John Deere Maintenance Monday: Mower deck leveling | Living the Country Life

John Deere Maintenance Monday: Mower deck leveling

Living the Country Life Radio Program with Betsy Freese

It's all about balance

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Listen to this radio show (MP3 download) or read below.

Radio interview source: Greg Weekes, group product marketing manager, riding lawn equipment, John Deere

In this edition of Maintenance Monday, Anna in Kentucky says she's not happy about how her tractor mower is cutting the grass unevenly. She says it's like a five-year-old who trims her own bangs with scissors.

The culprit is probably a lopsided mower deck. It goes out of whack when you hit something in the yard like a rock or a pipe, and it jars the deck enough to alter the way the blades cut. It mows unevenly, can cause a "scalped" look to the yard, and the grass tips may be jagged and grayish-brown. To make it uniform again, you'll have to level the deck.

John Deere Product Marketing Manager Greg Weekes says when balancing the deck from side to side, it should be level across. But it's a different story when correcting it from front to rear. The front has to be nose down, about 1/4 inch lower than the back.

"The reason you do that is air flow, because you want a lot of air coming under the deck to pick up the grass," Weekes says. "If you've got it level, you're not getting the air flow. And if you've got it the other way where the rear is down and the front is up, you're actually cutting the grass twice."

Before making any adjustments, check the pressure in all four tires so you're sure they're even. Now, with the engine off, and with the tractor on a flat surface, measure each side of the mower deck, from the deck's lower rim to the ground. It might take hours of adjusting to get the deck level just right.

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