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Power Tip #26

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Don't get caught with a tilted deck!

Jun 17/04
If you constantly see every path that you have cut with your lawnmower you could have an out of level deck. The way to check it is fairly easy:
First - remove the spark plug wire to prevent any accidents.
Place the mower on a flat surface like a patio stone or concrete floor.
Raise the mower to its highest adjustment so you can get your hands under it.
Next turn the blade by hand so that is exactly parallel to an imaginary line between the 2 rear wheels. You need to measure from the bottom of the blade at the tips to the floor on both sides. It is hard to get a measuring device under there so I usually find a socket or block of wood that is close to the size required and take a real good eyeball or feel of the remaining gap.
Next, turn the blade 90', front to rear and check it that way.
The side to side measurement should be identical. However, the front of the blade is usually very slightly lower than the rear. This is done on purpose so that the blade is cutting on the front portion of the blade arc only. That makes for a better quality of cut and reduces the horsepower required to turn the blade.
If you have any variations on your measurements the first place to look is the wheels. Are they worn or wobbly? How do the adjusters look, solid and secure? How about the integrity of the mower deck, is the metal in good shape, not bent broken or twisted? Most wheel or adjuster problems are easy to remedy but if you are having deck issues maybe it is time to start thinking about replacing the old mower.

Reader Comments

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Jul 06/04 Tony S., Georgetown
I don't undertand what you mean by lines, are you talking about the lines the lawnmower wheels always seem to leave.
Answer from Mark: Sorry Tony if I was un-clear. The lines I was discussing are caused by the lawnmower cutting the grass higher on one side of the mower than on the other. The purpose of the Power Tip was to make people aware of what could be causing the stripped effect on their lawns. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.

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