Cutting Unit Maintenance for A Cutting Edge

. minute read

A Toro cylinder mower is an extreme precision tool and like with any precision tool, to ensure it delivers the best performance and results, looking after it well is essential. To make sure your mower delivers the best cut and ultimate finish, regular cutting unit maintenance and the use of genuine Toro parts go hand in hand.

Reesink’s Peter Biddlecombe, who works as Toro Aftersales Manager for Reesink’s South East branch, says calibration and backlapping are probably the two most important things you can do for your cylinder mower.

“For a cutting unit to perform well for the longest period of time without constantly being resharpened or readjusted, then maintaining the parallelism between the bedknife and the cylinder is key,” he says. “If those two components are sharpened, installed and working together properly, you’ll get Toro’s legendary performance from your cylinders for a long time.

“If your bedknife is too close to the cylinder, not only does it wear the blade and cylinder down faster, but the mower needs more power to propel it along. More power needed means more fuel used, and this is another cost on top of repair and more frequent replacement.

“You don’t want the distance of the cylinder to the bedknife too tight or too slack, there should be light contact, just enough to get a couple of bits of paper in. If it’s too tight, then the component will wear down faster. This means that the hydraulic and engine management system will demand more horsepower because there’s more resistance. Generating more power means you use up more fuel, so your fuel costs go up. The less contact you have, the less energy required from the power unit to drive them.” 

Backlapping is another quick and easy method to help maintain the sharpness of the cylinder and bedknife between grindings without having to remove the cylinder and bedbar. Peter says: “Park your machine, turn it on, apply the desired lapping paste to the cylinder and set it to backlapping mode. The machine runs in reverse, the paste acts as a grinder and sharpens the blade.

“It’s always better to take the cylinder off and put it on a proper grinder and parallel the grinder to the cylinder, but backlapping is a quick way of maintaining sharpness between proper grinding. Backlapping only takes about 5-10 minutes. If you need to do it for longer you should really get it on a proper grinder.”

The performance of a cylinder mower depends on proper set–up and adjustment procedures, which means that just as important as having the best machine and parts there are, is to have the person who is caring for the machines understand the intricacies of how the components work together. 

Peter confirms: “That’s the reassurance you get from working with a Toro service dealer. While others may be able to fix things for less because they have lower overheads and use non-brand aftermarket parts, we know we have to deliver a higher level of quality and show the value of that – highest level of customer service, the best parts, increased lifespan and access to the Toro knowledge network.

“When doing repairs, spending a little more on premium, genuine parts ensures the best performance. Cheaper aftermarket parts may save a few pounds upfront, but the chances are you’ll be buying another one far sooner than a premium part. And there’s always the chance that part may even damage other parts of the machine.”

If a cylinder mower’s unique characteristics are not understood and responded to, the end result will be a poor quality of cut and expensive downtime and repairs. But when properly maintained and operated, cylinder mowers provide a superior – one could say the ultimate – quality of cut. 

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