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Cutting Height Issue - Need Help


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#1 Fronzizzle OFFLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 03:39 PM

Hello all,
 
I'm a newbie property owner/lawn tractor user.  My wife and I bought 1.6 acres back in November, it is mostly lawn.  My brother had a Craftsman 42" lawn tractor, Model 917.258543 that was just sitting in his garage.  He bought it new years ago - in 2002 or 2003, I think - used it for one season and then parked it in his garage.
 
I put new tires on it, a new battery, changed the oil, took the carb apart and cleaned it and got it running when we moved in, then parked it until it was time to cut the grass.
 
Yesterday, I started it up to cut the grass and...well, it didn't go well.  The mower started and ran fine, but as soon as I dropped the attachment and engaged it, the motor stopped.  I restarted it, started moving and it stopped again.  This continued for a few seconds, I finally got smart enough to turn and look at the grass and wow - it was almost bald.  The blade was obviously too low.  So, I turned the adjustment knob as far as it would go - I tried both directions - with no luck.  Eventually, I had to put the attachment in the Up position and then I was able to cut the grass.
 
When I finished, I took the mower into the garage and got into a little bit, but I really have no idea what I'm looking at.  A couple of things I did find:
 
* The attachment lift lever only has two positions, Up and Down.  This isn't a model that has multiple positions like some of the newer ones.
 
* The adjustment knob - if turned too far one way or the other - will stop the lever from working.  For example, if the deck is in the Up position and the knob is turned too far, then you can't move the lever to put the deck in the Down position.  This might be normal but thought I should bring it up.
 
* When the deck is in the Up position and you turn the knob, you can see the deck move a up or down a bit (maybe an inch, total) and the knob has a lot of travel.  However, when the deck is in the Down position and you turn the knob, you don't really see it move at all, and the knob only moves a little bit in either direction.
 
This tractor doesn't have a ton of adjustment, the owner's manual I managed to dig up online says you can cut from 1.5" to 4".  However, as it is now I basically have one height I can cut at, when the deck is in the Up position (which I don't think is where you are supposed to have it when you cut).
 
Bottom line, something seems to be off to me but, again, I don't have any experience with these so I'm not sure what I should even look at or what I'm doing wrong.  Any advice is appreciated.  Thank you.


#2 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 04:25 PM

Before I look at your manual, let me ask you, is there a way to adjust the wheels on the mower deck?


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#3 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 04:37 PM

I looked up the manual if you don't have one.   https://www.manualsl...543.html#manual


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#4 WNYTractorTinkerer ONLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 04:56 PM

I've had the pleasure of looking over a few Craftsman tractors with that very issue..  

 

First off-  Tire pressure-  8# in the back and 15# in the front..

 

Next is to compare the manual picture Rich posted to how your deck is actually hooked on your machine.  Make sure all the pins and brackets are correctly installed..  

 

After that inspect the deck for damage or warping where the hangers attach to it..  Sometimes folks drive them like they are in a demo derby and the deck pays the price..  

 

Just some ideas for ya..

 

& BTW-->   :welcome:  to GTTalk!


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#5 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 07:35 PM

Welcome to GTT. Sometimes things will take awhile to figure out. It will help us when you post clear pics of the problem. Good Luck, Rick

#6 Fronzizzle OFFLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 08:17 PM

Thanks for the responses.  I did have the manual, but from what I can tell things are hooked up as they should be.

 

When I got the machine, all four tires were flat.  I replaced the front two, the back two I filled up and they've been fine.  I double-checked, the pressures are all good.

 

I don't remember the deck wheels being adjustable, but I'll check that first thing in the morning.

 

As for posting clear pics - are there pictures of specific items that might help with this problem?  I have a lawn mower jack so I can get the front end pretty high off the ground, I can snap some pictures of the top of the deck and the connections if anyone thinks it would help.

 

This might be a stupid question, but with the deck in the Down position, should it be resting on the ground?  



#7 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted April 15, 2017 - 08:26 PM

According to the manual, when the mower is set to the heighth you want it. the guide wheels should just be installed off the ground.



#8 1oldbuzz ONLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 01:39 AM

I'll try

the lift is not for height of the deck

its designed to hold deck at full lift

the adjustment for cutting height is done with

the adjustment knob

left would give more drop and short cut

right would give less drop tall cut

to answer your question if the adjustment is all the

way left yes the deck will set on the ground

If the knob does not turn its probably a little rusted

spray some penetrating oil on the threads

The adjustment knob will adjust easier with the deck raised

 

This style deck could be refered to as a free floating deck

as it hangs from the tractor the wheels only serve the purpose

of anti scalp the deck is not designed to set on the

wheels unless you have it set for the shortest cut possible

 

The up side is you can dial in the cutting height

not like those with the 5 or 6 preset positions


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#9 TomLGT195 OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 06:12 AM

:welcometogttalk:  & :wewantpics: please!



#10 Fronzizzle OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 12:06 PM

Okay, I went and took a few pictures, though if someone wants specific pictures of certain areas I'll be more than happy to go out and take them.

 

I verified that the wheels on the deck itself are not adjustable.

 

Based on a post on another forum, I also took some measurements and tried to make some adjustments, without luck.

 

With the lift lever in the Down position and the knob adjusted all the way down, the bottom of the deck was about 1" off the ground.  I turned the nuts on both lift arms until the bottom of the deck was 1.75" off the ground on each side, so this should be the new minimum cut height.  Two issues, though: 1) the lift lever will not go into the Up position; I can move it some, but it won't travel far enough to get locked in and 2) using the adjustment knob, if I turn it all the way it only raises the deck about another 1/4" or so, so not nearly enough adjustment.

 

I've attached pictures of some of the measurements as well as what I can easily see of the mounts.  As I said, if there are other areas that would help to have pictures of, please let me know and I'll go and take them.  Thanks again.

Attached Thumbnails

  • CurrentDeckHeight.jpg
  • DeckHeightAfterAdjustmentLowestSetting.jpg
  • DeckHeightAfterAdjustmentHighestSetting.jpg
  • LiftArm.jpg
  • LiftLever.jpg
  • LiftArmAfterAdjustment.jpg
  • 2ndLiftArm.jpg
  • FrontMount.jpg
  • AdjustmentKnob.jpg

Edited by Fronzizzle, April 16, 2017 - 12:15 PM.


#11 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 01:10 PM

 

 

I verified that the wheels on the deck itself are not adjustable.

 

Just to be specific, this are the rear, outer deck wheels, yes? There are not multiple holes as shown in the manual?

 

I wish I was closer to your house. Something has to be hooked up wrong.


Edited by LilysDad, April 16, 2017 - 01:11 PM.


#12 4tom OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 03:24 PM

I had similar issues with mine. Not the same mower but I made 2 adjustments the seem to help. The brackets under your feet I think in your forth photo I was able to adjust up a little bit, but not mush help. I then adjusted what I call the trailing arms that connect forward to the frame. As I shortened those the deck came up a farther. Not perfect but it's working for me. It did make reattaching the deck more difficult when I took the plow off.

Hope that this helps a little.

Tom

Here are photos of parts mentioned above. For unknown reasons, both photos came out upside down.

Attached Thumbnails

  • KIMG0059.JPG
  • KIMG0058.JPG

Edited by 4tom, April 16, 2017 - 10:47 PM.

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#13 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 05:22 PM

I uploaded the manual. You need to see what it says about leveling the deck.


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#14 1oldbuzz ONLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 05:22 PM

It may just be me but don't thinks so

the main arms on the deck are bent

and I see a broken (spot)weld

lifts arms are also bent

your never going to get it to adjust correctly



#15 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted April 16, 2017 - 06:00 PM

It may just be me but don't thinks so

Your eyes are better than mine, but it's sure something to check. What do you think a deck would cost?


Edited by LilysDad, April 16, 2017 - 06:01 PM.





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