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Justinc

48" deck on a 520H

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Took the deck off yesterday to do a little maintenance to it, mainly to check and see why the right hand (discharge) blade cuts a little lower than the other two, regardless of what height the deck is set at, yes I've leveled it and played with it to try and make it stop time and time again, but with zero luck. If i'm cutting the slightest bit off camber (hillside) you can always see where the discharge blade of the deck was. Aside from that, the left blade pulley/spindle wont accept grease, the handle on my grease gun is impossible to squeeze in order to pump the grease in. Removed the zerk and tested it on the bench, flows right thought it so I tried cleaning out any dirt/debris from the spindle but no dice. Also, the center blade pulley/spindle has vertical play, possibly 1/8 up and down if you grab it and pull upwards, the other two do not. There is another pulley that's mounted beside the left hand blade pulley (idler?) that has a lot of play in it from side to side, like in a rocking motion. Its mounted to the slotted flat bar which connects to the tensioner pulley, not sure if that's an issue or if that's how it supposed to be or not?

 

recap:

 

left blade spindle wont accept grease

center spindle with slight vertical play

right blade cuts lower

deck idler pulley with side to side (rocking motion) play.

 

When you flip the deck over on its top and run a level across the bottom of its shell, the right discharge blade height clearly measures 1/2" different than the other two, but the reason isn't clearly obvious...Thought there might be an extra washer sitting on top the blade spacing it down but there wasn't. Only obvious fix that comes to mind at this time would be to remove the bolts for that spindle and space it up with some thick lock washers to try and bring the blade up a little. 

 

Is it time for 3 new spindles? The housings appear to be in great shape, minimal pitting and not corroded at all, no cracks, and other than the slight vertical play of the center spindle, no other play is evident. I love this tractor but if it doesn't start cutting right I may have to pick up something else to do the job. I'm down to push mowing the front since the whole thing is sloped and it ends up looking like a stair case when I'm done due to the one lower blade... HELP!!

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You measure the cutting height from the ground to the cutting edge.  Any other way will result in error.  With the deck mounted to the tractor, parked on a flat smooth surface, and set at mid height, measure right side v. left side.  Then on each side measuring the same end of each blade, measure front height and rear height.  You must use the same end of the blade on the front to back measurement to account for a bent blade.  It is pretty difficult to get accurate measurements so I have made gauge blocks in 1/8 inch increments and I just slide them under blade.  With all the other problems you have going on here, you may have just some worn out parts that need replacing first.  The deck might be sprung, but if you are the original or even long time owner and it has not been doing the uneven cut for its entire life, I would suspect a worn out part or maybe a broken spindle housing (or a housing that has been corroded away so not all the mounting bolts are there)

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Do you know the model number of this deck and the serial number?

 

This may apply

 

The spindles should stay in good alignment on the 48" decks because of the heavy reinforcement plate on top of the deck pan. Possibly a spindle assembly has been replaced with one a little different?

 

Garry

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What is the proper procedure for removing the spindles from the deck and then from their housing? I want to disassemble and inspect.

 

Good note on the blade measuring, I'll flip it back over and see what I get that way.

 

I'm not the long time owner, bought it from a nice older fella spring 2013, and half way through last years cutting season i started to notice it. Tractor is in good shape otherwise, seemed to be well taken care of.

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Your issues:

left blade spindle wont accept grease...these are sealed bearings. Very little grease is needed. If you CAN grease them, then a seal is blown on one of the bearings.

center spindle with slight vertical play...typical. 1/8" shouldn't be an issue, unless you're on the PGA grounds crew.

right blade cuts lower...Bent blade?.  If not, you MAY have to mount (weld) an anti-scalp roller to the right side.

deck idler pulley with side to side (rocking motion) play...Bolt tight?  If it is, pulley is shot.., contact me via direct email to:

 

daveoman@windstream.net

 

just clik that email link...    

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Alright so I finally took this think apart and this is what I found;

 

Left hand spindle grease passage was blocked, I cleared and everything is cool, reinstalled, spins nicely.

Middle spindle topside bearing seal was popped out and floating there, I flattened and reinstalled, no more vertical play, spins nicely.

Right hand spindle spins nicely, but I could not dislodge it from the pulley, I jacked up the threads by hammering on it a little too hard so I'll eventually need another one of these but for now its good, no play & spins fine.

Deck belt tensioner/idler pulley assembly. Sliding flat bar that pulley is attached too was loose, removed pulley, inspected, replaced, made belt a shade tighter and then tightened down the adjustment bar to the deck body.

 

Also replaced mule drive v pulley and now she's quiet as a church mouse. Made a few more adjustments to level it out as well, just need a good dry day to get out there and see how she cuts.

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If the deck is sprung, its most likely caused by people stepping on the right side of the tractor to mount. Very hard to fix.

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what exactly do you mean by "sprung"? What's the proper way to diagnose this?

 

Or better yet, how do I go about fixing it?

Edited by Justinc

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Twisted, and it sound like you have already diaged it.

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Sprung 48 decks are more on the rare side do to the reinforcing plate compared to the 42's. Now one way to check is flip deck upside down. Take your center blade and your discharge side blade and put them tip to tip and check to see if the are level with each other. If not then there is a good chance your deck is sprung. Sometimes people will smak or run into something with the discharge side while running to fast. Like said if the deck is sprung its very very hard to correct. There are other signs to look for that are very noticeable. Such as spider cracking around spindles and mounting brackets. Most of the time the culprit is a sprung deck are bad/wrong spindle.

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Straightening a sprung deck is not as hard as you might think.  The way to do this is to pull (pushing and hammering does not work) the metal back into the correct position.  Once you find out where the deformation is located, it is simply a matter of fixturing the deck and using threaded rods, etc pull the deck back into alignment.  You can use existing holes in the deck for the threaded rods.  You may have to drill one or two more into the shell.  A couple of weeks ago, there was a thread here about a guy who severely deformed his deck by hitting a tree stump or something.  The thread was under "implements".  Anyway, the last update I read, he had removed the severely deformation using only C-clamps.

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I will check the relation of the center and discharge blade tips to each other when I get home. However, I made a few quick passes last night and from what I could tell it was cutting dead level... Funny part is, I did nothing but remove the center and left hand side spindles, cleaned and re-greased them, while also tightening the deck belt and the tensioner pulley bracket to eliminate the wobble... I did nothing to the discharge spindle as I could not remove it. The true test will be cutting the back 40, or back 1 i should say, more off camber/hilly. If it continues to cut nice and level doing it then I will have rekindled my relationship with this tractor.

 

What hole is the rear, center adjustment rod supposed to be in at the deck, I noticed that there are two? Maybe I had it in the wrong one and that was giving me the problem, I could also be talking out of my butt too.

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I had a new deck that cut stair steps on an incline. The problem was that the back rollers were not level with the deck. Wasn't  noticeably when mowing on the level ground as the deck wheels kept it level. 

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