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Got what sounds like a trivial issue, but one that has me stumped. The info I'm seeking should apply, in general, to many mower decks.

The issue is levelling. I'm not talking here about the mechanics of adjusting the deck for level. What's got me hung up is how to do it. Let me explain by setting out the normal preparatory steps:

a. Find a good, flat, level spot (should be on concrete or smooth asphalt), and spot the tractor/mower on it.

b. Set the deck to the normal cutting height.

C. Level it side-to-side, and front-to back.

d. To do this turn the blade crosswise, and then lengthwise. Measure from each tip to ground, and get the clearances all equal.

The problem I'm running into on several of my mowers is how to get my mitt under the deck to make the measurement, on the front, back, and one side. The discharge side takes care of the situation naturally, with good access there.

Sure, I can and do eyeball them, and that works out pretty good. But, it would be nice to be able to "gauge" the drop distances. I simply can't get a hand under them to do that. On some of the decks, I still can't get my hand under there, even with the deck raised to highest setting.

How do you guys do this?
 

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LOL I had have the same problems. "How the [email protected]^& do I get my hand under there?"

What I do is take the deflector off first. And I also have a small cut off yard stick that I mursure the blades with. Pretty much just mesure the outter one to check for level, the rest should be the same. BTW I check cutting hight by mowing a aera of flat lawn, and mesure the cut grass, not the blad hight from the floor.
 

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john-in-ga
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I worked in VA Hospital carpenter shop before I retired. At the request of the yard crew, we made several gauges to solve the problem you describe. First we cut a small block of wood the length of the desired height of the blades. To this we attached a length of wooden dowel long enough to reach under the mower decks and gauge the blade heights. I never used one but the yard crew would request a new one when the old one was lost, so they must have worked.

:cpu:
 

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You could put a 2x4 under each wheel. That should give you enough clearance to get your hand under there.
Or something like this.
<img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/bwiswell/Tractor/Whywomenlivelonger1.jpg">

Luckily for me the area I cut is so rough, no one notices if I'm little out of alignment.

:D

Good luck
SnowMower
 

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Discussion Starter #5
}}} You could put a 2x4 under each wheel. {{{

There it is! Couldn't see the obvious because of a temporary mental slip (kindly known as "senior moments"). That'll do it.

One other thing, while I'm on this topical area: lots of the manuals say to pitch the blade plane lower in front by a small amount. Why is this? Anyone know?

I understand the principle of the various gauges mentioned. The problem I've had is getting under the edge of some decks to manipulate and view the gauge. That's the problem I was having. And, of course, the obvious solution is simple to drive the tractor up on blocks under all four wheels to get adequate clearance up under so I can see what I'm doing.
 

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John Deere makes a tool that I use and it works great. It is a plastic tool that angles down to clear the bottem of the deck and the tip angles up to meet the blade with the part outside that has a measuring scale. I cannot remember the number of the tool but they do work great. I have never had to touch a wench to my lawn tractors adjustment but I do check the level when I change the oil on my tractor. I am sorry I cannot remember the part number but if you go to a John Deere dealer and ask them for a deck leveling tool they will pull one out for you. If I remember correctly they sell for around $20.00.
 

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1) Check the air in the tires. Even them up if needed.
2) Set the height adjustment on my tractor to 2 1/2".
3) Set my blades so they look like this (-- | --)
4) Take a piece of 2 x 4 that I have cut to be 2-1/4" long and slip it under the non-discharge side deck wall and stand it up right under the cutting edge of the blade.
5) Adjust the side to side level until the blade on the discharge side also rests on a matching piece of 2 x 4 x 2-1/4"
6) Rotate the blades so they now look like this ( | -- | )
7) Put a piece of 2 x 4 x 2-1/4" under the rear section of the discharge side blade and one under the front section.
8) Adjust the front to rear level until they match (or very nearly).

Works for me and my front lawn looks like a fairway.

I've heard rumors that a three blade deck is hard to level. I made this process up myself and couldn't be happier.
 

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re: why lower in front

There are many, many people in this forum who know a lot more than I do, so I probably should just sit here quietly. But, I've gotten pretty good at sticking my foot in my mouth, so here goes. My understanding of why they say to set the deck slightly higher in the back is that most mowing decks draw air in from the back, and blow it out the side. The engineers want to make sure the air can easily be drawn into the deck, otherwise it would not discharge the clippings as well. (I assume decks still draw the air in from the back if it's set up for mulching, with no side discharge. But I'm not certain of that.)

If I'm wrong about this, someone please correct me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your explanation wins so far. Sounds logical to me. If anyone has a better explanation than this one, I want to hear it, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The comment about a 3 blade deck being hard to level is interesting. All my levelling problems involved my single or twin blade decks. My 3s never seem to have the problem, for some reason.
 

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Answer to lower in the front

Yes you are right. The reason it is lower in the front is for air draw and it helps it bag better as well as discharge.

:argh: Now it does not hold true for all decks. The AYP decks that are used on Poulan Pro and Sears tractors have hole in around the quills :secret: Keep these level from front to back.:thumbsup:

Just thought I would offer this advice

:captain: Bob :hide:
 

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Thats an interesting point. I thought it was so only the front of the blades would actually come in contact with the grass, so the grass would lay in a particular direction, aiding the "striping" effect. :smoking:

Greg
 

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I figured it was to compensate for measuring without your ass on the seat! On a mid-mount deck the back edge is likely to drop some when you get on.
 

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Jim's explanation wins my vote, the air intake theory is just not plausible!

As a side note you will never be able to get a level deck (cut) if your blades are not perfectly straight and or your spindles/bearings are not true! BTW it takes only a small distortion to show on a 20" blade or in other words the longer the blade the more pronounced the error will be!

Dean
 
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