wearing and shock resistant.

While other trimmers have a single blade moving back and forth, Little Wonder uses dual reciprocating blades. By moving in opposite directions, these blades counteract the forces of their motion, reducing vibration.

2230 Two-Stroke

The 2230 is a gas-powered trimmer built for landscaping. Power comes from a 21.2cc two-stroke engine. It’s CARB-certified, so it’s legal to use in California, and it has an electronic ignition and primer bulb carburetor, making it easy to start. The fuel line is weighted, keeping it in place to supply the engine with fuel and oil no matter how the trimmer is tilted.

The two position handle is attached with shock mounts, reducing hand stress and keeping vibrations at bay. For safety, the finger throttle is fitted with lockout to prevent accidental drive engagement. The 2230 has a 30-inch long single-sided blade that can make up to 3,500 cuts per minute and can go through branches up to one inch thick. This model weighs just 12.25 lbs.

Little Wonder guarantees this trimmer for 5 years, the longest warranty in the industry.

Electric Models

Little Wonder’s electric trimmers are powered by a motor that draws 4.5 amps at 462.33 watts, which is enough to cut 2,700 times per minute with the strength to slice through branches up to ½ inch thick. Thanks to redesigned gears with angled teeth, the drive system is stronger than earlier models and runs 20% faster. This gearset can be retrofitted to older trimmers.

There are four models available, letting you choose two lengths of single and double-edge blades. The single edge trimmer weighs 7.9 lbs. with a 24-inch blade and 8.8 lbs. with a 30-inch blade. The double edge models weigh 8.4 lbs. with a 24-inch blade and 10.1 lbs. with a 30-inch blade.

Like the gas model, there are switches on both handles that have to be on for cutting. A built-in blade brake goes beyond legal safety requirements, stopping the blades in less than half a second with triggers are released.

The base of the handle has a place to hook the extension cord to keep it from becoming disconnected.
Improvements to the overall design have cut nose by 10 db at operator’s position and by 8db in total noise level during operation.

Like the 2230, care was taken to ensure reliability and easy servicing. Both ends of the motor shaft ride on ball bearings, increasing the motor’s life and reducing the amount of heat it generates. A small cap built into the top of the trimmer can be removed to access the motor brushes and gear case without taking the entire back of the trimmer apart.

All electric models are backed by a two-year warranty.

Get Professional Support for Your Professional Equipment

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and services most professional outdoor equipment brands including Little Wonder. If you’re looking for a new trimmer or you need to have your current equipment serviced, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.

Are you looking to upgrade your trimmer’s gears? Do you need other parts for your Little Wonder? We ship OEM replacements across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.

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Yanmar EVO/Center: Building the Support You Need for Your Equipment

Yanmar Evo CenterWhat does being a “certified dealer” mean? It’s more than just signing up to sell a company’s parts. A dealer gets direct access to the company’s resources, and they work together to ensure owners get the best possible service and use from their equipment. To see what manufacturers do to ensure the reliability and performance of their equipment after the sale, you only need to look at Yanmar’s new EVO/Center.

Putting Yanmar On the Map

While the company is based in Japan, they’ve had a strong manufacturing presence in the U.S. for decades. Yanmar America is located in Adairsville, Georgia, just northwest of Atlanta. For the past 37 years, over 200 employees at this 500,000 square foot facility have designed, tested and built products for the North American market. Today, the company is well-known for their marine engines, but they’re still a minor player in the construction and agricultural markets despite being a major player worldwide.

To help boost their equipment sales, the company came up with a plan to better support dealers and connect with customers, culminating in the EVO/Center. Completed in late 2017, this 50,000 square foot facility built next to their factory houses a product showroom, a museum, an auditorium, meeting rooms, classrooms and an equipment training room.

Yanmar Academy

The EVO/Center’s main purpose is to serve as the home of Yanmar Academy. This training center has 8 schools: 6 for dealer training, one for employee training and one for customer training.

Technicians train on computer simulations in the classroom and on real engines in the equipment training room. This room has all the tools and equipment you’ll find in a repair shop, plus bench testing equipment, exhaust extraction and vehicle cut-aways. This lets students repair simulated problems, getting hands-on experience with equipment as it’s launched instead of having to learn on the job as models need repairs. These classes are available for technicians of all skill levels from beginners to educators. The company is partnering with schools to have instructors trained at the center, passing on knowledge and techniques to their students, so they’ll be fully prepared to work on Yanmar equipment when they enter the workforce.

The other aspects of running a shop are also covered with courses in parts management, service management, finance, sales, and marketing. They’re also working with dealers to create new courses to help them with issues. Computer instruction and leadership courses have already been created as part of this program.

Product Demonstrations

The fields around the center are used for on-site demos. Salespeople get hands-on experience so they can help their customers find the perfect machine for their needs, while customers learn best practices so they can get the most out of their equipment.

To boost the brand’s visibility, the center is also being pitched as a corporate retreat, offering an alternative to standard team building exercises. The appeal is obvious: would you rather do a rope course and practice trust falls, or spend the day using an excavator?

When You Need Professional Expertise, visit Shank’s Lawn Equipment

As a certified dealer, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has access to training and information direct from Yanmar, so we can provide you with top quality service. If you’re looking for a Yanmar tractor or UTV, or you need help with your current equipment, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. To get here from I-81, take Exit 10 and drive east one mile.

Do you need parts for your Yanmar? Visit www.shankslawn.com. We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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Scag Turf Tiger II

Scag Turf Tiger II

Scag’s Turf Tiger has been a leader in the professional ZTR market for over 20 years, offering state-of-the-art performance in cutting, control and operator comfort. Today, the Scag Turf Tiger II continues the tradition, packaging Scag’s best features together with a wide range of engine choices and a unique frame design that gives it a low center of gravity.

Where’s the Fuel Tank?

Unlike almost every other ZTR on the market, the Turf Tiger has metal fenders over the drive wheels, not fuel tanks. The mower’s wide double tube frame has enough space to fit a 12-gallon fuel tank under the seat. This gives this mower a very low center of gravity for better stability on hills, and it means the tank can be filled and checked from a single location.6

Comfort

Scag equips the Turf Tiger II with all of the company’s comfort features straight from the factory. The Quick-Fit control levers can be tilted to match the reach of the operator, while dual dampened levers stop vibrations. The seat moves forward and back, and both the seat back and armrest angle are adjustable. That seat mounts to a torsion spring suspension that has adjustable dampening to match operator weight. There’s even a cup holder and a 12-volt accessory plug for convenient smartphone charging.

The drive tires are extra wide to absorb impacts, while a set of 6 flat-free caster tires help spread out weight, absorbing bumps and minimizing scrubbing.

Deck

The Turf Tiger is available with 52, 61 and 72 inch wide decks. Scag’s Velocity Plus deck combines shaped mowing chambers with a constructed shell made from different thicknesses of steel. This adds reinforcement at points of stress and impact while keeping overall weight low. To change the mowing height, the deck is lifted using a foot lever, then a pin is inserted into the plate next to the operator. Height settings range from 1-6 inches.

Most models use an Ogura 3.5 PTO clutch that can handle 250 lbs. of torque, while Vanguard-equipped models use a GT5 that can handle up to 350 lbs. of torque. Power is transferred to the deck using a drive shaft, so there’s one less belt to service, while the belt drive between the clutch and engine can be accessed by flipping down the rear cover plate.

Marbain blades come standard. They require less frequent sharpening than standard steel blades, especially when used in areas with sandy soil.

Engines

Scag offers 7 engine configurations, letting you pick the perfect powerplant and fuel to fit your needs.

Kohler Command Pro EFI – Kohler was the first on the market with a fuel injected small engine, delivering lower emissions, better fuel economy, better reliability and less sensitivity to fuel freshness. This 25 hp engine is the only one offered with the 52-inch deck. Scag also offers a version of this engine designed to run on propane and a dual fuel model that can use propane or gas depending on what’s available.

Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block – This is the most powerful engine available for the Tiger Cat. Carburetor-equipped engines make 35 hp, while EFI engines make 37 hp.

Kawasaki FD – The company’s top-of-the-line engine is fuel injected and liquid-cooled, giving it a longer service life than air-cooled engines. It produces 31 hp.

Kubota Diesel – With 25 hp and loads of low-end torque, this engine is a great choice for low operating costs. Like the FD, it’s liquid-cooled. This diesel can run on fuel blends containing up to 5% biodiesel (B5.)

All engines are fitted with auxiliary canister air filter for better filtration and longer service intervals.

Drive

Scag fits the Turf Tiger with a pair 16cc Hydro-Gear pumps paired with Parker wheel motors. Built-in pressure relief valves reduce strain on the hydraulic system, while a front-mounted oil radiator and oversized components ensure a long service life. Together, these parts can get the Turf Tiger to a top speed of 12 mph on gas models and 10 mph on diesels. Reverse tops out at 5 mph.

Get Professional Support for Your Professional Mower

Shank’s Lawn Equipment is a certified dealer for Scag and their manufacturing partners so we can service everything on these mowers. If you’re looking to add a new mower to your fleet or you need parts or servicing, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. We’re on the south end of town, one mile east of I-81 via Exit 10.

Do you need parts or accessories for your Scag ZTR? We can ship what you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada. To order, visit www.shankslawn.com.

 

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