Flail Mower Ford 917 Flail mower

   / Ford 917 Flail mower #1  

TheFarmerInAdell

Gold Member
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
396
Location
Adell, WI
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 2706E, Massey Ferguson GC1705
First post, but cruised the forum for a while for information on flails.

I just picked up a 5 foot Ford 917. It wasn't a screaming hot deal, but it was local (as in it was stored in a shed I rent out on my property...) and a decent price. It is missing the rear roller. Messick's has it, but it's almost $300 plus shipping. A local machine shop that I have connections with is willing to make it (for free!), but I need some measurements. I know the bearing it goes into is 35mm so that takes care of the shaft ends. I need the roller diameter and length between the bearings, and perhaps a good picture of the ends of the roller.

It also needs some blades. It has scoop blades on it, but a bout a half dozen are missing and another half dozen are damaged. With having to replace half of them I figured I probably should replace all of them. Should I go side slicer or back to the scoops? It is on a Yanmar 424 (24 HP, 18 PTO) and I will mostly be cutting/maintaining trails around the property with it along with mowing my ditches. I don't plan on cutting down brush with it, but I would like to not lose knives when I hit a stick in the path. I will also be reclaiming a field after my CRP runs out (probably just a pass or 2 around the perimeter, then burn it), but will maintain it after. What do you recommend?

I did play with it a bit (I couldn't resist!) and it cuts. Not well, missing those knives, but it runs and cuts. I did bottom out a few times missing the roller and all. No major vibrations. I didn't dig out all the grease fittings yet, but that is next on my list before I do any more mowing.

I'm sure it will be requested, so here are pictures.
 

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   / Ford 917 Flail mower #2  
I like my 917, with the same blades you have. It's the 74" version, so I can only help with the roller dia.

Yours looks in great shape.

Both New Holland and Flailmaster have the blades and belts.

I'm curious how your tractor handles it.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower #3  
I want to welcome you as the newest member of the "Flail Mower Nations",

B4 your machine shop builds this rear roller out of tubular steel for you, you have be sure that the end stubs welded to the rear rollers end weldments are not too long as you will be unable to install it other wise. chances are the rear roller bearings are toast as well since rear roller failures are generally caused by rear roller bearing failures so keep that in mind before you wander any further.

If you can spend the money on the replacement identical parts including the rear roller bearings you will be much better off as the new rear roller bearings will be matched properly to the new rear roller.




Just replace all the scoop knives buy some new hanger straps, D rings, nuts, bolts, washers, and new V belts for spare parts and leave it at that for now as you will need to buy a complete set of knife hanger straps, D rings and nuts and bolts to equip it with side slicers as you will need many of them to equip properly for finish and brush mowing.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower #4  
I had two 917s and still have one 6 foot fine cut. I thought the stones around here would trash the "slicers" but that has not been the case and I prefer them over the scoop which the stones totally destroy. I once bought a special sharpener at auction for those scoop knives. I never used it as I only once removed all the blades for sharpening and that was enough for me.

Make sure the end of the roller is rounded otherwise it will tear open the turf when turning. I'm not even sure how I would make those rounded ends.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower
  • Thread Starter
#5  
I'm curious how your tractor handles it.

I haven't mowed anything real heavy with it, just some overgrown yard grass. That it handled just fine. It did struggle when I tried to mow the dirt, however... Other than that I think it will work well for what I need it for.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower
  • Thread Starter
#6  
I want to welcome you as the newest member of the "Flail Mower Nations",

B4 your machine shop builds this rear roller out of tubular steel for you, you have be sure that the end stubs welded to the rear rollers end weldments are not too long as you will be unable to install it other wise. chances are the rear roller bearings are toast as well since rear roller failures are generally caused by rear roller bearing failures so keep that in mind before you wander any further.

If you can spend the money on the replacement identical parts including the rear roller bearings you will be much better off as the new rear roller bearings will be matched properly to the new rear roller.




Just replace all the scoop knives buy some new hanger straps, D rings, nuts, bolts, washers, and new V belts for spare parts and leave it at that for now as you will need to buy a complete set of knife hanger straps, D rings and nuts and bolts to equip it with side slicers as you will need many of them to equip properly for finish and brush mowing.

No worries about the stubs being too long. I'm a mechanical design engineer and I'm familiar with how to design that stuff. I will need 2 new bearings as there are none on the mower right now. In fact, one of the bearing housings is missing as well. That I can get from Messick's for $50. The bearing size is called out on Messick's website and I have connections to get them for half of the cost through a distributor we use at work so acquiring the correct bearings isn't a problem either.

I thought the side slicers used the same hangers as the scoops? And I thought I was able to just replace with the same number of stations regardless of which blades I was using. At least that's what I had gathered from the Flailmaster website. Perhaps I thought wrong.
Flailmaster.jpg
Is there a power requirement difference between the two blades? I know the heavy scoop blades cut brush better, but do they use more HP?
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower #7  
If I recall, there are maybe three times as many hangers for the fine cut knives. I think all of the holes of the flanges get used for the fine knives.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower
  • Thread Starter
#8  
I'm not even sure how I would make those rounded ends.

Magic! :thumbsup:

Those rounded edges are a breeze with CNC lathes. They are a bit more time consuming with the manual lathe, as you need to do it in increments. I actually have a book with the increments needed for different radii. It takes a while when you need to make a 1" radius going on .005" increments...
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower
  • Thread Starter
#9  
If I recall, there are maybe three times as many hangers for the fine cut knives. I think all of the holes of the flanges get used for the fine knives.

I was going to stick with rough cut blades. According to Flailmaster I can use the same rough cut blades as the Alamo/Mott mowers on my ford with the factory hangers. At least that's what the picture shows me.
 
   / Ford 917 Flail mower #10  
I pulled the flail mower file. Invoices going way back, sales brochures and an owners manual.

They show Standard, Fine, Coarse and Thatching blades

For 62" model

Thatching & Regular 27
Coarse 54
Fine 162

I see they speak about weight stacks to compensate for different blades. One mower had regular and one had fine, so I never had to worry about that, nor did I know about that.
 
 
 
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