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post #1 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Question on deck leveling

When leveling my 48" deck with the "T" handle should the deck be down or all the way up..

This is on an X530 tractor.. I am following instructions setting the deck at 2.5" & using the
2 1/2" plastic piece that is on the Level Knob. I just can't find anything that tells me to leave the deck down which adds weight when trying to use the "T" handle.

Poor explanation but I think the pros will know what I'm talking about..

Thanks
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 12:25 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Don, I know NOTHING AT ALL about an X530 or the correct leveling procedure, but let me add my common sense answer:

You mow with the deck lowered so...to me...this should be where it's leveled. Due to links, levers, and pivot points, your deck may (???) not come straight down. Your deck could have a whole different level when lowered than when leveled in the up position.

As an additional comment, anything about leveling with the front of the deck 1/4"-3/8" lower than the rear of the deck? Any decks I've leveled have been set like this...per manufacturers/JD instructions. Bob
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 05:19 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Yes, the front edge of the deck should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch lower than the rear or you are just cutting the grass twice. On machines that have the little gauge that fits under the edge of the deck at certain points, the deck has to allow them to fit under the edge. This measuring height is on the depth gauge knob, in yellow, usually at 2.5 inches. Lower the deck to this height and then correct any out of adjustment using the plastic gauge.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 06:12 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniecg View Post
When leveling my 48" deck with the "T" handle should the deck be down or all the way up..

This is on an X530 tractor.. I am following instructions setting the deck at 2.5" & using the
2 1/2" plastic piece that is on the Level Knob. I just can't find anything that tells me to leave the deck down which adds weight when trying to use the "T" handle.

Poor explanation but I think the pros will know what I'm talking about..

Thanks
I also have the 48" deck.

You first set the deck height knob to the position marked for setting the deck height (note it is different on a X300). You then lower the deck to that position. Then, using the "chess piece" from the center of the knob you check the height at the three deck spots marked with the embossed triangles. There is one on each side on the back edge of the deck and one on the left side of the front hanger bracket. When all three of those points equal the height of the chess piece the deck is level and properly adjusted.

When making your adjustments with the T-handle, it helps if you grab the bottom edge of the deck and take the weight off slightly when turning the adjustment screw. Also, be aware that the factory provided T-handle is very soft steel and will wear out very quickly resulting in a tool that just strips out in the hex adjustment bolts.

I threw away the factory tool and bought two long 8mm decent quality ball-end T-handle wrenches. I insert one in each adjustment hole and then start making adjustments. This avoids having to switch the tool back and forth as when you adjust one side it will slightly effect the other side so there can be a bit of back and forth until you get it just right.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 06:16 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

One other comment. That deck height tool measures 2 3/8" so you can easily make yourself a block of wood or something to avoid always having to pry that chess piece out of the center of the deck height knob. I then keep the height block in the drawer with the two T-handled wrenches. :-)
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-13-2019, 06:21 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

I'll add that the single most important thing to do first is to get a good air pressure gauge - A digital one that goes to the 10ths, and make sure all of the tires are set right on the money. You will be shocked to see how much a lbs or two of pressure will throw off the time spent leveling.

Once the tire pressures are right on the money, then do your measurements on a flat slab of concrete, ie, your garage.

From there, I agree with what all of the other above have posted.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 07:10 AM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Toss the silly gauge that came with your machine and get a good one. Nothing beats leveling your deck by touching off the blades. Your dealer has a blade height gauge for about 10 bucks that is so worth it. I just re-leveled my deck and it makes all the difference in the world.

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Thanks very much for the replies..I am presently using the tool that I purchased from JD..I have tried every procedure in the manual & also setting the deck at my desired mowing height of 3 1/2".. I measure
at the blade tips..

I can mow 1 time and the deck is out of adjustment & leaving a strip about 12" from the outside tip of the left blade..

Installed new blades & same problem... I have to solve the problem by going back over that strip...Basically have a 30" deck or so..
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 09:18 AM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniecg View Post

I can mow 1 time and the deck is out of adjustment & leaving a strip about 12" from the outside tip of the left blade..

Installed new blades & same problem... I have to solve the problem by going back over that strip...Basically have a 30" deck or so..

That doesn't sound like a deck leveling issue. Do you have any pictures of what it leaves? Your description isn't exactly clear.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 12:44 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniecg View Post
Thanks very much for the replies..I am presently using the tool that I purchased from JD..I have tried every procedure in the manual & also setting the deck at my desired mowing height of 3 1/2".. I measure
at the blade tips..

I can mow 1 time and the deck is out of adjustment & leaving a strip about 12" from the outside tip of the left blade..

Installed new blades & same problem... I have to solve the problem by going back over that strip...Basically have a 30" deck or so..
Something isn't right. I set my mowing height once and never have to touch it again year after year. Different tractor but that shouldn't change much. If you want the mowing height at 3.5 inches level your deck at that height with the knob set at 3.5 inches. So set the knob and lower the mower deck onto the height adjustment stop (3.5"). At that point measure the blades (I position them sideways if that makes sense) and level them side to side to the 3.5" measurement using the T handle tool. After that is set face the blades forward so you can measure the front tip and the rear tip from the chute side of the tractor. The front blade needs to be set 1/8" - 1/4" lower than the rear tip of the blade. Set that using the front mount. Shorter lifts it and longer lowers the blade tip. Once that is set again spin the blades sideways and check if your 3.5" height is still on. Might have to mess with that a bit on both measurements to dial it in.


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post #11 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 02:48 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniecg View Post

I can mow 1 time and the deck is out of adjustment & leaving a strip about 12" from the outside tip of the left blade..

If it's not mowing the strip, it might be the blade isn't tight enough and it's spinning on the spindle a little bit, or the key is sheared on the spindle pulley.

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post #12 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 03:26 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Maybe tires are under-inflated or even something is damaged on your machine, so when you are sitting on the machine, one side of the machine sags down?
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-14-2019, 03:38 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

If it's going out of level right away, it's probably those Lock Nuts that the Hex Head Lift Links thread onto. If you search back, there has been a number of reports of those not locking very well, and unscrewing especially in uneven terrain where the gage wheels lift the deck here and there. That's of course confirming the tire pressures aren't changing.

If you even notice the leveling go out of calibration, you can either remove the nuts and allow some blue locktite dry on the nut threads and then reinstall, or just replace the nuts. Here's the PN# M85516
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-24-2019, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Strange things are happening:::::

I leveled the deck by the book & everything looked good:
Wheels up, knob turned to 2.5, deck lowered and leveled side to side & 1/8th" lower front to back ..
I used the JD tool(yellow pivoting tool) at each side, 1 & 2 plus the front hanger..

After doing this, I raised the deck again and moved the knob to 3.5 & lowered deck..I then turned the blades sideways at the chute & other side...Blades ,with the measuring tool measured 2.5"..

Wheels still up.......I am totally lost... front tires at 14 lbs, rear tires at 10 lbs
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-24-2019, 01:48 PM
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Re: Question on deck leveling

Quote:
Originally Posted by donniecg View Post
Strange things are happening:::::

I leveled the deck by the book & everything looked good:
Wheels up, knob turned to 2.5, deck lowered and leveled side to side & 1/8th" lower front to back ..
I used the JD tool(yellow pivoting tool) at each side, 1 & 2 plus the front hanger..
By "yellow pivoting tool" I assume you mean the cut height gauge that JD sells. While that method can work, it's not "by the book". The book has you adjust the deck side to side until the little "chess piece" just fits under the two designated spots on the rear edge of the deck. They also have you use the chess piece to check the clearance under the left side of the front hanger. When the chess piece just fits under all three positions the deck is level and at the correct attitude front to rear. However, this doesn't mean the cut height equals what the knob says. :-) You could still have something out of wack that has the deck level but the cut height knob inaccurate.

I just leveled my deck this morning using the chess piece and after reading your post I went back to the garage to check things with the pivoting blade height gauge. After adjusting the deck side to side and front to back using the chess piece, I set the cut height to 3 1/2 inches and checked the blade tips with the pivoting cut height gauge and it measured right at 3 1/2 inches.
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