How To Assemble John Deere Plug Aerator
Today 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.
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.
Once 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 transporting 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 tuned 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.
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I noticed your plug aerator has more tines than the standard JD. Did you add more plugs?
It’s the standard plug aerator, no modifications.
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!
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.
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.
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.