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I've got three 50" 3 blade decks for my walk behind tractors that have been rarely used. I decided that the decks needed some attention. Some of the belt idler pulleys sounded kinda noisy, so I decided to take a couple apart and see what could be done.

I put a rod in the center of the idler, mounted it and cut the rivet heads off in my lathe. You could grind the heads and drive them out if you like.

Then I marked the halves and split the stamped pulley sections so you can get the bearing out. In the bearing bore are two spacers which you can drive out with a punch. You need to drive each one out using a punch inside the bore One is thicker than the other.

Then I ordered several 6203 2RS bearings. I like Timken, Bauer, SKF or similar, but you could buy China ones for just a couple bucks each on flea bay. Go figure, my SKF's said Made in India.

I decided to use 10-32 screws and double nut them for re-assembly. You need to clamp the halves with the bearing between and press them together. I used some longer 10-32 screws to keep the holes lined up as I clamped them together in my vice. You could re rivet them or fasten them a number of ways. I just bought a box of screws and nuts and I am sure that they will be fine. For the tensioning idler, the heads need to be on the side of the rod or the nuts will contact the rod.

The original bearings were unsealed, unshielded and they have a little flimsy seal pressed in. I think that the new double sealed, greased bearings will work well and give better life than the originals.

I know you can buy these idlers new, but frankly, I didn't even price them as I wanted to see whether they could be easily disassembled and replace the bearings.

Maybe this will help someone that wants to do the same.
 

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Inveterate Putterer
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I feel pretty fortunate. I found a clear plastic bag with five of them - brand new - in it for $15.00 at a flea market a few years back. I have five decks, so it all balanced out. :sidelaugh

I put one on to replace a noisy, rusted one. It worked great.

They're not that expensive on eBay either.
 

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Did this for a couple of idlers for the Ariens blower (part of a bagger setup) I repurposed and put on my Snapper walkbehind mower:
IMG_1441.jpg

The writing on the idlers is just so I could keep both halves in the same orientation (in case it matters) as well as so I put the correct spacer/bushing in each of them (they are slightly different).

$13.25 for the two bearings (Nachi 6203-2NSL) and 12 5mmx12mm bolts/nyloc nuts vs $90 for two new idlers.
 
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