Every year, twice a year, Matt and I get up close and personal with our little tractor, Wiley. Attaching the mower deck in the spring and detaching it in the fall are pretty intimate operations.
Just a refresher, Wiley is a Kioti CS2410. His mower deck is a Kioti SM2410. It’s a belly mower, meaning it rides under Wiley’s middle (as opposed to the mowers that are towed behind a tractor).
I thought this year that I’d finally properly document the process. I’ve tried to do this for the past few years, but attaching and detaching is always a bit stressful. See how concerned Baxter is when we did this two years ago?
I usually feel like it’s better for my marriage if I don’t try to prep a blog post at the same time as we’re installing or removing the deck.
That’s not to say this is an overly complicated undertaking. It’s just an undertaking that is a bit tricky in spots.
Here are the steps to remove the mower deck from the tractor:
1. This whole operation will be dramatically aided by level ground (which does not exist at the farm). So, step 1: park the tractor on level ground… or at least the levelest ground you can find.
2. Start with the mower raised but set at the shortest cutting setting.
3. Turn the wheels that support the deck so that they’re perpendicular (90 degrees) to the tractor’s wheels. Pop out the pins and rotate the wheels.
Repin them in the highest position–meaning the mower is as high off the ground as you can get it, i.e. the pins are in the bottom hole on the sleeve.
4. Disconnect the PTO. Push the shiny gold collar towards the mower deck (forwards), and pull it off the shaft. The person with the longest arms should do this (i.e. Matt), as the PTO is right in the middle under the tractor, and you have to reach over the deck and around the back wheel to reach it.
5. Lower the deck–use the three-point lever, not the cutting height lever. Give the deck a good shake to make sure it’s all the way down. You do not want this thing falling on you. It will crush you. (Not quite the same, but I have this line in my head now and I can’t resist. Plus, it’s one of Matt’s favourite movies.)
6. Pull the pins that attach the deck to the tractor. There are three on each side. The quick connect pins at the front and back are on springs. Just pull them out and turn them out of the way. The other pins at the very front have split rings that you have to remove first.
The pins are when things get stressful for us. The deck is super heavy. And if you’re not on level ground, there’s invariably some weight still resting on the pins. So sometimes they just don’t want to come out, no matter how hard we yank on them.
There are two techniques we’ve found to help: one, slide some blocks under the deck to help support the weight. Use trial and error to find out where you need them–front or back, starboard or port.
The second solution is tried and true: the hammer. Tap (as gently as you can given your current frustration levels and your limited maneuverability under the tractor).
It’s a wonderful feeling when the pins pop free. You will end up with two metal arms that hold the deck to the front of the tractor. Those arms should stay with the deck. Don’t lose them. You’ll need them if you ever want to cut grass again. (And just a note for when it comes time to reattach them, the springs point in).
7. Raise the mower using the three-point lever to fully detach the deck. At this point the deck should not be connected to the tractor, but still sitting under the tractor. Use the front end loader to lift the tractor up a little bit–just enough to give you clearance to slide out the deck. (Put the parking brake on–safety first!)
8. Push, push, push and pull, pull, pull the deck out from under the tractor, and you’re good!
Well, you’ll probably want to tip up the deck, scrape the dried up crusty grass from the underside, hit it with the hose, inspect the blades and grease all of the fittings.
Just to be safe, we also tuck the PTO into a plastic bag to keep dirt out of it.
But do all that, and you’re done. And you don’t have to cut grass for another few months. (Don’t mention attaching the snowblower).
Time for a victory dance! (Wow, Bax was skinny that first year).
What type of mower do you use at your house? Have you tucked your mower away for the season yet? Do you have any jobs that put your relationship to the test? Do you have a sidekick who helps (and celebrates) the tough jobs?