How to Remove the Deck from a Craftsman Riding Lawnmower, step by step


In Craftsman riding lawnmowers, the mower deck assembly is a separate attachment that houses the machine’s entire cutting mechanism. The deck is connected to the frame through various links and brackets. You may want to remove your mower deck for a routine blade inspection or change the drive belt, but you can find it tricky to remove the linkages. If that is the case, then this blog post will help you remove the mower deck from a Craftsman riding lawnmower all by yourself.

How to remove the deck from a Craftsman riding lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Remove the ignition key from the switch. Engage the parking brakes.
  • Step 2: Lower the mower deck to its lowest position.
  • Step 3: Remove the retaining pins and washers that secure the support links on each side of the deck.
  • Step 4: With the links removed, slide the deck out and disconnect the blade cable. The deck is now separated from the mower’s body.

The mower deck is removable for Craftsman riding lawnmowers. In walk-behind mowers, it is integrated with the main body and cannot be removed. It is connected to the frame through lift link adjustment at the front, suspension arm at the center, and bracket at the rear. These links are connected through washers and nuts. Furthermore, the cable that engages the cutting blades also passes through the mower deck. To separate the deck, all these linkages should come off.

If the above procedure sounds technical, we suggest you go through this step-by-step method to grasp the process better.

Removing the Mower Deck on a Craftsman Riding Lawnmower, step-by-step:

Removing a mower deck from a Craftsman riding lawnmower may sound technical but is quite easy. You can do this by yourself by performing the steps below:

Equipment needed:

All you need is an adjustable wrench to loosen the bolts that secure the deck removal links from a lawnmower.

● Step 1: Perform initial measures:

Some initial steps should be performed to ready your Craftsman lawnmower before the deck removal can take place. These steps are mentioned below:

– Remove the ignition key:

You should turn your engine off, and the key should be detached from the ignition switch.

– Allow the engine to cool down:

If your engine is hot just after a mowing session, allow it to cool down for about 15-20 minutes. It can be hazardous to touch a hot engine as it can cause burns on the skin.

– Remove the spark plug wire:

It is better to disconnect the spark plug wire before starting any repairs on a lawnmower. When you are dealing with pulleys and cutting blades, rotating them can cause the engine to start accidentally. Removing the spark plug cable will prevent this.

Always disconnect the spark plug cable from the spark plug, surrounding yourself with an additional safety layer.

● Step 2: Removal of the mower deck:

To remove the Craftsman mower deck, certain linkages have to be taken off. They are listed below in chronological order. Ensure that you keep track of the parts that are being removed subsequently. Also, be sure that you don’t lose the screws and retaining pins. Properly arrange them so that the reassembly becomes easy. Take some images or videos during the whole process. That makes reassembling much more comfortable.

– Lower the mower deck to the ground:

The first step is to lower the Craftsman mower deck to its lowest level by raising the lever above your left rear wheel. Then, pull the blade engagement lever back to withdraw the cutting blades. Be sure that the parking brakes of the mower have been enabled.

-Roll the belt out of the engine pulley:

The blade belt conveys power from the engine to the blades. You should slide it off the engine pulley and belt holders before you start removing the mower deck.

-Take off the mower deck:

To separate the deck from the Craftsman mower frame, the following components must be removed.

1. Front lift link support:

This connection connects the front side of the deck to the frame of the mower. Pull the retaining pin and washer at the joint to remove this support. Then disconnect the lift link support from the mower deck.

2. Suspension arms:

The suspension arms attach each side of the mower deck from the middle to the mower frame. They can be removed by pulling their retaining clips. The suspension arms on both the right and the left should be disconnected.

3. Rear Deck Bracket:

This support links the deck’s rear end to the mower frame, much like the lift link support on the front.

Remove the washers and clips that attach the bracket to the deck. With those removed, the deck is now free of mechanical ties to the mower frame. Slide the deck from underneath the Craftsman mower to access the blade cable and pulleys.

-Detach the cable of the blade:

The blade cable controls the connection between the blade and the ground through a pulley. You will use the nose pliers to pull the cable out of the mounting brackets. You may see a blade cable spring, one end of which is attached to the arm of the idler pulley. You need to pull the spring from the idler arm and set the cable aside.

With all the ties and connections being pulled off, the mower deck is completely removed from the Craftsman lawnmower frame.

● Step 3: Reassembly:

Once you are done performing the mower deck adjustments, you have to reassemble the entire deck and attach it back to the mower’s frame. For this purpose, connect the drag links, suspension arms, and rear end brackets back and align them with their respective grooves.

Insert the respective washers and the retaining clips to secure the links in their place.

Related Questions:

1. How to remove the cutting blades on a Craftsman riding lawnmower?

To remove the cutting blades, the first step is the removal of the mower deck.

  • Step 1: Remove the retaining pins, washers, and nuts that connect the mower deck to the frame. After the deck has been separated, tilt it over to view the cutting blades.
  • Step 2: Now, if you want to remove the current blade, you would need to put a wooden block on the blade side to prevent it from spinning as you loosen the nut.
  • Step 3: Use the wrench to turn the nut in the counterclockwise direction (for loosening) with the blade locked through the wooden block.
  • Step 4: After the bolt has been pulled, remove the old blade completely from the deck.

2. How to attach the new cutting blades on a Craftsman riding lawnmower?

  • Read the owner’s manual: We suggest reading through your Craftsman owner’s manual to get thorough guidance on your machine’s specifics. Always buy the cutting blades as recommended by your manufacturer.
  • Determine the blade placement: The correct side’s placement is very critical for installing the new blade. Most of the blades have the grass side and the mower side listed on them. But if this is not the case, you should remember that the side where the cutting edges are lowered towards the ground is the right placement.
  • Caution: Remember that an incorrect installment of the cutting blades impacts your grass cutting and is also harmful to the lawnmower’s service life. It can lead to a bent crankshaft in the worst cases, thus rendering your mower completely useless.
  • Tighten the blade: If the correct alignment has been decided, put the bolt back to protect the cutting blades. Again, use a wooden block to keep the blade from spinning when tightening with a wrench. You need to rotate the wrench clockwise for tightening.

3. How high is a lawnmower deck supposed to be?

The most optimal height of the cutting deck from sides is supposed to be 3 to 3.5 inches. This height provides the optimum turf density and also ensures deep root digging. The medium setting (3.25) should be tried for the first and last mow of the season. The lowest setting provides a light-green turf with reduced grass density. This turf also increases the water consumption of the grass.

4. Should my lawnmower deck be leveled?

The mower deck should de be leveled sideways. This guarantees that the grass’s cutting patterns are uniform, and you are not getting inclined patterns that resemble stairs. From front to back, however, a slight difference in level exists.

The front of the deck is lower than the rear end by 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch. This effect is termed as rake or pitch, and it improves the aerodynamic efficiency of the cutting deck. This effect prevents the grass from blowing across the yard. A pitch value less than the prescribed limits results in short-cut grass.

Final Remarks:

You can perform the Craftsman lawnmower deck removal yourself without taking your machine to a mechanic. Just be sure that you don’t rush the job if you’re doing it for the first time; otherwise, you might misplace certain screws and pins, which can add to the difficulty. You should tighten the nuts and bolts properly after reassembly so that the deck may not come off by itself while mowing. Also, be sure that the cutting blades are tightened, and the drive belt is adjusted correctly, and has the correct tension.

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