This particular bagger is for the MTD Product line that uses the 38" or the 42" mower decks on the lawn tractors. There are various lawn tractors that can use this product. The model numbers are 600 through 619; model numbers 650 through 699 and the 700 series model numbers. The only excpetion to this is the model year 2001 MTD/Yard-man Revolution series lawn tractor.
Overall, the assembly of the bagger took me about one hour. Depending on your model of lawn tractor and the necessary parts, you may need a few hand tools (wrenches, sockets, rachets) or nothing. There are a few models that need the 'hitch plate' rotate 180 degrees. The assembly took me a little over one hour. I also removed the mower deck's deflector. The instructions do not say to perform the removal, however, my intentions were to always use the bagger.
Overall, the bagger works well. I like the bags that use a net-type material. It allows some flow of air through the bags. The draw back is that the bags do allow fine particulate (debris) to sift through. I've heard of others using 30 gallon trash bags to keep the dust down. The bags (P/N: 764-0221) are made of a synthetic material which reduces the rot of the bag. As a good measure, grass clippings should be removed after mowing the lawn.
There is a plastic viewing window on top of the Grass Catcher Cover Assembly. You can see into the bagging area to determine if the bags are full of grass. After awhile, this plastic window becomes dirty and needs to be cleaned. The grass clippings leave a residue on the window and needs to be lightly scrubbed to remove the dirt.
Overall, the unit works well. I avoid cutting the grass when it's wet. It has a tendency to clog the chute and tube. Also, care should be used when trying to cut grass that is too high. Normally, the rule of thumb is to cut on more than 1/3 of the grass at a time. However, depending on the weather and such - I've been known to ignore the rule (at my own expense). I have a hydrostatic transmission on the lawn tractor and it allows me to vary the speed of the tractor. A word of caution - the bagger hangs off the right side of the mower. The deflector chute, tube and bagger hang right out there. It's easy to clip a swing set, tree or lamp post.
The instruction/assembly manual does not come with any direct advice on how to maintain the bagger or how to use it. I would suggest the following:
Keep the blades to your mower sharp.
Keep the mower deck clean by washing it.
Use your left hand to feel the left side bag to feel the air flow of the clippings. No air = clogged chute.
Use your hands to occasionally tap both the bags. This will help determine the amount of fill.
Wash the bags with a hose to keep the bag nets from clogging.
Keep the plastic window clean to view the internal bagging area.
Keep your speed down and then increase with experience.
Overall, the bagger system was worth the money that I spent. I place my clippings in a compost pile. I also bag leaves in the fall and add them to the compost pile. Granted, the bagger fills up very quickly with the leaves. I like the way my yard looks with the grass clippings removed. An advantage is that my kids can play in the yard without tracking grass clippings into the house. Also, there is less brown grass (dead) that remains on top of the growing grass.
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