Originally Posted by LandFakers
... I have heard that the JD would spread clippings out even better with the deflector, but I took it right off.
There is no question about better clipping cover with my JD 717A, 7 Iron deck, with the deflector down, or partially down. I never run with it fully up (same as having taken it off).
In normal cutting (whatever that means), I run with it fully down. However, in heavy cutting (typically Spring, on very good lawns), clipping cover is a little better with the tip pulled up an inch or two. I use a light chain, and hook to make the adjustments (and to hold it in the full upright position for transport).
I use OEM high-lift blades, on cool weather grasses.
I work with forward/reverse passes, never racetrack. With the deflector off, the outcome is a good windrow at about 4 feet out. With the deflector fully down, some clippings are left in the first four feet, while others are thrown out to the 8 ft mark. With the deflector up, little debris is left in that first 4 ft. In the down position, the discharge force is more concentrated for further throw, but also will make the discharge path close to the ground, leaving some in that first 4 ft. With the deflector up, the discharge is much more of a spray, with too much force too high. In other words, the velocity vectors are scattered, rather than concentrated.
Maybe your cutting conditions are different. But, I consider it a mistake to take it off the 7 Iron deck.