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Deere Planter- What is this for?

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That is the master cylinder for the wheels.  There should be a couple of hoses going from that cylinder out to the lift wheels

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Exactly.  The cylinder is a special "timing" setup that sync's the wheel lift from side to side. and travel.   They can be a real PITA when they don't work right.   To resync, lower the planter, and remove the band clamp & cylinder stop on the the front of the cylinder.   Then raise the planter up...it will raise an extra 3" or so, all the wheels will go clear up to full extension.   Lower the planter again and reinstall the stop.   The planter should run with the row unit parallel linkages just about level all the way across on flat ground.

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