Side Discharge Chute Design

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Whomever designed the side discharge chute should be spanked and have his or her birthday taken away.  Seriously.  This is a FANTASTIC mower....I love everything ELSE about it.  But the discharge chute fails for a couple of very simple reasons:

1. The rotation of the blade throws the clippings out slightly to the left (I confirmed this by both looking at the design and wedging a piece of wood to keep the rear cover open while operating the mower).  The chute design, however, makes the grass clippings do more than a 90 degree turn to exit to the right.  If they had gone out the left side, that angle would have been less, and that would have solved some of the problem.

2.  Also, the design of the chute is slightly funnel-shaped.  This causes the clippings to compact on their way out, which leads to clogs.  Again, running the mower with the rear cover open confirmed that the mower has the power to chuck the clippings out (I suspect it works fine with the bag on it for this reason), but when you make the clippings follow a sharp corner AND constrict the flow as it exits, you're asking for clogs.  Anyone who knows anything about flow dynamics would see that you either want the final exit to be the same size as where the grass exits the deck, or perhaps even flare slightly bigger.

3.  I'm not sure that having the bottom of the chute open is the best design.  Having the clippings experience the friction from the grass below may not help them clear the chute.  I get it, the idea is that by having it open they can fall down and out, but in practice that doesn't seem to work. Perhaps it was shaved to try to solve the constant dislodging problems others have mentioned when turning the mower...?

I wasn't even cutting that much off my grass...maybe 2-3 inches.  And while no, it wasn't bone dry, it wasn't soaked, either.  Just some late morning moisture.  Once I wedged the rear door open, I never had a clog.  I did have to walk along the right side of it so as not to get covered in clippings, but thankfully I bought the self-propelled model, so that wasn't an issue.  I will say that having only used my mower once, I did not have any issue with the chute falling off like others have said.  That was not my problem.   But literally, I had to clear that chute every row of my lawn (maybe 100 feet at the most).

I'm going to experiment with different chute designs to try to fix this one flaw.  I may try mulching instead, but once the chute clogged, I could hear the motor kick up to the highest speed to deal with the surplus clippings under the deck, so I'm not sure that would solve it.  I guess I can also try bagging, but I'd be happier if I can solve this chute-clogging issue.  If by chance I do, I will post pictures of the successful design.
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TedL

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Posted 2 years ago

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Jacob

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Yeah. I agree its a joke. But why would you side discharge anyways? It should be illegal cuz flying debris and its just not a good idea. Mulch your grass... problem solved.

Again yeah.. its a terrible design. Totally agree there.
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TedL

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Hello Jeptha,

Yes, you can mow without it - that is what is referred to in other posts as "mulching." That's how I mow all the time now, having given up on that chute.  You just have to mow fairly often and, it if gets out of control, start with a higher depth setting, mow, and then in a few days drop it to a lower height, mow again, etc.  The other option is to use the bag, and no, you don't need to use the chute to use the bag.  The bag attached to a metal from, and then you lift the back hatch on the mower and slide the rails of the frame into the channels that are there.
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Jeptha Sheene

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Thank you, thank you!  I figured out how to attached the bag and and it worked great. So relieved (as area my neighbors I am sure!) Now I can try to figure out how to order the missing part...
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Kimball Johnson

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I agree, the side discharge is useless and frustrating.
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Kimball Johnson

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Gif it advertises that it can do side discharge, that at darned well should do side discharge.
The problem with side discharge on almost all newer mowers is the cross bar on the bottom of the chute that catches the grass.  If they built the deck strong enough in the first place they wouldn't need the cross bar.  Quality lawn mowers like the old commercial duty lawn boys had cast magnesium decks that had an open throat design and almost never plugged.  Very frustrating and just one more example of what happens when you try to go cheap.  
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Blue Angel, Champion

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I can't disagree, Ted. Though I've never used the side discharge attachment with my 20" mower, complaints about the discharge chute clogging are not new. Not everyone has issues with it, but many people cutting damp or wet grass do.

Your description of the problem sounds reasonable.. The one thing I was thinking about as I read your post was the direction that clippings are traditionally discharged from a mower. Usually clippings are discharged to the right, so I can imagine many people being disappointed with a mower that discharged to the opposite side, which would require them to mow in the opposite direction if cutting outside-in on a large area.

Having said that I agree that having a chute that works properly would be more important than having a chute that discharges to the side you're used to. However, being a clean sheet design, if Ego were really serious about the side discharge performance they could have simply designed the mower to spin the opposite direction. :-)

To follow up on your comment, yes these mowers bag grass very well. I have a small yard and have been bagging for a while with no complaints.
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(a)Typical Engineer

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Agreed on the analysis; my conclusion was to mulch instead.
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Blue Angel, Champion

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For me mulching worked pretty good, however I typically cut less than 2 inches off the top of my grass. I try to cut a little more often than once a week maybe once every five days or so.

Northern lawn, cutting at height four or five on the 20 inch mower, equivalent to 3 1/2 inches.

As you probably already know, the more you cut at once the harder it is for the mower to mulch, so your mileage may vary. :-)
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TedL

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If I were home during the week, I would...
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Jacob

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Oh...... hm... sorry bud...
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Egocentric

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I have little experience with the mower but the side discharge was really lame.  I found the grass collected in the discharge chute, got to some critical size, and then blew out in a big clump.  Bagging and mulching worked very well.  I never mulched before and I was amazed.  Try it, you will like it.  I don't have enough experience to comment on how high the grass can be for mulching.    
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(a)Typical Engineer

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In this review, I bagged at height #3 (so as not to mulch weed heads), then mulched at height #1.  Probably removed 1-2" (definitely closer to 2" on the smaller side, 2nd set of pics):
https://community.egopowerplus.com/ego/topics/learning-to-l-e-a-r-n-or-teaching-an-old-dog-new-trick...
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Karen Crosby

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When is EGO going to get smart and hire some of these commenters that obviously could help them design the absolute best mower on the planet with their input? If all the mistakes in design were fixed it'd sell much more as we all would tell everyone about them.
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szwoopp, Champion

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No one from Ego is on this forum to respond to comments or questions.

Yes the side discharge is disappointing and seems to have been an after thought.
It has been thoroughly discussed and complained about.

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Kimball Johnson

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Thanx for getting back so quick.  Is there a site that ego listens to the consumers?
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szwoopp, Champion

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I imagine they may "listen" to what is posted hear, I was just letting you know they are not active here nor do they post hear.
A phone call to their customer service is probably the best way to make direct contact with them.

1-855-EGO-5656 (1-855-346-5656) from 8:30AM - 8:00PM EST (Monday - Friday) & 10:00AM - 6:00PM EST (Saturday & Sunday).
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Kimball, you can write a review on the EGO product site. Here is a link to the various mowers. Just pick yours and write a review.

Home Depot, as well. EGO does look at those reviews. Hopefully the HD link will work.
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szwoopp, Champion

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Good idea Mike
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(a)Typical Engineer

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I chuckled when I saw that the status of this thread is "NOT A PROBLEM"... well, hopefully that was a mistake, and it really ought to be "IN PROGRESS".  The only mower that this is potentially not a problem for is the Gen 3 side discharge metal base; Gen 1 and Gen 2 absolutely are a problem.
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Datamaniac

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I've had the Ego 20" for a year now and I really do like the mower except for a couple of small adjustments that would move it from just ok to perfect. Number one you have to extend the handles full length which is far too long for a short woman to get any leverage behind it making it quite labor intensive to mow even a small 50 x 30 area. Second I absolutely agree the discharge is poorly designed. I also prop up the back with a bungie cord and let the grass shoot straight out or else it clogs up and requires very frequent stops to unplug. Let's face it, here in HOU you get a lot of rain anymore thanks to the spraying of the chem trails and the grass insists on growing tall even if it's damp. No choice but to mow on damp grass. Those two adjustments would make all the difference in a great product vs a good product. Still love it anyways tho it causes me a pain every weekend, I still don't have to worry about oil and gas etc and get my lawn done in less than an hour complete with weeding sweeping and blowing. Thanks Ego.
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Stu Shutts

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I tried putting it on with Liquid Nails, popped off on the 3rd turn.
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Portia Holliday

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I have ONLY used the side discharge. I see why it's not sent with the mower and you have to request it. I always have to stop and turn the mower completely up so that I can push the grass down. Gravity is my friend unlike the side shoot.
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Carl R. Moore, Jr.

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I have always side discharged because of higher thick Bermuda grass and my deck setting on low. I like to mow nearly to the dirt, so I generate piles of grass. You just can't harm or kill out healthy Bermuda. I wanted/needed the side discharge feature. Guess what? With my 21" SP, the mulching feature works excellent on dry grass and I am a mulcher man from now on. I do wish the deck cut a little lower but really, I'm 100% satisfied with my purchase's. I bought the 15" foldable string trimmer too. I am a newbie here, but I'm luvin my EGO products. Next purchase will be the max power hand held blower-(bare tool). Thanks EGO!
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szwoopp, Champion

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Carl - good to hear about your positive results with the mower.  Thanks for sharing.
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Ray Givler

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Just got the 21" SP model. Mowed for the second time. The side discharge clogs on one pass. This is terrible. It just plain doesn't work and to claim that it has side discharge is borderline fraud. I will try to get 100% money back from Lowes. SO disappointed. I liked everything else, but this is a show stopper.
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Jacob

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Agreed with the side discharge. Pretty sad.
But why use side discharge anyways?

It's bad for the lawn to have clumps, it attracts mosquitoes. It covers some grass stopping photosynthesis.

Just don't use it. No one really does.

Just mulch or bag.

Otherwise why post here if you have made your mind up?
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Oregon Mike, Champion

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Is Lowe's selling these now? Anyway, why not just use the mulching plug if the intent is to leave the clippings on the yard?
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szwoopp, Champion

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I think Ray is on the wrong website.  Lowes doesn't sell Ego
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Stu Shutts

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I disabled the rear chute spring so it kind of flows out now when it gets full inside; since I did this, the rear chute is 30% open all the time, and while not super safe per se, it does now work 100% of the time w/o clogging up, and I don't need to have the unattached chute thing there.  I tried to liquid nails it in place, that failed on first pass.  if I didn't disable it, I would have sold it and gone back to gas mower.  The chute needs to have a way to hold it in place that makes it semi-permanently attached.
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Clyde Nordan

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I don't understand why people are complaining about clogging when they are trying to cut 2" off the top of wet grass. SMH.
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Kimball Johnson

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I'm trying to cut 1" off of dry grass. Sigh discharge does not work.
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Jacob

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Wow Kimball. We get it. Your not fond of the side discharge chute. It is a garbage design. I agree.
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Jeptha Sheene

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Yes it is--I have never been able to get it to connect.  Had it balance and then it finally fell off and got chewed up...have not even tried to replace it!

Jeptha
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Kimball Johnson

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I have yet to find any condition that the grass is that the side discharge works on. I thought I would use the side discharge to blow a few leaves, no go. Love the more in mulch and bag but the side discharge is a total bust.
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Oregon Mike, Champion

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I only tried mine once and it clogged quickly. Short cut on dry grass. I guess I don't really understand the purpose of side discharge if it's not going to fill a bag. I remember there used to be some gasoline brands of side discharge mowers that fill the discharge bag instead of filling from the rear. Good to see you gave an example of trying to blow leaves but I've decided that's what my leaf blower is for. As well, my 21" push mower is a pretty good leaf vacuum.
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bloomz

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Side discharge?

Oh that thing I tried once and tossed it in the corner of my garage, never to be seen again?

Yeah, that one