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Discussion Starter #1
Noticed a couple weeks ago my 60 inch mower deck wasn’t mowing quite right. Sure enough, the deck wasn’t level. Before my next mowing, I leveled it 3 inches on each side using the turnbuckles. After I mowed, I measured again and the left side dropped 1/2 inch. The turnbuckles can’t turn by themselves so how is this possible? Any help is much appreciated. Thanks.


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Only guessing you have 1026-1025 or 1023, with 60" deck.

If so had the same problem when I owned my 1026 with 60" ...

Same thing would happen to me, dealer would come and adjust the deck , after I had mowed maybe 30 mins deck would be out of adjustment..

So happy when I traded 60" for a 54"

We tried (dealer and I ) for over 6 months trying to keep the deck level.. we changed everything up under the tractor at least once.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, sorry, I have a 2016 1025r. Aren’t the 60 and 54 inch decks the same mechanically? I’ve read a lot about these decks not being set up correctly from the dealer and how to fix them, like the sticky thread in this forum, but I haven’t read much about the decks getting out of level, even after one mowing.


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It was a constant fight to keep the deck level on the 1026R that I owned a few years ago.
 

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In short.. I'm going to say 2 things:

1) If you level the deck with it hanging from a specific depth setting, it should stay at the same "levelness" when you set any other heights.
2) If you level the deck with it hanging from the lift (meaning a depth setting on the knob is not set or it hangs above the set height) there will be a difference when you do lower the deck against the height setting.

There is difference in level, between resting on a depth knob setting, or just hanging from the lift.. if you set it one way, then check it in the other.. there will be a huge difference.

The long version...my observation and thoughts..

My Brand New (3.4 Hours) 1023e does something odd... I can see why, and will talk to my dealer about fixing it(maybe...).

My issue might bring you insight into yours...I'll try explain what I see...

I got my tractor home, and immediately leveled the deck (I'm a little OCD..) at 2.5 inches, with the height of the deck controlled by using the 3 point lever to put the deck where i wanted it to level it. ( I did this, without setting the depth knob..it was at the lowest, or mount/dismount, setting.)

After I got done leveling it, I set the deck height knob to the number that hung the deck closest to 2.5 inches when measured on the chute side(right).

What I discovered when I re-checked my work.. was an unlevel deck, by more than an inch!! ... I thought, "how can this be i just spent an hour tinkering til it was perfect???"

The system parts...
1) The deck setting knob acts as a variable spacer(stepped cam?) between the left frame, and a tab on the left side rockshaft lever.

2) The left side rockshaft lever (the left adjuster/hanger hangs from this) is not a solid part of, but is keyed to, the deck rockshaft. It is very, very, loose on the rockshaft.
(you can rattle it freely when there's no weight on it..it turns maybe 2 degrees without the shaft being engaged)

3) The arm that comes forward from the 3point hitch to lift the deck, connects to the rockshaft via a solidly welded arm in the center.

4) The right side rockshaft lever (the right adjuster/hanger hangs from this) is tightly keyed on the shaft.

When I pull the lever to raise the deck (from hanging at a set position on the depth knob..say 3... ), I notice the right side comes up first, then the left side lifts (not symmetric at all). When I drop the deck against the depth setting (lets say 3) , I notice the left side stops dropping first, then the right continues to drop another inch.

This is because:
When hanging from a depth setting, the rockshaft and right arm, are controlled by the left arm... it's loose, so they get to spin a little more after the left arm stops against the depth control "cam" .. this allows the right side to drop further than the left.

When hanging from the lift, both arms are controlled by the rockshaft center arm... so both the left and right arms hang from the shaft evenly (not from cam position at all...)

SO.. if I am right... and you want consistently level deck, you have to set the deck level with the deck hanging from a depth setting..pick one and drop the deck on it, then level it..
If you level it without doing that.. when you do set a level.. it will be different.

It's a crappy set up... Deere needs to correct this or offer a way to tighten the left arm to the shaft. (Or maybe just mine is loose)

Good (expensive) news... If you buy the individual cylinder lift for the deck.. it looks like that mounts to the left arm, and this issue should go away as the load would always hang from that left arm.

Or.. I'm outta my mind... (or both)
Pics...
Left side
left arm.jpg

Right Side
right arm.jpg
 

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On my gen 1 1026R, the mower mid mount rockshaft was not one piece. It had some movement in it and allowed some rock. This could still be the case, but the deck should just hang off it, not be twisted.

Check your deck. Probably nothing wrong, but make sure it’s straight still and the blades and spindles aren’t messed up.
 

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Just found this video...it shows exactly the concern I was talking about.

It doesn't say as much about left right leveling as i had to say, ...but does talk about the same slop... the gentleman did a nice job on his video.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
There’s definitely slop in how my deck lifts and lowers. Both sides do not come up at the same time. The first time I leveled it, I leveled it at its highest setting. I assumed if it was level at one height, it would be level at all heights. Boy was I wrong. That’s why I decided to level it at the height I mow at, 3 inches. I think I’m going to start from square one and go through everything to make sure it’s set up correctly. I’ve been hesitant to do this, because my mower has always attached very well via the auto-connect. I don’t want to do something to make it worse! I will also check the blades and spindles as Jason suggested. Thanks BWV for the great write-up about your own experiences.
 

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I have the hydraulic cylinder that lifts the deck. But it failed and seized up. I changed it to an aftermarket dual action cylinder. So now I have drive up as well as down. When driven down I can load up against the cam to keep the set position from changing.

You gotta realize the setting height you set the deck to be level at is only good at that height. I cut my grass the same height all the time, so no issue. The 4 guide wheels GOTTA BE WITHIN 1/4” OF THE GROUND TO BE OF ANY USE. I think with the knob pointing at the “H” the guide wheels are in the second from top hole. Also the front of the deck and the rear of it need to be level regardless of what the book say or others claim. The front bail bar is what keeps the front level with the rear and that is the key to level at the particular height setting one selects. Otherwise the 4 guide wheels won’t help you.

From what I read here and others and my personal experience the separate cylinder system is less of an issue to set the height level. Also if you run into anything in the yard the set up is easy to upset.

Now understand this is all my own experience and each year I just have to install the deck after winter and has NOT required any releveling. I think these 60” decks cut so nice the lawn look like a carpet.
 

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From what I read here and others and my personal experience the separate cylinder system is less of an issue to set the height level. Also if you run into anything in the yard the set up is easy to upset.
Yup.. as the seperate lift cylinder controls that left arm.. the problem I described would disappear..
The arm would still be loose.. but level would be level.

The Deere Cylinder seized?? That's INSANE ..that part costs way too much to be of a quality that would allow that to happen. Crazy...
 

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Yup.. as the seperate lift cylinder controls that left arm.. the problem I described would disappear..
The arm would still be loose.. but level would be level.

The Deere Cylinder seized?? That's INSANE ..that part costs way too much to be of a quality that would allow that to happen. Crazy...
The JD cylinder is a dual action but they make an air cylinder in down direction and have a filter. Well contamination got past the filter and screwed up the cylinder. Yes, JD charges in the area of $400 for that cylinder only. The aftermarket has far better quality cylinders at far less than $89 shipped to my house. The local hydraulics shop set me up with another hose to make it dual action closed loop. Now I’m a happy camper. But getting price for JD parts did open my eyes.
 

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When I look at my 1988 318 and it's systems, and then at the 2019 1023, I do see Deere doing a bit of "value engineering" that they didn't used to do. Not "bad" .. just not as good. (The 318 has the 2 hoses on the rockshaft cylinder, even though there is no down pressure)

You would expect them to know that exposing an un-oiled, enclosed metal cavity, that gets hot and cold, to free air would cause condensation to occur, leading to rust. One extra piece of hose and a couple fittings could have prevented that issue.

I was surprised, when I found a loose (like.. swinging 1/2 from contacting the surface) left side dash support bolt in plastic, that they didn't sleeve it with metal to avoid crushing.

I am surprised at the looseness of the left deck rockshaft arm. I sent my dealer what I posted here.. and he is looking into it.
I'll be driving out today (it's been a couple days, no answer) and will have them show me another 1 series with a deck so we can see if its the norm, or if mine is exceptionally loose. I fear it's the former.
 

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When I look at my 1988 318 and it's systems, and then at the 2019 1023, I do see Deere doing a bit of "value engineering" that they didn't used to do. Not "bad" .. just not as good. (The 318 has the 2 hoses on the rockshaft cylinder, even though there is no down pressure)

You would expect them to know that exposing an un-oiled, enclosed metal cavity, that gets hot and cold, to free air would cause condensation to occur, leading to rust. One extra piece of hose and a couple fittings could have prevented that issue.

I was surprised, when I found a loose (like.. swinging 1/2 from contacting the surface) left side dash support bolt in plastic, that they didn't sleeve it with metal to avoid crushing.

I am surprised at the looseness of the left deck rockshaft arm. I sent my dealer what I posted here.. and he is looking into it.
I'll be driving out today (it's been a couple days, no answer) and will have them show me another 1 series with a deck so we can see if its the norm, or if mine is exceptionally loose. I fear it's the former.


You have verified the absence of quality control. A shaft and key are subject to standard fits and thus tolerances to achieve such. When ignored this type situation occurs. Parts do not fit correctly and the result is the function is lost. It is MHO that JD is ignoring the parts certification to be within tolerance for the sake of production schedule and possible cost.

In the end this absence of quality control will hurt their future market place. Being of a mechanical design background I had to investigate the ramifications of out of spec parts prior to acceptance for form fit and function with mating parts. Often a selective assembly can rectify this issue for the short term. Definitely not a good method to adopt for production. It appears this was a worst case situation that made everything fit loose sloppy. I tight fit even press would be preferred.
 

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A quick stop at the dealership revealed that another 1025r they had on the line had the same loose left rockshaft arm. I didn't bother to look at the others.
I don't want this like this... So may either make some keystock that will fit tighter, or maybe just shim it with a bit of old feeler gauge.
It's not going to improve over time if left loose to bang around on my bumpy yard (I'd imagine it will hammer out worse) so shimming it may keep it better, longer.
If the arm was easier to remove, I think I'd drill it tap it and install a set screw...maybe later.
 

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A quick stop at the dealership revealed that another 1025r they had on the line had the same loose left rockshaft arm. I didn't bother to look at the others.
I don't want this like this... So may either make some keystock that will fit tighter, or maybe just shim it with a bit of old feeler gauge.
It's not going to improve over time if left loose to bang around on my bumpy yard (I'd imagine it will hammer out worse) so shimming it may keep it better, longer.
If the arm was easier to remove, I think I'd drill it tap it and install a set screw...maybe later.

A set screw is not good for rotational torque. The sides of the key tight against the sides of the shaft and hub key ways is what insures a tight solid joint between them. Custom filing a larger key to fit the oversized keyway is the only true option to remedy the loose fit. Yes a lot of work but to rectify the fit for good. It’s gotta fit tight.
 

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A set screw is not good for rotational torque. The sides of the key tight against the sides of the shaft and hub key ways is what insures a tight solid joint between them. Custom filing a larger key to fit the oversized keyway is the only true option to remedy the loose fit. Yes a lot of work but to rectify the fit for good. It’s gotta fit tight.
I was thinking setscrew(s) "in addition to" the larger key stock, like most driven pulleys on large air compressors, pumps, couplings, etc... with pulsing or shock prone loads
One screw behind the key, to keep it perfectly seated (if there's enough material), and another 90 deg to that to eliminate any play that could cause damage to the new, properly fit key.
 
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