Question about Craftsman 17.5 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor - CA Model

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BLADE DRIVE BELT ADJUSTMENT

Does anyone know how to adjust the tension on the blade drive belt? The mower works, but makes a horrible noise-vibration when the belt drive is engaged. I think the belt needs to be tightened. Any comments or solutions........Please, Dwight

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  • D in Montana May 29, 2009

    In my last post, I mentioned that I had found the cause of the horrible noise. Aftrer inspecting the underside of the mower deck, I found that the shafts that the blades attach to have worn clean and the blades will not tighten up on the shaft. The shafts are referred to as, "MANDRELS", in the manual. I have ordered 2 new mandrels as well as 2 new blades. Hopefully,relacing them will correct the noise problem. I will check the bearings while I am replacing the mandrels.

    Thanks a bunch, D in Montana

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Well, most riding mowers have a "pully idler", meaning once you have the belt on there (and it is the RIGHT size), the idler automatically gives the belt tension when you engage it (in fact, the idler pully is what IS engaged when you engage the belly mower).

Couple things to check (super simple):

The Belt. Look to see if she is wore smooth out.
Sometimes....they WILL stretch on you, instead of busting/coming apart, and give you noise (when she is engaged, but wore out enough to flop around a little)

The Deck Blade Bearings. Straight away, that is what it sounds like, or bent blades.

Check your Blade Bearings (super simple):
1. Pick up your deck to the highest high setting (mower off, just sitting).
2. Reach under, and grab your mower blade (do this for both sides), and TILT your blade UP (meaning, don't LIFT the blade straight up).
Seriously, jiggle it at a TILT. If you feel some slack in the bearing, the bearing IS shot. Straight up and down is most of the time OK, IF it is VERY little play on your blade bearings. As you do it, look at your belt pulley directly on top, if you see that pully bobbing....

However, if you grab one side of the blade only, then tilt the blade up, and she moves.....
Bearings need replaced, both the upper AND lower bearings PER blade.

They are not hard to replace, and not expensive either! (Though unfortunately, most are "sealed" junk nowadays!)

Bad Bearings show up (make themselves known) in only a few ways: Tons of Noise (grinding, squealing) & Vibration.

Go check them thar Bearings!

Posted on May 28, 2009

  • Captain Slap May 29, 2009

    Good Going, D! You got her whooped!



    Always good to see a "Fix Your Own" fix their own!

    Best of luck on that. Pulling them apart should be fairly easy too, and while you got 'er apart, might I suggest swapping out your bearings while you have the chance?



    (And you see, everyone forgets those little things, I flat forgot the pulley shafts.......ha!)

  • Captain Slap May 29, 2009

    Oh, Dwight! I forgot one MORE thing.....



    You CAN tap those seals that cover your bearings for grease zerts (grease inserts), IF they do not already have them.



    That way, if you happen to replace your bearings, you can pack even sealed ones (or close enough for proximity) that any more "dry bearing" failures will stop happening!



    (My dad does this all the time to ours, or someone that brings their mower with the deck bearings out. He just drills the "caps" on the top ((under the pulley, above the bearing)) with a pilot hole that matches the size of the grease insert, then screws in the grease insert.....and voila! Instant dry bearing fix.)

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