cleaned deck

   / cleaned deck #1  


New member
Oct 2, 2000
SE Michigan
1999 Simplicity Legacy: 20hp air-cooled Kohler w/ 48" deck and 60" dozer blade
I cleaned my mower deck with a powerwasher (don't sling daggers at me through the screen). It was the only way I could see getting it done (as I said, it was caked with almost 2 years grass). Well, after cleaning it (I will lubricate it soon, before use) I have a lot of surface rust and areas where the paint is flaking off. How do I prepare the surface for paint and what type of primer/paint should I use? I plan to prep and paint it over the winter in my basement.
   / cleaned deck #2  
TonyR, nothing wrong with using the power washer, but run it long enough to dry it afterwards or you might be replacing a spindle bearing like I did on my Cub Cadet. As far as prepping it for painting, it depends on what equipment you have; sandpaper and/or wire wheel on a drill or die grinder works, but for me the fastest way is to use my sandblaster. There are a lot of good paints and primers available. I've had pretty good luck with Rust-O-Leum (somehow or other it doesn't seem that I'm spelling that right).

   / cleaned deck #3  
Even if you hadn't already used a power washer, I wouldn't sling daggers. It's your equipment to do with as you wish. However, from my years of experience, moisture is the third greatest enemy of bearings after lack of lubrication and abrasives. Arbor bearings are usually sealed ball or needle type, so you can't dry them by running the machine. If fact, the only way you could try to dry them out is to remove them and place them under an electric dryer or in an oven. To those who would argue that they have used power washers without having a problem, I would say their bearing seals are doing a great job.

As to your painting question, I assume you are asking about the underside of the deck. Some will tell you to remove grass with a plastic scraper so as not to scratch the paint. Others will advise sandblasting. Accept the fact that the paint on the underside of the deck is going to get chipped and worn if you use the machine. I have several decks that are over 20 years old. I use a metal putty knife, hand wire brush, and air hose to remove as much grass as practicable. Then I paint with any non-water based enamel paint I have left over from other projects. Personally, I would never use a sandblaster unless I removed the arbors (to keep abrasives away from the bearings). Even then, a sandblaster will remove metal. Repeated sandblasting will turn the deck into tin foil quicker than rust will.

As for painting the visible portions of the deck, use the highest number (finest) sandpaper that will featheredge the chipped areas. Choose a well known paint brand (Rust-o-Leum is good) and use the same brand etcher (to neutralize rust) and primer.

Accept that proper deck maintenance is a time consuming job.
Before I would use the short cuts of power washing and sandblasting, I would leave the deck alone. I know my views are contrary to others' opinions. But, while I respect others' beliefs, that's my position and I'm sticking to it.
   / cleaned deck #4  

Does your viewpoint apply to powerwashing the tractor itself, given that there are bearings and greased mechanisms throughout different parts of it?

   / cleaned deck #5  
I repainted the mower deck from my JD 316 this past summer. Maybe a couple of things I learned will help.
- disassemble the deck as much as possible after your initial cleaning. I took out the spindles, removed all the belt tensioning hardware, and all tractor attaching hardware.
- use a fine wire brush to get the tough stuff off the deck and sand everything with a fine sandpaper. I did use a vibrating sander as much as I could with the same paper used in autobody work.
- use a high quality primer. I bought John Deere primer from the local dealer and it worked great. I would suppose Rust-O-Leum would work well too.
- refinish with paint from the manufacturer if possible. Again, I used John Deere paint and sprayed the deck (inside and outside) with 3 finish coats.
- fully lubricate everything really well after re-assembly and in prep for storage. Grease your spindles and lube any moving parts to make sure residual moisture is handled.

Good luck. When done, I was amazed at how great the deck looked, and to top everything off it worked, too. Just like new. Now I suppose I'll have to do the tractor this winter to have a total "new" look come spring.

Bob Pence
   / cleaned deck #6  

I have a power washer but only use it prudently. I power wash the digging components of my construction equipment to remove heavy deposits (not the engine or transmission). Although I may be tempted to make life easy in the short term, I never use it to power wash any part of my garden tractor. I know what damage small amounts of trapped water can do.
   / cleaned deck #7  
Stupid question time........... What is a arbor? Thanks
   / cleaned deck #8  
<font color=blue>Re: What is a arbor?</font color=blue> In relation to what? Dictionary definition: "a main shaft or beam: a spindle or axle of a wheel: a shaft on which a revolving cutting tool is mounted: a spindle on a cutting machine that holds the work to be cut." That is, if we aren't talking about bushes or grapevine arbors, etc. I also use a 3-ton arbor press a lot in my work. At least I think the above portion of the dictionary definition probably is what you're talking about. And not a stupid question at all.

   / cleaned deck #9  
Thanks Bird. I assume that the prior post in this thread which talked about 'arbor bearings' was referencing the main blade spindles on the mower deck. This confused me because on my machine, there are 'zerk' sp? fittings on each spindle and after each time the deck is power washed, these fittings are given a generous amount of MP grease. The only sealed bearings on the deck are on the idler pulleys. Rich
   / cleaned deck #10  
Rich, that sounds like what I've been doing and I haven't had a problem yet. I think you're right, but of course, that post about sealed bearings has some merit, too.