Repair or replace

The mower deck I got with my <very used 1982 yr model JD 317> yard tractor has an advanced case of cancer , to the point that I wouldn't dare spin up
the blades for fear that one spindle would come loose and hurt me . Yesterday I bought another deck and it doesn't have the same cancer problems , but it does have some cracks at the mount points from metal fatigue . Since these areas of the original deck are in much better shape I'm considering doing some surgery . I don't plant to use this mower as hard as it has been , but I also don't want to have recurring fatigue cracks . The worst one is at the front mount point , and also looks to be the easiest to cut out and replace . This would also replace the mount brackets with the much-better ones from the original , and won't really be any more work that repairing the cracks and straightening brackets . The rear mount cracks I'm not worried about , I'll be cutting the mounts off and replacing them with the originals since the newer mount is different . Same size deck , just a different year model . So do I need to be concerned with it cracking again ? I only want to do this once , that thing is going to be a pain to R&R , and I can't access that area with it mounted . FWIW , it's a 46" mower deck with 3 blades , which I plan to modify to be like the blades on brush hogs , with the blades pivot mounted on discs so if I hit something it won't tear things up <as bad> . I'm not mowing the green at the 15th hole , I'm keeping the brush and weeds knocked down in a small orchard and other selected areas around our clearing in the woods .
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wrote:

Cracks seem to be the nature of the beasties.

How about adding and welding in an additional 4-6" of 1/8" (1/4"?) plate around those areas to spread out the stress points? Since it's a mower deck, how about a 1/8" plate around and between the blade mounts, a large oval. Weld a solid bead to keep grass from getting under it and promoting cancer. Maybe TIG it to prevent embrittlement? I guess it depends on the original deck steel.

If I had a dollar for every time I wished something...
The manufacturers either: A) design for replacement every X years (so they stay in bidness) or B) design for lowest cost v. maintenance issues.

Would that be the 12 Acre Wood? ;)
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It probably depends more upon whether or not the deck is FLAT between the spindle mounts. I'll bet not. For stiffness, they usually emboss them somewhat.
Reinforcement of stamped decks is usually resigned to just reinforcing the actual bearing area of each spindle flange.
I have a very nice welded plate deck on my Scag Turf Tiger. When it comes time to repair it, I'll have a lot of options, because it's made entirely of flat or bent flat plate stock. It's almost 18 years old now, and still no _serious_ problems, although I can see stuff in its beginnings, here and there.
Not much to do for it but to keep it clean and dry between mowings, and occasionally touch up the paint to help it last longer. I mow 7 acres a week, so it gets used about 3-1/2 hours every week from the last of February until about the first week of December (Florida).
Lloyd
Lloyd
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On Sun, 10 May 2015 10:05:25 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

I've rebuilt several decks but don't remember how flat they were. I was concentrating on bearings and blades, or belts. From a design standpoint, mfgrs must think "Well, we know it's going to crack, so rather than allowing reinforcement, let's just sell them a whole new deck."

Bueno, bwana.

Why do you mow 7 acres a week? McMansion wif lawns? ;)
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Farmstead with a 7-acre 'family preserve' out on the front -- fishing pond, shop/barn, house. I could cut it down to about 4.5 acres, but it looks better and is more 'grand-kid friendly' when it's all mowed short.
This is Florida. It _could_ use it more often than weekly in the summer; but I'll be darned!
Lloyd
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On 05/11/2015 9:54 AM, Lloyd E. Sponenburgh wrote:

Hear ya'...we've got about 20A in yard, around the outbuildings, feedlot, equipment areas, etc., etc., ...
Fortunately from that standpoint in W KS it doesn't have to be weekly except the "inner yard" that do irrigate some during dry stretches...that's only a few...the rest may get by w/ only 2-3 times/yr altho would often wish it were more, particularly the last several years w/ the extended drought. I think I only mowed once all last year...that's _not_ good sign.
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On Mon, 11 May 2015 09:54:35 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"

2.5 acres isn't enough for a couple of kids?
Too bad you can't turn most of it into prairie, but they like their dry seasons. (Hmm, maybe not...) https://floridabehindthescenes.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/prairie-gator/

Wuss. ;)
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I have 6.5 acres, 1.5 in easements - HV 2-phase, 1200' driveway, with almost a circle around back to itself. In the slow works. 2 acres of woods and a deep creek. (6' when shallow. Never dry). So with the easements and the front and back yard with the sides and near the roads it is about 4 acres of grass to cut. About 1/2 is St. Augustine (native grass) and the rest is various field and bailing grass.
My series 1 takes most of the back and the easements. The garden areas are taken with beloved on her John Deer factory machine. (Not a Lowes/HD model). (more power and different design).
I have fine cut and hog cut. If anything gets out of hand, I can power til it down and get a new start.
We have 4 buildings - three water / storm tight, one wood frame wild.
Martin
On 5/11/2015 10:02 PM, Larry Jaques wrote:

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Larry Jaques wrote:

Most likely just mild steel . The problem with adding gussets is that this area is curved in two directions . It's at thhe front where it rolls from horizontal to vertical , plus the front/vertical is curved .

Why yes , yes it would !
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My Brush hog mower is made from Abrasion Resistant steel. It drags in sand and rock and just bounces about without much wear.
Martin
On 5/10/2015 1:17 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

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wrote:

Problematic. How about a couple of little struts with feet? You could bend the foot pads to match the curvature and weld rods between 'em.
Q: Why don't people provide pics when posting these questions? A: That would be too logical. </rhetoric>
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Bitch and moan , cry and whine ... I'll take some pics and post them to my photobucket . <grin>
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wrote:

Just sayin'...
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On 05/10/2015 12:26 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

...

What a bummer! I have no real hints/suggestions on the repair, just a note that I've a '60s vintage 312 that has neither issue; only a little cosmetic rusting. If I recall w/o refreshing memory by going and looking right now, it isn't all that flat; seems as though it has both an embossed ridge or two and the blade mounts are lower than the main deck??? It's also 3-blades but smaller width; don't recall just now. It's only an 8 hp Tecumseh...
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dpb wrote:

Straight across the back side , with a triangular overall shape . All stamped , and it has all kinds of embossed areas . Blade mounts are indeed below the main top surface . I suspect the replacement was used hard , probably commercial from the amount of wear on the holes . THe original came out of Louisiana , but sat outside here in Mountain View , probably buried in rotting leaves and vegetation , for at least 10 years . Once repairs are complete , I'll have my friend <who restores old cars for a living> sandblast it and then I'll shoot it with good primer and a decent enamel paint . Yes , 3 blades , but I've got 17 ponies under the hood . Now if I could only get them all to the ground ...
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Snag
Pretty much decided to go ahead and cut the front mount out , the pivots
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wrote:

FWIW, I've done stress crack repair by Vee out the crack on both sides past the end of the crack. Then weld it up to make a rib on both sides.
I have a Gravely mower deck with this issue. Done this repair a couple times now. the deck is only fifty years old now.
Karl
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Karl Townsend wrote:

That's the plan for two of the three , but the front mount is mangled from running it with the crack . I'm not sure I can straighten it out to be serviceable , it'll be easier to just cut that section out and replace it . With some reinforcement on the inside , it should outlive me - as the original did the first owner .
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wrote:

Doin't bother cutting it out. Cut/grind off the old bracket, cut out patch from the old deck with the bracket attached. Drill some holes in the patch. Clean up the deck and the back of the patch and braze the patch on, flowing braze metal into the joint through the drilled holes to spread the stress. Then it could outlast your son or grandson.
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On Mon, 11 May 2015 06:40:45 -0500, Karl Townsend

Brazing works just as well as welding - sometimes even better because it is less brittle, or softer (generally speaking)
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wrote:

Greetings Terry, Over the years I have repaired several John Deere mower decks by welding. A few customers have come back asking for more repairs on other items. I always ask how the last repair I did for them was working out. No failures of my repairs yet. In every instance I added metal over the weld repair to spread the load. I usually use 1/8 flat bar. I always weld completely around the extra metal to prevent rust. Eric
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