Monday, May 27, 2013

Comb/ scrapers for newer style Toro Verticutters

After using the newer style verticutters for the first time we noticed the front whillie rollers loading up with the debris thrown forward from the verticutting process . We ordered these kits to wipe the front rollers off , the rear seemed to stay clean .

The kit includes the comb/scraper /brackets and bolts for installation. 

Comes with a good diagram of how to install them .

If you do one side at a time you won't loose the adjustment to much .

The comb/scraper does go between the front roller and verticutters . ( I had thought they went the other way at first )
Snug the bolts down till there is a little pinch on the roller shaft . Adjust the scraper evenly in the whillie grooves . 

I then held the front roller down and pushed the comb/ scraper till it touched the table top then tighten the hardware and double checking the scraper spacing on the whillie roller .
Looks like when the debris gets thrown ahead it will be wiped of the whillie roller and fall down for the comb to spread out evenly . It should keep the verticute at a more consistent depth through out the process . I'll post our finding when we use them again .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Foley Rotary Grinder and Balancer

We purchased a Foley rotary blade grinder last fall . I was quit content doing it the old fashion way with the 4.5 hand held grinder .

Now I wouldn't go back . You can get the exact same angle every time plus it is a way more efficient way to sharpen blades . 

At the same time I ordered this balancer / leveler from The center section is on a bearing and also slides in and out and is magnetised
The balancer is very precise . The side that drops is the side you grind a little more off .
Looks like an Atomic blade off our 4300 D.

The lever works by moving the gauge so it almost touches and spin blade around to see if it's bent . I would do a few of them to get a base line for the blades  . I'm also having great luck cold pressing my slightly bent blades back to spec . with the new bench press . Sure speeds things up when your throwing on blades every time their done mowing the course .

Friday, May 17, 2013

Greens King IV QOC

Here are some pics of the Greens King IV that we use to mow approaches here at the course . This is the new one received from the sister course (2000 model ) You may hear the statement that  "nothing cuts like a Jac" . Well ....when it come to these models that is most likely true . We recently sold a 1989 model that still cut very well , it only had 10697hrs. on it. I don't think it owed either course anything .Many years of trouble free usage from these models .Only 2 units left now .

 Thomas is totally enjoying the new mower . It's an upgrade from the cable steering one he was using last year .We are now mowing with buckets to collect all the clippings making a big difference around the greens and approaches .

All I see is a great cut at .500 HOC and very faint tire marks on our small nursery. This GK IV has different reels than the ones I'm use to seeing . They look like 3400 fairway unit reels ( Heavier ) . Our Nursery is made from cores from one of our Fall aerations . So we have the native grass for repairs if needed.

The only dislike I have is how loud it is ( 3 cylinder kubota diesel )

Toro Sidewinder deck baffles

Our Toro grounds master 3500 D ( sidewinder)tends to leave lots of clippings . We use it primarily to cut green surrounding areas and some tee surrounds . I seen a post on one of our Tech sites that they had installed the baffles in their sidewinder and were very impressed with the cut . I ordered a set and they arrived today . We just missed out on trying them after the jump in growth on the course . But that's OK it's a long week-end and by Tuesday they should be long enough for a good testing . After installing them I tried it around the shop and noticed  less clippings left behind .
The Baffle.
The self tapping bolts can be ordered seperate .
You will have to clean up the lip on the rear-side of deck . I used a pair of vise grips to straighten any bends .
Just slides up in place and bolts in .

All done . There was enough self tapper to install a lock washer and nut . This will keep the clippings inside the deck mulching them up longer . It won't be discharging out the rear. I'm hoping it doesn't rob to much horse power in wet long conditions . But with the turbo it should keep up if the operator slows down a little .

Had it out for a quick test today May 21 2013.

This area behind 9 green always leaves noticeable clippings . I cut it early morning with dew still present and fairly long . NO noticeable clippings . 
Another picture of green surround area .
The area above got way away from us . It happens sometimes .  A really good test area .
The grass was so deep ( as in above boot pic's )There was no place for the extra clippings to go so they piled on top as per usual . Still at least 50% less of a mess .

 Only took a quick pass with the Toro Pro Force Blower to take care of the clippings left . Over all a great improvement . The really deep grass it did rob a lot of power but it would have anyway and the clippings dispersed better with the baffles installed . For the price it was well worth it . Our Toro Groundsmaster 4300D seem to cut pretty clean in the wet . Might be because of the smaller decks ? I don't think they will need baffles . Hmmm. Wondering if it would make a difference on the 4500 D. They tend to cut messy like our sidewinder ( same deck too).
I was really impressed with the areas that were not mowed for 3 days especially in the wet conditions . The last few picks is in an area that grows rapidly and had not been cut in a week .

Sorry about the pictures . New phone I'll have to remember take pictures horizontally now .  

Waxing Rotary Decks

During the winter I decided to clean and wax the top of the decks . It's a big job to keep them looking good during the season . These large mowers are one of the few the members see out on the course . Doesn't hurt to keep them looking good for as long as possible . The operators have said a few times that members approached them wondering if it was a new piece of equipment and how good of a job it's doing .
Here are a couple of pictures of the decks on our Toro groundsmaster 4300D s.They have been mowing for a good month and are only rinsed of with irrigation water .
Great not to see the grass stains on them it can be labour some to remove . Before the waxing you could not read the safety labels . Actually you would have not known they were even there .

Thursday, May 16, 2013

First verticut with some new equipment on Tuesday

A small video of the new style verticutter on the Toro 3150 Q . They worked very well no hopping and jumping like we get with the other unit . Having the verticutter head in the reel frame made it heaver and more stable . This winter I may find a way to put a rear roller on the other set and add a little weight . One thing we did notice is that we had to go deeper on the adjustments to get the same depth that we get with the older model . So at 1/8 we where taking out down just through the thatch layer . The front rollers build up with sand . I have the scrappers ordered for them , the rear seemed to stay very clean .

Next up is the Toro HDX D workman with the Toro Pro -Pass 200 wire less . The wireless works well . Were still learning about it and figuring it out as we go . It pretty cool that the operator can do a drive by and the super can use the remote to get the setting he wants and hand it back to the operator to use at that setting for the rest of the greens /tees etc. The only real factor in the settings that change is the sand ( wet , dry , type )

The biggest difference from it's predecessor (tycrop - 180 ) is the extra paddles on the spinner and  the adjustments that can now  move the entire spinner assembly to fine tune how the sand spreads out . This option alone helps with the past issues with being to heavy in the middle or ends of the spread pattern. In the above video it is pretty close to perfect . If we where to move the spinner in or out a hair it would be dead perfect . The remote only controls the bed belt speed ( almost always stays at 100% )and spinner speed . The ALL ON and ALL OFF buttons times the action of belt and spinner in the right on / off sequence going on and off the green preventing the kick out piles of sand we use to get sometimes on the 180 . All the manual settings are color coded to get a base line for how heavy an application your planning to put down . If you have an old tycrop 180 there is a kit avaliable to upgrade to this type of set up . The Toro HDX D barely even feels the spreader on it's back . Even fully loaded it moves around with easy . What a nice machine , very powerfull .

Light verticut . 
Assistant checking out his work .
Super out verticutting for our first time this season .

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Toro 5410 Adjuster Upgrade Revisited
I have been playing around with settings on these mowers since we received them a few years back. They have been known on some courses to leave a 5 x 2" line pattern that match up with the difference in the front and rear roller lengths . The Boss does not seem to concerned about them because they will fade out in a few days . I personally don't like the look but maybe I'm to fussy . Our Old models we had previous did not show this pattern but they where much heavier reels and more blades .

First cut of the season back in April . The cut was noticeably better and can faintly see the lines . Now that we have groomers on both units I think going a little more aggressive on them for a few weeks  will take care of the rest .
 Today's pics of double cut fairways in dry conditions ( noon time )after a good jump in grass growth after the recent rain .
Last season in these conditions the lines would have been very noticeable . After about the 10th time out the bedbars are holding their edge better with very minimal wear on the ends unlike last season. Still early for us the grass has a lot more filling in to do and the leaves are just starting to pop on the trees . Of to a good start .
Current settings /options and conditions are as follows . Mower : rear brush kits , rear rollers on each deck in middle setting , rear chain on last link . Rear lift arm springs on hightest setting , groomers set down to 2/3 rds of HOC + HOC .650, front whillie roller scrappers ,Traveling 5.5 mph. and clip set on the highest setting . Mowing : double cutting Heinz 57 low grow yesterday in wet conditions after a good jump in growth . They look very good considering the grass they were hauling up and cutting . I'm going a little more aggressive on the groomers ( as per cut pics above ) tested today on the old holes .
So far I'm pleased in the adjuster upgrade and the QOC this early in the season . Good choice for our course and foresee the problem fading away for good .

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rainday Monday..................busy......busy

I love rain-days when no equipment goes out . The staff where kept busy doing traps and laying sod .Large mowing equipment were kept of the course till it drains a bit .

   As a turf equipment mechanic you should be well aware of the what goes on around you in the way of weather / fertilization and spraying . For instance from past experience I know that this is a good day to get everything razor sharp , It doesn't necessarily mean grind everything ( impossible task for one tech in one day )Here is what I did on my rainday to prep for a big jump in grass growth . I had a tee mower in the shop to replace a pull cord , so I started with the 2 Jacobson PGM mowers we use for Tees .First repair the pull cord then checked QOC ( quality of cut ) the reel look good but the bedknives lost their sharp edge . So I'm remove the bedbars on them to regrind the front face and set back up and backlap in . Once you get good at it and know your machines well it's easier to remove bedbars to grind front faces on a good grinder . There are a number of front facing tools out there but I never get the quality of grind like I do on the grinder and it doesn't take that much time to do . One can be done from start to finish set and cut in less than 10 minutes .A tri-plex 30 to 45 min.  Next the Toro  flex 21 (3) came in and all knives where removed and front faced and backlapped in . Approach mower ( GK IV ) was next . I did noticed last week the rear reel was leaving lines . After a closer look I seen that the bedbar mounting bolt had backed off causing the reel and bedknife to rifle . This rear reel needed a regrind ( spin ) and bedknife top and front faced to . Then checked the QOC on the front . Everything went out cutting newsprint .  Rough and fairway units I checked on Friday as they came off the course so I knew they were ready to go . The sidewinder made a trip in . It had a dragging feeling when backing up . Found a large branch wedged in the brake arm. I also had time to drill out some 1" hole in the backing plates so that the grass can be blown out of the wheel hubs .

  Tuesday is our maintenance day on the course . This is the day that the club sets aside and holds back Tee times so that we can get a jump on our maintenance practices on the course to stay ahead of play . So this  Monday I'm  getting equipment ready for Tuesdays plan to verticutting and top dressing greens . The new verticuters where installed on the Toro 3150 Q . Had a few small issues that we resolved with our dealer .Then when the reels came off I removed bebars to grind the bedknives (3) . They set up very well with no need of backlapping.Bench set the HOC and put away for later . Stop and taking a mental note of what gear is needed for your maintenance day to make sure it is all ready to go . The GK IV we use after verticutting I had ready last week , New bedknives ground and spin ground the reels . Loaders running and the top dresser is new and coco-mat is by wash rack . Toro pro-force tow behind blower is running strong just check the oil   So we are good to go . Minimizing any surprises makes for a good maintenance day .

   Yes I backlap even with owning good grinders . Frontfacing bedknives is key . To mate the surfaces I will backlap as needed . I will not backlap more than a minute or two . I only do it for speed and convenience to get the cut back to where it was when it came off the grinder . If not .....then it goes on the grinders . With the on board backlap systems (tri-plexes etc )on modern eguipment why would you not backlap ? This topic about how or what's the best way to have sharp equipment most of the time can get to be a heated topic on tech sites . Basically through trial and error and type of equipment / grinders /time and golf course grounds maintanance pratices / budgets at your course will determine what you can do .

Friday, May 10, 2013

Finally Some Rain

All hands on deck this past few days to get the spraying and fertilizing and turf repairs, vetting of greens/ tees finished before the rain ( 3 or 4 days worth ) . It has been a very dry spring so far . By mid week we should be seeing a good jump in the growth . We will be busy again just to keep up with it . Should be a few more staff coming soon to help out . Staff's still working out good . A little more organization and training and will be off to the races . Leaves are starting to pop on the trees . They must have been waiting for the rain .
       Groomers are working out great on our fairway units and the cut looks a little better with the adjuster upgrades . Our new to us GK IV from the sister course cuts fantastic and with the easy to remove buckets effectively collecting the clippings for greater appearance . Irrigation's pretty much complete and Rainbird computer is ready to go . Had a little delay with the shop electrical panel having to be replaced . Lots of material dropped of and yard bins are pretty much full and ready to go . Last of thbe debries in the yard has been carted of and everythings looking good .

Toro MD Tailgate Hangers

I had an issue with the guys dumping loads of sand into bunkers and the tail gate would drop so quickly that it broke one of them  on the hitch (we think ) The dealer sent out some hanger kits that keep the tailgates level when dumping .

One thing I did notice is the latch assemblies work their way loose very easily . You may want to disassemble and use loctite on them .
This is the kit #.

Comes with all the hardware to change a few parts around .

Remove the plate that holds the latch .

Hold the cable in place on lower section and reinstall with the new mounting plate . The beveled hole for screw goes on tnhe bottom .

Use loctight on everything . Otherwise with all the banging and shaking they will come loose .
There are knock out plugs on both sides of the tailgate .

Knock them out with a punch. The bar in the kit goes in here through to the other side .

Install the cables with washer and bolt in kit .

All done . Pretty easy install . Also double check the hitch to make sure it doesn't strike the tailgate when fully open . Make adjustments to hitch as needed . Our new tailgate . Thanks again Vesey's for the quick response.

The things I noticed while doing the first initial 25 hr. service . When I went to
change the oil I was surprised that this model does not have an oil filter and recommends changing the oil every 100 hrs . With the dusty conditions and the work load placed on these engines I'll be changing ours every 50 hrs. as recommended in operators manual for extreme conditions . Also the Operators Manual has no mention of how much oil goes into this engine . It's 1 liter( +  - )  .I did notice that where the remote oil filter is on the MDX the air filter is in it's place . I would keep and eye on it . If the guys are hauling loads into the wooded areas to level spots out ,there is a good chance of it getting knocked apart by branches laying on the ground . Personally this is the least likely area I would have place this filter .Not having an oil filter is puzzling for the amount of work they do , even the B+G vanguard engines have an oil filter .  

The adjustment on the starter / generator is not maintance friendly . The pinch bolt (dead center of pic ) is hard to get at even with a lift . I may have to bend an old box end to make this adjustment next time .

Park brake was backing off because the set screw was not tightened also the rubber boot can be troublesome to get off . It's to bad there wasn't a sensor to keep the guys from driving off with the park brake on . I'll have to check with the dealer , maybe there is . Seems to be a lot of ADD  - ONS to make the machine a little nicer . For the price of the add - ons and the cost of the machine I don't understand why they were just not put on the machine in the first place .( Just in my opinion and 2 cents worth) 
 The staff really like using them and where they swivel in the center it really makes it for a smooth ride in the bumpy areas on the course . All 4 wheels are always on the ground .

Toro MD homemade 3 point tow hitch

I made these hitches for the new machines . I had made one in the past for the MDX . For under $100  I can make them for both carts . There is an OEM kit for this but  for the price savings and skill level to just make one is well worth it . The single pull that come with them are OK for light duty towing . I'd rather have the 3 point pull type . Easier on the machine and will save the back end from getting bent up or twisted from hauling something to heavy , which is quit often the case .  
OEM standard issue hitch .Notice the additional mounting points by each coil spring .
I picked up some 1.5"x 1/8 th thick square tube stock and went to a supply store to get the pre made hitch ends . I measured to each plate and welded the hitch end in the middle .

 Then cut some 1/8 plate and drill holes to bolt in place on mount area . DISCONNECT BATTERY .
Then clamp in place and tac weld ontop joining plate to bar including the factory hitch .
 Unbolt and weld up .
 Clean up and paint .
And mount back on machine .