Maintaining Reel Mower Performance
To accurately maintain height of cut and performance, routinely check the following components: Reel Bearings: Check for looseness, end play and roughness. Replace if necessary. If adjustable (e.g., tapered roller bearings), adjust to "no" lash while maintaining free rotation of the reel.
Bedknife to Reel Adjustment:
Before performing any set-up procedures, it is critical that the reel and knife cutting edges are straight and sharp. Lap or grind as necessary. Adjust the bedknife against the reel to EVENLY pinch one paper thickness across the entire width of the bedknife, then cut paper strips to check blade sharpness. Put the cutting unit on the turf and check for light bedknife to reel contact and free reel rotation. Do a final adjustment of bedknife to reel contact if necessary.
Attitude Adjustment: If the unit has this capability, set for height of cut used. "Attitude" is the angle between the bottom of the bedknife and the ground plane under the cutting unit. Bedknife attitude is adjusted by changing the height of the front, rear, or both rollers. A large angle is also referred to as an aggressive bedknife attitude. A small angle (flat attitude) can have most or all of the bedknife riding ON the turf. This can influence after cut appearance.
Roller Parallelism: Check for loose roller bearings. Adjust or replace as necessary. First parallel the front or rear roller, which ever is not used for setting height of cut. This paralleling roller is set to match the reel using a surface plate type fixture.
Height of Cut: Set to desired height using an accurate tool. This procedure must be done exactly the same on each cutting unit. NOTE: As reel cutting unit design and configuration continue to evolve, height of cut settings may need modifying to retain visual and playability goals. See also: Reel Mower Height of Cut Adjustment.
Maintaining Bedknife to Reel Adjustment: Properly adjusting the bedknife to the reel is one of the most effective preventive maintenance practices for reel mowers. The amount of contact and how frequently it is checked are major factors in performance. A light contact adjustment, if maintained, will help keep cutting edges sharp on the reel and bedknife. This requires that the adjustment be checked frequently at a predetermined time interval. Dulled cutting edges cannot be corrected immediately by adjustment or over-tightening. Do not wait until the quality of cut has deteriorated to check the adjustment. NOTE: If the cutting edges on the reel blades and bedknife are not straight and sharp the results may not be acceptable. This is true even if all other set-up procedures are correct.