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

283636 Views 382 Replies 137 Participants Last post by  Michael Clark
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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.

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-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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I attempted to do this today, and before I go any further, I want to ensure I am doing this correctly. Here is what I've done so far:

1) Checked and confirmed that my surface was level
2) Adjusted pressure of tires
3) Checked for proper clearance between height adjustment cam and the rockshaft arm. Looked good, although I am not sure it is lined up perfectly left to right.

Here is where I am stuck. When I went to do the side to side level, the deck was off by 3/4 of an inch. The left side (sitting on the tractor) was the higher side. No big deal...this is the entire point of leveling, right? Except when I lower the deck from the highest position down to the desired height, the left side (the higher side) stops before the right side, which looks like it's twisting. Again, this might be precisely because of it being out of adjustment.

I have confirmed that the blades are not bent.

Doing the installation and removal of the deck is very easy, and I have no issues there. One thing I noticed is that the front draft arm does have the proper gap when in the installed position, but that gap disappears once the deck is raised. Is that correct? I also noticed that the front arms are not centered between the frame hooks, but I don't think this matters since the deck is connecting and locking properly.

I know that I should probably just go ahead and level this thing, but seeing the deck twist, i.e. the left side hits the stop but then the right side keeps going, kind of threw me off. I wanted to confirm I should proceed before starting to adjust stuff that throws everything off even worse.

Thanks for the help!
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Thanks, guys. I was able to get it all taken care of today. I think the twisting I was seeing was nothing more than the deck being out of level. I don't really notice any twisting now.

It wasn't difficult, but it sure was a pain in the butt. After I got the side to side done, the front to rear was off by over an inch! It took a few rounds of loosening and tightening the front draft link nuts to get it right.
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You are aware that front to rear are not supposed to be perfectly level? Front should be lower than the rear. Being first contact going forward, it does the initial cutting. The rear of the deck lifts the cut grass and grinds it up. It鈥檚 described in your MMM manual.
Yes, it is set at 1/4" higher in the rear.
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