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  1. #1

    Default Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    After considerable research, I found a friendly dealer and purchased a new JD X540 with a 48" deck with rotatable wheels, 14 bushel PowerFlow bagger and four 42 pound suitcase weights up front since my property has some slopes. The dealer took the deck from an X300 series tractor because it had the rotatable wheels which I thought was an important feature.

    Upon delivery, the dealer assured me he had leveled the deck so I lowered it to 3" (my normal cutting height) and set the anti-scalp wheels according to the instructions in the owner's manual. The result was a disaster because the deck tended to scalp the grass on the right side while leaving grass on the left side virtually uncut- especially when cutting across the slope. After one pass I realized the deck was not level and immediately followed the instructions to level the deck. It was off by a considerable amount. Oddly, I had to raise the right side almost to its upper limit while lowering the left side nearly to its lower limit to get the deck level. The result was an improvement but certainly not what you'd expect from a level deck. When I was cutting across my slope, the weight of the PowerFlow head seemed to cause the right side of the deck to dip down and cut a little lower. This was most evident when the PowerFlow head was on the "downhill side" of the slope.

    I had a short list of unrelated problems so the dealer picked up the tractor and brought it back the next day. The technician had installed new deck wheels with zerk grease fittings. He set the right side wheels to just touch the ground and explained that the weight of the PowerFlow head needed a little extra support from the wheels gently resting on the ground. The left side wheels were set about 1/2" off the ground. Sounded good. Unfortunately, the result was far worse scalping!!! To make matters worse, since the right side deck wheels were just touching the ground, making a sharp turn caused the deck wheels to tear into the grass. Even though the wheels are rotatable, they're still locked into a forward position with a pin and don't rotate like a caster mounted wheel would turn in the same direction as the front tires. Frustrated, I checked the deck level and discovered it was not level again! The dealer had obviously made changes as the position on the adjustment hanger screws were not at the upper and lower limits. The deck performed much better on level ground but it's still apparent the right side cut lower. Again, cutting across my slope caused the worst problems. Please don't suggest I go up and down the hill instead of across the slope- it's just not possible to maneuver the tractor at the top of the slope. I don't know the angle of the slope but it's not too steep and the dealer agreed it should not pose a problem.

    The dealer picked up the tractor again. Tonight I received an email stating that the tractor cut perfectly fine at their dealership (on a level lot) and they had no clue what to do next. They offered a full refund! I won't go into more detail but this is a huge JD dealer and I expected far better service and support. At a bare minimum, I had hoped they would have accepted my invitation to test out the tractor on my property for themselves. So--since the dealer isn't competent enough or motivated to determine the root cause- does anybody have a suggestion to solve this problem? The tractor has just 2.5 hours on it and I have about 10 days left on my 30 day return option. The only other dealer within a reasonable distance has a horrible reputation and I had a bad experience with them servicing my Stihl chain saw a couple of years ago. Thanks for any input you can provide......!!!

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    181

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Don't know too much about it, but since you put the deck from an X300 on your tractor to get the rotatable wheels and they aren't rotating and things are not working out very well, why don't you try going to the deck that's made for the X500 and see how that goes? Maybe there is a compatibility issue that the dealer is not aware of. This dealer seems willing to work with you, which is a plus - probably worth one more shot.

    It is true that the weight of the PowerFlow will cause the deck to lower a bit, which is why they want you to leave the wheels on that side just on the ground. Have you tried cutting without the PowerFlow to see if that solves the problem?

    Tim

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    655
    Location
    Thornburg, VA
    Tractor
    JD2305

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    The X540 deck should be suspended, regardless if it has a powerflow head on it, or not. This is the same deck I have on the 2305 (and is also used on the X7xx machines, as the owners manual indicates), and I also looked at the X5xx and X7xx machines before buying. The X300 deck is different, but I'm not sure how. Have the dealer put the deck that is made for that tractor on it before turning it in.

    You could also post any questions about this deck in the JD owner/operating forum - lots of 54" deck owners in there with more experience than me!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Thanks so much for the prompt replies...much appreciated.

    I also share the concerns about the deck coming from an X300 series tractor but the dealer has given me his 100% assurrance the decks are identical. I understand they have the same JD part number and the dealer claims he's examined the hanger hardware. I contacted JD Customer Service as well as their HQ offices to ask the same question. Both sources told me the decks appear to be the same for x300 and x500 series tractors but I should rely on my dealer for any technical recommendations.

    I've informed my dealer that I'll gladly wait for him to order a new deck for the x540 but he's declined saying it would not make a difference.

    I haven't tried removed the PowerFlow head but I think that would solve the problem. However, I really want to use a bagger and not a side discharge or mulcher unit on my bermuda grass. I think JD has a non-PowerFlow chute called a "cut and throw" which would not have the added weight. I've also asked my dealer if we should try that option but he's not responded.....

    Any more thoughts?

  5. #5
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    1,256
    Location
    Springfield, MO
    Tractor
    JD 4410

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Crawl under and take a look at the rockshaft arms that the deck supports attach to. If they are anything like a 455, the arm to rockshaft connection is splined. The left and right arms need to be aligned on the splined shaft the same on both sides. Mine were off by about 60 degrees, so the left side changed height at a different rate than the right side -- drove me nuts until I figured out what was wrong. Every time I leveled the deck, it was level at exactly that height, but out of level either higher or lower.

    I would balk at the idea that the PowerFlow is causing the problem and requires the rollers to be lower. That goes against everything I have read about JD LGT's.
    4410 ePR, 3rd SCV, Skid Plates, TuffTop Canopy
    430 FEL, 48 BH, MX-5, Bush Hog Chipper, and more.

    455, 60" deck, MC-519, 3pt hitch

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Jun 2006
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    South of Seattle
    Tractor
    Dad's=JD4440;IH1066;JD4020;JD3010;2 JD"B" 1949 & 1937(hand-crank)

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    I'm not a mower guy, but I had one idea to try. If the weight of the powerhead might be an issue on sidehills, could you add some sort of equal weight to the other side of the deck to bring the deck into "balance" (left to right). This way, those antiscalp wheels may not have to touch the ground on the powerhead side either. Is tire pressure all the same (left to right sides)?

  7. #7
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    655
    Location
    Thornburg, VA
    Tractor
    JD2305

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Jeffinsgf is on the right track for the next move - check the rockshaft. If the machine isn't holding the deck properly, anything you do to the deck just won't matter.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Well, the dealer just made my decision easy. Here's the text from his lastest email message based on my request to order a new deck for the X540 and experiment with the PowerFlow head on my property. I also mentioned the advice jeffinsgf gave me:

    "I will check the lift system myself, although this mower is not like the
    455, it has a belt drive and the other has a shaft drive. The 455 can carry
    a rear lift arms becasue it is a garden tractor.
    As for the decks, if you are not willing to take my word that they are the
    same, call another JD dealers and ask them. The model number for the
    rotatable deck wheels is a SKU21895 on a 48" deck for the X300 and X500
    series. I am not willing to order another one on the X540 to prove that."

    I'll take him up on his offer to keep the tractor and credit my account. Tomorrow I'll use my ancient Cub Cadet to cut the grass.

    Again, I certainly appreciate everyone's input and advice.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member Fordlords's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
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    951
    Location
    Erie, PA
    Tractor
    Cub Cadet 682

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    All the better for you, you tried your best to rectify the situation and got little more than bad attitude from the dealer. The tractor was just plain not working properly, and it's too expensive a tractor to spend moons farting around with. Refurbish your old Cub, and you'll be many dollars ahead and have a tractor that actually works.

    -Fordlords-
    1980 Cub Cadet 682 with 18 HP Honda GX V-Twin engine
    2008 Ariens 624 Snowblower
    2007 Craftsman by MTD 4 Cycle Weedwacker




    Check out my TBN photo gallery for B4 and after pix of my CC 682 Restoration! http://www.tractorbynet.com/photos/s...cat/500/page/1

  10. #10
    Veteran Member jeffinsgf's Avatar
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    Springfield, MO
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    JD 4410

    Default Re: Need Advice Fast- X540 Deck Level Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by rod330
    ..."I will check the lift system myself, although this mower is not like the 455, it has a belt drive and the other has a shaft drive. The 455 can carry a rear lift arms becasue it is a garden tractor.
    ...
    Umm, what's that got to do with the midpoint lift arms?

    It's a shame they're jerking you around. Something is wrong, and they're being stubborn about figuring out what it is and getting it fixed correctly.

    Get a 455, 430, 332, 322 or 318 and between you and the JD users on here, we'll get you going in the right direction on a machine that will last you for years -- probably as long as the 540 would have. JD still makes LGT's that will work forever and do a great job (X700 series), they just cost as much as a sub-CUT.
    4410 ePR, 3rd SCV, Skid Plates, TuffTop Canopy
    430 FEL, 48 BH, MX-5, Bush Hog Chipper, and more.

    455, 60" deck, MC-519, 3pt hitch

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