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Carve out some time to ensure you’ll get the perfect cut every time and keep your lawn looking great by leveling the deck on your John Deere S220 mower.
Keep reading to learn how you can quickly and easily level your mower's deck using a simple deck level gauge. We’ll also tell you where you can pick up a deck level gauge and other tools for this simple job today.
The first step to preparing your John Deere S220 mower for deck leveling is checking that your tires have the right amount of pressure using a tire pressure gauge. On an S220 mower, the front tires should measure 14 PSI and the rear tires should measure 10 PSI. Adjust the pressure as needed.
Next, raise your mower deck up to a cutting height of 3 using the lever to the left of the mower seat. This cutting height is a preference, but we recommend the 3 setting as it will provide you enough room to access the underside of the deck while still allowing for an accurate measurement on the deck level gauge.
Beginning on the right side of your S220 mower, the first step to leveling the deck is to check the side-to-side blade measurement. To do this, raise the deck chute and rotate the blades so they are perpendicular to the mower, as shown. Then, slide the deck level gauge under the deck ensuring that the triangular portion of the gauge is flat to the ground and the end of the gauge's long arm is making contact with the tip of the blade, as seen here.
Since the S220 mower has a 42-inch deck and is set to a cutting height of 3, the deck level gauge should reflect a side-to-side blade measurement of 3 inches. If the gauge measurement is more or less than 3-inches, use a 15-mm socket and ratchet to adjust the deck level.
To make the adjustment, locate the hanger arm on top of the deck on the underside of the mower, as seen here. Adjust the nut at the bottom of the hanger bar using the 15-mm socket and ratchet, tightening to raise the deck, and loosening to lower it. If tightening the bolt, you will start to see more threads along the bottom of the hanger bar indicating the bolt is being twisted up the bar.
Next, check the side-to-side blade measurement using the deck level gauge to ensure it comes out to 3 inches. Note that you want to be at least within 1/8th of an inch away from the 3-inch mark when leveling a John Deere S220 mower.
Follow the same steps on the other side of the S220 mower to finish gauging and adjusting the side-to-side blade measurement. You may want to go back and forth from side to side a few times to get an even measurement all around.
Now it’s time to measure the levelness from the front of the deck to the rear of the deck on your John Deere S220 mower. This measurement is referred to as the “rake.”
When measuring the rake, keep in mind the front measurement should be 3 inches and the rear deck measurement should be between 1/8th of an inch to a 1/4th of an inch higher than the front of the deck. This difference in level height will prevent “double cutting,” or uneven cutting when mowing your lawn.
To take this measurement, first reach under the mower and rotate the blades so they are parallel to the mower, and use the deck level gauge to measure the blade tip height on both the front and back of the blade. Remember that the rear end of the blade should be slightly higher than the front end.
If your rake measurement is slightly off on either the front or rear end of the mower blade, use a 15-mm socket and ratchet to adjust the nut on the deck hanger located on the underside of the S220 mower at the front of the deck, as seen here. Tightening the nut will raise the front of the deck and loosening the nut will lower the front of the deck. Make these adjustments until your rake measurements equal 3 inches at the front of the blades, and between 1/8th of an inch to a 1/4th of an inch higher at the rear of the mower blades when they are parallel to the mower, as outlined earlier.
And that’s it! You have now successfully leveled the deck on your John Deere S220 Mower! If you have questions about any of the steps outlined above or are just more of a visual learner, head over to our YouTube channel and watch our step-by-step video (also attached below)! Leave a comment or question and receive a personal reply from Brent, our resident John Deere expert. Be sure to subscribe!