Craftsman mower deck abnormalities?!

rustyj14(W/PA)July 26, 2010

Stopped to visit a friend, who fixes tractors. He was replacing one of the spindles on a C-man tractor deck. Here's the problem.

Spindle same height as old one, same shaft length, same-o-same-o. But, where it bolts to the deck, it isn't the same plane as the other blade! And, the deck spindle mounting area is lower than the other one, making the blades spin at different heights!

We couldn't figure it out. I told him i'd consult my chrystal ball (here) and see if somebody else knows whats what. Rustyj

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bushleague(MA)

Rusty what are we working on? I have seen some apps where the spindle installed heights were different. How does it differ from the original spindle?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 8:24PM
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mownie(7)

A guess on my part would be sorta, kinda what bushleague is saying.
"Maybe there is a different part number for different spindle assemblies on the same deck." and perhaps your friend was given the other part # instead of the correct one for that specific position.
The 917.xxxxxx number would let one look at the official Sears IPL on the dern thing to see it that is it.
Another possibility is "wrong part in right box". Seen that more than once, a clue or dead giveaway is: Does the box look like it has been opened and re-sealed, or just opened.......and not resealed?
I have watched customers and parts guys open several boxes and pass parts back and forth to a customer to let the customer decide if it fits or not. I always wonered if all those similar parts got back to the right box. :^)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:02PM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

Well, the spindle shaft and and housing were new, but they matched up perfectly with the old ones, as to height, length, and all. The original mower deck was different, in that one side was lower where the spindle assembly bolted on, than the other side! And, the blade was lower(higher) than the other side, depending on how you look at it. Resulting in one blade was an inch higher than the other side! Nothing was changed on the mower deck-no hammering, prying, nothing. Nothing bent, out of kilter, askew, nothing!
What i am wondering is--has anyone else come across this problem? This was the dark green C-man lawn tractor. (I go by the main colors, to define how old the machine is.)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:14PM
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mownie(7)

OK, I look into the crystal ball and I see that the owner of this tractor has been living with a somewhat sculpted lawn for some time as one blade has been cutting deeper than the other.
Rusty, you and your friend are gonna have to come up with the 917 number so everybody can see what the Sears IPL calls out for parts and numbers.
If.......the same spindle assembly is used in both holes, but one hole has a higher elevation, that would imply that a spacer was missing that would even out the blade height.
But that would cause another issue.....belt pulley heights being uneven.
And while we're on that subject, how does the belt pulley height match up from one pulley to the next at the present time? :^)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 9:41PM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

As i said before--they are the same height/length of shaft. Pulleys are the same size. New mandrell matches old one! Blades match.
With the deck turned upside down, you can see that where the mandrell attaches to the deck, the deck is higher on one mandrell area, which makes the blade higher than the other one!
The mechanic didn't have the mandrells attached to the deck, when i was there. but sitting side by-side, they were the same height!
And, looking at the underside of the deck, i could see where one side, where the mandrell bolts on, was stamped higher than the other side! He said he had put them both on, and one blade was an inch or so higher than the other!
Now--figger that one out!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:05PM
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mownie(7)

rustyj, I asked if the pulleys ended up being at the same LEVEL or is one pulley also higher in the air than the other pulley?..........same as for the blades?
The answer lies in the 917 number and the Sears IPL.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:23PM
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tomplum

These decks actually tweak all the time. In the EHP service manual, there is a procedure and tool used to pull the deck back into position. You can do the same thing by using a c clamp and support on the lower part of the deck and using a chain or non stretchy type rope around the top of the mandrel to pull it into position.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 11:48PM
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rcbe(6)

Rusty - lift up that tilting seat. Look into the cavity for a plate/decal that carries the 917.xxxxxxxx model # and the tractor's serial number. post that info here.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:30AM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

First: The guy lives about 25 miles away.
Second: i may be going by his place on Thursday.
Third: The suggestion of a spacer not being in place! I asked him when i was there, and he said no!
Fourth: Trying to pull, or tweak the deck would be like pulling hen's teeth!
Fifth: Having the Serial and model numbers won't do any good! Remember--the mandrell and all are exactly the same! He matched them up!
Sixth: All of the serial numbers in the world aren't going to change the position of the mandrells! Only thing might be that he didn't see the spacer roll under the tractor, when he removed the mandrell, especially if he hadn't removed the deck! This bears some more viewing on my part, but i shall inform you all when we get it resolved. Meanwhile, i'll be looking under a bunch of mower decks to see if there might be a spacer that he didn't see fall out when he unbolted the mandrell-s! Thanks for the help!
Rustyj
p.s. What i can't understand--why didn't the mfgr. just make the mounting holes the same height? And, tilting the seat will only make the tractor hard to ride on it! ;o)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 10:25AM
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rcbe(6)

Rusty - yer more stubborn than most of us :) but now understand tractor is not conveniently in yer garage.
Mebe someone else has seen offset mandrel mounting surfaces, but all of 'em I ever fooled with were on the same plane.
But - that model # info just might let us find out if there is/was a designed mandrel spacer for that particular deck assembly...

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 4:44PM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

Yes, RCBE, you are correct. I shall contact him tomorrow to see if he got the thing fixed. If not, i shall post the numbers here! Thanks for all of the help.
Rusty J.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 8:26AM
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rustyj14(W/PA)

Well, i stopped to see the man again, and he had given up on it.said one spindle housing was longer than the other one, but nobody had the longer shaft and housing, to sell him. End of story!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:48PM
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