1026R & 1023E series mower setup and adjustment for easy on and offBy
It seems a few owners haven’t gotten their new 1 series tractors equipped with either the 54 or 60D mower setup correctly. This will explain how to do it yourself for the best possible mower performance! Most if not all of this information can be found in the John Deere Owner’s Manuals for the mower and the tractor. The procedure is the same for the 54″ and 60″ decks, mechanical or independent lift. There is one additional step for mechanical lift equipped tractors. More on that later…
First you’re going to need a few tools. A 1 1/8″ wrench, a tape measure or better yet the JD mower leveling gauge p/n AM130907. The tractor needs to be parked on a smooth and level surface.
-This step is for mechanical lift equipped tractors only- To adjust MMM rockshaft lift strap (located between 3PH rockshaft and MMM rockshaft behind left rear wheel) you remove the mower and remove the hair pin clips and pins (D) to disconnect the lift links (E) from both lift arms. Raise the 3PH fully. Rotate mower cut height knob to lock position. Remove left rear wheel. (You might be able to skip this if you can reach the 3 bolts on the lifting strap.) Loosen the three bolts on the lift strap. Rotate mid mount rockshaft (B) forward until there is a small gap (A) between the the height cam (C) and mid mount rockshaft (B). Move lift strap forward to the end of travel slot and tighten the three bolts. (I’d use 1/16″ to 1/8″ for a goal for this gap.) Reinstall left rear wheel and mower.
First you want to adjust the side lift links (E) for maximum lift. To do this you’ll want to start the tractor and raise the mower all the way. Rotate the mower height adjustment knob to the lock position. Now look at the mower height cam (C) above the left rear mower latch. It’s just behind the left rear tire. You want to see a gap at “A”. I’ve found that a gap of about 1/8″ is perfect.
To get this gap set right you first need to unlock all anti-scalp wheels, turn the mower height adjustment knob to the “install” position, and then lower the deck to the ground. Then remove the hair pin clips and pins (D) and adjust both links (E) up equally. Now you need to raise the mower fully and check for the gap (A) between the height cam (C) and the rock shaft arm (B). Repeat this process until you get close to 1/8″.
Here is the gap on my tractor.
The next picture shows the mower resting on the height cam “lock” position.
Now we are going to adjust side to side level. Set your mower height adjustment knob to your desired mowing height and lower your mower. Measure your blade height and adjust the same side links to achieve level within 1/8″ to 1/4″. I was able to achieve the same measurement on both sides. I usually mow at 3″ and marked the scale accordingly.
After you’ve set level side to side, recheck your maximum height setting. Here is my tractor at full travel, mower resting on the lock position, and install position.
To adjust front to rear level we’ll need your mower at your desired mowing height. Measure a blade from the front and at the rear. It doesn’t matter which blade. The optimal setting is 1/8″ to 1/4″ front lower than the rear. This reduces friction on the rear of the blades and make the front of the blade do all of the cutting and discharging. The front draft arms will adjust front to rear leveling. First lower the deck to the install position and loosen the rear draft arm nuts with the 1 1/8″ wrench. (The nuts closest to the mower.) It may help to drive the tractor off of the mower just to loosen the rear nuts. Raise the mower back to the desired mowing height. Tighten the front nuts the same amount (it helps to count flats) to raise the front of the deck. Loosening lowers the front of the deck. Double check your front to rear level once you got the draft arm adjustment nuts tight.
The Auto-Connect carrier bearing needs to be adjusted for easy connection as well. If you remove the mower it will be easier. Lower the mower/mower lift arms all the way to the install position. There is an adjustment bolt under the bearing to adjust for between perpendicular to the ground to leaning ever so slightly forward. I found this makes for the best connection.
Now it’s time to go mow your yard and enjoy your tractor!