Deere 54D/60D Center Anti-Scalp Roller

One obvious missing feature on the 54D/60D auto-connect decks is the center anti-scalp roller. Almost all mower decks of this size have center rollers.

Before we start to question the Deere engineering staff’s intelligence, let’s see if there is a better explanation.

The reason is related to the approach used to “disconnect” the deck from the tractor. The first step is to release the gauge wheels so that the deck sits on firmly on the ground.

 

AutoConnectWheelRelease

This allows the front tractor tires to climb up onto the deck. If the deck were free to roll, the tractor would push the mower around rather than rolling up onto the deck.

AutoConnectRollUpDeck

Equally important is the distribution of the tractor weight on the deck while the tractor is on top of the deck. The rollers are not designed to handle the weight of the entire tractor. So, lowering the deck all of the way to the ground distributes this weight evenly around the edges of the deck.

Now that we understand why Deere didn’t include a center roller, should we be adding one ourselves?    The first issue (keeping the deck from rolling while connecting/disconnecting) is a simple test.   If you scoot the deck all around your yard when trying to drive up on it, then perhaps your roller isn’t working out very well!

The second issue (weight distribution when tractor on top) is more difficult.  My design uses two approaches to deal with this issue:

  1. Mount the roller only a small distance (1/2″)  below the frame of the deck.   My thought was that the deck (and center roller) would flex enough to disribute the weight to at least a portion of the deck.
  2. Provide a mechanism to release the roller so that it flexes upwards when the deck needs to be removed.    You’ll see this solution in the video.  However, in practicality, I rarely/never use it, even on concrete.

So, let’s get to the solution. I bought the roller via amazon (link below). I bought a 3/16 x 1 1/2 x Length 12 (maybe 24?) at Menards. I included a link to a similar piece below.
I used a single 5/8 x 8 bolt, 2x 1/2 x 1.5 inch bolts, and a single 5/16 x 8 inch bolt. I bought lock-nuts for teh 1/2 and 5/8 bolts, and I drilled a hole in the 5/16 bolt so that I could use a cotter key for quick release.

I wanted to be able to release the roller so that the deck could lower to ‘install’ position, with the deck fully on the ground. So, the 5/16 bolt is removable. When removed, the roller can freely flex upward allowing the frame of the mower deck to sit firmly on the ground for connecting and disconnecting.

After experiments, I decided that I don’t really need this feature, but I would not have felt comfortable without it.

Here is a video showing the complete process. Hopefully this will help you design/build your own anti-scalp roller.

Your feedback is welcome. Just add a comment below!

 

10 Comments

  1. Hello Tim. I want to Thank you for your time and all the videos you have posted that I have watched. I have a 1025R also and I have used it to clear brush, small trees and rocks that barely fit in the bucket and hundreds of yards of dirt. I have a box blade that I barely use, a yard rake and the 60 inch mower, backhoe and Fel. These tractors amaze me all the time. I had couple of questions for you. I noticed that it looks like you bypassed the safety backup switch for the pto, or do you have a way to backup that doesn’t disengage it somehow? I saw that it looks like you are mowing with the deck on the ground? I have to mow with the deck almost all of the way up or it cuts the grass so short it almost kills it. I really like the front roller you have installed and I am going to install one on mine. I was hoping you had a video of what the roller does when you put the mower back on the tractor. I might have missed that part of the video. I am going to ask my JD dealer if there is a way to separate the hazard light from the lights so I can run the lights without the flashers going. Pretty annoying to me. Anyway, I am a Disabled Vet and I have severe arthritis and starting a new med so I always look for things to make it easier on me physically cuz it beats me up doing what I love. Oh do you like the seat springs you installed now that you have been using them or would you recommend something different? Thank you for your time! Sorry if I bothered you.

    Take care,
    Jason

  2. Tim, Thanks for the great video of the anti scalp solution for 60D decks. I just took delivery of a 1025 with the same deck three weeks ago and discovered the problem. The only issue is that your deck appears different than my deck. I have less room to work with and it will required a varied solution. It adds to my thinking time contemplating the fix which is not a bad thing.

    You and your family are doing a great service for all of us out here in Series 1 land and its obvious you enjoy doing it so keep it up, enjoy it. Carpe diem.

    • Samuel,

      Thanks for the kind words. I think the 60D is different than the 54D (which I have). The 54D seemed to be a perfect fit for a roller, but I suspect the 60D isn’t quite so easy. It will be interested in seeing your solution.

  3. You and me both! I forgot you had the 54D, yes there is a definate diference and its in your favor for simplicity but I’ll be working on it!

  4. Very Cool. Too bad you didn’t make a template for the holes in the steel when you took it off for painting. Would have been a great time (and errant hole) saver. Thanks for posting this.

    Best

    Joe S

  5. Pingback: 1-Series 60D Center Anti-Scalp Roller

  6. Somehow I missed this segment. The anti-scalp seems like a good idea. Not sure if its necessary or it would work in some cases. The wheels on the four corners can be set to act in the same manner. When the high spot goes past the roller and under the mower deck then scalping can still occur. You would really need them on the back side to carry it all the way through. It really depends on the yard. I do still like the thought. I push my deck around my storage location often when mounting when it decides to be difficult. I have wondered if repeated movement of the deck being pushed up from the use of the outer wheels or an anti-scalp would cause damage over time to the type of setup on the JD compact design.

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