MTD Belt Problems or Vari-Speed Pulley Issues?

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  #1  
Old 05-29-15, 05:11 AM
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MTD Belt Problems or Vari-Speed Pulley Issues?

Model number: 13AG675G033 serial:1L096C60045. Engine is Tecumseh OHV16-204216D(H) D.OM. 63265.

Hey Cheese!
Last year you helped me troubleshoot and repair my old '97 MTD. Engine still runs great and starts on the first crank (Thanks to you!)
I think I now have a belt problem, I would like some advice and direction.
I will be cutting an area and the mower will just stop moving. I will shut down the engine and I found that the belt has slipped off the trans axle pulley. I can reach in under the battery and slip it back on and continue cutting. Also, if I put it into reverse it will throw the belt off.
Yesterday, while mowing she stopped. Belt was off again at the trans axle pulley. However, when I slid the belt back on, she would not move. When I took my foot off the clutch it made kind of a low ratchety noise. No forward motion. I checked the belts and they were still on the pulley. Is this just a matter of stretched out belts, or is there something going on with the vari-speed pulley or worse? I have no idea how old the belts are but I was considering changing them because they look pretty worn and have a few cuts in them. I think I read where you must only use MTD belts and should change both out at the same time. What would you suggest?
As always, thanks for your time.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-29-15, 10:23 AM
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Hello truenorthdv!
Low ratchety noise.. that doesn't sound good. Check the pulley on the transaxle, does it wiggle a good bit like the bearings on the input shaft have gone bad? Is the pulley on the tranny turning when this is happening? If you put your hand on the fwd/rev shifter, can you feel the ratcheting noise with your hand?
 
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Old 05-30-15, 08:00 AM
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Was rained out yesterday...sorry for the delay.
The transaxle pulley seems to be ok. I looked in the parts diagram and can see what you were explaining. This morning I tugged on the belts and pressed on the clutch and rolled it back and forth a bit. Started it up and drove it about 30 feet. Went up a slight incline, turned and went about 10 feet on an even keel and she just stopped. Seems like something is bound up, but I have no clue. Maybe it is not as bad as it seemed before. As far as the ratcheting noise, I did not hear or feel it today. Where to focus? Back to the belts?
Thanks, Cheese!
 
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Old 05-30-15, 09:03 AM
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OK, Cheese...more info. The drive belt from the engine to the bottom of the varispeed pulley is hot. Seems the varispeed pulley is bound up. When the mower is off, If I press hard on the clutch, I can free up the belt/pulley. I can start it and drive a few feet till it gets bound up and she stops again.
 
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Old 05-30-15, 11:04 PM
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Sounds like your varidrive pulley bearings are bad. I'd remove the belts (need changing anyway, right?) and then check the pulleys while the tension of the belts is off them.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 01:30 AM
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I agree with cheese however would advise you find a manual with instructions for changing those belts. They can be a bit of a pain especially if you have never done them. I also agree with what I think you already mentioned, pay the extra for the MTD belts, the right ones, otherwise you might well regret any savings. Also yes change them both, once you see the procedure to changing them, you will not regret doing both.
MTD used to be very good about having manuals on their website with good instructions for this. Not sure but some searching should get you one.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 06:13 AM
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Will do. Thanks to both Cheese and BFHfixit!
 
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Old 05-31-15, 11:14 AM
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I know I'm postponing the inevitable, but I took off the C-clip on the variator, and removed the top spacer, pushed in the clutch and was able to lift up the variator a bit and put some 3-in-one oil on the spindle. Tapped on it a bit and worked it around. Put it back together and was able to finish cutting the lawn. I know it is probably temporary, but..what the heck!
I'm still going to have to replace the belts but it will give me time to order them from MTD.
Found a MTD manual for replacing the belts and also a procedure from a different source.
The MTD manual says you have to remove the cutting deck. The other procedure says you can get by with just slipping the belt off the left spindle pulley of the mowing deck then sliding it off the lower engine pulley. What do you guys think?
Mind you I am not experienced in swapping out belts.
As far as the variator goes...am I correct that the center sheave is supposed to be able to move up and down? I did not take the belts off to check this so I'm guessing it probably wont move with belt tension applied. Another point to mention is that I do still have all 7 speeds.
I just am cheap and don't want to shell out the $121.39 to MTD for a new variator if I don't have to.
Thanks in advance.
 
  #9  
Old 05-31-15, 02:38 PM
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If you have all 7 speeds, the variator is working. It may have just been dry. You don't have to remove the deck to change the belts. In fact, removing the deck probably adds another hour to the job, because that deck is not easy to remove or install, especially for someone who has never done it. I'd take the center cover off where the shifter is, then remove the battery and battery box under the seat, and change them from there. The shifter linkage will need to come partially off (just a cotter pin where it connects to the transmission) so you can get the belt around it, and the engine pulley will need to slide down some to let the belt clear the belt guides.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 03:14 PM
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Will do.
Thanks so much for the advice, Cheese!
I appreciate your knowledge.
Always better (and easier) to listen to someone who has "been there and done that".
 
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Old 05-31-15, 03:17 PM
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I noticed you said it would throw the belt off when you put it in reverse. I had one that did that and found out there was a bolt the holds the front of the trans axel up and the nut had came off. Might check this as you could have more than one defect. Those are the hard ones to diagnose.
 
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Old 05-31-15, 05:55 PM
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rw,
I have also seen that but on a hydro static drive. The mounting bolts in the frame had wallowed out the mounting holes and the axle would literally rotate from the power of the hydro. Of course it didn't help that the customer was some 300LB + and liked to go from fwd/rev rather quickly.

Saving grace with this vari speed setup is you pretty much have to come to complete stop with clutch engaged to change direction.
 
  #13  
Old 09-01-15, 05:12 PM
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Changing Upper and Lower Belts

I see you said you are not sure how to change the drive belts. You definitely do not have to remove the deck. I will send a link to videos for both the upper and lower drive belt replacement.

https://youtu.be/s15DY6FkCeE

https://youtu.be/G20J6LrHgM8
 
  #14  
Old 09-01-15, 06:33 PM
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That mower in the video has a different setup than the one discussed here. Similar, but the belt replacement procedure is different.
 
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