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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My JD 657 was starting to cut lower at the center blade compared to the two outside blades, so I changed them all to stock blades thinking one might be overly warn or bent slightly. The lower cut is constant, meaning not wavy. The spindle doesn't appear to have any play.

I tried to lower the height setting, from the second highest to the third highest, but it started basically scalping at the dirt.

So I brought the mower into the shop this weekend and took the blades off along with the cones to make sure there weren't any washers in the wrong place, or spacers someone put in there. Everything was as it should be and the spindles appeared to be tight and no wobble.

I did find that the center blade is lower then the outside by about the thickness of the blade. Swapped blades around and still had the same issue. The front anti-scalp wheels in the center of the deck were a little worn and moved maybe 1/8"+ or so, but the blade itself is off.

Does anyone have any ideas, experience with this, anything. Really at a loss.

Thanks
Jimmy
 

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Almost sounds like the center of the deck is drooping a little with age. Only other thought I had looking at the exploded diagram on John Deere parts was wondering if your top nut (#2) on the pulley might have somehow loosened up allowing the shaft to drop down?
 

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Sometimes things just get out of whack over time. I found this operator's manual for the 657A online, one of the few manuals John Deere lets go of for free that I've seen.

OMTCU18173_B5

If you look at the ninth item mentioned under "Operating" on the table of contents off on the left, it lists "leveling Mower Deck". It explains how to level the deck from side to side, and front to back.

It could be yours has just lost its level through use and needs to be re-adjusted. I just went through a similar process to check the level on the deck on my Honda H4514 because it was too low on one side, and I checked the fore/aft level at the same time.

Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I'll look into leveling the deck and see if something is just out or whack.

Mark, I measured the top nut on all three, because I too thought that might be the issue. They were all really close to the same, I used digital calipers to measure.
 
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