Question about Ariens 34 In. Zoom Series Riding Mower

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PTO does not engage

I replaced the PTO belt which broke after I tried running mower on lowest deck setting, "1", as I had just purchased the mower used and was trying it out. I am assuming I have it on right, as it goes from the engine pully to the clutch pulley, and has a tensioner pully pushing in from the side. Problem is the PTO still won't engage when I pull the red knob, so I suspect the clutch is out or there is a short/ bad connection. Is there any way I can check the clutch without taking it off and if not, how do I take it off and check or replace? Or is there another possiblity as to what the problem is? Also, are you aware of any problem with the clutches on Ariens going out often? Thanks, George

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  • George Hopkins
    George Hopkins May 25, 2009

    I fixed it. Apparently when the belt broke it pulled the wiring out of the clutch. The 6 inch section of wiring harness was gone but I had enough wire from the switch to reach the clutch and it works fine now.

  • George Hopkins
    George Hopkins May 25, 2009

    I fixed it. Apparently when the belt broke it pulled the wiring out of the clutch. The 6 inch section of wiring harness was gone but I had enough wire from the switch to reach the clutch and it works fine now.



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If your belt was tight when you finished installing it and all the pulleys that it went around are free turning by hand and lining up reasonably well you should be ok.
to the clutch
are you good with a volt meter 12volts dc?

Find your connector close to the clutch
unhook it from the clutch
take your volt meter and engage your red knob (Have the key on and parking brake applied)check your voltage to the connector
Do you have 12volts dc?if so your clutch should work if not you need to trace the wire back to the red knob
check all of your fuses check all of your safety switches.

Or have a 12 volt source (a battery )and hook it briefly to the connector you found directly to the clutch connector pos. and neg. from your battery you should hear an audible CLICK if so your clutch is good if not you are losing 12 volts back toward the red knob
this is the best way to check the clutch while it is still on the machine.
if its the bad clutch get your wallet out they are expensive.
to remove it unlosen center bolt on the crankshaft
remove or move belt guards out of the way and whole assembly should slide right off, note any shims and spacers that may come down with it and their locations
put back the same way it came off and tighten center bolt to 55 ft.lbs.

Posted on May 26, 2009


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  • 2

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    Remove any arbor covers (if applicable) that conceal the arbor pulleys by removing the retaining screws with the ratchet wrench and a socket to replace the mower arbor belt.

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    Locate the tensioner pulley on the mower arbor belt to replace it. Loosen the tensioner pulley bolt enough to slide it and release tension from the belt. Remove the belt from the arbor pulleys and replace it.

  • 9

    Slide the tensioner pulley back leaving about 1/2-inch of play in the belt and tighten the bolt. Reverse the procedure to put the rest of the mower deck back together and reinstall on the mower or tractor.

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    Ranch King is a brand name of the manufacturer MTD.

    Product manuals with part blow-up diagrams are available from MTD's web site,
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    The deck belt that goes around the 3 blade spindle assemblies on the mower deck, to drive the grass cutting blades is p/n 754-0349

    In my experience, the PTO belt lasts about half a season, the other belts break about every other season when mowing 4 acres weekly.

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