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TN Dave

Any suggestions re removing stuck mower blades?

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Hi all:  The people on this forum have been helpful in the recent past, so I'm hoping that those of you who are more mechanically-inclined than I am (...which is 100% of you, I'm sure...) might be able to point me in the right direction again.

 

My apologies is this is too basic, but I have an old 310-8.  It has 3 mower blades, and I can't get any of them off to sharpen them.  

 

If I use a floor jack and a couple of jack stands, I can lay down on the garage floor but can barely get a 3/8 inch electric drill with a sharpening stone attachment properly angled against the blades.  I've also put the front wheels up on plastic ramps (Rhino Ramps) which I use for changing the oil on my car, with pretty much the same result.  

 

These work OK for touching up the blades just a bit, but the blades really need a good sharpening, so I am trying to get them off in order to use a bench grinder.

 

I have sprayed a pretty fair amount of penetrating oil on the bolt heads above and below the point where they go thru the blades.  I have used the longest pipe wrench I have (18 inch). Frankly, I'm a bit concerned that the amount of leverage I'm using might pull the mower off its jack stands.  

 

In any event, the blades are still very firmly attached.

 

Any suggestions on how to get the blades off will be greatly appreciated.

 

Many thanks in advance.

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First :text-welcomeconfetti:to the :rs:

   Second,  trying to remove the blades while the mower deck is on the tractor can be, as you have found, very unsafe.

Remove the deck from the tractor and turn it over to work on the blades.   

They can be sharpened on the deck with a 41/2" angle grinder.

But I prefer to take the blades off and use a bench grinder and cooling water.

I use a wood block to jam the blade to the deck, then if the bolt head is not damaged, use the correct size socket and breaker bar.

If the head is damaged, I resort to a pipe wrench and I have used a 3' pipe handle extension w/o damage to the spindle.

Good Luck.

PS  the deck is really easy to remove and reinstall.   Other maintenance to the deck should be done while it is off the tractor.

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I use a good impact wrench. Might be well worth taking the deck to someone as a slip of the wrench could be disasterous to hands or knuckles.,

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I agree...take the deck off and work on it. Secondly, if you aren't sure, have the blades sharpened by a lawn mower shop.  They can sharpen to the correct angle and...more importantly...balance each blade.  If they aren't balanced, you MAY notice some vibration which is detrimental to bearings and every thing else.  Spend a few bucks and get them sharpened....after you get them off, of course.

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Pipe wrench is last resort because of the way it grabs the nut it will crush the nut and make it even harder to get off. Impact with right size (1 1/8 " ) socket I believe is the best way if nut is not too bad.

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If you have a Car / Auto repair garage you use,... take the deck to them they can zip the nuts off without issue I am sure. Then stop at an auto parts store and get a can of "never seize". Take the blades home and sharpen them up try using a hand file it is slow but pleasurable as well just lay the file on the blade and follow the same angle.

 In any case apply some never seize to the threaded portion of the shaft and reinstall the blades. Remember to reinstall them sharpened / shinny side facing up / facing the sky ! Now replace the nut's and tighten firmly and your done. It is easy and satisfying and you wont learn anything by paying a mower shop to sharpen your blades,.. start now and learn to do it yourself.  Good luck Jeff

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Posted (edited)

An  impact wrench is the best way to go, they are measured in pounds of torque, the more you pay the more power you have, like 220 foot-pounds, 330 foot pounds, 440, 550 950 and even 1700 ft.# ---  I found that 330 will do everything I want, mainly removing blades from my 310.    Harbor Freight has a 220 electric for $50, a 330 battery one for $129, and then air-powered ones for about $100.

On the mower, as the blades spin, their direction tightens the nuts even more.  "Grass juice" acts like glue to freeze the nuts in place.

Take the deck off so you can work on it safely & easily, and then put a little grease on the threads before tightening the nut, for removal next time.

Good Luck,

 

 

 

 

Edited by GlenPettit
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Spray the nuts with PB Blaster/Kroil/Liquid Wrench or similar penetrant and wait 15 minutes or so. Then hit them with an impact wrench if you have one, or wedge the blade with wood blocking and use a big wrench or socket and breaker bar and firmly thump the wrench with a rubber mallet as you pull it. Don't pull too hard, just keep solid pressure on it. The impact from the rubber mallet blows works much like an impact wrench to do more with gentle torque while jarring the nut's grip loose. (It's surprising how much torque you can apply with a socket and bar -- that's why it's too easy to snap frozen bolts... :rolleyes: )

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Come on Ladies, PB Blaster, welding glove & a Breaker bar, make them muscles ROAR like the old Red Fred

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11 hours ago, Big_Red_Fred said:

welding glove & a Breaker bar, make them muscles ROAR

That's the riskier way. If you're straining with the wrench, you're pulling hard enough to round off a stuck nut or break something -- too much constant torque, until "somethin's gotta give..." often the wrong "somethin'." Or to put it another way, pull too hard like a maniac and you'll bust a nut. Maybe the one on the machinery, maybe some other kind...

 

An old mechanic taught me the best way to do the "poor man's impact wrench" method -- pull on the wrench or breaker bar mostly with your fingers, not your whole hand at first. That limits the torque. Thump (solid hit, but not a pile-driver hit) the wrench or bar with a soft mallet (Rubber, or old-time wooden one) closer to the end where your hand is (Mind your fingers!) and let the mallet strikes do most of the work. That's the "impact wrench" effect. Lots of torque in short bursts. Your hand on the wrench is just guiding the impact. When the nut or bolt begins to budge, grip tighter - now you can pull, maybe with a couple more mallet taps, and you'll feel it start spinning off nice and easy. Don't use a metal hammer, for safety reasons. Especially when big wrenches and bars are in play. Persuasion works wonders -- more than brute strength!

 

Mower blades and spindle shafts spend all their time in dirt and moisture, and the spinning action of the blades makes the buts tighten down more. It's mostly the muck and dirt that gets them stuck, and PB Blaster will dissolve that easy. You just have to overcome how much they're torqued down by the mower action. That's why a little clever use of impact works almost every time, but just pulling with all your might more often results in rounded-off blade nuts, skinned knuckles, and sore muscles!

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   Just thought I would mention a few things............    First, use a SIX point socket. a twelve point could easily round over or slip off. 

 

   Second, notice that those blade nuts are somewhat rounded over and thinner than regular nuts . Pay attention to the fact that the leade or inside chamfer of your sockets [especially the cheaper ones] add to the problem of getting a deep enough grip on the blade nut and you have two factors making it easy to slip off the nut. I have cut a quarter inch off the end of a few sockets for this kind of work and it works well for me. I have two or three such sockets for oil pan screws, some motorcycle bolts, and mower blades and do not care that they might rust due to cutting off the end.  In a perfect world we would all have Snap On, but we do not live in a perfect world.

 

  Use a nice long handled ratchet to make it easy on yourself. Cheater bars make for skinned knuckles I use a Harbor Freight torque wrench on sale and put red tape on the handle so i am not tempted to use it for torque applications. Ten bucks on sale and it is easier to use than a breaker bar for when the air impact will not fit. Breaker bars are still better, but once in a while, it is impossible to get the angle you want with a six point socket.

 

 Finally, use an impact socket with an impact gun.. I really do not expect you to, but somebody is gonna say it, so I thought i would be the first :ph34r:

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I have done already, taken a C-Clamp, fastened to deck to stop the blade from rotating, now being a Diesel Mechanic for 40 years, i have sum Large tools & a Pipe to attach to the breaker bar, thats if im in a Old Man mood & need to let out sum steam before the Ole Woman releases it with a Rolling Pin, & pull till it breaks loose, Hmmm she likes that idea, better get my Red Hard hat with in reach

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Hi everyone:  Many thanks for all of this great advice.  I really appreciate it.

 

It looks like my next step should be to figure out how to get the mower deck off.  If you have any hints on that, please let me know.  

 

If you know of a manual or have instructions for removing the deck, would you let me know where I can download them or forward them when you have a moment, please?

 

I also need larger 6-point sockets and an impact wrench, but it is always fun to go to Northern Tool or Harbor Freight for that kind of stuff.    

 

(Convincing my wife I need to buy another tool is another question.  I'm not asking for marital advice...though I may need some.)

 

Thanks again!

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29 minutes ago, TN Dave said:

figure out how to get the mower deck off.

Here you go.

 

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In addition to the link that 953 nut gave you, instructions for removing and installing your mower deck will be in the owner's manual for the deck.  Feel free to take a look under the Manuals tab on this page to find it, I'll be back in a few minutes....

 

--------

 

Here we go...  Try downloading the 810403R1 version of the operator manual.  It may not be exactly the manual for your particular deck, but the procedures for removing and installing it are the same:

 

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When the guys are referencing impact wrenches,  most are referring to air compressor driven impact wrenches. I've used many electric impacts and they just can't touch an air gun w an adequate air supply. We have Milwaukee 18v at work and they're great but fall far short of hydraulic impact guns in our bucket trucks. 

 

My recommendation if you don't own a good air compressor is to go to a shop w your mower deck and have them zip the blades off. 

 

When I change blades I do so w leather gloves, a box wrench and a 4lb hammer. Hold the wrench w one hand an hit it w the hammer. Most times they come right off. All nuts get grease or anti seize compound. 

 

When tightening the nuts I position the wrench just past the blade. Again w leather gloves on I pull the wrench against the blade for more leverage.  

 

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I've just done some research to buy a pneumatic impact wrench.  I think I can get a decent one for $75-$100 or so.

 

Any suggestions on where to buy parts for this old Wheel Horse 310-8?

 

I've searched on line, and Google keeps bringing me to Troy Bilt.  Do they own the Wheel Horse brand or something?

 

Thanks.

 

 

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:wh:   was purchased by Toro in 1986, they have some parts and we have several vendors on RedSquare that carry parts.

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1 hour ago, TN Dave said:

 

... Any suggestions on where to buy parts for this old Wheel Horse 310-8? ...

 

 

There's also several online suppliers that have good reputations, listed here:

 

You'll have better luck finding what you need if you have part numbers, which you can get from parts manuals that are probably available here on RedSquare.  Take a look under the Manuals tab, you'll be looking for the IPL (Integrated Parts List, I believe).

 

eBay can also be a good source for parts.

 

--------

 

EDIT:

 

For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of the "poor man's impact wrench" method that EricF described so well in post #10.  I had no idea it was an old mechanic's approach, it's just something I've settled into over the years.  It's inexpensive, it works, and best of all nobody gets hurt.

 

When it's time to put the blades back on, you'll find torque specifications in the parts manual for the blade nuts, I believe they recommend 80-100 ft.-lbs.  I've had very good results torqueing mine to just the 80 ft.-lb. figure, I find that it's plenty tight enough and makes it easier to remove the blades the next time they need to be sharpened.  Definitely use anti-seize or grease on the threads, it will also make your life easier the next time.

 

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It surprises me sometimes how frequently old ways of getting things done (safely) with hand tools are unknown to people in a day and age of "just take it in to the service department". You don't necessarily need a bench full of expensive specialized tools to do routine maintenance yourself... although it sure helps! Like a lot of dedicated do-it-yourselfers, I learned from other people along the way.

 

One thing about striking a bar or wrench to generate impact is to use a "soft" mallet most of the time. The moment of impact is a little gentler and eases off quicker -- which lessens the chance of busting either the fastener or the socket/wrench head. A better chance to ease it off with a few blows rather than snapping it in one harsh one. Not to mention it's usually safer to avoid metal-on-metal tool impacts on the off chance something gives way where it oughtn't, and it won't send such a nasty shock through your hand so much. Nobody thinks much about that when you're young, but as you get older, you notice... :rolleyes:

 

Personally, I don't worry too much about the final torque on the blades too much. 80-100 ft-lbs is easy to achieve with a long wrench or socket and bar -- in fact, it's easy to over-torque them by hand with a long handle; it may be that the spec is advice to keep the torque under control. The spinning action of the blades tends to tighten the nuts, so as long as they're safely snug to begin with, they'll tighten down more and stay tight. Too much torque to start just makes 'em harder to take off later.

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Thanks to all who helped with this.  I really appreciate the advice and list of parts suppliers.  

 

Am off to Northern Tool tomorrow to get a pneumatic impact wrench, large sockets for it, and some 'Never Seize'.  

 

Possibly also might splurge on a belt grinder to get the right angle on my blades once I get them off.

 

Thanks!

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The number one problem with most air impacts is folks not understanding the correct size air lines and restrictions in fitting sizes . For a 1/2" high torque impact to hit it's rating - it needs a minimum of a 1/2" ID air line and at least a high flow rate 3/8" fitting on the tool . If you use a standard 1/4" quick connect on any air wrench larger than 1/4" you're wasting your time , it will hit hard for a split second and stop delivering the rated torque - it needs air volume at 90psi to operate correctly in it's air motor . I use the standard 1/4" connectors on small stuff , 3/8-1/2" connectors for all the bigger equipment and the sand blaster pot here - but I do have an older Speed Air commercial compressor rated to 28cfm @175psi . All the lines in the system are no smaller than 1/2" ID , including the outside air hoses and those all use high-flow industrial or Milton style quick connects . I keep an adapter for reducing down from the larger 1/2" quick connect to the 1/4" common industrial style for smaller stuff . For a whip line or coiled flex line I use the 3/8" small diameter coil hose (black) from Sears - it delivers a nice volume for stuff like the air die grinders and has a much smaller coil size than those cheapo 1/4" yellow nylon hoses that rot and blow out easily . The 3/8" line is polyurethane material - they last much longer and don't harden over time -

http://www.sears.com/craftsman-25-ft-coil-hose/p-00916180000P?plpSellerId=Sears&prdNo=5&blockNo=5&blockType=G5

 

Flexilla makes some of the best , most flexible air hose in the industry -

https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/flexzilla-air-hose-assembly-1-2-in-x-50-ft

 

The HF guns will do the job for a short while - just make sure to feed it a solid volume and plenty of air tool oil .

 

Sarge

 

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I realize now that the air outlet at the tank is 1/4 inch.  If I use a 1/2 inch hose via an adapter, do you think that will that deliver the air flow needed?  

 

It is a 2 HP, 8 gallon compression, and is rated for 4.2 CFM at 90 PSI, which seems sufficient for the 1/2' drive impact wrench guns I've seen.

 

Thanks.

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The pump won't able to keep up , but you should have enough volume with a 1/2" air hose to make short bursts and get full power . Like I said , volume is the key when it comes to air tools . The impact itself should have a 3/8" inlet hole for the quick attach plug fitting - try finding one of the high flow types like the X-flow that TSC carries . They aren't the highest quality , but not bad for the price versus true high volume fittings . There are some cheap impacts that use a 1/4" NPT inlet plug size - there are fittings available to adapt to a 3/8" plug in either Industrial/Milton style or type A automotive quick connects . On the high volume stuff I use a 3/8" type A high flow quick connect and leave that on the 1/2" air hose , then use a 1/4" Industrial/Milton style quick connect adapter I made up for running the lower volume tools . If that adapter gets in the way I have a short whip line from Flexilla to use with the smaller tools in tight spots , works well along with those 3/8" polyurethane coil hoses from Sears .

 

One of my 3/8" impacts , an old Snap-On has that dumb 1/4" air inlet - need to order up a special plug to allow it to run on the larger 3/8" quick connects - it can't hit it's full rated torque due to a lack of volume and flow .

Here's one from Dixon , good quality/price - https://www.amazon.com/Dixon-Valve-Coupling-Interchange-Quick-Connect/dp/B00375LQ44/ref=pd_sbs_328_11?_encoding=UTF8&refRID=4SRH65K1WFCP1GYZ9B0V&th=1

 

Standard 1/4" body quick connects will be rated at around 37cfm , not nearly enough to run a decent impact . The above Dixon is a 3/8" body plug with I/M quick connect fitting and 1/4" NPT threads for the air tool - rated at 70cfm - that will run an impact just fine . It's all about the bore size through the plugs and quick connect bodies - more cfm = more torque capability .

 

Sarge

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