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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    572
    Location
    Jackson County, Michigan
    Tractor
    Bolens HT-20

    Default warped mower deck

    I have a 54" 3 blade mower deck that I believe is warped. Just purchased the tractor and deck (used) last year. The lawn looked terrible when I tried it. Flipping the deck over I found that the blade tips have about a 1/2" space vertically! between them. I believe all three mounting surfaces are out of flat to each other. The blades are not bent. The bearings are in good shape. Any ideas on how to straighten/realign?
    I'm considering cutting the three surfaces out and replacing with a plate know to be flat. Transferring the holes would be a simple thing , using the old piece as a pattern. This is a last resort. I'd rather find a better way.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member chim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Posts
    1,937
    Location
    Lancaster County, PA
    Tractor
    Kubota L3200, Ford 1210

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    Does the grass have a sawtooth effect like with blades that have a tilt to them, or is it stepped with the cuts parallel to the ground? If it's the latter, it could be something simple like the blades have a different offset, or one of the spindles ("quills") was replaced with one having a different dimension.............chim

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    129
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: warped mower deck


    Ive had some fun times with warped mower decks (I dont think we have an icon for sarcasm). The hardest part is working out what is out of line. Be prepared to be very patient and take lots of measurements before you start planning anything. Do you have a good flat floor you can try this on? A little adjustment in the wrong place can quickly make the situation much worse.

    One question first though - are you absolutely sure that it is not the deck mounting system on your tractor that is out of line? Make sure that everything is true - including getting your tire pressures right - before you start anything. Also make sure you clean and lube any kind of deck balancing system or pivots that are there (some have spring loaded balancers).

    Let us know what you find as each situation has its own remedy.

    Best of luck with it.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    658
    Location
    Central Wisconsin
    Tractor
    1986 Ford 1910 with 770B (FORD) loader, 4 MFWD; 1986 Bolens G214,back hoe,loader,MFWD (Iseki) 21 hp)

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    I have a JD F725 54"( 3 blades) front mounted mower that has a section in the owners manuel on how to adjust the deck for side to side and front to back "levelness". JD sells a tool that reaches under the side of the deck and measures how far the tip of the blade is off the ground ( you do this on a flat floor after pumping all the tires to spec). On my deck, zinc chromate rods run for and aft, left and right, and are threaded into an adjustment sleeve with a jamb-nut on it. I twisted the rod off from corrosion since a hadn't made any adjustment in 11 years. You adjust so that the blade tip heigth is equal from the floor with the blades pointing 12 o'clock/ 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock/ 3 o'clock. The JD tool would be handy but you can do it without with a stand-up 2-3" ruler and flashlite and crawling around on all 4's. Keep the WD-40 handy and use the right sized wrench so as not to bugger-up the hex. This cured my sawtooth cut after a new part from a JD dealer ( the JD 735 has the same deck and the dealer borrowed a part off it). These front mounted decks take beating since they're out there hitting things.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    572
    Location
    Jackson County, Michigan
    Tractor
    Bolens HT-20

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    There's not near the adjustments on this as you describe your's has, RCH. But CHM, you called it good when you said 'sawtooth'. It's not that the deck is out of whack with a level surface. I set that up in the garage. It's even lh/rh & fore/aft. Most definately a problem with individual blade angle.
    I rotated each blade relative to the adjascent blade tip. There's no wobble on any of the blades. But there is a full 1/2" distance vertically between the tips. Which accounts for the sawtooth effect.
    Old Wanker, you lit up a good idea for me with suggesting the flat floor. I can prop up the deck at a nice workable height and parallel to the floor. Then I can take eight measurements off each blade through their turns and see exactly which direction the 'lean' is. That will tell me the angle as well. That just leaves me with one more problem...(will it never end?)...how to actually straighten those parts of the deck the bearing housings are bolted to.

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    12,413
    Location
    Upper Midwest USA
    Tractor
    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    Have you had the three blades off and then stacked them together to check that all three are the same shape? I had the experience of hitting a stump, and bent one blade. It was detectable by stacking them together. Just a thought.
    Also, I once helped straighten a deck that, I think, had a similar problem to yours, where the housing around the bearing hub was bent (run over, I believe). We straightened it by using well placed (most of them!) blows with a sledge hammer, while continually checking where the blades met each other, and how they circled the perimeter of the mower deck. This was done with the deck off the tractor.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    129
    Tractor
    Kubota BX2200

    Default Re: warped mower deck


    beenthere had some good suggestions about the sledgehammer but you may want to use a piece of wood between the sledge and the deck to prevent localized denting. Another idea is to bolt some angle iron on to keep things straight. Its much more rigid than the flat sheet metal in the deck and may be enough to keep it true if you bolt a couple of pieces along the length. Of course - I dont know what obstructions you have on your deck that may prevent this but just an idea. Key is to start with the measurement and find out where the problem is first.

    I think its down to trial and error now. Best of luck with it.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    1,447
    Location
    South-central Michigan
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    I wouldnt consider 1/2" as terrible on a 54" deck. I have something like that on mine, but it's 72". Are you checking to see if both tips of one blade give the same result, while keeping the other blade fixed? Just as important, and maybe moreso, is front to rear level.

    Most of these large mowers have a more difficult time lifting the grass if you are cutting it long, which may give you somewhat of a haggard look. I guess you could beat one side of the deck up or down to try to improve the level, if you really are sure that is the problem. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2002
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    1,927
    Location
    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    I have a Craftsman 19hp/42" cut with the same problem. And I know exactly how it happened. The box in the ground near the road where the phone lines come in was a couple inches above ground level. The front edge of my deck caught the box and before I could stop, it had the deck bent out of shape. I have tried and tried to staighten it out. I just cannot get the deck to bend back to level. Like yours, my blades are about a half inch apart vertically. Doesn't sound like much, but is sure shows up on the grass. I have about resigned myself to buying a new deck. $100+ [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    Mar 2002
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    572
    Location
    Jackson County, Michigan
    Tractor
    Bolens HT-20

    Default Re: warped mower deck

    Beenthere...The blades I put on were brand new and did stack flat with each other. In fact I dismounted them and checked them again for true after the first cut. I suspect that in it's previous life someone drove over the deck to mount it. Since it's a midmount deck, it would be easier than sliding it sideways. I did check each blade tip by rotating it relative to the next blade tip. Each tip is exactly the same amount off. That's what leads me to suspect the deck housing rather than anything else is the problem. The sledge sounds like it would do the trick as long as I secure the rest of the deck. I'm still considering mounting an old brake rotor to a substantial 5 foot rod. And by transferring the bearing housing bolt pattern to the rotor and bolting the rotor to the deck housing I may be able to 'persuade' it back to 'flat'.

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