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1026R 1025R 1023E 1 series mower setup and adjustment (pre mid-2020)

283632 Views 382 Replies 137 Participants Last post by  Michael Clark
It seems a few owners haven't gotten their new 1 series tractors equipped with either the 54 or 60D mower setup correctly. This will explain how to do it yourself for the best possible mower performance! ;) Most, if not all, of this information can be found in the John Deere Owner's Manuals for the mower and the tractor. 馃摋 The procedure is the same for the 54" and 60" decks, mechanical or independent lift. There is one additional step for mechanical lift-equipped tractors. More on that later...

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First, you're going to need a few tools. A 1 1/8" wrench, a tape measure, or better yet the JD mower leveling gauge p/n AM130907. The tractor needs to be parked on a smooth and level surface for all of these adjustments.


-This step is for mechanical lift-equipped tractors only- To adjust MMM rockshaft lift strap (located between 3PH rockshaft and MMM rockshaft behind the left rear wheel) you remove the mower and remove the hairpin clips and pins (D) to disconnect the lift links (E) from both lift arms. Raise the 3PH fully. Rotate the mower cut height knob to lock position. Remove the left rear wheel. (You might be able to skip this if you can reach the 3 bolts on the lifting strap.) Loosen the three bolts on the lift strap. Rotate mid-mount rockshaft (B) forward until there is a small gap (A) between the height cam (C) and mid-mount rockshaft (B). Move the lift strap forward to the end of the travel slot and tighten the three bolts. (I'd use 1/16" to 1/8" for a goal for this gap.) Reinstall the left rear wheel and mower.

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First, you want to adjust the side lift links (E) for maximum lift. To do this you'll want to start the tractor and raise the mower all the way. Rotate the mower height adjustment knob to the lock position. Now, look at the mower height cam (C) above the left rear mower latch. It's just behind the left rear tire. You want to see a gap at "A". I've found that a gap of about 1/8" is perfect.

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To get this gap set right you first need to unlock all anti-scalp wheels, turn the mower height adjustment knob to the "install" position, and then lower the deck to the ground. Then remove the hairpin clips and pins (D) and adjust both links (E) up equally. Now you need to raise the mower fully and check for the gap (A) between the height cam (C) and the rock shaft arm (B). Repeat this process until you get close to 1/8".

Here is the gap on my tractor. The next picture shows the mower resting on the height cam "lock" position.

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Now we are going to adjust side to side level. Set your mower height adjustment knob to your desired mowing height and lower your mower. Measure your blade height and adjust the same side links to achieve a level within 1/8" to 1/4". I was able to achieve the same measurement on both sides. I usually mow at 3" and marked the scale accordingly.

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After you've set the level side to side, recheck your maximum height setting. Here is my tractor at full travel, mower resting on the lock position, and install position.

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To adjust the front to rear level we'll need your mower at your desired mowing height. Measure a blade from the front and at the rear. It doesn't matter which blade. The optimal setting is 1/8" to 1/4" front lower than the rear. This reduces friction on the rear of the blades and makes the front of the blade do all of the cutting and discharging. The front draft arms will adjust front to rear leveling. First, lower the deck to the install position and loosen the rear draft arm nuts with the 1 1/8" wrench. (The nuts closest to the mower.) It may help to drive the tractor off of the mower just to loosen the rear nuts. Raise the mower back to the desired mowing height. Tighten the front nuts the same amount (it helps to count flats) to raise the front of the deck. Loosening lowers the front of the deck. Double-check your front to rear level once you got the draft arm adjustment nuts tight.

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The Auto-Connect carrier bearing needs to be adjusted for easy connection as well. If you remove the mower it will be easier. Lower the mower/mower lift arms all the way to the install position. There is an adjustment bolt under the bearing to adjust between perpendicular to the ground to leaning ever so slightly forward. I found this makes for the best connection. (I was unable to find anything from JD regarding this adjustment. If you know differently, please post it so this can be corrected)

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Lastly, you need to adjust your gauge wheels for the proper mowing height. In my case, the pin goes into the top hole. That gives about 3/8" clearance between the wheels and the ground.

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Now it's time to go mow your yard and enjoy your tractor! (y)
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How about one more bad MMM setup story. Had JD service guy out twice to work on my new 1025r, including re-adjusting the deck. A week or so after the last visit I decided to take the deck off for cleaning, and it would not come off. Latches would not unlatch, finally had to use some "persuasion". Then the deck would not come off, finally had to use some "persuasion" on it.

Cleaned it underneath and then tried to re-install and it would not go on, would get about half way and then move with the tractor. Tried several times, always with same results. Finally got off the tractor and looked underneath, the left side looked OK with the pin about half way into the notch. Went around to the other side and looked, and the pin was completely above and riding on top of the notch.

I think it has been documented here that by design the left and right lift pins are different lengths when adjusted correctly, apparently my guy had made them the same length. I don't know how it was working as well as it was.

At this point I decided I would probably be better off to just bite the bullet and set it up myself. I read thru this entire thread (and many thanks to everyone who contributed to it) and got busy. The main thing I didn't understand at first was the strap adjustment between the mechanical and 3pt lift, having never even seen or heard of this strap. I could find nothing about this in my owner's manual, the mower deck manual had a little about adjusting the lift links but nothing about this strap. So thank goodness it was documented here, as this adjustment seems to be the key to most of the problems with this Mickey-Mouse setup.

I removed the rear wheel to get a look at this strap, and then saw that the gap between the height cam and the rock shaft was way too big in the lock position. I then remembered reading here also that some of these straps got installed backwards and guess what? Mine was one of them. So first thing I did was flip this over the right way, JD needs to stamp "This Side Out" on these.

The deck needs to be off to adjust this strap to get the correct gap between the height cam and the rock shaft, but then when the deck is back on I found that the weight of it will cause the gap to decrease quite a bit. I first set a loose 1/8" gap without the deck, but when it was back on the gap decreased to the point of being right on the edge, so that when raising and lowering the deck several times, sometimes the cam could be rotated to lock position, sometimes it couldn't due to the cam dragging on the rockshaft. So I started over, this time using a 1/4" screw as a guage to set the gap, then with the deck back on this would decrease to about 1/8" and allow the cam to rotate freely thru the lock position. This slightly loose gap makes a height difference of 1/4" from max lift to lock position, but I decided to quit while I was ahead and live with that.

From here was no problem adjusting the lift pins for max lift and then leveling. But after all this I was disappointed to find that this thing will only lift to 4" at max height. I went thru and checked several of the positions on the height knob using the JD guage, mine at lock is 3 3/4", H is approx. 3", M is < 1 1/2' (guage only goes down to 1 1/2 so couldn't measure from there down), so since I mow at 3" mine will be set on H and can only lift 1 inch above that, heckuvalot of headache for 1 inch of extra lift. :thumbsdown:
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Your instructions are clearly better than the ones in the D60 manual, but I have a problem with the "Lock" position. According to the instructions, you need to establish a gap between the height adjustment cam and the mechanical stop of about 1/8". Unfortunately, after numerous attempts to adjust the turnbuckles, I realized that they have nothing to do with this gap setting. The mechanical stop is controlled by something else and I haven't figured that out yet. The premise is that if the turnbuckles are sufficiently extended, that this will push the mechanical stop upward, but that's not the case. My mechanical stop is as far up as it can go, even with the turnbuckles removed. Nothing in the manual addresses this. I think that there should be some way to actually lower the cam assembly, but I haven't figured that out yet. The initial symptom was that the mower height was too low, even in the high position. After leveling the blades, the best I can do is 2-7/8" in the high position. I've noticed that several of you have gotten about 3-1/2" and that's about what I need to have for my coral. Fortunately, I didn't have to make a front to back level adjustment. The side to side was hard enough.

Without your "enhanced" instructions, I'm not sure I could have done this correctly and I'm an engineer!
If you have the mechanical lift (deck raises and lowers with the 3-point), it sounds like you may have some of the same problems I did. The key to getting the correct gap setting between the height cam and the rockshaft (which is the mechanical stop) is the adjustable strap that connects the rockshaft to the 3-point lift. This strap is hidden behind the left rear wheel and has 3 bolts that must be loosened to adjust its length, which is what sets the gap. If you have this type of lift, first thing you need to do is make sure the back half of the strap is installed correctly, mine was installed wrong as indicated by this picture:
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I removed and flipped it over as shown in this picture:
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When I first looked at mine the way it was delivered to me, the height cam gap was way too big, causing it to mow way too low, shown here:
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After all my changes and adjustments, this is what the gap looks like:
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Adjusting the strap has to be done with the weight of the deck off the strap so you can slide it, but when the deck weight is back on it will decrease this gap. So if you try and set it right without the deck it will be too tight when you put the deck back on. I found that using 1/4" bolt as a guage to set it without the deck was about right as it would close up about half-way with the deck back on.

As you said, the turnbuckles really have nothing to do with this gap other than they can decrease it if made too short so that the draft arms hit the frame and pull the rockshaft tighter.

Hope this helps.

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I couldn't view your attachments. I'm very interested in what the correctly installed strap looks like.
Sorry about that, I don't know why some pictures show up as attachments and others inline, I uploaded them all the same way. I'll try making them a little smaller here, maybe it's a size thing.

Pics in this order: My initial bad gap, my finished good gap, my strap installed wrong, my strap re-installed right, and a screen grab from a manual posted in another thread here showing this strap installed correctly. Here's a link to that thread with the manual but it is an attachment also of a PDF file so don't know if you will be able to see it or not.


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I've had 2 of the 3 lift set-ups and had problems with both. Started with the mechanical lift, had the problem mentioned above of the gap not staying the same, could set it up and it would work for awhile and then wouldn't go into lock position.

So had the dealer install the independent lift (hydraulic with the switch). Won't go into all the initial problems with it, but the current one is, if the tractor sets for awhile without using the lift, you can push the switch from now on and nothing happens. Must be electrical, right? No such luck, voltage is there but solenoid won't switch till I drive the tractor around for a while, then it will start working and work the rest of the day. It's like the solenoid is sticking inside till it warms up. :dunno::banghead::nunu:
So is this the correct way to install the strap? In looking at JD Parts diagram, they show it installed the incorrect way in the parts listing.
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Interesting, that's the way mine was installed when delivered. But when doing all the adjustments on mine someone posted a picture from the service manual that showed it the other way so I changed it. I now have the service manual and it shows it to be the other way.

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So I don't think anyone really knows how it's supposed to be, and honestly I could never tell that it made any difference on mine. I had the same problems with it installed either way. Finally gave up and went to the independent lift.
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The 3 point lift lever raises and lowers the MMM. The height knob just sets the level that the deck can lower to. You raise the deck with the lift lever, while its raised you rotate the height knob to the level you want and then lower the deck with the lift lever. The deck will stop lowering at the height selected.

Take a look underneath at what the height knob actually does. It only rotates a cam with different steps, you are lowering the deck onto one of those steps.
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