John Deere 42' cutting deck

regh(9)July 30, 2010

JD LA 135 SE 22HP rider with 42" deck.

It's a few days past a year old with under 60 hours.

Never left outdoors, in very good condition.

I use air blower to clean up after every use.

At 45 hrs I pulled the deck out to clean and lube. I noticed some wear at points in the plastic spindle pulley covers. I saw no way to adjust the position of the covers.

After cleaning and greasing, I put it all back together. Noticed a change- I could smell the hot rubbery smell of the belt. I did visual checks, saw nothing wrong.

The belt heating became worse with each use. I pulled the deck a few days ago and found the belt seriously wearing along part of its length (not uniformly as if constanly rubbing). Without the belt, the spindles turn easily with no bearing noise or serious runout.

Now the belt is so bad, it actually rolls over in the pulleys and jumps off the engine drive pulley. I cannot cut grass with it now.

Everything on the deck looks good as new, except for badly worn pulley covers.

Before I replace the belt I wonder if there is something I can do to avoid this problem?

My new belt is John Deere replacement part GX20072

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horsepen40(7a (N. Georgia))

I would bet you installed or somehow got your belt on the outside rather on the inside of one of the guides. I did the same thing on a CC Z-turn. Make sure to re-check the belt routing on the deck.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 6:41AM
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Roll the spindles looking carefully at the spindle pulleys themselves for trueness. These tend to bend on these- moreso on the RH in my experience. When you remove the spindle nut you will see the pulley gets grinched enough to partially spin on the shaft.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:39AM
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@horsepen, and tomplum...

Thanks guys, I will be getting on this today, I appreciate the tips.
The only thing I see that I don't take credit for is the way the belt was rubbing on the plastic covers from day 1. I can't get over how bad that layout is.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:22PM
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I have a GT225 with a 42" deck. It's a 1999 model. It only has one plastic pulley cover which I removed because it was causing the spindle bolts under it to rust. The deck still has all the original belts, and I have never taken the belt off that turns the blades. It may be the deck on your JD is not the same as the one on mine, but even if it isn't something is wrong. I would not put a new belt on it until I found out what. No belt should wear out in 60 hrs, and it shouldn't be rubbing on the pulley shields.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Yup--- by tracking my work, I can see the rub marks on the belt retainers on the engine pulley. I had reinstalled the original belt (in excellent condition then) in the wrong way. My mistake was not looking closely at the way the belt passes between the two parts of each guide. I have the manual, but it does clearly show the guides. For two thousand dollars, the manual could be a little more clear. I hate how it uses photos from a 54-inch deck to instruct you about your 42-inch deck, and vice-versa.
Anyway, its a joy to engage the blades and not feel all the vibration I was getting. I didn't realize how bad it was until I corrected the problem.
BUT- A little adjustment on the spindle covers would be nice.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:56PM
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My Freedom 42still has the original belts. The machine is 4 years old and is used commercially in our lawn care business.
This past weekend i attempted to change the belts because they are wearing and cracking. However, I could not loosen any of the bolts! Any suggestions as to the best way to change belts, etc. Much appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 5:24PM
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eauboy --- I am not a pro, and have no experience with the Freedom 42, so I can only mention obvious things.
BTW- I hope you have access to a manual on your machinery, I would have made a worse mess if I had no manual :)
My only real difficulty in putting the new belt on was loosening the idler pully enough to get the belt past the guides. the pully would not slide up on its center bolt, even after I loosened the not that holds it on.
I used a penetrating liquid called Kano Kroil. Its very thin like WD-40 (and pricey), but has a smell like pine-oil. I soaked it thoroughly and let it sit for an hour. I used a small hammer to carefully tap around the pulley until it came free.
The only other threaded fasteners on my deck are the cap screws that fasten the plastic spindle covers to the deck. I guess they could sieze, but so far I have had no trouble with them.
Hoping this helps :)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 3:10AM
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Thanks Regh. I do have the manual. I tried WD40 but no luck. I may have been too impatient. I'll get some of that Kano kroil and let it soak in to the idler pulley. I'll let you know how I make out.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 2:39PM
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Next question. This one concerns the the fan located above the transmission, driven by the belt that engages the forward and reverse gears. Does the belt go under or over the 'fence" that sits above the fan and transmission?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2012 at 7:33PM
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You don't say what mower you have. The right answer anyways is that the guide shouldn't rub on the belt.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 12:49AM
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Thanks tomplum. It's an LT 155, mulching Freedom 42.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 10:17AM
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I have the same mower(LT155/Freedom). I just broke it down yesterday. I had to put penetrating oil on mine and let it sit a day. I also had to use metric sockets and a pipe for leverage to break mine loose. I had never had the drive belt off but have replaced that damn notched timing belt twice. What a pain that is. It does a beautiful job when it mows! Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:36PM
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For spray magic that loosens stuck fasteners PB Blaster works great and is available almost everywhere.

When you need to loosen nuts on assemblies that are difficult to lock up or hold the right tool for the job is the best solution...

And it's on sale right now...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 8:08PM
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