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Operating - Mower

Check Ground Conditions

Clear mowing area of objects that might be thrown. Keep people and pets out of mowing area.

Study mowing area. Set up safe mowing pattern. Do not mow under conditions where traction or stability is doubtful.

First, test drive area with PTO OFF and mower lowered. Slow down when you travel over rough ground.

Avoid Injury From Contacting Blades

Before you dismount to unplug or adjust mower:

DISENGAGE PTO to stop mower blades.

STOP the engine.

LOCK the park brake.

Remove key.

Wait for mower blades to STOP.

Keep hands, feet and clothing away from mower deck when engine is running.

DISENGAGE PTO to stop mower blades when you are not using mower.

Operate Mower Safely (General Operation)

This cutting machine is capable of amputating hands and feet and throwing objects. Failure to observe the following safety instructions could result in serious injury or death.

READ, UNDERSTAND, AND FOLLOW all instructions in this manual and on the machine before starting.

ONLY ALLOW RESPONSIBLE ADULTS, who are familiar with the instructions, to operate this machine.

BE SURE the area is clear of other people before mowing. STOP machine if anyone enters the area.

NEVER carry passengers.

DO NOT mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. ALWAYS LOOK DOWN AND BEHIND before and while backing.

BE AWARE of the mower discharge direction and DO NOT point it at anyone. DO NOT operate the mower without either the entire grass catcher or the guard in place.

SLOW DOWN before turning.

NEVER LEAVE a running machine unattended. ALWAYS turn OFF blades, set parking brake, STOP engine, and remove keys before dismounting.

TURN OFF blades when not mowing.

STOP engine before removing grass catcher or unclogging chute.

MOW ONLY in daylight or good artificial light.

DO NOT operate this machine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

WATCH for traffic when operating near or crossing roadways.

Use extra care when loading or unloading this machine onto a trailer or a truck.

Operate Mower Safely (On Slopes)

Slopes are a major factor related to loss-of-control and tip-over accidents, which can result in severe injury or death. ALL slopes require extra caution. If you CANNOT back up the slope or if you feel UNEASY on it, DO NOT mow it.

Mow UP and DOWN slopes-not ACROSS.

Remove obstacles such as rocks, tree limbs, etc.

Watch for holes, ruts, or bumps. Uneven terrain could overturn this machine. Tall grass can hide obstacles.

Use slow speed. Choose a low gear so that you will not have to STOP or SHIFT while on the slopes.

Follow the recommendations for wheel weights or counterweights to improve stability.

Use extra care with grass catchers or other attachments. These can CHANGE the stability of this machine.

Keep ALL movement on the slopes SLOW and GRADUAL. DO NOT make sudden changes in speed or direction.

Avoid STARTING or STOPPING on a slope. If tires lose traction, DISENGAGE the blades and proceed slowly straight down the slope.

DO NOT turn on slopes unless necessary, and then, turn SLOWLY and GRADUALLY downhill, if possible.

DO NOT mow near drop-offs, ditches, or embarkments. The mower could suddenly turn over if a wheel is over the edge of a cliff or ditch, or if an edge caves in.

DO NOT mow on wet grass. Reduced traction could cause sliding.

DO NOT try to stabilize this machine by putting your FOOT on the GROUND.

DO NOT use grass catcher on steep slopes.

Operate Mower Safely
(When Children are Present)

Tragic accidents can occur if the operator is not alert to the presence of children. Children are often attracted to the machine and the mowing activity. NEVER ASSUME that children will remain where you last saw them.

Keep children out of the mowing area and under the watchful care of another responsible adult.

Be ALERT and turn the machine OFF if children enter the area.

BEFORE AND WHEN BACKING, look BEHIND and DOWN for small children.

NEVER carry children. They may fall off and be seriously injured or interfere with safe machine operation.

NEVER allow children to operate the machine.

Use extra care when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees, or other objects that may obscure vision.

Avoid Injury From Rotating Blades

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Do not put hands or feet under mower when engine is running.

Before mowing, clear area of people. Pick up objects that may be thrown by blades. Keep guards, chute, and shield in place.

STOP riding mower engine before you adjust mower. STOP riding mower PTO when you are not mowing.

Raising and Lowering Mower

c CAUTION: Avoid injury!

Keep mower at highest setting: Setting 4, while driving to mowing area.


1. Pull lift lever (A) slightly to right out of slot.

2. Raise or lower mower to desired height.

3. Push lift lever slightly to left into slot.

Setting Mower Height


Put lift lever (A) at desired height (B).


Approximate Cutting Height


25 mm (1-in.)


38 mm (1-1/2-in.)



50 mm (2-in.)


65 mm (2-1/2-in.)


75 mm (3-in.)


90 mm (3-1/2-in.)


102 mm (4-in.)

Adjusting Gauge Wheel(s)

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Gauge wheels should be set so they are no closer than 1/4-in. from floor at appropriate height for cutting heights of 1, 1-1/2, 2, and
2-1/2 in.

For cutting heights of 3, 3-1/2 and 4-in., insert pin in top hole of arm.


1. Remove spring locking pins and drilled pins (A) from each mower wheel.

2. Move wheels up or down as desired.

3. Fasten wheels with drilled pins and spring locking pins.

Preparing Riding Mower for Leveling of Mower

1. Park riding mower on hard, level surface.

2. Put PTO lever completely rearward to OFF (p) position.

3. Put shift lever in N (NEUTRAL) position.

4. STOP engine.

5. LOCK park brake.

6. Remove key.

7. Wait for all moving parts to STOP.

8. Check tire pressure:

Front tires-100 kPa (14 psi)

Rear tires-70 kPa (10 psi)

9. Put mower at 65 mm (2-1/2-in.) cutting height. (See Setting Cutting Height in this section.

Adjusting Mower Level (Side-to-Side)

NOTE: Nut (C) MUST remain tight while making adjustment.


1. Loosen nuts (A) and (B).

NOTE: Cam will only pivot toward front of riding mower.

2. Turn leveling cam (D) with
15/16 in. socket to raise or lower left side of mower as needed.

3. Check mower blade tips. (See Leveling Mower (Side-to-Side) in this section.)

4. Tighten nut (A) first and then nut (B).

Leveling Mower (Side-to-Side)


1. Turn blade (or blades) sideways.

2. Lift mower chute and measure from right blade tip to floor-Dimension (A).

NOTE: You may use leveling gauge (B) or short ruler to level blade. Order leveling gauge from your John Deere dealer.

3. Measure left blade tip for Dimension (A).

4. Dimension (A) must be equal to or less than 3 mm (1/8-in.) difference from side-to-side of blade.

Leveling Mower (Front-to-Rear)


1. Turn blade (or blades) so it points to front of mower.

2. Measure from blade tip to floor-Dimension (A).

NOTE: Use leveling gauge (B) or short ruler.

3. Measure from rear blade tip to floor. Repeat above steps for left mower blade, if necessary.

4. Dimension (A) on rear blade tip should be equal to or less than 6 mm (1/4-in.) higher than Dimension (A) on front blade tip.

Adjusting Mower Level (Front-to-Rear)


1. Lift seat.

2. Loosen three nuts (A).

3. Turn leveling cam (B) with 1-1/8-in. socket to raise or lower rear of mower as needed.

4. Tighten nuts (A).

5. Lower seat.

Engaging Mower

NOTE: Operator must be on seat or engine will STOP.


1. Put shift lever in N (NEUTRAL) position.

2. Start engine.

3. Put throttle lever (A) at 1/3 SPEED position.


4. Depress brake pedal.

5. Slowly push PTO lever (B) completely forward to RUN (P) position.

6. Put throttle lever (A) in FAST (r) position.

7. Release brake pedal.

Disengaging Mower


Pull PTO lever (A) completely rearward to OFF (p) position.

Blade Recommendation


Use for dusty conditions.

Not recommended for bagging.


Standard blade.

Used without bagger.

Used with bagger in normal grass.


For cutting and bagging thick, tall grass and/or leaves.

Mowing for a Better Lawn

Operate riding mower at SLOW travel speed and engine at MAXIMUM speed.

Keep mower deck, bagging chute, hopper top screen and bags clean.

Mow and bag grass when it is dry and not too tall or dense.

Most lawn care professionals suggest you mow high and often.

Check lawn periodically for even cut:

Mower wheels should be approximately 6 mm (1/4-in.) off ground. (See Adjusting Gauge Wheels this section.)

Mower should be level. (See Leveling Mower in this section.)

Slow down during turns.

Sharpen blades often.

Install correct blade(s). (See Blade Recommendation in this section.)

Operate mower in higher cutting positions to permit maximum air flow.

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Avoid injury from mower blade(s):

Do not try to unplug discharge chute while blade is turning.

Let muffler COOL before you install or remove bagger frame.

Mow grass twice if it is longer than normal.

IMPORTANT: Avoid damage! Do not leave clippings in bag:

Moisture may damage bags.

Damp clippings are fire hazard.

Empty bags often to prevent plugging.

Keep hopper top closed.

Mowing Tall Grass


Mow grass twice.

Adjust cutting height to mow tall grass to half height.

Before second pass, adjust cutting height so you mow at desired height.


Mow at desired height at SLOW travel speed, full width OR

Mow at desired height using only half of cutting width.

After Mowing


1. Clean top of mower deck (A).

2. Clean under mower deck with water from garden hose.


3. Clean engine compartment (B) with brush or compressed air.

Dismounting to Inspect or Unplug Mower

c CAUTION: Avoid injury! Before inspecting mower, wait for mower blades to STOP.


1. STOP riding mower with brake.

2. Pull PTO lever (A) completely rearward to OFF (p) position.


3. Pull throttle lever (B) completely rearward to SLOW (t).


4. LOCK park brake (C).


5. Put shift lever (D) in N (NEUTRAL) position.

6. STOP engine.

7. Remove key.

8. Wait for mower blades to STOP before you dismount and inspect mower.