John Deere QA5 Cutting Unit Review


I feel the engineering that went into the cutting unit was significant. The idea of utilizing the quick link system for adjusting the cutting unit is a huge innovation for this product. It speeds up the time to adjust cutting units with it’s only flaws being wear of the worm gear and a few thousandths deviation on occasion from one side to the other. I actually got to test this system during the prototype stages and it has come leaps and bounds from where it started.

I also believe there were a few small items that were missed when developing this cutting unit. There is an eccentric bolt on both sides of the cutting unit with .035 adjustment. That is a lot of adjustment and something I personally feel isn’t needed. I believe there should be a regular bolt in one side and an eccentric located on only one side. I also believe there should be a dot to clarify the location of the eccentric from reel to reel.

The click adjustment was a “no brainer”. Everyone in the industry has gone to it and I think at this stage had to be added. It is a vast improvement over the older style cutting units that were produced utilizing nuts and bolts to control the adjustment.

A couple other critiques would be the side sheet pin that holds the side sheet to the center bar. This pin has to be removed to rebuild the cutting unit and there is no easy way to get it out that I can see. Be prepared to fight with these units when installing a new reel or bearings/seals.

The side sheets is a personal fear of mine. I like for cutting units to be rigid and the less moving parts “within reason” the better. I feel going to bolted on side sheets really effects the rigid welded frame of old. The last thing we need is cutting units that move all over the place. I can say I have seen some movement from these cutting units as far as parallel is concerned but the jury is out on whether its coming from the over sensitive eccentric bolts or the side sheets.


The quality of the cutting unit is very good. I think overall it is well built with minimal flaws. I have no specific critique on the quality of the unit.

Technician Friendly

This is always a tough one for engineers but I think John Deere did an excellent job on this design of thinking of the technician. The only thing holding them back from a “5″ rating on this was the pin for the side sheets and the missing dot on the eccentric. I really think on this design they were thinking of trying to simplify everything.

Operator Friendly

Operators have very little to do with this outside of cleaning it.


Value on cutting units is hard to determine so in this evaluation I am basing value on minimizing the amount of time needed to adjust the cutting unit or set it up. However I am also evaluating the cutting unit on rebuilding it and the side sheet pin has to be accounted for in the evaluation. If I had a 1/2 star I would rate it 4.5.


Quick Link System
Click Adjustment
Eccentric Bolt
Roller Options


Dual Eccentric
Side Sheets
Side Sheet Pin
Worm Gear

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Editor review

Tech Friendly
Operator Friendly



Overall the QA5 cutting unit has some great new features and improvements but it also lacks in a few areas.

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