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Mower doesn't mow evenly, and it's driving me crazy!


I'm new here, so forgive me while I familiarize myself with the site and topics.

I recently purchased a used riding mower from a neighbor, a retired Cadallac mechanic who now reconditions tractors and sells them on his curb. The tractor that I purchased is a Craftsman, 46" cut, Kohler Pro, 22 V-Twin. This doesn't mean much to me, but it's in much better shape than my previous 20+ year old hand-me-down, and it runs like a charm.

My issue is with the mowing deck. There are three blades turning under there, but the result is shotty at best. I've included a few attempts at capturing the unleveled cut, but it's difficult to tell from the pictures. What it looks like in person is that the outer edges of the deck are cut, but the middle (between the wheels) stands ~1/2" taller, making the lawn look like -^--^--^--^- afterwards instead of -------.

I've found myself having to go over sections multiple times, resulting in wasted time and gas ($$). If anyone can help me resolve this, I could finally have a mower I'm proud to use on my work-in-progess lawn.

Thanks in advance.
Uneven grass example 2
Uneven grass example 2
Uneven grass after a fresh mow
Uneven grass after a fresh mow

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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Mower doesn't mow evenly, and it's driving me crazy!

I'm not a lawn person, so this might not be correct, but intuitively, it seems like the problem could be at least alleviated by changing the mowing pattern? Overlapping straight runs (I'm picturing wide elliptical turns/loops rather than straight about-face u-turn side-by-side runs) and cross-hatching in 90° runs?

Also, maybe the blades need to be sharpened in the middle?
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Greener Thumb
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:12 am
Location: central Ohio

Re: Mower doesn't mow evenly, and it's driving me crazy!

Are you sure the middle blade is turning? Is the middle blade installed properly?

Greener Thumb
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:34 pm
Location: Brownville, Ne

Re: Mower doesn't mow evenly, and it's driving me crazy!

Make sure the belt is properly installed. You can go on line to get the proper path going around the right pullys. My guess is it is not turning the center blades. May have to take the deck off the mower to get it right. What a pain.
Paul F

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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Mower doesn't mow evenly, and it's driving me crazy!

It does seem to be a blade issue. Either the blades are not balanced or sharp or as Paul suggested the belt may be the problem. It can also be caused by damage to the deck or spindle so it is not level. Make sure the deck is level. If the deck is damaged it may need to be replaced. if most of the uncut grass is where you are turning, you may not be overlapping enough on the turn.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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