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looking for proper deck leveling procedures. I see a few different manuals on eBay, just want to be sure I’m acquiring the correct manual. A description on one listing had a series or serial numbers that doesn’t look anything like what I have.

I haven’t mowed much with this 318 and deck. But now that my newly planted grass is coming up I’m anxious for a nice lawn. Notice the deck orientation looks terrible. I have a basic understanding of what I need to do…I think. Just want to be sure what I’m doing is correct for my model deck. I did notice the threaded rod/bolt on lift strap is bent, prob not helping?

thanks for any insight
J-
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there's 2 ways to level a deck: the correct way and the quick way!
The correct method is to use the $7 (??) JD deck leveling tool. This slips under the deck and measures the distance from the ground to the deck blades. The deck, irregardless of size, is first lower to stop of the depth height stop, and the sides are then set to be even. One deck lift strap should be solid and one adjustable. Once level side to side, adjust rear approx. 1/4" higher than the front using adjustment of the mule drive arms.

Quick way: This will work fine IF the bottom lip of your deck is not too badly bent/damaged and your blades are parallel with the bottom of the deck. Parallel can be checked with the deck off, turned upside down, and measurements from a straightedge resting of lips to each end of blades. If parallel, mount deck, and drop down to height stop. I place a 2x4 with a piece of 1" on top and level deck side to side. Adjust depth stop so 2x and 1" just slip under the side of the deck with the fixed length strap. Adjust opposite side strap so 2x and 1" fit the same. Next, remove 1" from 2x and add a piece of 5/4...this is 1/4" thicker. Using mule drive screws, adjust so 2x and 5/4 slide under rear lip.

Either method will work and bottom line is deck against depth stop, side to side even, and rear 1/4" higher. Bob
 

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I just use blocks of wood under the blades. The shell is not square.

Set the left to right using the adjustable lift strap.

Set so the outer blades are 1/8-1/4” above the blocks

Adjust the front yoke until the center blade just touches the block.

The gauges didn’t exist when the 50 was in production, I think the manual just says use a tape measure from the blades.
 

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there's 2 ways to level a deck: the correct way and the quick way!
The correct method is to use the $7 (??) JD deck leveling tool. This slips under the deck and measures the distance from the ground to the deck blades. The deck, irregardless of size, is first lower to stop of the depth height stop, and the sides are then set to be even. One deck lift strap should be solid and one adjustable. Once level side to side, adjust rear approx. 1/4" higher than the front using adjustment of the mule drive arms.

Quick way: This will work fine IF the bottom lip of your deck is not too badly bent/damaged and your blades are parallel with the bottom of the deck. Parallel can be checked with the deck off, turned upside down, and measurements from a straightedge resting of lips to each end of blades. If parallel, mount deck, and drop down to height stop. I place a 2x4 with a piece of 1" on top and level deck side to side. Adjust depth stop so 2x and 1" just slip under the side of the deck with the fixed length strap. Adjust opposite side strap so 2x and 1" fit the same. Next, remove 1" from 2x and add a piece of 5/4...this is 1/4" thicker. Using mule drive screws, adjust so 2x and 5/4 slide under rear lip.

Either method will work and bottom line is deck against depth stop, side to side even, and rear 1/4" higher. Bob
This is 100% correct. I used method #1 on my 48" deck for my 332 and NEVER touched again in 20+ years of owning it. Grass cut was always level year after year.
 
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