How To Assemble John Deere Plug Aerator

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping, Power Tools

picture of John Deere Plug Aerator and X300 MowerToday I finally got around to assembling the John Deere 48″ Plug Aerator that I purchased recently. The 48″ plug aerator is a tow-behind model that attaches to the hitch on my John Deere X300 lawn mower. The assembly took me about one hour with the help of my three year old son (hmm…..does that make the job faster or slower….you be the judge).

I found the directions to be very good as usual. John Deere does a fantastic job with providing easy to follow assembly directions for all the their products that I’ve purchased so far. The following is a quick summary of the assembly process for a John Deere 40″ tow-behind plug aerator.
picture of John Deere Plug Aerator Tow Armpicture of John Deere Plug Aerator Hitch Assembly
The first step is to connect the two tow bars to the tow hitch assembly. I’d say this was the only step that the directions weren’t as clear as they could be. If you look at the small photo of the hitch assembly it’s pretty straight forward. You connect the two tow bars together with one bolt while you “sandwich” those same two tow bars with the two “hitch” plates. The plates give you a place to install the hitch pin to connect the aerator to the mower.
picture of John Deere Plug Aerator AssemblyOnce you’ve pre-assembled the tow bar assembly then you’re ready to attach it to the main frame of the aerator. To do this you just install four bolts through the ends of the tow bar into the brackets on the bottom of the weight pan. The instructions tell you to install the tow bar at the “top” of the slotted holes in the frame. I think I may need to adjust the position of the tow bar to get the thing to sit more level. I’ll experiment with the position once I get working on the lawn.

The next step is to install the control arm. The control arm allows you to move the position of the plug spoons. There are three settings. One for picture of John Deere Plug Aerator Control Armtransporting the aerator so the spoons are up off the ground, and two different depth settings for aerating the lawn. To install the control arm you only need to install one bolt along with a spring that helps the arm engage the different pre-set operation positions.

The final step is to assemble the wheels. This step is very straight forward as well. You install a bolt into each wheel then you bolt that to the frame.

I think the whole project would have taken me about 30 minutes if I wasn’t stopping every 5 minutes swapping wrenches with my son. Stay tpicture of John Deere Plug Aerator Wheelsuned for a product review this fall when I put the plug aerator to the test by aerating our 1.33 acre lawn.

There are other Plug Aerators on the market I’m just not familiar with them.

Related Posts:
Should you buy John Deere Mowers at Box Stores?
John Deere Plug Aerator
John Deere Tow-Behind Broadcast Spreader
How To Change Oil, Air & Fuel Filters on John Deere X300

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Skot says:

    I noticed your plug aerator has more tines than the standard JD. Did you add more plugs?

  2. Todd says:

    It’s the standard plug aerator, no modifications.

  3. Skot says:

    Really- and I’m not doubting you. I count 12 “tines”. With 4 spoons each, that’s 48 plugs.

    With the setup I see here, I’d get a JD 40″. According to the JD site, there are only 28 plugs. Hence my question.

    Thanks and great site!

  4. Todd says:

    You’re correct about the photo of on the JD site, they show fewer spoons. I just checked my order, it was the 40″ model, so maybe they have changed the design…not sure.

  5. Tom says:

    The instructions have one major flaw. On page 25 under section “Install Tow Bars to Tray Assembly”, they state “f. Stand plug tray assembly on its rear side.”.

    Unfortunately, the tray assembly looks symmetrical and thus to determine which side is the “rear” I looked to the picture “M78707” at that step. It shows the tray laying down with the “JOHN DEERE” logo face up. So I presumed that top face was the FRONT side. And in fact, on the very next page with photo M78700, they show just that (fully assembled). So that’s the way that I assembled it.

    Well guess what! That decal is NOT on the front side but is on the rear side. And so you go to the trouble (balancing act if you’re handling this yourself) to install the tow bars only to find that when you get to installing the lift lever, the lever’s on the wrong end!

    Flip it over to the other side and re-install.

    Here’s a tip: Rather than standing on “end”, flip it over (cardboard on floor so as not to mess up that beautiful paint job!) with the tines facing straight up, weight bucket face down on floor. Now it’s a piece of cake for a single person to install bars.

    BTW, I’d read about the error in assembly instructions somewhere else but I can’t find it. So when I was installing, I kind of blew it off. A pity. That guy was right.

  6. Mike Williams says:

    Just curious. Has anybody purchased a 48″ aerator and received a tow bar assembly for a 40″?
    There is no way the tow bar assembly with my aerator will work. Way too narrow.

  7. Gary Lytle says:

    Just bought the LPPA40JD aerator. Contrary to the assembly instructions, it is much easier for a single person IF you place the unit with the tines up. Then install each individual tow bar. Then install the hitch assembly. (Bring the ends of the tow bar together to about half an inch with the cross bolt.). Then install the two hitch plates. Was a breeze this way! Very happy with this purchase. BTW…. To determine the front of the unit for tow bar installation… with the unit tines facing up place the the control arm lever so the wheel bolt hole is pointing upward with the tines. The control arm now points to the rear of the unit. Happy aerating y’all!

  8. Scott says:

    Curious if you or anyone else has experienced, or heard of others who have experienced, an issue with the bending or deforming of the part that attaches the tire to the frame and the control arm to the point it pushes/angles the control arm away from the frame and therefore the hole (in the control arm) doesn’t stay on the bolt holding it in position. The control arm isn’t bent, it’s the part the control arm (w/ the spring & nut) is connected to. It bent somehow, and now that side tire isn’t perfectly straight and it won’t stay “locked” in an any position…falls all the way down. Understand what I’m saying? Looks like I need to buy a replacement for that part. I hope that’s it.

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