It's Mowing Season! - Part II
After reading the article title, some of
you are asking “Mowing Season!?! It is the middle of winter! Is
ATV Source crazy?” No, we are not crazy. Our mowers have been
in hibernation since mid-November, but spring is just around the
corner and what better time to start thinking about mowing your
OK, so mowing
your lawn is the last thing on your mind at this time of the
year. We fully understand. But, what a perfect time for us
to tell you about two pull behind mowers that will change the way you
think about using an ATV to manage your lawn mowing needs.
We have completed a long term test of two
Kunz Engineering Mowers. We have hitched up the AcrEase mowers
for an entire mowing season and have run them through their
paces on our proving grounds. The evaluated units are: The
Finish Cut, Model C60K, which is a 60-in. commercial mower
3 blades and a 15 HP Kohler engine and the Rough Cut,
Model MR55K, which is a 57-in mower with
2 blades and a 20 HP
Kohler engine. See article:
Mowing Season! - Part I” for more details and specifications on
Finish Cut Model C60K
Our initial impression of the mowers was
“Impressive”. The Finish Cut deck appears
similar to any undercarriage riding mower deck, just with an
engine sitting on top of it. The Rough Cut, on the other
hand, surprised us. Even after seeing photos and reading
the measurements on paper, the overall size of the mower was more
than what we anticipated.
Both mowers are constructed with quality
materials and the fit and finish is of high quality. One can
tell the type of workmanship on a product of this type by the
look of the weld points. On these mowers, the weld points were
clean and solid.
Mowers with 7 to 10 GA metal decks are
considered standard for high quality mower decks. They are made
to withstand hours of use without cracking or showing signs of
weakness. The Kunz mowers have 10 GA decks with additional
spindle top plates of 7 GA metal on the Finish Cut and ¼" on
the Rough Cut. Couple that with 25mm and 30mm spindle
shafts, respectively, and it is obvious this provides plenty of extra
protection to withstand any unseen jarring of the cutting blades
or unintentional operator abuse.
Rough Cut Model MR55K
Both mowers have
key electric start, throttle leakage, choke, and digital tach
on the front. The battery is housed in a
that is located on the rear of the mower's deck behind the engine.
The location provides for a well protected battery.
Protection of the battery on the Rough Cut unit is very
important as we found the unit would collect brush and debris near or around the gas
tank and engine. If the battery was located any place in front
or beside the engine, there could be the possibility of damage.
The mowers come with a 3 3/4 gallon gas
tank. The oversize of the tank allows for extended mowing
times on those large mowing jobs without the need to stop for refueling.
noticed the rubber grommet mounts on the belt shields of each
mower. These grommets help to
eliminate excessive noise and vibrations during operation. The
grommets are a well thought out design. Hearing the constant
chatter of metal against metal is not a pleasant sound and tends
to make the operator believe there is something seriously wrong
with the unit.
height adjustment gage and wrench are
provided with the Finish Cut mower and can be carried with the
mower at all times. The tools are a nice addition. They help
with accurate height adjustment even while you are out mowing.
Alright, so the
mower's appearances are “Impressive”. Hitch them up and let's see
how they cut.
Screw Pin Shackle
The mowers attach to the ATV’s hitch with
a universal screw pin shackle clevis style attachment. The
clevis design allows for 45 degrees of rotational motion in both
directions, 90 degrees of vertical motion both up and down and
90 degrees of horizontal motion in both directions. These
freedoms of motion are very critical on rough uneven ground and
full offset mowing such as road ditches or hilly terrain. The
only drawback to this type of attachment is that it allows the
shackle clevis to move around more than a pin or ball & hitch setup.
Over time, we notice
hitch damage from backing up the
Cut Height Adjustment
The Finish Cut mower’s cutting height can
be adjusted from 1” to 4”. The
height adjustment gage
and wrench, provided with the mower, comes in handy.
Height adjustment is accomplished by adjusting the height
adjusting bolts on each of the four corners and on the optional
floatation kit (if installed). To ensure the deck height
is equally adjusted on both sides, make sure the mower is placed on
ground and slide the gage under the deck, allowing the deck’s
edge to slip into the height slot. Add 5/16”, the distance
between the bottom of the deck to the actual cutting blade, to
the gage height and this is the actual cutting height. The
cutting height adjustment is a little time consuming if the
owner needs to make cutting height adjustments. A total of 3
bolts per wheel will need to be loosened, adjusted, and
retighten. Add to that, the unlocking and locking of the
locking nuts per wheel. If the floatation kit is installed,
this would be a total of 18 bolts and 6 locking nuts.
Height Adjustment Screw
The cutting height adjustment on the Rough
Cut is as easy as cranking the two height adjustment screws or hand cranks
on both sides of the mower to the desired height. Height can be
adjusted from 2” to 8”. To ensure the deck height is equally
adjusted on both sides, make sure the mower is located on even
ground. 6 equal turns on the cranks will equal 1” of vertical
movement. Add 1 5/16” to get the actual final cut
height as the distance between the lower edge of the deck is 1
5/16” from the actual cutting height.
Starting the mowers was easy as turning the
gas on, setting the choke, adjusting the throttle to start, and
turning the key. Both units fire right up on the first turn of
the key with either a cold or hot engine. We only logged 3
occasions where we had to turn the key 2 or 3 times before the
engine started. This only occurred when we ran the units
completely out of gas.
The Finish Cut mower operates on a
centrifugal clutch engagement. As engine RPMs are increased the
clutch will grab the belt and engage the mower blades. The
clutch engages at 1850 RPMs.
Engaging the mower blades on the Rough
Cut is a manual process. It is a matter of running the engine
at about half throttle and moving the clutch level over to the
engage mark. When engaging the blade, the belt would make a
sharp ear piercing screech until the blades were fully engaged.
This is normal and doesn’t cause any damage to the belt.
Each unit has a battery powered
digital tach located on the front control panel. The tach displays
the engines RPMs when the engine is running and the total hours
of operation when the engine is not running. Having this
information is extremely helpful when throttling the engine for blade
engagement and tracking hours of use for regular maintenance.