Stop rust under mower deck

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  #1  
Old 04-29-14, 12:25 PM
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Stop rust under mower deck

I have about 2-1/2 acres of lawn, about 1 acre in close to the marsh and when we have really high tides and it gets pretty wet. My past 2 Craftsman mowers decks have been ruined due to mowing the grass. The discharge chute area rusts the most which requires a lot of repairs. I am 81 years old and getting to the point where repairing the deck is almost impossible.
I just ordered a new model #20390. I understand the deck is painted with something that is supposed to add to its life. Is that good enough or should I use automobile undercoating or some other product to prevent rust.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 12:35 PM
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I don't know that any coating will hold up long term on the underside of a mower deck. IMO spraying off all the grass after each use is the best method to slow down the rust! I often apply a coat of paint when I change the oil and sharpen the blade but it's usually worn off by the next time.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 02:37 PM
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If you have a small electric pressure washer that you could keep in a place where it would be really easy to just pull up and spray the deck off after every use, it would help. This would get the dirt and clippings off the top and that's what often causes the most rust. It gets wet and then you put the mower away with wet clippings and mud and it holds moisture there. Let it dry and then put it away.
 
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Old 04-29-14, 03:39 PM
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I slather a coat of my old crankcase oil on the inside of the deck after cleaning the bulk of the grass out (and letting it dry). Caused my last deck's sheet metal to last from 1988 thru to 2013, when I rebuilt it for the 2nd time.

I may use a product like "Rustex" from Crud Cutter this year; a product that chemically converts the ferrous-oxide to a less active substance.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 07:58 AM
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Vermont,
Thanks for the Rustex suggestion, I'll use it to restore my old 42" mower and use that mower for the "back 40" (1 acre). I'm saving the old mower to use as a spare or to pull the trailer. I might even use some fiberglass to reinforce the deck.

Now I need to determine what to use on the new lawnmower deck since it has new paint. Most of what I have found says not to use on paint.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 08:09 AM
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IMO, with today's product not being made as "heavy" duty as yesteryear, you'll spend more time and money trying to prevent rust and corrosion than its worth. Do as Marksr and Cheese say and make sure to clean it after each mowing. It will last as long as it's meant to last and then a new one is in order.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 08:17 AM
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When I had a lawn mower, I always tried to rinse off the underside at least weekly (2 mowings in the busy time of year), and after it dried, I gave it a heavy spray of PAM or generic spray veggie oil....

I'm not super sure how well it worked, but it seemed to do ok. Seemed pretty easy to clean off with just a garden hose most times. I did have to use a putty knife if I skipped a couple of weeks and let it get dry and hard. The Craftsman mower was still in fine shape after 11yrs when I gave it away when I moved to sand and gravel country.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 11:41 AM
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I've always sprayed mine off after each use [or the end of the day] It's something I always do before I put up the mower and I've never had any issues with rust on the deck. Now my kids are a different story, they'll claim they always spray it off [maybe forget once] but their decks tell a different story!

It only takes a few minutes to spray it off, I usually only use a garden hose. I think the only times I've ever used my PWer on a mower is either to get the dried build up off of someone else's mower or if I was using the PWer while I had the mower out.
 
  #9  
Old 04-30-14, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Nodsirrah
". . . Now I need to determine what to use on the new lawnmower deck since it has new paint . . ."
After a few uses, I don't think there'll be much paint left in the underbelly of that new Deck either. The constant buffeting of the grass and sand/soil/debris inside the deck housing doesn't leave much except sticky wet grass clippings.

I have several mowers and try to keep them all running. This old 1973 AMF just got a new deck housing because the pebbles and miscellaneous grit being thrown around inside the housing ultimately wears holes right through it, even without rust!

I just replace parts as they go sour: so the Engine has been replaced a couple times; the Differential/Transaxel; Seat; Steering Gear; Tie Rod Ends; Quill Assemblies; Bearings, and many, many Pulleys; along with dozens of Blades and some Belts and Tires.

But finding a brand new sheet metal Deck Housing on eBay, something that's been in some warehouse since 1973 was a real find. The Deck is one of the most rare parts that is also subject to wear . . . . and most commonly just gets neglected while the humidity and ferrous-oxide actively work at destroying it sitting in some dark garage or back in an unseen corner of the yard. Sad.

Here in Vermont, we have to pay to get rid of our old equipment, so I prefer to just keep my old machines alive. This particular one will still be alive after I'm dead and gone.
 
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