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Floydster

Got an "F" in Deck Leveling 101

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Floydster
OK, am I stupid or is leveling my AC 912 deck that hard? Finally got the adjusters loose and working. Went to raise deck (which is mowing way too low) so that blades are at 3 1/2" as advised. Raised deck as high as possible with adjusters, measured and can only get front of blade to 3", back of blades to 2 1/4" or so. Got tired of messing with it and figured that with grass growing quick any mow was better than no mow at all. Mowed. Looked at it. Threw up. Looks like I did it with a circular saw. Wife came home and said "it's uneven and looks like it isn't really cut, just bent over"......messing with the adjusters has screwed up the whole deal. Looked at Owners Manual. "If height of "d" is less than "c" then raise "e" to 1/2 height of "f", divide by 2, then find square root of "z" etc.... I dont understand. If I have raised it as much as possible then why is it only going up to 3" in front? Honestly, I dont even know where to start. Don't understand. Manual mentions taking off adjuster with clevis pin and I can't see what that would do at all. HELP HELP!!!! What am I missing???? Stop laughing Fred.

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JBLACK
to Dave C. he'll fix it. First though make sure EVERYTHING is free to move not rusted fast which sounds like your problem. BTW I like 'garbage pizzas' and Mickalobe Light,![ Never know when the F-Mans gonna show up!]bring extra! dlc

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JBLACK
Try extending the bail yokes 5 full turns each. Then turn the height adjusters clockwise all the way. Front tip of center blade should be 1/8"-1/4" higher than rear tip of side blade when all blades are pointing straight ahead. Bail threads should be aproximately equal with each other. Also make sure front tire pressure(12-15 psi) is equal with each other. You will probably have around a 3" cut if all goes well.

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BobG
When you say "bail yokes" I think you mean the horizontal rods that attach towards the front of the deck and the height adjusters are the vertical adjusters on each side towards the rear of the deck with the locking nut, right? (I TOLD you I failed 101!) Maybe I am confused (duh). DLC, notice our friend FO's QUICK repsonse to my question???? Still AWOL 'ol FO!! Send a guy on vacation and he gets carried away. Hey Fred! This ain't body work!!! ITS MECHANICAL! The 912 was owned by a church to mow a cemetary since original purchase which leads me to believe that they lowered the deck as far as possible to cut down (excuse pun) on mowing. Please go back to beginning, what do the horizontal rods adjust? the front of the deck? Height adjusters on each side doing just as named? Do you adjust the front first and back sides last? Also, just how does one measure the hieght of the blades? Any way besides crawling up under deck with a VERY short rule and holding it against ground/tip of blade? Geez I feel so stupid.

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Fred
Hi Brett,

I don't recall how much higher than 3" a 'Sovereign-style' deck can go, but
it IS controlled by the rollers. First: is it level at the present setting? The
front should be just a touch above the rear, 1/4" or less. If it's not, that is
controlled by the adjustment of the reach arms to the front rocker. (The rod ends
thread into the tubes and are locknutted.) With wear that can sometimes be
completely taken up. The deck height is then (obviously, I know) controlled at
the rear. Have you run out of thread on the adjusters? (Are they cranked all the
way down into the trunnions?) How much slop do you have at the rollers due to
shaft OD and roller ID wear? The loss of height equals half the combined wear and
can easily be a half inch or more. Does anything look bent or damaged? Assuming
you assembled everything right, there isn't much else you can do.
Make sure you check it on a flat concrete floor or equal. John Deere has a
handy 'deck-checker'; a yellow plastic arm-with-a-scale-on-a-base thing that sits
on the floor, reaches in under the deck, and measures blade height. I can't
remember what they call it, but it's only a few bucks at JD and works well. (Deck
height gage? Blade height gage?)
This can be solved. If we can't figure it out, there are plenty of
smarter-than-me's on the site.

Best regards
Fred.

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Fred
OK Brett, to continue. When you said the front was higher than the rear, the little bell rang. As Jeff said, back off (lengthen) on the front rod ends until the front is less than 1/4" above the rear. You may have the front too high, which can limit the up-travel on the height screws (screws down [CW], deck up).
Then, forgive me for belaboring the obvious, are the blades on edge-down? (I've done it, and so have others.) Are you SURE that the belt is driving the deck in the correct rotation? (That, too.) The point is, even with a bad height setting it should cut better than you describe. Are the arbors assembled exactly right? The blade adapters should be up VERY close to the arbor housings. (I can't give a number offhand. The blades should be above the deck edge slightly.)
Check it out, come on back. If all else fails, maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to invite Dave to come over for a pizza and a beer; then casually say: "Hey, would you like to see my tractor?". He's alright, and doesn't bite much.

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AdamF
Thanks Fred for the "kind"?? words. I'll bet the belt's driving the wrong way! VERY GOOD F- Man if it's giving that lousy of a cut! Been there...done that! Now the pizza/beers on the Brett-man! dlc

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AdamF
Went to the dealer, had another model there and went over leveling. Now I have a "C". Told me that at best the deck would go as high as 3" which I dont understand. Seems a little low to this novice. Went over the yoke and lifts etc. I think the problem is the left lift is binding and not rotating so it wont raise or lower anything. As for the belt driving the wrong way, I havent touched it since delievery so I dont think that has anything to do with it. I may be exagerating on the bad cut, it wasnt that bad but you could tell a definite difference from before. I think I just screwed up the level. Notice that one side of the rollers is about 3/4 inch off ground, other side is on the ground and what does that tell me??!! Havent had time to mess with it but will this morning as soon as Fred gets here with more rust reformer, egg mcmuffins and coffee. Uh huh, somebody WAKE ME UP!!! DLC lets change the forum to Simply Abuse Fred Forum, wadda ya think?

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Guest
Come on Brett, give us ALL the clues up front! OK, point by point.
As I said (hint, hint), you won't get a heck of a lot more than three inches of cut height.
If the lift screws turn and are assembled right, they HAVE TO drive the rollers down.
As for the belt rotation, humor me and check it. CAREFULLY, over a CLEAN FLOOR WITH NOTHING TO GET SUCKED UP, from IN FRONT of the deck chute, take a look at the discharge blade as someone else eases or jogs the PTO clutch a little.
(And you did check the blades for correct installation, didn't you?)
Did you get the front end BACK DOWN to less than 1/4" above the rear so that it doesn't bind up when trying to get full lift?
Are the front adjustments approximately equal?
With the deck on a LEVEL floor, from on your belly like a snake to get a GOOD sight line, are the arms from the adjust mechanism to the roller shaft all lined up nice and even, or is something skewed?
NOW THEN, WHY is one end off the floor? Is the (implement) lift traveling full-down? If it's manual, are you throwing the lever ALL the way forward to cut? Does the lift cable go slack at "full down"? The deck MUST ride on ALL the rollers or something is still wrong!
One more thing; the deck hanger on the axle has two sets of holes, right? Do you have the front rocker pinned to the SAME two holes, left and right?
Jump in here guys; have I forgotten anything? GIVE! Brett needs a little help.
As a last resort Brett, invite Dave over for pizza and beer (I hear he likes "Mickey" - the man has no taste!).
"Still-with-you(but-don't-know-why)-Fred"

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Al
Deck Cuts. My approach to the cut problem would be to start with 3 new blades. Install them, tip the deck upside down and turn each blade untill it is aligned with the blade next to it. Check that the tips register are the smae height. Then turn one blade 1/2 turn and check the register. If it is higher on one tip than the other you have a bent arbor, then do this with the blade adjacent to the one you just did, until you have done all three blades. If the blades register great. then check the old ones the same way to see if they are bent. I f the new blades don't register note which way they are off. If one arbor, [most common center] is low to blade on the riight and high to one on the left, the deck housing is bent. If this is so reomve the top covers, determine of the housing needs to go up or down and on which side. Get a hardwood 2x4 about 18 inches long and a 5 lb or more sledge hammer and using the 2x4 like a punch bend the deck at the bolt circle on the correct side up or down as needed untill all of the blade tips register. No amuont of asjusting will help until all 3 blades rotate on the same plane. when the blades are OK inspect the linkage for wear and slop. if you have any sloppy spasers in the height adj. linkage replace them. Set the yokes as in previous posts evenly. adjust the rear adjusters to the same height, you can tell by the slot they run up and down in. Put the mower on and set the two side blades in a straight line[pparallel to the front axle] and measure the outside tips to the floor. They should be equal, if not something is bent or your rollers are worn on one side more than the other. [not uncommon] If they are turn all three blades straight ahead. Measure from the floor to the front tip of the front blade to the rear tip of the side blade. The front shoould be 1/8 to 1/4 in higher. I find that a couple of bolts about 4 inches long with threads full length work well for this. I just put them on the floor and with my index finger run the nuts up until they touch the bottom of the blade at the sharp edge. Use one for the rear and one for the front, put them side by side and you can see exactly where you are at. You can do this by feel without ever looking under the deck. Next remove the idler arm and be sure the spacer it pivots on is free. If its rusted 90% are either the idler can't pivot or it is pivoting on the bolt. If the bolt is pivoting with it it will cut a hole in the mower housing where the nut is turning. If it is not pivoting youur spindle belt is slipping and the outside blades are running slow and not picking up and cutting the grass properly. We remove this idler arm and lube it or put anti-sieze compound on it on every mower we service. Same on 4000 and 5000 tightener arms. If you get these things right nobody else will mow like your Simplicity. I have to "STRAIGHTEN" a number of housings every season. One thing don't let the drive pully be on the floor if you are adjusting the housing with a sledge and 2x4, you will damage the groove. [not possible to straighten] Use blocks to raise the housing off the floor when you are pounding on the bottom. If you are pounding on the top side just let it lay on the floor. Sorry this is so long, hope you can benefit from it. Just ask it it is not very clear. Good luck, AL

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tej
Well just back from vacation and I get on the net and learn everything there is to know about adjusting mower decks. Great message tread and Thanks Al and Jeff for sharing your experience with us all, you to Fred. Almost inspires me to adjust my deck, no not really it cuts great now. After I mow my lawn I stand and look down on my neighbor's lawns. Their lawns are stripped with every mower pass clearly visible, one neighbor has an IH, one a Sears, and one I don't even know. Then you look at my lawn and it looks like one even cut across the whole yard and that's the Simplicity cut. Even impresses my wife and she cares not about tractors or mowers. Tim

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tej
The rear slots in the back (where the decks raises up and down from the turnhandles) should have the locknuts loose enough so that the flat washers spin free.
The other thing you could do is take the mower assy to the dealer (if he has an old deck hitch fixture) and let him put it in the ball park for you. It was nothing more than a small stand with different holes drilled in it to accomodate the different hitching heights used on different models. You can even measure your front hitch height to verify the correct height. If something is bent you'll want someone who has some experience doing the job. What concerns me is that it was OK before you adjusted it? So unless you ran into something during use it seems it is a reassembly problem. You could switch mowers with Tim as he is lookong for a reason to "fine tune" his mower to a LMCM - lean mean cutting machine! What do you say Tim?

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Fred
Thanks guys, been offline a couple of days. Will take me a year to check out al of the above, HOWEVER- got it cutting better, soon as I adjusted the front to back height it solved problem. Front was about an inch above rear!. However again, still havent solved the non-working right height adjuster. You can crank it up and down and the only movement is at the very end of cranking it counter clock, it moves the right side of the deck down a little. Beyond that it doesnt move up but a little. No binding on lock nuts, took it apart, lubed, everything. With it all apart I cant even push it up or down, it just stays there. Nothing looks bent. But it is mowing nicely again. Front height is a little higher than 2 3/4" with back at 2 1/2". Cant seem to get it anyhigher without getting the front/rear to far apart. Anyway, rollers are in good shape, not too much play. Maybe I should just be happy with it the way it is but I sure would like to cut my yard a little higher. Thanks for all the help and advice. Is this the worlds greatest and friendliest tractor site or what???? Oh, dlc, Fred never showed up with the breakfast. Go figure. Best, Brett

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Guest
Hey - nice guy! We're all here rackin our brains out as to why you aren't getting that "picture perfect cut" and your not even on-line following these pecise step-step hand written, brain storming ideas we're all coming up with! Where do you live? I think I will come over there and scalp your lawn with a Sears! :) Just kidding of course - glad you got things all "leveled out".

BTW - You will find that the height adjusters must work together. If one side is left up the other side will not lower down very much until the opposing side is lowered also.

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Guest
As a side note I have raised the cutting height up to 3.5 + inches but it invovles cutting and welding the slots and raising the center mower pulley up 1/2". It would be a good idea to produce a bolt-on kit to raise the height of cut - hey I might have something here! Anyone interested?

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Guest
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