V-Belt Changes as Regular Maintenance

optsyeagleSeptember 13, 2013

Do you guys recommend changing the belts on the lawn tractors after a certain amount of time or do you wait until they fail. My tractor is about 10 years old. The belt seems to work fine but I wonder what the life span of these belts would be. In my case it is a 16.5HP Craftsman, LT1000.

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IMHO, you're talking about a $30 cost and doing the work at your leisure as opposed to having it break in the middle of mowing or whatever? Also, how difficult would it be to push or tow the unit back to your garage?

In any event, I'd go out and buy a replacement right now, including appropriate belts for the deck. If you buy them all together, you'll save on shipping or use Amazon and get free shipping anyway.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:11AM
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I thought I was talking about the belt for the deck. Maybe this is not what they call the V-belt. The one I am concerned about is the one I engage to get the blades turning. I would assume the tractor would still drive back to the garage if that belt broke. Maybe I am wrong.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:06AM
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There is the drive belt that goes from the engine pulley to the transmission and there is the deck drive belt that goes from the PTO to the deck and there may be a secondary deck belt depending on tractor model.

If the belts have never been changed and you're only worried about the deck drive belt there is an equal chance that any of those 10 year old belts can break at any time.

In fact, the drive belt is the one that works all the time you're moving while the deck belt(s) only work when the deck is spinning.

Time, environment, and work are the enemies of belts. At 10 years old the belts may be stiff, cracked, delaminating, and the V profile worn down.

If it were me... at 10 years I replace all the belts and check all the idler pulleys and the quills on the mowing deck.

Now the question of whether to buy Sears OEM belts or aftermarket belts... and you'll get different opinions on that.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:25AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Another thing to think about is the possible damage that may be caused by a belt breaking. I had one break on an old MTD mower and it wiped out the choke cable and part of the wiring.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 11:48AM
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I'd just examine the current belts once in a while. IF one starts to show any abnormal deterioration, I'd order the replacement to have handy. Maybe both belts if I had to remove both to get to the bad one.
Skill level could also be a factor. If you can replace a belt "in a jiffy", you might want to replace when it breaks. If it's going to be an all day project, you might want to be more pre-emptive.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 1:13PM
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It has always been my opinion that you should make sure that you have at least one replacement v-belt for your machine. I always have a drive belt and a blade belt on hand. Also, if you buy the OEM replacement part you are going to spend an arm and a leg. Get a standard v-belt for the drive belt and a kevlar v-belt for the blade v-belt.

I buy all mine from VBeltSupply.com. Great price and great shipping.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Opts: All good recommendations ! Just my 2 cents . Record all current belt data in a log. Serial and or Model numbers (OEM) are important. Inspect the belts on a bi-seasonal basis at the very least . Ensure proper tension and alignment . Any sign of discolouration or feathering (fraying) of the edges should be noted as just wearing in or improper tension or alignment. The new technology has evolved belt design and properties significantly. solid rubber belt design has changed to laminated belts with various biased construction. Nylon to Aramid Kevlar today from Steel and Polyester in the past . I have always upgrade from Manufacturers Belts on all my Rv Units , Bikes , 4-wheelers and Snowmobiles . Usually a little more expensive but much better Quality overall. Gates was a World Class producer in the past Good Year of course is another . Cross reference Your current belts accordingly at a local Supply House . As Wertec advised an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of Cure (frustration) due to the potential of other damage should a belt break or jump off Bro !

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 7:35PM
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