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Craftsman Riding 42" Cuts two different heights


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05-21-06, 01:38 PM   #1  
family3
Craftsman Riding 42" Cuts two different heights

I purchased a used 2 year old 42" 16.5 Hp Craftsman Riding Mower. When I first cut, it was not cutting very good, pulled the blades off and there I thought the problem was, blades were somewhat bent, slightly though. I replaced them with brand new blades and it is even worse.
When I mow a strip, I look back and the left side is higher then the left side, the outer edge is deeper yet.
I looked at the deck area that holds the deck from under the mower and the screw is setting exactly in the same spot from the bottom up, therefore thinking it would be sitting correct. I used a level and placed it on the middle of the deck and it is off, but the rubber cushion above the screw are all sitting in the same spot on both sides. If I move the screw and the rubber up to get the deck level, it gets worse.
What am I missing? Is there something that needs leveled that I do not know about? I thought the two bolts that hold the deck would be set and if they are positioned the same, the deck would then be free to move up and down with the terrain.
My grass looks like heck, a bad haircut with two mohawks.
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

 
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05-21-06, 01:55 PM   #2  
Try checking the air in all four tires,If the tires is lo on one side or the other there's no way it'll cut level.

 
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05-21-06, 04:22 PM   #3  
family3
Thank you! Checked the air, back are right on 10 and fronts were 14 and 12 which 14 is the recommended amount.
Must be something I am missing. I did hit a corner of my concrete when I first got it, could that have twisted something?
What I see is there is two screws and bolts with the rubber that control the leveling and one bar in the back that is centered, I have both sides hanging at the same postion on those bolts, but it still is cutting wrong.
I just came back from running a strip and one side is still lower cut then the other side, blades are new.
I am not mechanical at all and have spent several hours looking over the deck and how it hangs and found nothing to be wrong.
When the ground is uneven isnt those bolts and the deck suppose to move with the ground to get an even cut?

Any other suggestions?
Thank you!

 
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05-21-06, 04:54 PM   #4  
Check the blade spindles [sometimes called mandrels or quills] for damage. These are the cast aluminum pieces between the belt pulleys on the top of the deck and the blades on the bottom. Carefully inspect the bottom of the spindle right above the blade mounting saddle. If the bearing is gone or not supported properly, the shaft will tilt in allowing the tip of the blade lower on one side. This condition will be really evident if you look under the deck with the engine off while someone else moves the blade engagement lever for you.

 
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05-21-06, 05:32 PM   #5  
family3
Thank you. I checked and did as you said and I do see the lower side is hang allot looser then the side that is cutting even.
But, I see no movement on th spindles. I even took the blades back of to make sure the star on those spindles and the star on the blade were matched ok. So I am really looking at the metal piece that turns the blades that comes up to the top of the deck, correct?

 
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05-21-06, 10:32 PM   #6  
Look at the piece that holds the shaft with the star to the deck. It's the mandrel housing. It has 3 bolt holes to mount it to the deck, and fins on each leg with the bolt hole. One of these legs is probably broken. You can replace the whole mandrel, or just the housing. The housing should be around $20.00 at a small engine repair shop. The whole thing would run around $50 to $60.


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05-22-06, 02:50 AM   #7  
I think you are getting close. I don't exactly know which style of spindle houseing you have but they all have the same functions. The blade is attached to the bottom of the driveshaft with a bolt or nut. Just above that is the mandrel housing. Hidden inside that is the lower bearing. You will find the damage in this area, either the housing or the bearing. I could only find the style of mandrel my mower uses to illustrate the area I am talking about.


 
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05-22-06, 03:02 AM   #8  
Also to check is that the blades are setting squarely on the star spindle shafts. I've seen countless times that they are not and this will greatly set the blade(s) off level. If they (the blades) have been misaligned (with the star spindle) and then tightened the nut holding the blade on, you surely will have ruined the star spindle and will then want to replace such.

 
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05-23-06, 11:57 AM   #9  
family3
Thank all of you.
I have torn it apart and the spinals are not bent. The star is ok too. Since I can honestylt say I am not a mechanical person, could the deck be off, therefore allowing the different cuts.
I put it all back together and ran a strip each blade is cutting at a different level Left side ___
Right side -----
Since the left side did hit the curb and the left side blade was bent, I replaced both blades and still the uneven cut.
I was looking at the two screw and bolts that hold the deck on with the rubber above the bolt that allows it to move up and down with the ground surface are in the same position on that bolt. I placed a level on the deck and it is off somewhat, but the deck itslef is not made level across either.
Anyone got any other things I can look at? I am very confused witht his, the blades are new, the spinals are not bent.
Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!

 
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05-23-06, 02:53 PM   #10  
Post back with the chassis ID numbers so we can get you in the ball park for adjusting the deck level.

 
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05-23-06, 04:04 PM   #11  
family3
Thank you. Were do I find this number please?

I did tighten the screws on the deck bolts and used a level in the center front of the deck, but one bolt shows about 1/2" thread and the other does not show any. This doesnt sound right to me. ?
I ran another strip, cut good, but on some uneven grass, the blade is still cut down some into one spot and on the other side it is higher, like when I get on a tilt, the blade shifts and cuts crooked.

Sorry to bug you guys with all this. I have trying to fix it myself and being terrible at mechanicals, it is probably something you guys could fix in a heartbeat and I am taking up your time.

I do appreciate you info. Will go look for that number right now.

TY

 
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05-23-06, 04:17 PM   #12  
family3
I think may be it. Under the seat.
917 2711141

On the spindels, I took them apart and they turned without any friction or uneven motion at all. The stars are fine also and the blades are tight against the star.

 
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05-23-06, 05:07 PM   #13  
i don't think thats it i entered that number at sears and it said we could not find any infomation on that number

 
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05-23-06, 05:34 PM   #14  
family3
sorry

917 271141

 
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05-23-06, 08:36 PM   #15  
Maybe a silly question, but could the low blade be on upside down? Generally these decks usually show the same amount of thread on the adjuster bolts when the deck is level, unless the deck has been through some major trauma. Is it level from front to back? The left side is frontward of the right side a bit, and if the front is lower than the back, it would cut low on the left side.


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05-24-06, 01:00 AM   #16  
Posted By: family3 sorry

917 271141
right number that one works i'll see if i can track down the manual.

 
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05-24-06, 01:22 AM   #17  
Ok heres a parts list of the mower deck hope it helps sears would not let me view the manual so i had to settle for this



Last edited by lexmarks567; 05-31-06 at 12:52 AM.
 
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05-24-06, 01:24 AM   #18  
I can see from the illustration that there is no place on the top of the deck to check for level, but it may be possible to lay a level on the lower lip along the back of the deck.

I think you may have to remove this deck. Turn it upside down on the driveway and carefully inspect the blades and supporting housings. With the two blades aligned, use a long straight edge and see if you can see where the low side has a problem. Also check the ring [Reference number 16 in the mower deck illustration.] above the spindle housing. While the deck is off, inspect the lift machinism bars and rods. You may have tweeked something hidden up under the chassis.

While it is common that the adjusting rods will be close to the same adjustment on each side, it is not always the case.

 
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05-24-06, 02:06 PM   #19  
family3
I hit the curb pretty hard on the deck and it may have bent something.
You right, it is hard to check with a level as the deck top is not really level itself.
I am going to the illustration right now. I surely appreciate all the hekp you all have done for me.
Will take the deck apart and let you all know. I did check the spindels and they turned rather easily with the blade and top belt pulley off, but that may not mean anything.

* This mower cut prefectly! until I hit that curb, now it is low on the left and higher on the right side, and the main thing I see more than anything is if you get on a tilt or uneven ground, it does not cut even, therefore, am I correct in thinking it may be the deck that is not shifting with the uneven ground?

Do I have two problems then?
Deck not moving with uneven ground and the high and low cutting?

Thank you all for your time.

 
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05-24-06, 02:22 PM   #20  
family3
I do not remember no 16 even being on this unit and also would no. 94 roller have anything to do with the uneven ground and the chopped cutting?
Also I do not remember when I put this back together any no 37 or 150 on the top of the pulley, only the no 40.
Is there a place I can see the deck lift bars and bolts etc in a picture?

I am going to tear it apart and turn it upside down tomorrow and see if the area where the star is is level with both sides.

So should the mechanism turn freely without any sound or friction with the blade and pulley off?

TY

 
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05-24-06, 02:26 PM   #21  
you said you got it used maby those parts are missing and that is causeing the problem i will look up the other parts.

 
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05-24-06, 02:31 PM   #22  
heres the lifting part

http://www.coolimagehosting.com/uploads/2785415fce.jpg

 
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05-24-06, 07:12 PM   #23  
family3
Thank you.

Now I wonder if I should adjust 32 with the lever 29 all the way down or all the way up. You would think the 19 bars would be only even if the 32 bolts were on 12 even. Right now, with the level on the back, one bolt is 3/16" higher than the other to get the deck even.

Something is telling me I may have more than one problem.
With this mower cutting two different levels and then on uneven ground it cuts like a bad hair cut, maybe there are two problems.

I mentioned before, before I hit that curb it was perfect, something moved or changed once I hit that curb edge.

 
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05-25-06, 10:07 AM   #24  
as of adjusting the deck i don't know you could try it but i've never worked with ridding mowers just push and self-propelled you did not say before that you hit the curb that could be the problem right there you problely broke or bent somthing on the deck.

 
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05-25-06, 08:02 PM   #25  
family3
Yes, in post no 3 I mentioned I hit the curb.

I didnt get time today to take the deck off. Will do so and get back.

 
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05-30-06, 02:42 PM   #26  
family3
Ok I took the deck off, laid it down and the only place it is bent is on the edge of the deck.
I turned it over and the blades and spindles are level too.
The arms arm not bent either.

So what do you guys think it is? With nothing bent, the spindles level, new blades etc.

The only thing I cannot figure it the deck and cutting is suppose to move as the ground shift or becomes uneven, correct? Well, it is not. Could it be something else?

 
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05-31-06, 01:36 AM   #27  
You need to get this thing pulled up on a good flat spot, like a concrete slab, and measure the distance between the ground and the blade tips with the baldes in different positions until you get to within 1/8" on all measurements.


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06-02-06, 05:56 AM   #28  
I just got a used Craftsman 42" cut mower that was doing the same thing. The right side was cutting higher than the left side.
I fought with the adjustments on it for awhile until I got to looking at the bottom of the deck by the shute. There is something like a skid plate/ opening support that is held on by 4 bolts that was bent down. The people that had it before had hit something and bent it. It was dragging the ground and would not let the deck level out. I pulled it off and now I get a level cut. I will straighten the piece of metal out and put it back on the deck.

 
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06-03-06, 02:20 PM   #29  
John Deere makes a "NEAT"gadjet that is perfect for leveling decks.
I've had one for a number of years.It's about $10.00.The best way I can describe it's looks is a cross between a see-saw and a tape masure.Yau put it on the ground beside the deck and slide a arm up to the blade tip and a pointer points to the height.

 
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06-04-06, 07:11 PM   #30  
family3
After taking it apart and looking at it from all sides, even upside down and seeing nothing bent, I lloking at two things I think.
1. Like above, the shaft that holds the blade is not working correctly
2. The deck should move up and down and tilt with uneven ground..? correct, this one is not for some reason and I looked on Sears sight and elsewhere and there is nothing I can find that shows the proper position of the two screws and bolts that hang down holding the center of the deck on each side.
Does anyone know of any sight I can see this please?

 
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06-04-06, 07:40 PM   #31  
my two cents...decks..




my two cents.........
I have 38' w/13hp Briggs that almost drove me nuts..(I don't have far to go).
I tried it all...adjusting hanging bolt nuts to the same position you name it, but that didn't work for me.
I had to adjust 'em till the grass cut leveled out.
the 38" didn't have wheels on it. I fabricated some brackets and added wheels that helped.

I can't remember if the 42" had wheels or not. the folks I got it from used a lot of fertilize and didn't wash the deck off after use and it rusted out around one spindle. I took it off to take it to the shop to fix and somebody stole it before I had the chance.

I have to pull the deck off the 38, since the rearend went out on it, & put it on the 42. I hope it will work, I'll know by this time tomorrow.
This seems to be the only strong point on these mowers to me.I think they used the same design for years.
You know how our great American engineering has become.....if it will work and hold up.....change it!

I'm sure repairmen love 'em.

I bought the 2nd, like a dummy, the same reason I bought the 1st one......cause it was like new and cheap. butt my last rodeo.
I think they are built by AYP American Yard Products.

hope it helps,
bill

 
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07-25-11, 10:00 AM   #32  
Adjusting your mower deck

Craftsman has a video that shows you how to level your deck.
Craftsman

 
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07-25-11, 10:45 AM   #33  
Five year old thread.....

 
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