Flail Mower What is the difference

   / What is the difference #1  


Bronze Member
Oct 27, 2017
Montana 2840
I'm considering a mower for my 1.5 mile steep driveway and have an opportunity to get a 6' wide cat 1 flail mower. I was looking for a brush hog thinking it was what I needed, but I found an old lightly used Ford flail mower. It has chains with triangular cutting tools at the end of the chains. It seems cheap at $400 in good working order with no damage or rot.

I just don't understand the difference between the two types of mowers or their intended uses. I'm concerned the flail mower is not up to the task of cutting buffel grass in Southern AZ. Can anyone describe the difference between them?

It is for use on a 2840 Montana with an FEL.

Buffel grass link
Buffelgrass, An Invasive Species

   / What is the difference #2  
The "Lets talk flail mowers" thread will educate you about flails.
The Flail mower will leave a better cut but requires more HP and more maintenance over the rotary brush hogs
Tractor Mike on Youtube did a mower comparison if you want to search that out as well

For 400$ and everything is solid that seems a heck of a deal to not pass up on.
   / What is the difference #3  
I'd get it and see how it does. I pull a 6 foot behind my 29 hp Branson. My tractor weighs more, but hp are close. It'll be all that Montana will handle, it is for mine.
   / What is the difference
  • Thread Starter
I picked it up and it is a bit rough. Already started on repairs and cleaning. The drive shaft slip yoke was rusted so I could not hook it up but I'm working on it.

   / What is the difference #5  
I picked it up and it is a bit rough. Already started on repairs and cleaning. The drive shaft slip yoke was rusted so I could not hook it up but I'm working on it.

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Hello and good morning Kep1a,

I want to welcome you as the newest resident member of the "Flail Mower Nations"

Repair parts and consumables(V belts, knives, knife hangers, nuts, bolts, bearings, springs, snubber pulleys and grease fittings are available for your beautiful flail mower.

You have a Mott rough cut flail mower judging by the condition of the rear roller you will have to remove it and take it to a muffler shop to see if they can bend it back for you while they heat it with a rosebud torch.

No worries we are here to help you.


Apparently whoever owned it before has done some hacking and eliminated the ability to adjust the rear roller. You will have to decide if you want to keep the mower or not if you are willing to leave that much grass that tall.
The only down side will be that the mower will not create more pressure gradient/suction to lift the cuttings up and over the flail mower rotor and back tot he ground.

You have the scoop knives which are an all purpose knife and you will be able to mow your ditches as needed but cut will be a bit rough which is fine for a ditch line.

The scoop knives are a low cost knife per unit and your flail mower has a common steel rod in each mounting station that holds all the knives in place that will allow you to remove the knives and sharpen them with awet well grinder or simply replace them as needed.

The open hole on the side weldment in the photo will let you remove the rod and pull the knives out in one operation and install them the same way.

Your going to have some work cut out for you as you need new plastic shields for the PTO universal joints.
Hot water and Dawn dish soap will get rid of a lot of the dirt that has accumulated on this mower.
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   / What is the difference #6  
That is NOT a Mott!!! That is a Ford 907 Flail Mower.

It uses the same blades and links (but different hangers) as the Ford 917 Rough Cut. Most parts can be found at Flail Master - Your BEST Choice for Quality Mower PartsFlail Master | Your BEST Choice for Quality Mower Parts including the original rear roller mounts and bearings if they're the same as the Ford 917 (double check with Messicks for that). The blades look to be in decent shape. Give it a quick trial run before you replace them. They may be dull, but you can touch them up with a file or with a dremel (but be quick, you don't want to add heat to them).

Leon is right that someone hacked that rear roller mount. Do a search for Ford 907 and you will see what it is supposed to look like. If it is at the height you want, there is no need to fix it. Mow with it and check before spending any money on new parts.

The airplane wing blades are the original style and they will leave a nice smooth cut if you don't travel too fast. If you're just going to be maintaining grass along the driveway those blades are the best choice.

You don't need the slip clutch as the belts are your slip linkage, but it won't do any harm to keep it if you don't want to replace it.
   / What is the difference
  • Thread Starter
Thanks for the info and yes it is a Ford. The skids on both sides are gone and need repaired too.

I'm going to clean up the slip yoke and give it a try as is. I like the idea of the slip clutch because if the gearbox fails I wont hurt my PTO or tractor.

If the roller ends up being the right height for my needs I will just reinforce / replace the items that look like they were improperly repaired. I rolled the roller and could not detect any binding or wobble. It looks bent in the photo but in person I can't detect a bend. I likely wont get the plastic sleeve as I'm the only one who uses the tractor as I will turn the tractor off before going behind it. All the bearings are smooth so I'm glad for that.

I think it was likely abused and towed very fast in a large field. There are too many failed and cracked metal parts. For my needs I will be going as slow as possible. I will use low range and first gear and PTO speed at 540 rpm so however slow that is will be my road speed.
   / What is the difference #8  
In your third picture it looks like the bearing for the roller has been neglected for a while. It doesn't look like the grease fitting is in a position to accept grease.

When you get the slip clutch cleaned up you need to loosen the nuts and readjust for the HP of your tractor or it will be of no benefit.
   / What is the difference #9  
Just keep in mind that piece of equipment is over 50 years old. They were produced between 1962-1966. $400 is a fair price. The skid shoes on these were permanently welded on. If you have welding skills you can fix this yourself. And the shoes should not be in contact with the ground except in situations to protect the cutters, so they don't need to be any special metal. Make sure you check/change the fluid (or grease) in the gearbox before getting too into mowing, and grease all the bearings that can take grease.

Happy flailing!
   / What is the difference
  • Thread Starter
When you get the slip clutch cleaned up you need to loosen the nuts and readjust for the HP of your tractor or it will be of no benefit.

Oops I didn't think that one through very well. So how do I properly adjust for my 28 hp Montana 2840 tractor with an estimated 23.5 hp PTO output? I'm at an elevation of 4960 so my HP will likely lower with my normally aspirated 4 cyl engine.