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You only need a hair of a gap. Just enough that you can wiggle or spin that bar. And remember that spring is pulling on it, so pull the horizontal bar out with your hand to see the real gap while you're adjusting the nuts. That screwed me all up for a long time until I realized what was happening.

Also make sure you have done the nudge maneuver with the front arm loosened out first to make sure the rear draft arms are fully seated, before setting that little hair of a gap on the front draft arms.

Once you have the front draft arms with that little hair of a gap and even on both sides, the next step is adjusting the turnbuckles on the back. As you've noticed, you will have to bring those turnbuckles down a bit to compensate for whatever hair you're about to let out of the front draft arms.

This picture is notch 4 (highest) on the deck height knob. 3-7/8 front, 4-1/8 back. As perfectly level as ever and the 1/4" front rake also about perfect. I struggled with cut quality until I actually spent the time to set all this as described. Combined with the gauge wheels being as close to the ground as possible, which is all the way down since I cut high, my cut quality is absolutely beautiful now. It used to look like a hack job.

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It may require leveling all over again, but I'll go through your procedure. The front draft arm has to be bent, since there's at least 1/4" difference in threads sticking out when tightened equally. Something clearly took a major hit with the previous owner, because the vertical tab on the front draft arm that connects to the hanger spring is cracked at the weld and was bent fully horizontal pointing forward. I bent the tab back up 90 degrees to vertical, added the missing adjustment bolt and adjusted the height to 11.4". I'm going to take the arm off and try to straight it back to square. Given the evidence of the hit, there could be other components, including the deck itself that are out of spec. Hopefully though, just the draft arm. Time to put that new monster vise that I bought to work. (y)

The ideal outcome will be near perfect leveling with easy disconnect and connect. I think the key is straightening the draft arm. Will report back soon.
 

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Well that crookedness of the front draft arm is what I was fighting too. The side to side level would change depending on the height or not unlock. Very frustrating. But I finally realized the spring pulls one side of the it tight, making it LOOK like it's tight on that side but it isn't. Pull forward on the bar (or unhook the spring) to make sure it's for real lined up. Once I did that, both side of the front draft arm had equal thread beyond the nuts. It was driving me nuts until I realized what was going on.

I have a keyboard in front of me now so this will be easier than voice typing.

  1. Loosen the front draft arms so there is plenty of wiggle room first
  2. Nudge maneuver to make sure the rear hooks are all the way forward and lock the brake so it doesn't un-nudge.
  3. Adjust the nuts on the front draft arm so they are even with just a hair of gap with the front hooks. Pull forward on the cross bar, because the spring makes it uneven if you don't!
  4. Raise deck all the way up, and lower fully to one of the height adjustment stops. Measure levelness (or lack thereof)
  5. Proceed adjusting rear turnbuckles to get even left/right and the back 1/4" higher than the front (rake).
 

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Got it. I'll pull the draft arm first to check squareness, then follow your instructions.
 

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Hey guys, it's been so long since (2012) I leveled my mower that I forgot most of it. Glad to come back to this thread for a refresher. One question though, I have everything leveled and now I need to adjust the auto-connect carrier, will this adjustment allow the entire carrier to move forward? See my attached photo. I need about a half inch to be able to lock the deck in place. (without going back to adjust the draft arms because I have those where I want the front of the deck to be)

autoconnect.png
 

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I have everything leveled and now I need to adjust the auto-connect carrier, will this adjustment allow the entire carrier to move forward? See my attached photo. I need about a half inch to be able to lock the deck in place. (without going back to adjust the draft arms because I have those where I want the front of the deck to be)
I hate to break it to you but you're not done leveling. o_O

You have the front draft arms WAY too tight if that is happening. You need too loosen the front draft arm horizontal bar all the way forward so it's out of the way. Drive the tractor forward until the rear arms (pictured there) are all the way forward against the hooks tight. Basically, nudge forward gently until you're pushing the deck by the back arms, and lock the brake so it doesn't roll back. Now you can redo the front draft arms, leaving just a hair between the horizontal arm and hooks. The front horizontal bar should be a hair loose from the hooks, not touching or tight. You will need to pull the arm forward with your hand due to the spring. Adjust the nuts to lock the bar into that place evenly on both sides.

Now you can level the deck again and everything will be fine :)
 

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I hate to break it to you but you're not done leveling. o_O

You have the front draft arms WAY too tight if that is happening. You need too loosen the front draft arm horizontal bar all the way forward so it's out of the way. Drive the tractor forward until the rear arms (pictured there) are all the way forward against the hooks tight. Basically, nudge forward gently until you're pushing the deck by the back arms, and lock the brake so it doesn't roll back. Now you can redo the front draft arms, leaving just a hair between the horizontal arm and hooks. The front horizontal bar should be a hair loose from the hooks, not touching or tight. You will need to pull the arm forward with your hand due to the spring. Adjust the nuts to lock the bar into that place evenly on both sides.

Now you can level the deck again and everything will be fine :)
lol thanks, I was afraid that was going to be the solution!
 

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I hate to break it to you but you're not done leveling. o_O

You have the front draft arms WAY too tight if that is happening. You need too loosen the front draft arm horizontal bar all the way forward so it's out of the way. Drive the tractor forward until the rear arms (pictured there) are all the way forward against the hooks tight. Basically, nudge forward gently until you're pushing the deck by the back arms, and lock the brake so it doesn't roll back. Now you can redo the front draft arms, leaving just a hair between the horizontal arm and hooks. The front horizontal bar should be a hair loose from the hooks, not touching or tight. You will need to pull the arm forward with your hand due to the spring. Adjust the nuts to lock the bar into that place evenly on both sides.

Now you can level the deck again and everything will be fine :)
Ok second question, after fixing the draft arms and I go back to level from the beginning, how do I raise the front of the deck to get the front/rear blade heights within 1/8" to 1/4" as mentioned? or do I need to lower the rear more? and if I lower then rear more, then I lose the ~1/8" gap between the height cam and deck arm?
 

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With the front positioned correctly and evenly, you can now adjust the rear turnbuckles for side-to-side and front-to-back leveling. The back of the deck should be about 1/4" higher than the front. If your three point lift is not raising the deck high enough to totally clear the knob cam, you probably need to take some slack out of the linkage behind the left rear tire. Two bars with slots connect the three point lift to the deck lift mechanism. Loosen the three bolts and adjust to take out some slack.
 

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With the front positioned correctly and evenly, you can now adjust the rear turnbuckles for side-to-side and front-to-back leveling. The back of the deck should be about 1/4" higher than the front. If your three point lift is not raising the deck high enough to totally clear the knob cam, you probably need to take some slack out of the linkage behind the left rear tire. Two bars with slots connect the three point lift to the deck lift mechanism. Loosen the three bolts and adjust to take out some slack.
Thanks again. I have the hydraulic deck lift so I don't think it uses the 3pt. The first thing listed on this thread was to adjust the rear turnbuckles and get the max lift, which is what I did. There's about an 1/8" gap between the cam and arm with the cam in the lock position. I have about a half inch difference between front of blade and rear of same blade, I will try lowering the rear a little more with the turnbuckles to get to 1/4 front to back on the blade.
 

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The Operator's Manual provides a good, detailed, installation/adjustment procedure. As to the autoconnect coupler:

1. Park the tractor on a level surface.

2. Lower the autoconnect coupler to the "Install" position.

3. Place a torpedo level across the face of the coupler vertically and adjust coupler for a plumb indication.
 

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