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Old 06-30-2008, 09:34 PM   post #1 of 15
Craftsman
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Default Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

First off, I can't believe Craftsman was not taken when I signed up. Anyway, hi everybody. I have had a LT1000 for two years now and from day 1 it has had this bad habit of leaving a ridge of uncut grass right in the middle. Sears service came over and looked at it when new. He changed the blades and looked around and finally said "you got what you got". Later on I tried leveling the deck but the problem did not go away. Since then I have basically lived with it but it is getting too much to bear. I checked the deck yesterday and it definitely needs adjustments. My question is has anyone else run into this problem and what was the fix?
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:41 PM   post #2 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Craftsman..

I have owned a LT1000 for the past 3 years and it has been fine since day1!!

Not sure what your problem is, but stick around and someone should be here to help..
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:51 PM   post #3 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

WELCOME to MTF Craftsman!

Yes, but only once and on a neighbors Craftsman. It was bad enough to immediately assume that she had one blade too short, or both a little shy of the OEM size. I was wrong though. The new blades, installed (they really needed new blades) and it cut much better....but didn't change a thing with the uncut ridge right in the middle.

The only thing I could figure (and I may still be wrong) was the punch cut in the deck, at the factory was off and the spindles were not mounted with the correct specifications. Since there is no lateral adjustment between the spindles that I could find it meant elongating the original holes - which I thought would weaken the deck. The only other solution I could think of was to cut new metal spacer plates with the correct tolerances for a permanent fix.

The lady, however was on a fixed income and said she would just live with it.

I hope someone else has a solution to your problem as it is one of those things I often think about....but hadn't run into it again (until you posted )

Mark
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:05 AM   post #4 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

make sure the deck hangs just about level, front to back, being 1/4" lower in the front. This is measuring at the blade tips on both sides. The blades overlap, or are supposed to...make sure the deck is hung straight.
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:10 AM   post #5 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Craftsman
Quote:
Sears service came over and looked at it when new. He changed the blades and looked around and finally said "you got what you got".
Sears has the lousiest reputation for repairing things - all they wanna do is sell it and never see it again. Its totally possible its a factory defect in the deck and Sears doesnt want to admit it (cant be because it was made overseas right?). Sounds like the guy knew and wasnt gonna even mess with it.
Unless you want to check and adjust the deck, possibly recut the deck for a spindle assy position- id probably just look for a spare deck and see if that works- or double check mesurements with it.
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:17 AM   post #6 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

I too have had this little ridge for some time now.... but in my case there are two of them because I have a 3 blade deck.... don't remember when it started or if it was there the whole time.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to see if just adjusting the deck would help. To my surprise, it worked out for me and the two ridge is pratically gone. Here is what I did.

1. remove the deck
2. scrape/remove the built-up of grass (my deck didnt have much build-up)
3. check to see if the tips of the blades are at the same level to each other as in parallel to each other by pointing the blade tips against each other (mine were at the same plane)
4. check to see if there is over lap of the blades. to do this I loosen the belt and then position the blades perpendicular to the direction/path motion of the deck or the center line of the tractor. Then view the blades to see if the tips or the cutting path over lap to each other. (mine overlap by 1/2")
5. sharpen blades
6. inspect pullies and mandrels
7. re-install deck
8. level the deck left to right and right to left. (i position the outer blade tips to the outmost and measure the tip to ground)
9. level the deck front to back with the rear of the deck being no-more than 1/4" higher. (mine was a little more than 1/2" higher in the rear. I adjusted to just a little less than 1/4")


The above steps is what I did. My lines as mentioned is practically gone. I believe that in my case that the level of the deck in the front to rear was out of adjustment. Everything else checks out. On my next cut, I am going to lower the rear of the deck just a tad more.

I think it is all in the overlap and parallel of the multi blade decks with the level of the deck from right to left and front to rear will determine if you get those lines. Any one of these areas will cause the lines. Also other factors will play in if you are going to get lines and they are the speed of the tractor, height of the grass being cut, and the type of grass/weeds being cut. I am cutting fescue in the front yard and common burmuda in back. I can tell ya that after the adjustments, my burmuda looks great and that is one wirey tuff grass..
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:42 AM   post #7 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

I've noticed decks have two types of front mounts. The 'old' way is a substantial wide mount parallel to the front frame crossmember at the axle (the mount being parallel, not the deck) with two connection points to the front of the tractor. Some are adjustable and some are not.

The fixed mounts have a ~5/8" rod 6-12" long connecting to two points on the frame under the front axle pivot point. The other adjusts to two points of the frame under the pivot point, or adjusts where the mount connects to the deck.

When setting front deck height on adjustables, the nuts on each side should be turned the same amount. If not, the deck can rotate or pivot to the left or right with respect to the front axle pivot point.

If the front mount hangers of the fixed type are bent, or the other type maladjusted or if one side of the front of the deck is bent the deck can rotate around a point between the spindles and the front mount. If it rotates in the wrong direction (a line between the spindles becomes more parallel to the front axle), the blade overlap will be lost. With some rear hangers, it will pivot instead of rotate.

The 'new' type of mount has a single front connection point on the centerline of the frame. My ZTR has this type. There is usually less of a problem with deck rotation on this type of mount because of the rear hangers used.

Rear hangers on the fixed and adjustable mounts can contribute to rotation if they are connected to the wrong side of the hanger mounts of the deck. If both are connected to the left side instead of both to the outside or something like that.

What I'm trying to say, I guess, is check deck rotation with respect to the frame. The deck should be hung with (usually) the left spindle closer to the front axle than the right. I have seen no specs or measurements of this, Craftsman, but if you post your model no. maybe someone with the same machine will measure theirs so you can compare. A simple measurement from the front axle pivot point to the right and left spindle will reveal lots. The bigger the difference between right and left the more the blades overlap.

Sometimes deck rotation is changed slightly at the factory in order to fit larger tires on the tractor. Deck rotation vs. tire size is apparent at the left front and right rear tires. Somewhat less than bright eyed and bushy tailed engineer, I guess.


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Old 07-04-2008, 02:25 AM   post #8 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

i had a murray that mowed lower on one side than the other, i measured the deck it was level, i could'nt figuer out why it was lower one one side. my nabor was watching me mow one day and says to me, boy did you know one tire is about flat, here's your sign. just goes to show that something that seems complicated can usually be fixed by something simple. i'm a craftsman owner now, very little trouble out of it in ten years, and any trouble i've had i've been able to fix.
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Old 07-06-2008, 02:25 PM   post #9 of 15
tractordave
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

I had the problem with 15.5hp Craftsman with 42" deck leaving a uncut ridge. I don't know how many times I check the deck for level etc. I just learn to live with it. I had the deck off for some welding(going on 8 years of use cutting 2 plus acres) and a friend said you should change your deck belt. My answer was ya ya .....sometime...Well now a year later I decided to change the deck belt and now the grass cuts even, NO RIDGE! So After a number of cuttings with the new belt I put the old one back on....the ridge came back. My case the belt did it.
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:42 PM   post #10 of 15
Craftsman
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Lots of good advise but some way over my head. The only adjustment I could do was to level the deck which is not straightforward by any means. as the deck perimeter is irregular, it is not even clear where to measure the height. Side to side wasn't to bad but front to rear is at best a clumsy adjustment. I did not follow the equal turn advice. I just turned and measured the height. I thought changing the front to rear height also slightly impacted side to side. The manual said front has to be lower a bit but I had to settle for what I could get. To make a long story short, the ridge went away! Well, almost but it is good enough.
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Old 08-15-2008, 06:22 AM   post #11 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Quote:
Originally Posted by tractordave View Post
.Well now a year later I decided to change the deck belt and now the grass cuts even, NO RIDGE! So After a number of cuttings with the new belt I put the old one back on....the ridge came back. My case the belt did it.
interesting. Why do you think this worked? I'm willing to try that because I'm in a constant leveling mode myself.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:07 AM   post #12 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiz View Post
interesting. Why do you think this worked? I'm willing to try that because I'm in a constant leveling mode myself.

because the original belt was stretched too much and did not fit tight would be my guess. this allows the pulleys to slip the belt instead of hold tight and turn. hit some high grass, and the belt just keeps going but the blades slow down.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:08 AM   post #13 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

I have difficulty fathoming how a belt can cause the two blades to miss a strip but I put forth two possible theories...

1. Removing/reinstalling the deck to change the belt, changed the alignment. Most decks stagger the blades so one is slightly ahead of the other allowing them to both reach the middle without touching. If the deck somehow got twisted on reinstall, it would be as if the mower was dog walking. I'm not really buying this one.

2. A worn belt can slip resulting in lower rim speed on the blades. If the blades run slower and they are dull, they might not cut as well at their tips.
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Old 08-15-2008, 07:47 PM   post #14 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

Well, my MTD Huskee has 2 belts, the upper PTO and lower deck only belt.
This weekend, my lower deck belt snapped. Just before that happened, I started to realize I had an uncut strip in the middle.
The PTO belt also attaches to the 2 outside spindles, so they were working, but not the middle.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:16 PM   post #15 of 15
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Default Re: Mower leaves a strip in the middle uncut

you guys need to try the " Styro Stick " adjustment for that pesky uncut strip.

http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=60807

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