Thanks for ALL opinions submitted.:)
I found Bush Hog's web sight and downloaded a PDF of my model of mower.(They have REALLY good parts schematics.) I will take the slider tubes apart and clean and lube and get some new plastic bearing parts ordered for them. I am impressed they lasted 10 years being a totally plastic bearing!!!
Probably a real good idea to run a guard. ;)(Even though none of our older ones had them.)