Tractor deck…

I put the deck back on the tractor yesterday, and I’ve got the skinned knuckles to prove it.

Every fall, I take the deck off the tractor. The sole purpose of this is so I can take the blades off to sharpen them. Now, it’s really, really easy to take the deck off the tractor, and it’s really, really hard to put it back on. But, because I take it off at the end of the mowing season, I can wait 4 months to put it back on. Of course, the 4 months go by quickly, and before I know it, I’m out putting the deck on, skinning my knuckles, and cursing up a storm.

My tractor was a freebie that came with the house. I really can’t complain too much about it, because it runs pretty well. It’s a “Powr Kraft”, which is the Montgomery Ward house brand, which should give you an idea of its age. Of course, like every other house brand, it’s built by MTD. My theory is that MTD tractors are made by guys who hate tractor mechanics. There are about 15,000 little lifter arms and cotter pins that attach the deck to the tractor. To put the deck on, you first have to slide it underneath the tractor. Well, while you’re doing this, you have to keep moving the little lifter arms out of the way, because they are always catching on the pulleys, belt, etc. Then, you have to perfectly align the deck with the tractor, and slide this metal rod through both of them. But, it’s hard to do this because the belt is in the way. Etc. etc. etc.

This year, I tried jacking the tractor up, and it did make it easier to slide the deck underneath. But, I couldn’t set the tractor back down on the deck, because the 15,000 little lifter arms kept getting wedged on stuff. Net result: Jacking the tractor doesn’t make it any easier.

One of the reasons I keep putting myself through this, is that I only have to do it once a year. After a year, I tend to forget what a pain it is. Remember the old adage, “Time heals all wounds?”

If I could figure out how to remove the blades with the deck still on the tractor, I wouldn’t have to do this any more. Problem is, I’d have to get underneath the tractor with my impact wrench somehow. That would mean raising the tractor about 2 feet off the ground. Then I’d have to replace the blades from underneath too. Somehow, that sounds like just as much of a pain as removing/replacing the deck. But, it’s worth trying once, if I can figure out how to do it. Maybe this will be the year..