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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Massey-Ferguson TO-35

    Default flail mower questions

    Hey, last year I bought a (very) used 6' flail mower from a local craigslist ad. I'd been keeping my eyes out for one for a while and no one I asked really had any experience or knowledge of them. Well, $300 seemed like a steal for this thing, it must be a retired roadcrew mower--very heavy gauge steel all over (except the knives), and my only question was whether my MF TO-35 could run it alright. I ended up buying it because the guy who had it was using a 40hp International and he said it was just fine.

    My reason for wanting this beast is to be able to mow over prunings from my small orchard and ever present tree clearing and feed all that carbon to the soil rather than send it up as smoke into Ohio and New York! I'm a firm believer in mulch for building great soil quickly. I'd been using a 4' brush hog to carefully back over and chip down pruning piles, and it worked alright, but I sure sent a lot of stuff flying and i really don't want to end up stabbed like a vampire with a wooden stake through my back! I also had problems with it not laying the brush down so I could run the finish mower over it.

    Well here's the questions. The flail mower works better than I had imagined on those stick piles--it shreds them down, and doesn't throw anything. the roller on back presses it into the soil and out of the way for the finish mowing. But I have been losing knives surely but steadily. Granted, they're worn and are probably grass knives when I'd rather have heavier knives--aesthetics don't really hold that much sway--i'd rather chip wood up than have a manicured lawn for my pastures! I have no idea what model or make this thing is--it has many layers of red and yellow paint, and no factory tags. So how in the world do I go about 1) buying the right knives that will fit it, 2) do that on a very limited income? (i.e. I'd really like to stay under $200) 3) Can I replace just the broken knives with heavier knives and just slowly replace the older ones over time?

    Second question: The mower runs really smooth when it's lowered, but it starts really shaking badly when I raise it up all the way. My guess is that the pto might be slightly off or something, but i am wondering if its a bigger problem. Should I be putting much money and time into this thing? I also noticed that there is a hole (about 1/2, perfectly round) in the horizontal drive shaft housing right near the gearbox that is spitting out grease--no threads for a plug to screw into, not sure what to do there.

    Third: I was mowing some fresher prunings the other day, when a long piece of walnut branch wound itself around the knives and shaft, and before I could hit the clutch it sheared off the pto (a square tube type) shaft on the implement thing. I'm really glad i don't have metal in my back right now! My thinking is that the pto that came with it was a little undersized or worn, or that there is no slip clutch or shear bolts on the thing. Should I buy a new pto for it or could I use the one from the 4' brush hog? I guess I am going to start sectioning up those branch piles into shorter lengths with a chainsaw before doing that again.

    Thanks for any advice, this is my first posting on this place and it seems like a real helpful website!

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Orstraya , Ex convict stock , G'day .

    Default Re: flail mower questions

    Buy yourself a new PTO shaft , that will fix that part .

    No , you cannot change "some" of the knives , this will cause a major imbalance of the rotor as the new ones will be a different weight .

    The vibration you mention when it is raised is coming from the rotor , this will destroy the entire machine if you don't re-new the knives/hammers .

    Cast hammers is what you need for your conditions .
    Does your machine have a large bolt going through the knives or does it use "U" shaped shackles ?

    No clutch needed on a flail , the belts provide slip and shock protection .

    The hole may have had a grease nipple on a steel bush , it may have been knocked off .

    Post some pictures , someone will know what make it is , the colour and weight suggest it may be a Seppi .
    Last edited by Eagleview; 05-25-2009 at 11:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Hooked_on_HP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Coal City IL
    Ford 1900 FWD Kubota F2100E

    Default Re: flail mower questions

    Q1, Check with flail about blades. They are verry helpful.I would only replace the broken ones as necessary.

    Q2, Could your PTO shaft have been bottoming out.. This could have also be the cause of the shaft breaking.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member J_J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Power-Trac 1445, KUBOTA B-9200HST

    Default Re: flail mower questions

    Here is a good place to start. I am assuming that you know what the blades look like, so just go on this site and compare. There are many varieties of blades, from light duty to axe blades. As you lose blades and hangers and bolts off the shaft, it will become unbalanced. If you lose some parts in the middle, just take parts from the ends to fill in the middle until you can get replacements. Do a search for flail mowers, and you may run across the model of the one you have.

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    When I works, I works hard. When I sits and thinks, I goes to sleep.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Kubota 3710, ex-60, 406 unimog

    Default Re: flail mower questions

    I use a 907 Ford with the dandle cutters (far left above) they do an excellent job. I've heard 5hp per foot for motor versus width of mower. New flail mowers are very expensive, new Alamo shd74's go from $5,000.00 and up. I keep greasing, upgrading and patching mine. I just got an alamo from craigslist that needs alot of work. Many mfg's post manuals you can download.
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  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Jewel Lake, ID

    Default Re: flail mower questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brambleberry View Post
    ...I also noticed that there is a hole (about 1/2, perfectly round) in the horizontal drive shaft housing right near the gearbox that is spitting out grease--no threads for a plug to screw into, not sure what to do there.
    My Alamo has a hole just like that, it's an access port for a grease fitting. On mine, if you rotate the cutter, it will rotate the shaft inside the housing until you can see the zerk fitting. It seems like any excess grease gets flung back out around the hole. Could yours be the same thing?
    Kubota L3240HST, LA 724 FEL, filled R4s
    Landpride RBT3584 with hydraulic offset and angle
    Box blade and Jap tiller
    Broken Shibaura D23F

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