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Old 03-28-2007, 02:06 PM   #1
nylyon
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Default How do I level the mower deck?

I've been getting my 416 ready for the season by fixing her up, giving a good cleaning, adjusting everything from the hydro linkage resistance to the mower height. I haven't adjusted the mower since I got the tractor but I figure I should check it, it seems important. So I went looking in my vast library of information and found what I needed in the deck owners manual and the quality of cut document, and here's what I found.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quality of Cut
Adjusting Front-to-Rear Pitch The blade should be 1/8-1/4 inch (3.1-6.3mm) lower in front than in the rear. If it is not within specification, adjust the rear link.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 42" Owners Manual
Turn leveling adjustment nut (Fig. 14) clockwise to raise or counterclockwise to lower front of mower. Adjust so that distances from surface to front and rear of blade tips are equal to 1/8 inch high in front (Figs. 13, 14 and 15, 16 or 17).


Which is it, should the front be higher by 1/8" or lower by 1/8 to 1/4 inch? Next, they show a nice fancy tool for measuring this. I haven't looked yet, but does anyone know where to get one of these? I'm not sure I can get to 1/8" accuracy in such closed quarters?

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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:23 PM   #2
MaineDad
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Karl,

The level adjustment nut is the long rod looking thing with a nut that attaches near the back of the deck in the middle of the deck.
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Consider building yourself one similar to this and you can get as close as you like. and there aren't any numbers to try to see in difficult places. Just very lightly touch the cutting edge to the styrofoam. Remove from under deck and pencil mark each line for reference. Note: if there is more than one line indicated after checking each end of one blade, the blade is probably bent.
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:38 PM   #4
nylyon
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maybar
Consider building yourself one similar to this and you can get as close as you like.
Perfect! And the price is right as well, thanks!

Now which is higher, the front or the back. Found it odd that 2 documents from Toro / Wheel Horse would be so contradictory.
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 02:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

I also have seen it both ways. Mine gets adjusted lower in front. Whether better or worse I haven't a clue. Finding a flat area ( not necessarily level ) is my greatest challenge. To get within a eighth inch the leveling area needs to be within an eighth of perfectly flat. Then the real test is what does the cut look like with the pto engaged and in the real cutting world. maybar
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Old 03-28-2007, 07:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

nylyon, your deck should be adjusted so the blade tip is lower in the front.
I have that tool in your pic, it's from Owatonna Tool Company, their phone number is 1-800-533-0492. I think this is a good #. I bought mine 14 years ago.
The # on the tool is TOR4028. hope this helps if you decide to buy it. Tony
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Old 03-28-2007, 07:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Thanks, all. I just finished leveling the deck. I had to move the adjustment all the way clockwise to get it to about 1/8" lower in the front. It was WAY off. I ended up making a stick similar to what Maybar made. I covered the vertical board with a small sheet of paper towel then raised the deck and coated the center blade with orange crayon. I needed to raise the deck to get the "gauge" under there but then moved the drive belt to hit the gauge. When I started, the front was about 1 1/2" lower than the rear. I adjusted it to within 1/8" inch. Any more and I'll have to run a die on the adjusting rod to give me more threads.
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 07:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Mowerman, I found one of yours on the internet for $58. There's a John Deere for about $8, probably go with that one. Thanks.
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:03 PM   #9
Mowerman
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nylyon
Mowerman, I found one of yours on the internet for $58. There's a John Deere for about $8, probably go with that one. Thanks.
Glad you got it Karl, that 58$ gauge seems quite high, but it's ebay, some people go nuts, . If you get the other gauge(and if it's the same), it is nice, you can set the mower about mid way down and adjust for the slope(this is where you should check), but the way you did it should be okay, see how it mows and go from there, if it looks fine, that's all that matters. Tony
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

I'll tell ya, I feel a little (a lot) foolish. I bought this thing new 13 years ago, and until last year never read the mower manuals. Sure I would maintain the tractor with oil, gas filters etc, but as for adjusting the deck never crossed my mind. Seeing how far out this was, it must have been set wrong since the day I picked it up. It seemed to mow okay except when the grass was tall and or wet. Well last year it started to streak which made me read the manuals and look into groups like this.

For years I ran around with the mower fully raised and the rubber contacts about 2" from the floor boards. Well all you guys got me thinkin a whole lot differently now and I am really looking forward to a good proper mowing this year.
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:34 PM   #11
Mowerman
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Karl, the streaking could be caused by worn blades also, just something to think about, ecspecially if the streak is in the middle. check your rear gauge wheels, make sure theres no up and down play in the wheel bearings. the wheels dictate your side to side deck level. Looks like you take real good care of that tractor( seen the front wheel pics in another thread). I wish some of my customers cared as much about there equipment as you and alot of others on this site. Tony
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:44 PM   #12
nylyon
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Thanks Tony, I do try to keep it maintained, then again it only has 273 hours on it. I bought new recycler blades, Deck wheels, anti-scalp wheels, deck belt, drive belt and idler pulley and just finished putting them all on. Really looking forward to doing some good mowing now!
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:31 PM   #13
Mowerman
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Thats great Karl!, how do you like the recycler deck? Does the fine clippings help fertilize your lawn in your area? Another tip for that deck is to keep the underneath clean from grass build up, as with any mulching type deck, or any deck for that matter. Tony
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

For the most part I like it. When the grass is long or wet it does a horrible job. Well that was before anyway with it out of adjustment. In the spring I would normally remove the recycler and just use it as a rear discharge. Then when it gets a little drier I'd put the recycler back on again. Not sure if it fertilizes the lawn or not, thought that's why I got a dog

It gets clogged up often and I find myself cleaning out the underside often. Late last year I got a 414 with a side discharge mower. I plan to use the side discharge when it is too wet or the grass too high. Will make life a lot easier.
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Karl in Putnam County, NY

1994 Wheel Horse 416-Hydro (73421) 42" Recycler (78350, 86001)
1988 Wheel Horse 414-8 (31-14K803) 42" Side (05-42MS05), 48" plow (06-48BC01)
1974 Wheel Horse C-160 Automatic (1-0480) 36" Rear (5-0621)
-----
1997 Murray (AYP) 20" Push Mower (1B101EM)
1995 Toro 521 2-Stage Snowblower (38052)
Ryobi 4-Cycle trimmer with tiller, brush cutter, blower, pruner, hedge clipper
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Old 03-28-2007, 10:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: How do I level the mower deck?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nylyon
For the most part I like it. When the grass is long or wet it does a horrible job. Well that was before anyway with it out of adjustment. In the spring I would normally remove the recycler and just use it as a rear discharge. Then when it gets a little drier I'd put the recycler back on again. Not sure if it fertilizes the lawn or not, thought that's why I got a dog

It gets clogged up often and I find myself cleaning out the underside often. Late last year I got a 414 with a side discharge mower. I plan to use the side discharge when it is too wet or the grass too high. Will make life a lot easier.


, yeah thats one reason for the dog!
I'm not positive on the riders, but I know on the walkbehind recycler Toro mowers if the grass is real high or wet you should only take 1/3 of the grass hieght off at a time if you want to recycle. this might mean mowing your lawn a couple of times to get good results if recyling. Yes the 414 will make life easier though, have a good one... Tony
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