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2005 Craftsman DYT 4000 18.5hp Briggs: As I was cutting I heard a whirling sound as if a belt was slipping on a pulley. The sound went away after a second or two, and then the deck began to vibrate. By that time I had shut the mower down. This occurred without hitting anything in the lawn. After examination, a pulley appeared to have loosened on top the mandrel. When I removed the top bolt I realized the bolt was not loose at all. The pulley itself was loose due to the grooves from the mandrel scoring a circle in the pulley where it is normally notched. Of course, the mandrel also had the notches round off in the corresponding area. When I dropped the deck and removed the belt, the blade and mandrel turned easily. I thought it would have been locked in place. After looking over the entire deck I noticed that the idler pulley spring was missing. Could this one little $2.00 spring have caused all of this damage? I can't find any other reason for it. Also, I have purchased two new heavy duty mandrel assemblies and a replacement pulley and spring. Are there torque specs for the mandrel housing bolts, and the mandrel top bolts? Should I use anti-seize or lock-tite in these areas? Thanks...

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  • dcjohnson19 Jun 04, 2010

    Fairly generalized response. Would like more info on the pulley/spring problem, and the torque questions for replacement.



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DCJohnson, let me start by saying that the only thing you may want to put on the bolt would be a anti-weather, some of these come as anti seize, but it must be patroleum based. You definatly dont want lock tite in these areas due to the climate changes. This could prevent you from EVER getting that bolt out with a wrench again.

As for the tourque specs, the ft-lb specs really aren't that important, especially if you dont have a tourque wrench, which will guess you have. SO to get that out of the way, i would say roughy 35 ft-lbs of tourge would be fine. This is how i always judge my tourque by hand

1. Hand tighten the bolt until you feel your bicep working to turn it.
2. Then pull the wrench to you with the force equivillent to pulling yourself out of a chair or equivilant position. (typically 1/2 up to 1 full turn after reaching a tightened state.) you will know when its tight because you will here creeking sounds form the bolt. DOnt go more the 1 full turn if you do hear the sounds


Posted on Jun 04, 2010

  • dcjohnson19 Jun 04, 2010

    Great reply. I do have a torque wrench and have no problem with the 35 ft.lbs. Your advice about finger tight, hand tight, plus a couple of grunts, is a good starting point. Thanks. I'll make sure I use a non-petroleum based anti-seize or the equivalent thereof. I have heard that the mandrel housing bolts can be difficult to remove after they've been in awhile. Some penetrating fluid should be helpful with that.

    I still have a problem understanding what caused this mess in the first place. As I said, the mower didn't hit anything, but I guess the only thing that would shear off the teeth on the pulley would be the mandrel locking up. However, that would mean that the belt tension would be tight enough to continue to spin the pulley on top of the mandrel without spinning the mandrel itself. Could it be that the belt tension was too tight? If so, could the missing idler pulley spring create so much extra belt tension to actually spin the pulley without spinning the mandrell?

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    As for the damage to the mower and how it all started, from what I can tell it would be that spring you speak of. It sounds like this was a problem in the making. They belt engages the drive by being forced in the pulleys by that tention pully. The idea is you dont want a broken piece of equipment to default to being engaged. When it breaks, it is supposed to stop working for your safety and that of the machine. The whirling sound I am very familiar with as well, that is the sound of the drive pulley spinning without a belt touching it. It makes a whirling sound with a crips emphasis on the wh :)

    So all you have to do is replace that spring and make sure it is load correctly in relation to the drive lever. If you are trying to feed the belt behind the pulley, that would account for the seemingly broken pulley. I sure hopes this helps and feel free to elaborate if i missed anything


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