access to underside of lawn tractor??

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Hi Group, I hope this is the right place for this question. If it isn't, please direct me in the right direction...
I recently purchased a used lawn tractor and it seems the blades are either needing to be sharpened, or they are too low, or something, cuz it's not cutting in a level path. It seems that one side of the blade(s) is lower on one side.
I'd like to get under there and check it out, but I can't figure out how to access the underside. Previously I've owned rear-engine Snapper riding mower and it was easy to place it on it's "back" and access the underside. It seems you can't do that with this tractor.
It's a "Lawn General" 17hp with 42" blade. Anyone with any hints on how I can easily access the underside of this lawn tractor, I'd sure appreciate it.
Thanks in advance, Brigitte
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I have found the best way is to hoist it up by the front with a chain fall or block and tackel. You need a heavy tree branch or a kids swing set or something similar to attach it . Don't tip it on it's side, as you risk draining base oil out through the crank case vent and into the top part of the engine. Most likely there are two blades under there. One may be not operating correctly. Also check that the deck is hanging level. Good luck.

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My dad always had an eye bolt on the front of the frame & used a come-a-long to raise it. Until I got my 4 post lift I used the floor jack & shoved 8" X 8" blocks under the front wheels. However you go about, it safety first!! I doubt a falling lawn tractor would kill you, but it would definitely ruin your day. As to mowing unevenly, check tire pressure on tractors with no bogey wheels, it is critical to have them pretty even. If you have bogey wheels, condition and adjustment will effect cut more than the tractor tires.
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John Lawrence wrote:

Hi John, Thanks for your reply. I have inadvertantly stepped on the deck while exiting the tractor. I realize this is a no-no, and given my size, an even *bigger* no-no. (cringe)
If the deck is leaning to one side, does that mean that the blade is also leaning? Since I don't know how these things are assembled, I wasn't sure if that was necessarily the case. I've thought about "stepping" onto the opposite side to make it level, but I didn't want to make the situation worse.
Any advise is appreciated. Brigitte

Hi
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It should be designed so that the mower deck can be removed and flipped over. By the time you mess with jacks, stands, ropes, trees, etc, it's just easier to remove the deck. Safer too.
-rev
Brigitte wrote:

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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

Hi rev, If I removed the deck, would I be able to access the blades easily? Will I be able to remove the blades if I need to? Or will I need to raise or lift the tractor to do that?
Thanks, Brigitte

If I
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Brigitte wrote:

The blades are *in* the mowing deck so yes, after removing the deck from the tractor you can easily access the blades without messing with the tractor. Removing the deck can be a pain though as some of the designs put the retaining pins where they are a real pain to see. You'll have to remove the deck drive belt too so be sure you know how to put it back properly.
--

dadiOH
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

Should just be two pins to remove the deck.
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The Reverend Natural Light wrote:

Just be sure to have a clean surface and a coffee can for all the parts. FedWarAddict #392854 Games I Play Multiplayer Online Games Strategy Games Unification Wars - Massive Multiplayer Online Games Galactic Conquest - Strategy Games Runescape Kings of chaos http://uc2.gamestotal.com
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Buy a pair of those ramps for working under autos;you drive up onto them,and they have stops molded into them so you don't go too far.
Then drive your tractor up on them(then turn it OFF),and slide under and remove the blade;take it to a sharpening shop.
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

Hi Jim, I have been mulling this idea over in my head, but worry that the 6 inches these ramps would give me would not be enough room to work.
One person has suggested lifting the tractor and putting it on large blocks, although I'm not sure it would be the safest way to go. Going to watch this thread till this weekend and see what suggestions/ideas people come up with.
Thanks for your reply. Brigitte
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Hmmmm.....ramps I have ( and which I think are pretty standard set, give 14" or so of lift when I drive the Ford up onto the, and give me plenty of room to slide in underneath on a mechanic's creeper.....
.....are you sure our ramp's only give a 6" lift...
....could you be mis estimating th height....it could be a gender thing....some women mistake 14" for 6 "...... [Grins, ducks, runs like hell for serious cover....!]
--
Jim McLaughlin

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I suggested the lifting and blocks, & even at that I'd remove the deck, it just is easier to work on. It really depends on the tractor, on my John Deere with quick release, it is a 5 minute job, if that, with the tractor flat on the floor, with my Cub Cadet and MTD it is a at least 1/2 hour with the front of the tractor raised. Once removed the deck can be inspected for worn idlers and other wear that would go unnoticed till the belts burned off, and something has to be done. The job of removing the blades is much easier with the deck upside down, those bolts can be really tight.
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Eric in North TX wrote:

Hi Eric, Thanks for the reply. The blades are attached to the deck? If so, sounds like removing the deck and turning it over to inspect the blades that way is my best bet.
I pulled the tractor onto the patio slab and raised the deck as far as I could and took a peek up under there. I see what appears to be a short blade that is definitely not horizontal. Since I can see only about 4 inches of the end of the blade, I'd guess it's bent downward, or the whole blade is sitting at at an angle not parallel to the ground. I'm sure this cock-eyed blade is my problem.
I know what I'll be doing tomorrow...
Brigitte
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Brigitte wrote:

If you have a cockeyed blade you have a bum mandrel/bearing...
--

dadiOH
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Thank you to everyone who replied with their ideas, suggestions and advise.
Brigitte
ps I know 14 inches when I see it ;)
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wrote:

Can not figure out why most people are telling you to get under the tractor or raise the tractor up on jack stands..etc...
Park the tractor on a somewhat level surface...like the driveway... and eyeball the lower edge of the mower deck and compare how high off the ground this lower edge is on both sides...they shoud be equal.. wheels on the outside edge of each deck should not be touching the ground...
To level the deck you should have adjustment points on the deck supports..which hang from the tractors frame down to the deck...
If you have to get to the blades...MOST tractors have release pins on the deck... pull these spring loaded pins and the deck should fall to the ground in the back and rest on the above mentioned wheels on each side of the dect... Pull the deck back to the rear and the complete deck will be off the tractor and sitting on the ground... Now pull the deck out from under the tractor from the side..Or just hop on the tractor and drive over the deck then walk back to the deck and flip it over...
My lawn tractor is not big...International Cub Cadet...18 hp..and I step on the deck getting on and off the mower...Tractor is almost 20 years old..and it has not hurt a thing in all those years...
Sorry But most lawn tractors are made this way...now Riding mowers are a horse of another color...and I do not know how they are held together...
Bob G. .
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Bob G. wrote:

Up to this point Bob's got the best so far, by far...if it is cutting an unlevel path, the deck isn't level. Someone else mentioned the air pressure in the tires--if one is way low, that can be a part of it, so fix any of those problems first. Then do the level slab and measure the lower lip of the deck off the slab on both sides at the cutting height. It should be within an eighth-inch or so on both sides. Again, as Bob notes, make sure one or the other float wheel isn't holding the deck up on one side--they should be just a tad above the ground on level ground at cutting height. If the deck hangs level but the cut isn't, _then_ you have something more problematical to take care of, but if it runs well and isn't making much noise or vibration on the deck, the likelihood of a bad bearing or other problem like a bent shaft is pretty minimal. But, of course, once you're gotten the deck level, the acid test is to measure the tip of each blade above that same surface. It is possible a blade itself could be bent--this check will find that, too. At 42", it must be at least two blades--if it's three, getting to the center one takes getting down there and reaching under. That's the way mine is but it's not a real hard thing, just a little awkward.
As for how to adjust it to correct the problem, the general description is right, but the details vary all over the map--you'll have to look at the mounting linkage and see where there are some adjustable links. I don't recognize the name, perhaps someone else will or DAGS and maybe you can find an online source for a manual if one didn't come with it. Of course, if the previous owner bought it new, you could try to contact them and see if they still have it...
As for taking the deck off, I agree it should almost never be required and is often a pita (to use the technical term), particularly on some of the "no-name" tractors. An under-the-deck inspection should be simply a verification that there isn't a whole lot of debris and the blades are tight in virtually all cases.
To remove the blades, the easiest way imo, is to simply get a small piece of 1x and place it alongside the blade and between the blade and deck so that it wedges in place. Then a long-handled socket will make short work of the blade bolt(s). Clean all mating surfaces before re-installing. To tighten, you don't even need the block--the sharp side of the blade is facing away from the direction in which you need to tighten the bolt, so you can simply hold the back of the blade w/ the other hand while tightening the bolt. They don't need to be knuckle-whitening tight, just tight.
If you do have need to pull the deck, I definitely recommend against the idea of trying to drive the tractor over it--most any deck I have seen is far too high for the wheels to get over the lip anyway, and it's a good way to break something, one possibility being you.
HTH...
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All good advice.

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I honestly do not disagree with you on my prefered method of removing the deck (driving over the darn thing).. Its always worked for me...at least on my Cub Cadets... (thats the only brand I have personally owned for the last 40 or so years)... But If I remember correctly my 1at Tractor was a glorified lawn mower and even calling it a Riding Mower would be pushing it... So your warnings are valid...
Bob G.
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