Turns out, there is LOTS more discuss about the mid-mount mowers on these machines than we could cover in a single round. So, we’ve split this topic into two segments. First, we’ll cover some measurements, difficulty of installation/removal, and other items related to the mid mount mower. Round #3 will be focused on operational aspects of these tractors with the mid mount mower.
The video goes through all of the following points. The visuals along with the descriptions are probably easier to understand than this written version. Check it out here:
As with Round #1, this episode generated many comments, and shall I say “suggestions for improvement”. So, we created a follow-up episode addressing
Deck Lift Height
The BX has a solid advantage in mower lift height. It can lift the mower to at least 6″ off the ground. The 1025r is only able to manage about 4″. This extra 2″ proves quite useful.
When mowing, there are often obstacles which need to be avoided. Or, perhaps some difficult terrain. For example, a ditch bank which must be mowed, but would be scalped, or worse if the mower is forced to ‘drag’ over it. I see this occasionally around culverts and other driveway entrances.
Another advantage of the increased mower lift height as often mentioned by BX owners is that the mower does not need to be removed as often. Some light tillage, grading, or loader work can be performed without removing the deck.
Deck Removal and Installation
Not much brings out the strong opinions and hateful comments in the BX/1025r debates as quickly as the topic of “drive over decks”. Therefore, we feel it is necessary to go into significant detail on how the two deck installation mechanisms differ.
BX Drive Over Deck
The BX drive over deck gets poor reviews across the board. I have never experienced one, so I do not have any opinion, nor any ability to comment on its effectiveness.
My understanding is that even with the BX drive over deck, one must still hook up the PTO shaft by hand.
It is entirely possible (personal opinion here) that the Kubota mindset of “I hate drive over decks” directed at John Deere has had a negative impact on the Kubota Drive over system, and has consequently lowered the sales and attractiveness of this system.
Whatever the reason, we are not able to review the Kubota drive over deck system. We can’t even find a user who has one to get their personal feedback. Therefore, we will proceed with the standard BX deck, as it is obviously the most commonly sold mechanism on the BX system.
BX Removal Steps
You can see a good video describing the steps to remove and reinstall the BX deck from Neil Messick here. I used this video learn how to do the removal process. While Neil does a great job of showing us “how” to do the removal, the editing makes the actual removal look a bit easier than it really is.
To simplify, I stated the process this way. “Remove from front to back”, and “Install from back to front”
- Rotate gauge wheels (Neil skipped this step)
- Lower and remove front brackets
- Detach lift brackets (rear of deck)
- Detach PTO shaft
- Drag deck out from under the tractor
BX Installation Steps
As mentioned above “Install from back to front”.
- Slide the deck (mostly) under the tractor. Leaving it not quite all the way in leaves more space for step #2
- Connect the PTO shaft. (Line up the splines before worrying about sliding the collar. Once splines are lined up, slide the collar back while pushing the shaft on).
- Slide the mower the rest of the way in and line up under the lift points on the tractor.
- Lower the lift mechanism (3 point hitch)
- Pin the lift points to the deck
- Mount the front brackets to the mower and tractor and lock them up.
- Raise the deck with the tractor
- Rotate wheels to mowing position.
BX Removal/Installation Summary
This deck attachment approach is much better than a traditional lawn mower. Kubota has made this about as easy as possible without choosing the drive over and auto-connect approach.
Still, it is not trivial. At a minimum, you need to get on your knees multiple times, and given the soreness in my knees, and lack of visibility from that angle, I usually end up on my back. This removal is best done on a smooth concrete surface. Dragging the mower deck across rocks or grass will be more difficult.
1025R Mid Mount Mower Options
There are two options for the 1025r. BOTH of these options are ‘drive-over’ options. So, there is no way to get a Deere 1-series mid mount mower without a drive over deck.
The base configuration requires that the PTO shaft be manually connected to the tractor. However, very few 1025r’s are configured this way. Most are sold with a $500 upgrade which connects the PTO shaft automatically as the tractor drives over the deck.
So, a potential misconception here is that ‘drive over’ and ‘auto-connect’ are the same thing. They are not. All 1-series decks are drive over. Most (but not all) are ‘auto-connect’.
1025R Mower Removal Steps
Removal of the mower is done as follows.
- trip the levers at each of the gauge wheels to allow the wheels to ‘go up’
- Lower the deck to the ground
- Flip the lever over-center to allow the tractor to slide off the deck (use either side of the tractor…just in front of rear wheel)
- Back off the deck (use 4wd)
- Raise the 3 point and lock the mower attachment up so that it won’t be damaged while using other equipment.
1025R Mower Install Steps
- Set the mower height control knob to ‘install’
- lower the 3 point all the way.
- drive over the deck
- back up slightly to ensure the deck is attached
- raise the deck with the 3 point. Set the height knob as desired
- flip the levers at each gauge wheel so that they cannot ‘go up’ while mowing.
1025R Auto-Connect Adjustment
The drive-over / auto-connect system must be adjusted properly to work. Your dealer should do this adjustment for you before you take delivery. Once adjusted properly, it should not need to be re-adjusted unless something gets bent, comes loose, or otherwise changes.
In the event your system DOES need to be adjusted, there are several resources available to assist. Specifically, GreenTractorTalk.com has a great writeup on how to adjust the auto-connect system.
Most issues can be diagnosed and adjusted easily by analyzing the problem. Is the over-center lever tight and not allowing rotation? Does the deck slide forward instead of allowing the PTO to connect? Take a peek under the deck, and you can likely see the mal-adjusted item.
MMM Install/Removal Summary
The Deere auto-connect system is MUCH easier to use than the Kubota manual system. No one can objectively argue against that.
This is partially offset by Kubota’s higher max lift height. So, the deck doesn’t interfere with as many non mowing tasks.
The Deere system requires finesse and patience. It isn’t the place for a sledge hammer and impatience. However, with a little TLC, it works fine, and makes your tractor experience more productive.
The BX2680 has a much shorter ROPS height than the 1025R. Just over 82″ for the BX vs. about 91″ for the 1025R. The BX23s backhoe version lists just over 86″ for its ROPS height.
The height of the ROPS is annoying when mowing. Personal opinion here….we would be safer with a lower ROPS height because folks would tend to leave the ROPS up more often.
We NEED to keep the ROPS in the upright position on these little tractors. They are simply too roll-over prone to ignore this.
The BX gearbox has an unusually low profile. This catches the eye immediately when comparing the decks. Perhaps this low profile is part of what allows the deck to raise higher than the competition? In any case, it is clear that the gearbox was specially designed for this purpose.
Gearbox Attached to Blade
The BX gearbox is directly attached to the center mower blade. There is no ‘slipper’ mechanism for this spindle. Therefore, if the middle blade hits an immovable object, something serious will break. The 1025R deck center blade is belt driven like the outside two blades. This allows slippage to occur rather than immediate (and more expensive) gearbox damage.
I evaluated several areas of the deck construction. The deck thickness seemed similar between the two units. The Deere has a 1/2″ (or slightly larger) steel rod around the bottom edge of the deck which would better protect from bending upon impact. Other than that, I could see no obvious strength differences or issues.
Ease of shield removal
The BX deck has easily removable plastic shields over the mower belt and spindles. This makes cleaning and access for service easier. The corresponding shields on the 1025r deck are bolted on, and much more difficult to remove.
Opinion: Contrary to some, I believe that if a shield is easier to remove and reinstall, it will more likely be left in place by the user. If it is difficult to remove, the user is likely to leave it off once they take it off the first time.
Mower Lift Mechanisms
The BX offers only the standard 3 point hitch controlled mower lift.
The 1025r offers two additional options which lift the mower via a separate hydraulic control. Each of these frees up the 3 point hitch to operate independently of the mower deck. I have much more detail including part numbers and prices on the different lift options here.
Load ‘n Go
The 1025r deck now offers brackets which allow the loader to lift the mower deck for cleaning, service, storage, etc. These brackets are available at http://greenpartstore.com/ttwt You can get free shipping on these or any other parts order from greenpartstore.
Most of the items in the above comparison are very similar. Small advantages on one side or the other. However, one major area stands apart. The Deere Auto-connect system far outshines the BX deck attachment system. Given the multi-use multi-function nature of these tractors, this round goes soundly to the Deere 1025r
Round #3 will focus on the operational aspects of mowing. Turning Radius, Hillside stability, Noise level, etc.