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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 199? craftsman tractor with a 46" mower deck. The problem is it leaves a strip of uncut grass between the left blade and the center blade about 4" wide. It gets better the lower i set the deck, or cut in 1st gear. The deck is set at 3" high. All the spindle bearings and all 3 blades have been replaced. Problem still exists.
Thanks
 

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my Deere L130 would do that if it was trying to cut too much grass at once. say i was cutting 5" down to 2" it did it, but 3" down to 2" it would not. my problem was usually that the deck was torqued forward on one side thus allowing grass to go between the blades. if you look your 3 blades are not timed, but off seet from each other and a certain angle will allow grass to pass between teh blades. so check to make sure the deck is not torqued and that is level.
 

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The Magnificent
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Sort of depends on the deck, busman.

First of all, go get yourself a genuine John Deere Deck leveling gauge.

Next ensure your tire pressure in within specifications.

Now find yourself a nice level spot such as the garage floor.

Many decks are held up by two points in the middle or slightly behind the middle, and two more points up front. I believe your craftsman can be adjusted at all 4 points.

With the engine off, key out (and what the heck, pull the spark plug wires too), manually rotate the blades so that you have a blade tip at left center, right center, front center, and rear center.

I like a 3 1/2" cut, but your preference may be different so whatever it is, go for it. Adjust your deck height lever to a higher setting but not the fully raised setting (probably 4 of 6 on your tractor).

Now using your genuine yellow John Deere deck leveling tool, measure from the ground to each blade tip, and record the measurement.

Use the adjustment nuts on each of the four points to raise or lower the deck and get it level. Cycle the deck up and down each time you make an adjustment, then measure again. Once you are done, make sure to lock the jam nuts on the adjustments if so equipped.

I like to set my blades so that they pass each other at the same time. This takes a little playing with the deck belt tensioner, but I think it's worth it.

Do this on a day when you are feeling patient. It can take a while your first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the postings. Is there an adjustment procedure for leading either side forward of the otherr? The reason I ask is while i'm mowing the strip is worse when I turn to the right.
 

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The Magnificent
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You sure your deck or spindles are not damaged? Sounds like you may have hit something at one point and bent a spindle.

This is easy enough to check with your genuine John Deere leveling tool. Once you are sure the deck is fairly level:

Measure height from each tip of each blade to ground. You will need to rotate each blade 90 degrees to measure its front to rear height and side to side height.
 

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I think if the deck is not perpendicular to the tractor after leveling, (i.e put a long straight board/yardstick on the 2 outer spindles and measure for square to the frame) then you need to figure out what mounting hardware and/or frame pieces are bent and fix/replace them.
 

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busman,

I've seen this happen frequently. I use it as a guage on how sharp (or dull) my mower blades are. The duller they are, the bigger the ridge. It will also indicate if the mower deck is becoming clogged with grass and it's time for a cleaning.

Runningbare
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When I had put the new bearings in the deck I checked each spindle on my lathe with a dial indicater. After the deck was reassebbled I put 3 new gator blades on, but still havins the problem.
 

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Busman, Hi, I have 3 Craftsman mowers, one is like yours, 3 blade, 46 inch cut. I have beat the dickens out of it, but it's still truckin'. Now about that strip it's leaving. Mine was too, dang it. Sharpened the blades, leveled the deck, alighned the blades, etc. Still a strip. Then I looked at the idler pully that tensions the belt that runs the blades. It was bottomed out at it's little stop, the spring was just doing nothing, so I marked the arm that holds the idler where it hits the stop, took it off and ground out about 3/8" of steel to let it end up going further back on the deck. Then I extended the spring holder so that there was tension on the spring. The belt is now TIGHT. What was happening was that the center blade or the left blade was slowing down slower then the other (s) when having to work hard. Now, there is no slippage on any pully and presto!,,, no more strip. I use this tractor to mow a field, so it really works hard. I have had to weld washers to renew holes that have worn egg shape over the years, also add weld then grind smooth on rods that have worn. Have also reinforced spindles that I have torn out and welded up the broken front axle. It ain't pretty, but it mowes like crazy. Check out that idler situation. Best wishes, Chy
 
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