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  1. #1
    Member
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    Apr 2013
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    Location
    Marion, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota BX23

    Default Ford 917L Flail Questions

    I have been looking to buy an small affordable flail mower for my kubota BX23 for more than a year and finally ran across a 50" Ford 917L. The seller wanted $650. After carefully inspecting the unit and detecting no problems other than minor surface rust we settled for $575. Brought it home, shortened the PTO shaft, lubricated it, and mounted to my 3PH. This mower made my rough field look like a lawn and my tractor didn't bog down a second even in heavy grass. Needless to say, I'm happy with the performance but after seeing what others paid for a 917L and even though small flails seem as scarce as hen's teeth in my area, I'm beginning to wonder if I may have paid too much.

    Two people have asked what a mower like this would cost new and I could only guess (since they are no longer made) between $2500 and $3000. Is this close?

    Of course the seller didn't have an operator's manual and it would be nice to find one if anyone has a good source.

    Even though, one of my friends says its "bad karma" to repaint a Ford blue attachment Kubota Orange, it would look better matching my tractor. How is the best way short of sandblasting to remove rust and condition the old paint for repainting? Obviously it would look better to paint it after a complete dis-assembly but since it is a mower not a show-piece, is it worth the time to tear it all down?

    Are there any special concerns or operating tricks with the 917L other than making sure it is well lubricated? The seller says the belt is about a year old. The knives look good and it is obvious that at least 3 of the side cutter type knives have been replaced though I cannot detect any unusual vibration and the cut is good.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3,266
    Location
    NE USA
    Tractor
    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    About your mower,


    Dont worry about the price you paid, it will out live your tractor as long as you take care of it.

    My towed flailmower is 33 years old SO........................................

    As far as a new retail price is concerned it all depends
    on the mower type and width because they take more
    steel and labor work to build.

    the retail price is dependent on the manufacturer and
    the mower type as there are only a handfull of them
    in the USA now and many flail mower builders in Europe.
    Many of them build flail shredders for farm use up to
    25 feet wide or so smaller mowers are also easy to build.

    Tearing the mower down should be saved for
    the flail mower rotor bearing replacements
    after a bearing failure only.


    Send it to the car wash for a lot of washing to clear of
    the rust scale then sand it with rough to smooth sand paper with
    a power sander and then paint it with rustoleum paint.

    As far as operating the mower, operating slowly in forward speed
    will give you the best lawn as you have seen.


    You will find manuals for the 917 in the forum posts about flail mowers
    or if you want a physical copy you could order one from Messicks.

    About lubrication DO NOT OVERGREASE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    if you pump to much grease in the main rotor bearingd you will blow the seals!!!!!

    Six or seven pumps each in the rear roller and the flail rotor bearings is plenty per operating session
    NO MORE.

    Be sure to pump a few shots of grease in the bearings under the V belt guard occasionally
    and dig out all the rubber dust under the V belt guard.



    Happy Mowing and welcome to the Flail Mower Nation

  3. #3
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    6,028
    Location
    Western Kentucky
    Tractor
    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    I can't help with an operator manual, but can with the parts manual. Operating is pretty straightforward, parts manuals have the added benefit of visualizing how the thing works. Go to the New Holland Agriculture website, click on Parts & Service - then New Holland Parts Search - then Search by MOdel. A search box will appear, type in 917L. Select 50", then No Description. Should be self-explanatory from there.

    Don't know about the 50" L model, but to replace my 74" 917H with the current model (71" 918H) would cost ~$4500. I plan to descale mine with a soda blaster. It's getting cool enough now for that job, I'll let you know how effective it might be. Not sure, but I think the original color was yellow. If yours is green, that means its likely been repainted already. When I bought mine, it was orange. Simpler to respray it the same color. But I wouldn't recommend Rustoleum, as you must follow it with a clear coat - unless you can tolerate progressive paint fade. Go to a farm store and buy implement paint. No clear coating necessary, as it's typically formulated to be UV-resistant.

    //greg//
    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Poopdeck Pappy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    1,312
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Tractor
    Kioti DK50SE HST Cab, Kubota BX23TLB

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner1 View Post
    . . . I'm happy with the performance but after seeing what others paid for a 917L and even though small flails seem as scarce as hen's teeth in my area, I'm beginning to wonder if I may have paid too much.
    One thing I've learned is that there will ALWAYS be somebody (and usually several of them) who will tell you that you paid too much and will compare it to the incredible bargain they got. Don't sweat it. At $575, it wouldn't be possible to overpay by too much.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Location
    Marion, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota BX23

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Thanks guys! The positive comments and advice are good and most appreciated.

    Last night I searched this site for "917L operators manual" and looked at posts for more than 2 hours trying to find a digital download without success. It looks pretty straightforward but it would be good to know some of the recommended adjustments such as the top link attitude,and the procedures for pulley alignment and belt tension that the owners manual would detail.

    Was trying to figure out this afternoon if the pre-drilled holes toward the front of the side pieces are for some type of skid rail or other optional equipment. In pics on the net I have not seen anything installed on them so maybe an owners manual would show this information as well.

    Leonz... Appreciate the advice on greasing. Sometimes it is easy to overdo a good thing. Thanks for the welcome to Flail Nation! It feels good!

    Greg_g... mine is now Ford blue and has been repainted at least once. Went to Tractor Supply and bought some Majic kubota Orange. When some spare time finds it's way into my life, I plan to make it match my tractor. (some say Kubota orange will make anything run better)

    Used the mower today to mow along side the road in our neighborhood. It really does a good job, is much neater, and easier to maneuver than my bush hog.

    Poopdeck Pappy, you are right about the incredible bargains others get. I may have not gotten a super deal but it is ready to mow without repairs and after two uses, I am very satisfied with my purchase.

  6. #6
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
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    Western Kentucky
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    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Poopdeck Pappy View Post
    One thing I've learned is that there will ALWAYS be somebody (and usually several of them) who will tell you that you paid too much and will compare it to the incredible bargain they got.
    That's not the point I was trying to make Poop!. Mine was an example of purchase cost versus end cost. In the case of 917 replacement parts, it's a seller's market. An educated guess would be that the previous owner already knew this, and chose to unload it rather than make it whole again. What's done is done, I am just bracing the new owner for sticker shock to follow.

    //greg//
    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner1 View Post
    Thanks guys! The positive comments and advice are good and most appreciated.

    Last night I searched this site for "917L operators manual" and looked at posts for more than 2 hours trying to find a digital download without success. It looks pretty straightforward but it would be good to know some of the recommended adjustments such as the top link attitude,and the procedures for pulley alignment and belt tension that the owners manual would detail.

    Was trying to figure out this afternoon if the pre-drilled holes toward the front of the side pieces are for some type of skid rail or other optional equipment. In pics on the net I have not seen anything installed on them so maybe an owners manual would show this information as well.

    Leonz... Appreciate the advice on greasing. Sometimes it is easy to overdo a good thing. Thanks for the welcome to Flail Nation! It feels good!

    Greg_g... mine is now Ford blue and has been repainted at least once. Went to Tractor Supply and bought some Majic kubota Orange. When some spare time finds it's way into my life, I plan to make it match my tractor. (some say Kubota orange will make anything run better)

    Used the mower today to mow along side the road in our neighborhood. It really does a good job, is much neater, and easier to maneuver than my bush hog.

    Poopdeck Pappy, you are right about the incredible bargains others get. I may have not gotten a super deal but it is ready to mow without repairs and after two uses, I am very satisfied with my purchase.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You should have skids on the flailmower if not they
    need to be replaced and you should have no trouble
    finding them at flailmaster or a ford dealer.

    Candidly I am unsure if the fords have an operators
    manual but the Messicks part department will be able
    to get them for you.


    NOW as far as leveling the mower- using a small level resting on
    the gear box you need to adjust the top link to where you see the
    bubble in the top hole of the level and you will be fine.


    I could have sworn the V belts on that mower were spring tensioned with a flat pulley??????????????

    Have you removed the V belt guard cover????

  8. #8
    Member
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    Marion, NC
    Tractor
    Kubota BX23

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by leonz View Post
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You should have skids on the flailmower if not they
    need to be replaced and you should have no trouble
    finding them at flailmaster or a ford dealer.
    Have looked at a number of pics of this flail on the net and have yet to see one with any type of skid. Pics of the unit in use seem to show the top link adjusted in an attitude that brings the front up off the ground. The parts diagram on Messicks does not show nor list a skid.

    Candidly I am unsure if the fords have an operators
    manual but the Messicks part department will be able
    to get them for you.


    I could have sworn the V belts on that mower were spring tensioned with a flat pulley??????????????

    Have you removed the V belt guard cover????

    I have removed the v belt guard cover. The setup on this small flail consists of a single pulley and single belt. Tension on the belt is achieved by adjusting bolts on the gear box and drive shaft guard that move the pulley. No springs, just straightforward and simple.

  9. #9
    Super Member greg_g's Avatar
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    JD3720 Cab, 300X loader with 4-in-1 bucket

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by ncridgerunner1 View Post
    Was trying to figure out this afternoon if the pre-drilled holes toward the front of the side pieces are for some type of skid rail or other optional equipment. In pics on the net I have not seen anything installed on them so maybe an owners manual would show this information as well.
    Again, follow the instructions I posted for the 917L parts list. They're clearly identified right down to quantity and part number(s). They're Ford/New Holland part numbers by the way, not Messicks.
    -917l-jpg
    //greg//
    USN (Ret)
    Former Chinese tractor owner (x4)
    Current John Deere owner

  10. #10
    Member
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    Tractor
    Kubota BX23

    Default Re: Ford 917L Flail Questions

    Thanks, I have gone to the New Holland site twice and the parts list will not load on my computer for some reason. Thought something was wrong with the web site but it may be my slow DSL. I believe it will be easier to just to fabricate some shoes than to order some.

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