How to Level a John Deere Z545R Ztrak Mower Deck
By: Katie McKinley
Achieve the perfect cut every time and keep your lawn looking great by following these quick and easy steps.
Ever notice your lawn having an uneven texture after mowing? This is most likely due to an unlevel mower deck, or one side being raised higher than the other. Routinely monitoring and adjusting the deck level on your mower will help to smooth out your lawn.
Continue reading to learn how to do just that.
What you’ll need:
- John Deere deck leveling gauge
- 15-mm wrench
- 18-mm wrench
- Tire gauge
The Leveling Process
Preparing your mower
Before you begin the leveling process, you will first want to detach the spark plugs on your mower. This will prevent the engine from starting unexpectedly and turning the blades while you are working. The event of that happening is unlikely, but it is always better to be safe than sorry (Tip: see one of our other blogs here for info on how to do work with spark plugs).
Next, ensure the machine is parked on a flat surface and that the tire pressure is adequate. Using your tire gauge, check that the front tires are at 15 psi and the rear tires are at 10 psi. If the tire pressure is off, add or remove air to meet those numbers before moving forward. Your tires need to be level as well in order to properly check the deck level.
Now set your mower deck in the 2.5 position. To do this, press down on the lever with your foot to raise the deck and pull up on the magnetic pin to release it, like shown. Then place the pin into the 2.5 hole and allow the deck to lower down.
Leveling your mower deck
There are three points to focus on when leveling your mower—two points at the rear and one at the front of the machine. Starting on the left-hand side, you will notice a small raised weld spot on the deck just in front of the tire indicating one of the three points. Set your gauge on the ground and slide it just under the weld spot on the deck. As you can see here, the gauge should just fit under the lip of the deck without actually making contact.
If you find the deck at this point is either too high or too low, you can fix this using the adjustment hangers at the top of the deck. Using a wrench, like shown, twist the nut counterclockwise to raise the deck up and clockwise to lower it down. Locate the weld spot on the right-hand side of the deck and repeat this process there as well (Tip: making adjustments to one side can throw the other off again. Check each side multiple times while adjusting to ensure proper levelness before moving on).
The third point is located at the front of your mower near the anti-scalping wheels, like shown. When the deck is level, the gauge should just barely slide underneath the wheel frame. As you can see here, we will need to raise the deck somewhat to accomplish this.
To make these adjustments, loosen the bottom nut on the hangers located on both sides of the mower deck, like shown. Next, start tightening the top nuts incrementally on both sides to ensure the same turns are being made on each side which prevents one side from being tighter than the other. Check the levelness after each turn until the gauge can just fit under the wheel frames shown above, and don’t forget to re-tighten the bottom nuts when leveling is finished.
The final step is to ensure the deck will raise up and lock into transport mode by pressing down the lever with your foot, like shown. If that doesn’t happen, simply loosen the nuts on the side hangers to create more flexibility and allow the deck to easily slip into transportation mode and complete the process.
And that’s it! You’ve now leveled the deck on your John Deere Z545R Ztrak Mower.
If you have questions about any of the steps outlined above, or are just more of a visual learner, head over and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch our step-by-step video (also attached below)! Be sure to leave a comment with your questions to receive a personal reply from Brent himself, our resident YouTube John Deere expert.
Follow along on Instagram too!