DIY mower deck wheels. How to Level a Mower Deck on your Cub Cadet Rider

mower, deck, wheels, level, your

How to Level a Mower Deck on your Cub Cadet Rider

These instructions will explain how to level the deck on your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower. Depending on your model, the instructions listed below may slightly vary. Always be sure to check your operator’s manual for detailed instructions.


Be sure the mower is on a flat level surface and engage the parking break. Turn the engine off and make sure it is cool. Remove the ignition key. Remove the spark plug ignition wire.

To level the deck from the front to rear, place the deck lift lever in the middle position.

Wearing gloves, rotate the blade closest to the discharge chute parallel to the lawn mower.

Measure the height of the front blade tip to the ground. Next, measure the height of the rear blade tip to the ground. Refer to your operator’s manual for proper height differences between front and rear.

Adjust the deck by loosening the hex lock nut on the deck hanger rod.

Raise the front of the deck by tightening the inner hex nut.

Loosen the inner hex nut to lower the front of the deck.

Once the deck is at the proper level, tighten the lock nut to secure.

Wearing gloves for protection, level the deck from side to side by rotating the blades perpendicular to the lawn mower.

Measure the height of the blade tips on each side of the deck from the ground.

Adjust the deck by loosening the hex bolt on the left hangar bracket.

Raise or lower the deck by loosening the hex bolt on the left hangar bracket.

When both blade tips have the same measurement from the ground, tighten the hex bolt.

Reconnect the spark plug’s ignition wire.

Cub Cadet Genuine Parts

Always use genuine OEM replacement parts when servicing your equipment. Use our parts finder to locate and order any replacement parts you may need for maintenance. Refer to your owner’s manual for additional maintenance information.

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WARRANTY ADDENDUM. IMPORTANT: This addendum defines the start of the warranty period. The applicable Warranty Period will begin on the original date of purchase of the Product or on the date of delivery of the Product, whichever is later. Engine Disclaimer: The engine horsepower information is provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. See your local Cub Cadet Dealer for warranty details.Pricing Disclaimer: Posted price is in USD Dollars and is manufacturer’s suggested sale price. Models and pricing may vary by location. Taxes, freight, set-up and delivery not included. Optional equipment, accessories and attachments sold separately. See your retailer for details. Image Disclaimer: Products may vary from depicted model image in design, required attachments, safety features and non-functional appearance, and may not reflect dealer inventory or unit specifications. Specifications Disclaimer: Specifications subject to change without notice. Images may not reflect retailer inventory and/or unit specifications. Operator’s Manual Disclaimer: The operator’s manual posted is for general information and use. To ensure the download of the operator’s manual specific to your unit, we require a model and serial number. Speed Disclaimer: Actual vehicle speed varies based on load, use and environmental conditions. Battery Disclaimer: Battery and battery powered product performance varies with load, use and environmental conditions. Software Disclaimer: Software available on Company websites is provided on an as is basis without any warranty of any kind, either express or implied. The download and use of any software is done at the user’s own risk. Professional Products: Cub Cadet commercial products are intended for professional use. UTV: Cub Cadet Utility Vehicles (UTV) are intended for off-road use by adults only. Please see the operator’s manual and the warning labels posted on the vehicle itself for more details. Email disclaimer: Sign up to receive communication on services, products and special offers. You may unsubscribe at any time. Please refer to our Privacy Policy.

John Deere 1, 2 and 3 Series Tractor Mower Decks Plus Load-n-Go Ramps

There’s nothing better than warm days and lush, green grass. A perfectly manicured lawn is the best first impression you can give guests, but when it comes to keeping that beautiful lawn looking ship-shape and tidy, it’s what’s in your shed that is the real game changer.

Compact utility tractors are popular because of their versatility and adaptability. They allow operators to tackle a wide range of tasks without purchasing multiple pieces of equipment. A compact utility tractor can be used for everything from digging and trenching to grading and hauling goods, simply by adding one or more of the hundreds of attachments available.

However, with all the compact tractor attachments available, it’s important to remember one of the most important things when it comes to maintaining your property: a mower deck.

There’s a mowing implement that will transform your compact utility tractor into a mowing machine based on your needs and the type of tractor you possess, and there are two primary mower attachment options: mid-mount and rear-mount mowers.

Rear-mount mowers are typically pulled behind the tractor or are attached to the rear hitch. They’re ideal for large, open areas and are usually available with two discharge options — rear and side discharge.

Mid-mount mower decks, on the other hand, are attached to the bottom of the compact utility tractor and are the most popular option for mowing turf and keeping grass looking professionally maintained. They’re easy to use and provide a high-quality cut no matter the terrain and can easily be maneuvered in and out of smaller areas.

But what mower deck is right for you?

Keep reading to see the mid-mount mower deck options available for the John Deere 1, 2, and 3 Series compact utility tractors.

1Series Mower Deck Options

The 1 Family of John Deere sub-compact tractors are an easy an affordable choice for both new and seasoned operators alike.

Featuring 4WD and attachment friendly options like AutoConnect™ mid-mount mower decks and Quik-Park™ loaders, these tractors are designed to help you work smarter, not harder.

Mower deck options for John Deere 1023E, and 1025R include two cutting widths (54 and 60 inches) and two options for mower deck thickness (10 gauge and 7 gauge). They’re all built with John Deere AutoConnect™ technology, allowing the operator to drive over the deck to automatically connect the mower deck and drive shaft and release the latches to disconnect with ease.

They also boast three blades, and all come with optional mulching kits, ready to transform your compact utility tractor into a mean, green, grass-cutting machine.

How to level you Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 or ZT1 zero turn mower

The mid-mount mower deck models are compatible with compact utility tractors built before May 2020 or model year 17, as well as the model year 20 1025R tractors.

2 Series and 3 Series Mower Deck Options

When it comes to the middle children of the Compact Utility Tractor family, the 2 Series and 3 Series compact utility tractor is where you want to be.

These ultimate miniature landscapers know mowing lawns should be easy, so John Deere made it easy.

How To Level Mower Deck

Featuring the easy-to-attach and detach AutoConnect™ mid-mount mower deck, these precision cutters are where it’s at when it comes to keeping your lawn in tip-top shape. The basic-level 2 series compact utility tractor comes standard with the 54-inch deck, while the premium package features the big 60D, for model year 2017 and newer 2025R, 2032R, and 2038R tractors, or the 72D drive-over mower deck for model year 2017 and newer 2032R and 2038R tractors. The 3 series compact utility tractor features the 60D or 72D drive-over mower deck for model year 2017 and newer 3033R, 3039R, and 3046R compact utility tractors, to cut grass down to size.

These decks are available with optional mulching kit and all have a cut height of 1 to 4 inches.

And Don’t Forget About Load-N-Go™!

The optional add-on Load-n-Go™ system is available for 1 and 2 series compact tractors with 60-inch mowing decks. This drive-over system allows the operator to remove the mower deck from the tractor and easily attach it to the loader arms — giving the operator the ability to raise the deck for easy maintenance.

The John Deere Load-N-Go™ attachment is available for 1 series and model year 17 and newer 2025R compact utility tractors with 7-Iron™ AutoConnect™ 60D mower decks. The Load-N-Go™ adds value to AutoConnect™ mower decks by simplifying the process of moving the deck once it’s been removed from the tractor. It’s installed in place of the existing drive-over ramps and allows the tractor’s loader to pick up and transfer the mower deck. When used in conjunction with jack stands, it also provides a convenient way to reach the underneath of the mower deck for cleaning, removing blades, and other maintenance without risking harming the anti-scalp wheels. Now it’ll be a lot easier to pull that deck out of the center of the garage floor, off the driveway, or just out of the way.

If you’re looking to level-up your compact utility tractor, visit your nearest RDO Equipment Co. location and speak with an account manager to get your tractor ready to mow.

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Should Mower Deck Wheels Touch The Ground?

One thing no one ever tells you is that mowing the lawn has a learning curve. It’s not only learning about how to add fuel to your mower or how to turn. It’s also a matter of learning how to adjust your deck wheels and how to tell if you’re mowing properly.

A common mistake among people who are new to lawncare is believing that mower deck wheels should touch the ground. This is just not true. Wheels that touch the ground might not be properly inflated or could end up cutting grass too short.

Learning the proper height for your mower’s deck wheels is crucial to getting that healthy, crisp lawn trim you want without stressing your mower. Here’s what you need to know about your wheel deck’s height.

Why Shouldn’t Mower Deck Wheels Touch The Ground?

The biggest issue with your wheels touching the ground is that it’s a sign of deflated tires or poor maintenance. This can cause your mower to become difficult to push, steer, or drive. It also can put stress on rider mowers’ engines.

However, touching the ground isn’t just a matter of bad tires. If your wheels touch the ground, your riding mower also could potentially scalp your lawn if it hits uneven territory. The end result is a botched lawn.

What Are Deck Wheels For?

Deck wheels aren’t the same as the wheels you see on the ground. These are wheels that help ensure that your mower doesn’t scalp your lawn. So, if you see them touching the ground, chances are high that you could end up with a seriously short lawn…or ugly bald patches.

Could Ground-Touching Deck Wheels Harm Your Lawn Mower?

Potentially, yes. Though it’s rare, having deck wheels that touch the ground could place your mower’s blades close enough to sharp rocks. Should a blade hit a rock that’s jutting out of the ground, you might end up having some serious lawn mower damage.

How Far Off The Ground Should Wheels Be?

Experts agree that the bottom of your mower’s tires should be anywhere from ⅛ to ½ inch off the ground at all times. How high you keep your mower deck wheels will depend on the height you want your grass to be cut.

If you have a mower tractor, though, things get a little more advanced. Tractor-using professionals should adjust their deck wheels to around 1 inch off the ground at all times.

It’s also worth noting that riding mowers also have multiple angled decks, which means that you should check to ensure that front deck is slightly lower (like ⅜ inch) than the back deck. This helps further prevent lawn scalping.

How To Adjust Deck Wheel Height On Your Mower

The best way to find out how to adjust your mower’s deck wheel height is to refer to your mower’s manual. That said, most mowers have a general process you can expect to follow:

  • First, make sure your tires are inflated to the right level. Most of the time, this is all you need to keep your deck wheels at the right height if they came pre-adjusted.
  • Raise your mower deck to the highest height setting available. Once you have your height up, carefully adjust your cutting height to a lower setting as you see fit.
  • Lower the deck into a mowing position. You should notice your deck wheels no longer touching the ground.
  • Park your machine, pull the gauge wheel release rod, and place the rod in the right hole. This locks your wheels into place.

Deck Wheel Height Adjustment Tips

When adjusting your deck wheel’s height, it’s important to keep safety in mind. These tips will help you make it work:

  • Always make sure that your lawn mower is shut off before you adjust your wheel heights. This is just common sense. Safety matters.
  • Wear protective gloves. You never know what might happen when you’re adjusting those deck wheels.
  • Keep an eye out for measuring marks on your mower. Most mower models will have a guide that tells you how high up you’re adjusting it.
  • When in doubt, refer to your manual. Most mowers have their manuals available online if you don’t have it on hand.

Our Final Take

If you are wondering whether your deck wheels are supposed to touch the ground, the answer is a plain and simple no. Having deck wheels touching the ground is a sign that you’re probably going to have a scalped ground sooner rather than later.

If you notice your deck wheels hitting the ground, you will need to readjust your deck wheels’ height. Thankfully, the entire procedure only takes a couple of minutes and can be done by almost anyone.

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The Best Zero-Turn Mowers of 2023

These achieve the rare feat of making lawn mowing fun.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 1, 2023

When it comes to yard work, zero turn mowers do the impossible. They make lawn mowing fun. They accomplish this by putting unprecedented speed, control and maneuverability at the disposal of the person mowing the lawn. The so-called “zero turn” feature of these mowers converts a grass cutting machine into something akin to an amusement park ride. You steer the machine with two levers—the left lever controls the left wheel, the right lever the right wheel. With that steering setup, you can zoom over the landscape cutting straight lines, curves, or pivot the mower into and out of a corner. What’s not to like?

Read on to understand how these agile grass cutters work, how we go about testing them, and see some candidates that we’ve recently tested as well as some that we haven’t but that we think look particularly promising.

How Zero-Turn Mowers Work

A zero-turn riding mower consists of an operator platform, a frame and wheels, an engine (or battery bank), transmissions (or motors), and a pair of control levers commonly known as lap bars. In gas mowers, the engine powers a pulley system. One group of pulleys drives the blades, another group powers a pair of transmissions–one at each rear wheel. When you move the lap bar forward or back, you are directing the transmission to go faster, slower, or even turn the opposite way. When one drive wheel turns clockwise and the other counter clockwise, the mower pivots. When the wheels rotate at different rates, the mower turns in an arc-shaped path. When the lap bars are in the neutral position, the mower stops. Aside from a parking brake, there’s no other braking mechanism. Battery-powered zero-turn mowers work the same way, but have separate motors to drive the rear wheels and one for each blade inside the mower deck.

When it comes to transmission, most mowers have a Hydrogear EZT—a well-known and cost-effective residential-grade transaxle with a reputation for durability.

Some mowers use a deck stamped from one piece of steel, others use a deck fabricated from multiple pieces and welded together. A fabricated deck can be built from thicker steel at a lower cost than it would be able to be built otherwise. Once you’re talking about stamping metal as thick as 10 gauge (about 1⁄8 inch thick), the cost of stamping such a deck would push up the mower’s price beyond what most people are willing to pay. The decks in the mowers below range from 42 to 52 inches, a typical size in this class of product. When powered by these engines and the Hydrogear, these mowers will deliver a decent cut quality at their rated top speed of 7 mph. Note, however, that cut quality declines steeply if you maintain that speed in very thick grass or on uneven terrain.

As to the electric mowers, they represent the leading edge of the technology in this category. These are remarkable and expensive mowers powered by large-voltage lithium-ion batteries. If you’re interested in reducing mowing noise and simplifying your maintenance routine by eliminating gas and oil, they’re worth a look.

Selecting a Zero-Turn Mower

Everyone would like to select the biggest possible zero-turn mower with the hope of whittling a big grass cutting job down to size as quickly as possible. Reality usually intercedes because these machines are expensive and the wide range of options available today quickly drive up the cost. Roughly speaking, you start somewhere in the range of a mower with a 42-inch deck costing in the vicinity of 3200 to 3500 and move up in increments of 1000 to 1500 until you reach entry-level commercial-grade equipment that costs 7000 to 8000.

Again, speaking in terms of approximation, a mower with a 42-inch deck will cut a two-acre lot (that takes into account that the house, driveway, outbuildings and various landscape features are taking up some of that space). Use a mower with a larger deck to cut anything over two acres. But here’s the caveat. That entry-level ZTR mower (3200, say) with a 42-inch deck will wear out faster and need more maintenance than a mower with a 50-inch deck, a heavier frame, larger engine and higher quality transmissions, and thicker deck with more robust blade spindles, costing 4500.

mower, deck, wheels, level, your

In the simplest possible terms, you can cut a smaller area with a larger mower and expect more longevity out of the machine (not to mention a nicer mowing experience) or you can cut a larger area with a smaller machine and encounter more maintenance and a mowing experience that will be, we might say, a bit more rugged.

But there are still other factors to consider, in selecting a mower other than deck size and your budget. Larger mowers take more space in a garage or outbuilding. And a mower with a 50-inch or even 60-inch deck, as useful as it might be in getting the job done more quickly, may not fit through a fence’s gate, and it might be more difficult to maneuver in tight spots without creating scalp marks on the lawn from a lot of close-quarter pivoting.

Carefully consider all these factors when shopping for a mower: your budget, maintenance and whether you will perform that work yourself, mowing speed and time, maneuverability and trimming in tight areas, the importance that you place on your comfort while mowing, cut quality, longevity, storage, and access to the landscape.

How We Select and Test

There’s only one way to test a mower, and that’s to cut grass with it. But we also do more than mow.

We raise and lower the deck and adjust the seat. We look at service point access (the air filter, the spark plug, and the oil filter) and how easy it is to remove the deck. We mow approximately an acre with each mower, considering cut and mulching quality while running uphill, downhill, across washboard, and along sidehills. (On sidehills, we’ll mow surfaces pitched up to approximately 20 degrees; manufacturers generally recommend not going steeper than 10 degrees, but we like to be thorough.) We evaluate power and speed relative to cut quality—we investigate whether the mower delivers a decent cut mowing at full speed. When mowing in damp conditions, we look at whether the mower’s tires accumulate grass and how effectively it discharges moist clippings. Finally, we test maneuverability (these machines are, generally, very nimble) and how readily they come to a stop when you back off the lap bar control levers.