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mcd

Deck Leveling

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mcd

I really need to work on the mower height. Mine is cutting extremely low and when I get to uneven ground the side of the deck will scrape the ground up sometimes.

I don't think the rollers or bar have ever been replaced on my mower. I know this has been covered plenty before but I just want to verify I buy the correct items. From what I have gathered to replace the bar it's best to just buy a 5/8" bar from Lowes and weld on collars/set screws. As for rollers, would these or these be fine? The other part of the equation is my biggest question. The turnbuckles. I don't think these have ever been adjusted so they are STUCK where they are currently set. Is there any DIY replacement I could build or any online store that sells a replacement for a reasonable price? The only ones I have found are quite expensive.

 

 

Mower deck.jpg

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Tom45

Looking at the picture, it does not appear that the roller bar is adjusted all the way down.  Loosen the two bolts on each roller bar and screw the adjusted to fully lower the rollers.  Then re-tighten the bolts.  These decks never cut very high, only about 2 1/2 to 3 inches with the bars fully down.  Wear of the rollers or bar will affect this.  

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Talntedmrgreen

Unless your bar is damaged, it is unlikely it needs replaced.  For replacement rollers, I prefer the first selection you show to the second.  The hollow plastic type seem to wear faster in my experience and don't hold up as well.  One method folks have used to help with cut height increases, are larger diameter rollers.  Look for 3" stock from Mcmaster Carr, Amazone etc to add 1/2" of cuting height.  Your OEM rollers were 2-1/2", but likely have worn down some.  


To me it looks like your roller bar is adjusted quite low...might have a little more room to go.  I put a large crescent wrench on the adjuster when I have them get stubborn on me.  With a little lube on the threads, put the adjust handle through the loop on the wrench and apply some leverage.  Not too much if it's real stubborn, but I bet it turns.  Work it back and forth as you go to free up those threads.  It is possible the nuts are tightened as Tom mentions...they shouldn't' be.  They are lock nuts, so they won't fall off.  Leave them just snug enough to take slack out of the assembly, but not tight enough to lock the bar.  If you do, your adjusters won't turn.

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PhanDad

If the adjusters are heavily rusted (your's don't appear to be), I remove them from the tractor and put the handle in a vice and use PB Blaster or similar rust breaker liquid and soak and then work the hex shaped "nut" becomes free.  I'll remove the hex nut and chase the threads.

Also, I've found on some decks that I've came across over the years, the PO will tighten the lower roller bar nuts tight to keep the roller bar locked in position - although as others stated, it's usually all the way down for the highest cut.  

 

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PhanDad
1 hour ago, Talntedmrgreen said:

For replacement rollers, I prefer the first selection you show to the second.

Josh, I believe both selections are hollow plastic roller.  If the first selection is a true Simplicity part, the end not pictured is also ribbed ("hollow").  I don't think Simplicity sells the old school solid rubber rollers.  The last longer rollers for older decks I bought from a dealer were still solid rubber, but who knows how long they were sitting on the shelf.

 

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mcd

Thanks guys. I ordered a new set of rollers and I'll try fighting with the turnbuckles again. I'm positive that I tightened those bolts down as much as I could when I reassembled everything after the restore. My mistake but now I understand why you wouldn't want to tighten them all the way. 

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bnolte

The turnbuckles do need to be tight, but I would use a bit of Neverseize or grease on the threads. That mower deck gets bounced around a lot, plus gets the vibration from the mower spindles as well. 

 

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ShaunE

I lock the lower nuts as well after they are adjusted down.  Vibration & slop lead to wallowed out slots.  Once they are adjusted to the maximum cutting height, there should be no reason to adjust them again.  Anti-seize is a good idea for making sure they stay free for future disassembly.

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Bill725

I unscrewed the adjuster/turnbuckle out and threaded a 3/8 nut to use as a locknut after adjusting the blade height. I also use a 2-1/2" X 2" short piece of angle iron to set the blade height. I set at 2-1/2" for spring and summer and 2" in fall before winter. If I remember, at 3" a Sovereign deck will not float.

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brokenwrench

when i was setting up new AC garden tractors at the dealership i was taught how to set these up. we has 4  short 2 x 4 blocks and two 1/4 inch shims

 we adjusted the front 1 1/2 with the outer blades pointing front and back  and the rear of the blades 1 3/4 inch for close cut and 2 inches front and 2 1/4 inches on the rear. for normal cut

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Gary

I added bronze bushings (3/4 x 5/8) to both ends of all of the rollers.  The o.d. of the rollers will wear down, but the i.d. will not waller out.  I've used this method for several years, and have been well pleased.  I also welded 5/8 i.d. set screw collars to each adjuster.  When you need to remove the 5/8 bar, it makes it a whole lot easier.

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PhanDad
1 hour ago, Gary said:

I also welded 5/8 i.d. set screw collars to each adjuster.

I like this idea very much.

And for those of us that don't weld, I'm thinking a set collar on each side of the normally welded arm would work just as well as a single set collar welded on.  

For added toughness, I'm thinking use this type of set collar:

5b59da086ff80_SplitSetCollar.JPG.b2df2b9d3df666c7782666e40b35b147.JPG

 

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acken

I didn't go back to look in the book, but I recall the blades are set higher in front than rear (using the 1/2" clevis end).   This would give it a two stage cut, should be more accurate.  Then blades are turned to the side and leveled with adjusters at rear of deck.

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Bill725

You are correct, the front of the blade higher than the back. Remember, the front side of the blade is also used to move the clippings toward the exit chute.

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brokenwrench

you want the back of the blade 1/4 higher than the front so the blades are tipped down in the front so you dont double cut. level for mulching.

 

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Bill725

My Sovereign Operators Manual states in the Leveling The Mower section, "The rear measurement of the outside blades should be 1/8" - 1/4" LESS than the measurement for the front tip of the center blade."

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Gary

Yes indeed, you want the all the blade tips facing the rear of the deck, and the rear tips (at the back of the deck), should be 1/8 to 1/4" lower, than the front tip (at the front of the deck).

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