Lawn Mower Grass Catcher
Troubleshooting

What We'll Cover

Lawn Mower Grass Catcher
Trouble Shooting

What We'll Cover

Your Problem Will Likely Be Loose Battery Connections, Flat/Faulty Battery Or Faulty Starter Solenoid.

Causes

01. Grass Too Tall/Wet

02. Deck Too Low

03. Dull/Damaged Blade

04. Deck Grass Build-up

05. Throttle Too Low

06. Moving Too Fast

07. Poor Engine Performance 

08. Damage To Deck

09. Deck Belt Slip (Tractor) 

10. PTO Slip (Tractor)

11. Wrong Blade 

12. Grass Bag Matted

Most Common Problem

The most common problem is clogging and the cause - poor cutting conditions followed by a worn blade. 

 

Stopping every 5 minutes to clear the underside of the mower isn't much fun! Lawn mower and tractor mower grass catcher troubleshooting is straight forward.

 

Common problems include: Clumping; Clogging; Uncut grass; Grass bag won't fill.

 

Chute Clogs

I live in Ireland and it rains, a lot, sometimes it rains persistently, and if you need to cut grass, then you have to cut wet grass. Grass chute clogging is usually caused by cutting conditions but is also commonly caused by a worn cutting blade. The blade is the business end and it needs to be in tip top condition. 

 

 

 

Chute


mower grass chute

A clogged chute can of course be a symptom of an underlying problem. So clearing the chute may not solve the problem. Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build up.

Clean


mower deck

Old grass on the deck can cause problems. Regular cleaning will prevent build up and prolong the life of your mower.

Sharpen


mower deck blade

A dull blade will solve lots of cutting and collecting issues.

mower chute

Chute

A clogged chute can of course be a symptom of an underlying problem. So clearing the chute may not solve the problem.

Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build up.

Clean

Old grass on the deck can cause problems.

Regular cleaning will prevent build up and prolong the life of your mower.


mower deck
mower blade sharpening

Sharpening

A dull blade will solve lots of cutting and collecting issues.

Wet Grass

It's much heavier than dry grass obviously, and won't be thrown as far into the grass bag/box by the laboring engine. It also sticks to the underside of the mower, causing clogging, and preventing the grass catcher filling. Bottom line, mowers don't cut damp/wet grass very well, especially if it's tall.

 

 

 

 

Wet Grass


mower deck

Most mowers will find these types of conditions challanging.

mower cutting wet grass

Wet

Most mowers will find these types of conditions challanging.

Tall Grass

How about the cutting height, it may be set too low. I know this sounds obvious but try lifting the deck height, and if you want a tighter cut - drop the deck and cut again. Ideally your mower should'nt be cutting more than an inch of grass, ask it to do more and cut quality suffers.

 

My best advice, cut more regularly, keep your mower deck clean and free from dry grass. Consider coating the underside of your deck with Teflon Non-Stick coating, it helps reduce grass clogging.

 

 

 

mower deck clean

Tall Grass

Tall grass is hard on a mower, especially if your asking it to cut the lawn tight with just one cut.

Tall grass will cause the mower to clog.

Protect

To help prevent clogging:

Option 1 - Quick fix is spray the deck with WD40, it does help but it won't last. 

Option 2 - Spray deck with DuPont Teflon coating.

Option 3 - Spray the the deck with bed liner, my prefared option. Works on tractors, riders and walk behind mowers.


Mower deck Mower deck

Tall Grass


mower tall grass

Tall grass is hard on a mower, especially if your asking it to cut the lawn tight with just one cut.

Tall grass will cause the mower to clog.

Protect


mower deck mower deck

To help prevent clogging:

Option 1 - Quick fix is spray the deck with WD40, it does help but it won't last. 

Option 2 - Spray deck with Dupoint Teflon coating.

Option 3 - Spray the the deck with bed liner, my prefared option. Works on tractors, riders and walk behind mowers.

Mulching

As you know mulching blades chop grass very finely and drop it back onto the lawn where it helps feed the lawn. Mulching blades are designed specifically for this task, but they can cause lots of clogging problems, especially if the grass is long or damp.

 

Mulching blades just don't move grass efficiently, because they're not designed to. They work best when the grass is cut dry, regularly and in small amounts.

 

 

 

 

 

Mulching Blade


Mulching Blade

Mulching Blades aren't designed to collect.

Tall & Wet


mowing tall grass

Mulching tall wet grass won't work, the blade is designed to cut just small amounts of grass at a time.

mower grass bag

Mulching Blade

Mulching Blades aren't designed to collect.

Tall & Wet

Mulching tall wet grass won't work, the blade is designed to cut just small amounts of grass at a time.


Ride-on mower battery test

Hybrid Mulching Blade

As you know a true mulching mower doesn't collect, its function is to finely chop and drop the clippings. This type of cutting is convenient, it's a lot less work than emptying a grass bag, which gave mower manufacturers an idea.

 

The Hybrid Blade (3 in 1) - a mower blade that does it all, collects, mulches and discharges. Well, it does an ok job, but if conditions become challanging the quality does suffer, especially if conditions are wet. The complaint I hear most with the 3 in 1 mulching blades - won't fill the grass catcher. The solution - remove the mulching blade and fit a lift blade.  

 

If you don't want to mulch, change your blade for a lift blade, you will eliminate lots of clogging, clumping and half filled grass bags.

 

 

 

 

3 In 1 Mulching Blade


3 in 1 Mulching Blade

The Hybrid mulching blade, kind of ok at everything.

3 in 1

The Hybrid mulching blade, kind of ok at everything.


mower 3 in 1 blade

Lift Blade

Lift blade also known as the 2 in 1, so called because it baggs and discharges. The lift blade vacuums the grass up right, before cutting and moving clippings to the bag.

 

They're designed for collecting grass and are available in low, medium and high lift. A higher lift blade will require a more powerful engine. The lift is created by the curving upwards of the trailing edge of the blade. The higher the lift the better the bagging.

 

 

 

 

2 In 1 Lift Blade


Mulching Blade

If you love bagging - You need a lift blade.

2 in 1

If you love bagging - You need a lift blade.


mower blades

Honda 3 in 1

The Honda Hybrid mulching blade is the best in the business, unfortunately it can't be fitted to other mower makes. The reason the Honda is so good at mulching and collecting - twin cut blade set up. Twin stacked blades - One blade mulches and the other moves the clippings. Smart!

 

 

 

 

Hondas 3 In 1


Honda Mulching Blade

Hondas answer is 2 blades, one for mulching and the other for moving.

3 in 1

Hondas answer is 2 blades, one for mulching and the other for moving.


mower blades

Grassbag Won't Fill

A grass bag/box that doesn't fill, has a few likely causes. The obvious ones: clogged chute; thatched grass bag; damaged or worn blade; insufficient throttle; poor engine performance.

 

 

 

Grass-bag

A thatched grass bag is a common problem. Mowers often get cleaned at the end of the season (well some do) but bags rarely do. Examine your bag/box, as a guide, when held to the light you should be able to see through it.

 

If the air can't pass through the bag, then grass won't be carried into the bag. A stiff brush will remove the old thatched grass or better, use a power washer.

 

 

 

 

Grass Bag


riding mower grass box mower grass bag

Stiff brush or a power washer does the job.

Cleaning

Stiff brush or a power washer does the job.


mower grass bag mower chute

Chute Clogs

A clogged chute can be a symptom of an underlying problem. So clearing the chute may not resolve the issue. Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build up. Grass build up or damage to the underside of the deck can cause the grass to catch and clog.

 

 

 

 

Tractor Chute


Tractor chute cloggs

Chute keeps clogging.

Chute

Chute keeps clogging.


mower chute

Deck Clean

The underside of the deck should be smooth so that the grass moves freely around the deck, up the chute and into the bag. DuPont make a Teflon Non-Stick coating which helps reduce grass clogging.

 

 

 

 

Cleaning


Mower deck Mower deck Mower deck clean Mower deck

Move your mower to a suitable location as it leaves a bit of a mess

Just attach and turn on garden hose. Start your mower to engane blades. 

Run until water runs clear - simple!

If you don't have a wash out port or garden hose, no problem.

Turn your mower over air filter side up, use a paint scraper and wire brush. It works great.

mower deck mower deck mower deck wash out port mower deck clean

Cleaning

Move your mower to a suitable location as it leaves a bit of a mess

Just attach and turn on garden hose. Start your mower to engane blades. 

Run until water runs clear - simple!

If you don't have a wash out port or garden hose, no problem.

Turn your mower over air filter side up, use a paint scraper and wire brush. It works great.

Grass Trailings

Grass trailings are commonly caused by a poor fitting or damaged  grass catcher. If you find your grass catcher is damaged, consider buying a new one, they're available to purchase with or without the metal frame.

 

Check if the bag/box sits correctly against the mower body. If it's loose or damaged, the air and grass flow to the bag is compromised.

 

If all is well with the grass catcher, go ahead and replace your blade.​

 

 

 

Trailings


mower grass trailings mower grass trailings

Trailings are really annoying, check that the bagger is closing snugly.

tractor mower trailings tractor mower trailings

Trailings

Trailings are really annoying, check that the bagger is closing snugly.

Blade Damage

  • A defective blade can cause vibration, uneven cutting and poor grass collection. Examine your blade, checking for damage, misalignment, bent or broken trailing/leading edges.
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Sharpening

  • Blades need to be kept sharp. I recommend about twice per season or more depending on terrain. Obviously if your blade is dull it can cause all sorts of problems, including blocked chute and grass catcher issues. 

Damage


mower blade mower blade mower blade

Defective blades can cause vibration, uneven cutting and poor grass collection.

Examine your blades carefully, checking for damage, misalignment, bent or broken leading and trailing edges.

A mowing blade may look OK, but they do wear.

Mowing blades are  engineered to cut and move grass, as they wear they become much less efficient.

A worn blade will cause clogging.

Impact

When blades hit something hard, well, you know! The damage causes vibration and all sorts cutting issues.


Ride-on mower blade
mower blade damage mower blades

Bent

Bent blades can't be repaired, just go ahead and replace them.

PTO Slip

The blade clutch or PTO (Power take off) won't be fitted to all lawn tractors, but it's easy to locate, it lives right under the engine. A clutch system isn't common on walk behind mowers but Honda and Toro offer them on the higher end models.

 

It may be manual or electric, either way, its job is to lock the engine crankshaft to the blade deck pulley, when you engage the blades on button or lever. The clutch like a clutch in a car, will wear out, and when it does it causes the connection between engine and deck to slip. Symptoms include poor grass collection, uncut grass and sometimes a burning smell.

 

 

 

PTO

Check the PTO system. The manual version is engaged by a cable. It lives on the crankshaft, right under the engine.

Check that the cable is pulling the pto lever all the way.


Ride-on PTO
mower PTO

Fitting

Replacing the PTO isn't difficult, but air tools would make it really easy.

PTO


MOWER PTO Riding mower PTO

Check the PTO system. The manual version is engaged by a cable. It lives on the crankshaft, right under the engine.

Check that the cable is pulling the pto lever all the way.

Tractor Belt Wear

Belt wear is also a common reason for a chute to clog, check the deck cutting belt for damage and general wear & tear. A new belt will transfer more of the engine power to the cutting blades and will improve the cutting and bag filling performance. Belt types and lengths will be specific. Some brands will only work well using Oem (Original Equipment Manufacturer) belts. Check out "Mower belt replacement". 

 

Check Belts


Mower belt Riding mower belt

A cutting deck belt that's slipping will be less efficient at collecting.

Check the belt for proper tension, cracking, glazing or contamination.

Damaged belts will cause vibration and poor general performance. A typical deck belt might last 3 - 4 years.

mower deck belt

Worn

A cutting deck belt that's slipping will be less efficient at collecting.

Check the belt for proper tension, cracking, glazing or contamination.

Damaged

Damaged belts will cause vibration and poor general performance.

A typical deck belt might last 3 - 4 years.


Mower deck belt

Tune-up

Its also worth considering, is the throttle set correctly, it should be set to fast/run when cutting. Is the engine running as it should. If the engine power is reduced the mower may still cut well, but will be less efficient at collecting. A small engine tractor or walk behind mower should have a tune-up at the beginning of every season, regardless of how well it might be running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out:

 

"Lawn tractor tune-up"

"Lawn mower tune-up"

 

 

 

 

Bad Gas

Old fuel is the number one cause of poor engine performance, use a gas stabilizer over the winter to help protect your lawn mower carburetor. Check out "Carburetor troubleshooting".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune-up


MOWER

Mowers like a tune-up at least once per season.

lawn mower

Tune-up

Mowers like a tune-up at least once per season.