Adjusting mower decks?

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  #1  
Old 09-25-05, 05:45 AM
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Adjusting mower decks?

Well I have recently acquired a couple of fixer upper Craftsman lawn tractors and both of them had a few "issues". The first one was pretty much all there but required alot of work. The second one didn't have any mowing deck at all. After much searching I did find a used deck for that ( a new one was over $400!) and managed to get it mounted under the tractor. I'm quite sure,after checking on Sears' website, that this deck isn't the right one but it is a 42" deck that is supposed to be on it. I think it will work o.k. though. My question is what is the correct way to adjust the deck? It has a brackets that are connected to 2 offset bars that is adjusted up and down. And it has 2 - 1/2" rods on the front that can pull the deck forward. There is an offset bar on the back of each of the decks but it doesn't look like either one is adjustable. It seems as though everytime I try to adjust the darn things they seem to cut worse. Maybe its my lawn, it isn't real level in some spots. My neighbor says its because the deck has the mulching type blades on it. Would that make any difference??
 
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Old 09-25-05, 05:12 PM
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toni1595,

I agree with your neighbor ! I suggest a new set of freshly sharpened flat blades.

God Bless,
Dave237
 
  #3  
Old 09-25-05, 05:23 PM
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same here with the blades, but does it have mounting spots for deck wheels? it can really help the quality of the cut as well.
 
  #4  
Old 09-25-05, 08:41 PM
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I've never seen mulching blades cause an uneven cut unless one or both were bent (which could be the case).

There should be a threaded rod holding the offset bar holding either side up. Adjust the nut on these to raise/lower the sides. To raise the front, tighten the nuts on the front hangers (1/2" rods), to lower it, loosen. Do this on a flat surface so you can measure the deck height all the way around and tell when it's level.
 
  #5  
Old 09-26-05, 01:25 PM
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O.K., I think I got it Sunday. After the kids used it last weekend when it was too wet to mow, I figured that was it. But when I tried it Sunday it was still cutting one side too low......... What it is there is 3 sets of holes in the offset adjustment bars. I had to put the right side in the hole closest to the pivot bolt in order to get the deck up high enough to get an even cut. I don't know if anyone is familiar with this setup but, the lower you set the pivoting arm the higher the deck will set. On this particular model the right side tends to set lower than the left. Probably the newer models are different now I don't know for sure. I'd say that this one must be at least 15 years old, maybe 20? Still runs good and all except for buggy keyswitch, ( I have to wiggle it everytime to get it to start), I've just about got it straightened out......Hey Cheese, can you tell by the model number what the year on this is? The number is 917.255574. Its a 38" cut and has a 12.5 HP engine. Well anyway thanks to all for your input, it is appreciated.
 
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Old 09-27-05, 11:45 PM
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Cheese is right. I have never wittnessed a new set of blades cut straighter however, I have saw them cut much better,faster and with much less engine power than old worn out mulching blades. I left the deck adjustment part to the one's whom truly knows how to do so on every mower....

God Bless,
Dave237
 
  #7  
Old 09-28-05, 12:58 AM
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I can't tell by the model#, but if you give me the serial number I can.

This one has a little different setup as far as the side to side adjustment than I described. You can view a diagram of this mower at www3.sears.com. I can't remember off the top of my head how to adjust the side to side level of this deck. You may be able to find an owners manual at the sears website that would describe this procedure.
 
  #8  
Old 09-28-05, 06:41 AM
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Sounds like you are struggling to get side to side level. Have you checked the tires to see if they match in size, and measured from the ground to the center of each axle to see if the tractor itself is level? After 15 or more years, who knows what's been done to this machine? Once side to side level has been established, the quality of cut can usually be improved by adjusting the deck so that the tip of the blade is 1/8" to 1/4" lower in the FRONT than in the REAR. Best of luck if fixing these machines up. It's a good thing to recycle!
 
  #9  
Old 10-01-05, 04:51 AM
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Joe-Yes it has been a struggle. In fact the guy that had this particular mower actually had a small length of jack chain holding up the troublesome right side.It finally occured to me to move the adjustment bar further towards the pivot bolt and that was what really made a difference. Yes, I have read where you should keep the back slightly lower than the front as well.
Dave- I agree sharp or new blades definitely make a difference. When I received this mower one of the blades was bent. Well I had to heat it up to get it straightened and now if you hit anything with it, it will bend again real easy, must have drawn the temper out of it I guess. I'll probably have to buy another blade for it eventually. I found if you keep the deck chute cover pulled up, the grass seems to fly out better and doesn't tend to plug up as much even with the mulching blades.
Cheese- The serial number on the Gray mower is- #091592S 002199.
The green one is Model # 917.255581 Serial #- 063092S 049826.
The two mowers are almost identical except for the color and a few other slight differences, like the shifter is on the rear fender and not between my legs as on the gray mower.... The deck that I found for the green one isn't the corrrect deck because the one pictured on Sears' site doesn't have wheels and this one does. But I've got it placed underneath it and I think it will work. I will have to make a few modifications because it looks like the drive belt is going to rub against one of the lifting bars......I tried to figure out which tractor went with this deck that I bought by putting different model #'s into their system search but, I just couldn't do it. I even contacted Sears customer service and don't think they could even comprehend what I was trying to do. Oh well I'll get it after a while. Thanks for your input.
 
  #10  
Old 10-01-05, 03:44 PM
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toni1595,

I hate to say it but you're correct about the blade. If you heated it enough for it to bend and then allowed it to cool at its own rate; it did lose its temper. It is too soft now and will bend over and over again until it fractures. Also, it will not hold an edge. The blade can be re-tempered however, without the proper quinch medium and proper holding temp it will most likely come out to be way too brittle and could shatter like glass. It's time for new one.

God Bless,
Dave237
 
  #11  
Old 10-02-05, 01:06 AM
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Correct about the blade....replace it.

Both mowers are 1992 models. The grey one was made 9/15/92, and the green one 6/30/92.
 
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