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New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery #5262588 11/09/19 02:20 PM
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ABursell Offline OP
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Just had delivered a new-to-me mower - it's a 2015 Hustler Fastrak SDX with a 54" deck and about 575 hours on it. I took delivery in the evening/basically in the dark, but wanted to run it for a few minutes to make sure everything was in order. Does not seem to have any issues running around but my girlfriend noticed an odd issue when I engaged the mowing deck. With the chute tied up (as delivered), every so often it seems there is a spark that comes from underneath the deck out the chute area. This bothers me for obvious reasons. I ran it again in the dark last night just to see because I just can't understand it and I did happen to catch one out of the corner of my eye. It happened on the grass and on the pavement. It's not constant, and seems to be random and not at all predictable. It does seem to only happen when the mower is moving though, as I did run it with the deck engaged and sitting still for a little while and saw nothing. But then driving around it happened a few times over the course of maybe 20 minutes running around on the pavement (zero-turn driving practice). I hear no unusual sounds or anything when this happens or any other time.

Thoughts:
*There is nothing electric in that area and cannot be the cause.
*The sparking is not constant or predictable, so likely not caused by metal-to-metal contact such as a bent baffle contacting a blade. (Assumption?)
*I intend to look underneath ASAP but haven't had the chance other than peering in through the chute area and I don't see anything that looks out of place.

Theories:
*Maybe picking up small pebbles and sparking as it is hit by a blade?
*Maybe other mowers do this also and just don't notice it since I don't normally mow in the dark?
*Maybe other mowers do this also and just don't notice it because the chute is normally down?
*Maybe this mower is more likely to pick up pebbles as it is a commercial unit and generates more vacuum with the deck?
*Maybe something is worn, like a spindle, and is occasionally causing this through a bad bearing either overheating or allowing the blade to move slightly? (Seems unlikely)

I asked the dealer (via phone) and he had only heard of something similar to this before with a bent baffle - which doesn't seem likely to me as above, but still a possibility I suppose.

Or am I missing something and it's another issue entirely? This has me concerned because I obviously have some money tied up in this but also mowing over dry grass seems like a bad idea if something is causing sparks. Dry grass is not an issue at the moment, but still want to resolve this question/problem ASAP.

I was thinking about bringing my other mower out tonight just to see if I can see any sparks -- as another data point.

Ideas?

s-l1600 (7).jpg
Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262603 11/09/19 02:42 PM
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I would properly support it and get under it. check for anything the blades can contact. Check if they can contact each other. Pull the blades off noting which blade came from what spindle, and examine them. Look for any nicks or contact.

If you find anything, take pics and go back to the dealer.


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Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: spasm3] #5262611 11/09/19 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by spasm3
I would properly support it and get under it. check for anything the blades can contact. Check if they can contact each other. Pull the blades off noting which blade came from what spindle, and examine them. Look for any nicks or contact.

If you find anything, take pics and go back to the dealer.


That's definitely the next step. I just can't believe something would be able to make intermittent contact like that since it is not constant. But definitely will do. Thanks for the reply.

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262628 11/09/19 03:30 PM
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is one of the blades slightly loose?


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Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: earlyre] #5262634 11/09/19 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by earlyre
is one of the blades slightly loose?


Will check on that when I get underneath. I would suspect if it was loose it would make noise when it hit the steel deck and probably do it constantly. But definitely on my list to check. Thanks for the reply.

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262706 11/09/19 05:14 PM
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Where does the exhaust discharge on this model?
You mention 500+ hours on the clock, not unheard of for carbon to break loose after storage for some time & I can only guess what that would like like after sunset.

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: vw7674] #5262709 11/09/19 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by vw7674
Where does the exhaust discharge on this model?
You mention 500+ hours on the clock, not unheard of for carbon to break loose after storage for some time & I can only guess what that would like like after sunset.


The muffler is mounted sideways off the back of the engine. Exhaust exits on the same side as the discharge chute, though several feet back. I was clearly able to catch one of the sparks out of the corner of my eye right off the mowing deck. I cannot see the muffler from the seated position, so I don't think that is a likely scenario. But I suppose it's also a possibility. Thanks for the reply.

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262721 11/09/19 05:50 PM
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What kind of surface is this mower above when you’re seeing sparks?

Sounds like it’s sucking up sand/debris and you’re seeing the impact.


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Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: Astro14] #5262726 11/09/19 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Astro14
What kind of surface is this mower above when you’re seeing sparks?

Sounds like it’s sucking up sand/debris and you’re seeing the impact.


I have only seen it while I was on the asphalt driveway. My girlfriend saw it while I was on the grass. The soil here is pretty Rocky so it's not impossible that I would have sand/pebbles in either place. I frequently see small stuff on the driveway when blowing it off after mowing.

I'm hoping this is the explanation, as it would mean it's "normal," but still a little disturbing. And it's what I think is happening too. But how do I find out?

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262745 11/09/19 06:29 PM
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JTK Offline
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I'm thinking it's the blades pulverizing small pebbles?

If the blades were contacting metal components of the deck, you'd hear it.

Heck of nice looking ZTR by the way. Very heavy duty.

Last edited by JTK; 11/09/19 06:30 PM.

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Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: JTK] #5262781 11/09/19 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JTK
I'm thinking it's the blades pulverizing small pebbles?

If the blades were contacting metal components of the deck, you'd hear it.

Heck of nice looking ZTR by the way. Very heavy duty.


Thanks. I've been spending too much time mowing on my property and trying to get some of my time back.

I'm really leaning toward it being the pebbles/sand theory -- but not sure how to prove it. I will say that the deck on this thing is so much louder than my other tractor and throws so much further -- I have to think it's creating a lot more suction underneath.

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5262813 11/09/19 07:50 PM
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Google Kopp-Etchells effect on helicopters landing in the desert.


Think carefully about what you are doing, but be decisive. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision.
Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: Lou_Boyle] #5262818 11/09/19 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Lou_Boyle
Google Kopp-Etchells effect on helicopters landing in the desert.


Ok- I did- and that is wild. Never heard of or seen such a thing, but it certainly does seem like it would be/could be the same effect.

Thanks for that!

Adam

Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5263581 11/10/19 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ABursell
....... I will say that the deck on this thing is so much louder than my other tractor and throws so much further -- I have to think it's creating a lot more suction underneath.


It was that way for the fab'd 44" deck I had on a Cub Z-Force ZTR. That deck was uncomfortably loud, but like you say, had some SERIOUS suction and discharge force.

I don't know if the more squared off angles on the fab'd decks, or the blade tip speed, but some of them are way louder than stamped steel decks.


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Re: New Mower- Spark Under The Deck Mystery [Re: ABursell] #5264323 11/11/19 03:12 PM
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static electricity???


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