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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I would pass this along.....

About 3 months ago, I purchased a new mower drive belt for my
SS14 Sears. Last week, while mowing, I noticed a slight thumping
sound. When I disengaged the mower, the sound stopped. I found
that the mower drive belt had cracked.
Previously, I had always
purchased the belts from Sears, or from a lawn mower shop. This
time I went to a well known industrial supply place that was closer
to home. When I took the broken belt back to ask them if they could
give me some idea, as to what was wrong, they informed me that the
broken belt was a "soft" belt and would "grab" onto the pulleys. They
told me a "cloth type" belt was available that would let the belt slip
and not grab at the pulleys. Sure would have been nice if they would
have told me that in the first place!!! They also informed me that the
manufacturer (gates) was pretty reluctant on giving any kind of
warranty on a v-belt used on a mower.

So if any of you have a mower/tractor, where the belt is used as a
clutch, be aware of this!

This was an expensive lesson for me....$23.00 for the belt that broke
and $30.00 for the new one!!!!!!!

BILL
 

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Citizen of Earth
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15,291 Posts
Yep, there are many different types and sizes of "V" belts. Consider what you paid as tuition for learning what to now look for.
 

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Yupper. Mower belts live a HARD life!!!! Think of what they have to do, and where they do it. Running 15+ hp, through a handfull of pulleys bending it this way, and that. All this in the damp, grass clipping filled, oil misted, mold growing space under the tractor....

That is why most on here will tell you, to always run the OE belts if you can get them. They may cost a little more [but not always] but they almost always last a lot longer.
 

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I absolutelly agree with the previous two posts, I replace lawn tractor belts for a living, I should tell you, I've seen some hard evidence that an oem belt is the only way to go, for instance there was this one time i replaced the pto belt to the upper double pulley on a certain tractor and noticed the drive belt was all cut about one inch appart on the inside, but was still holding on and the owner never suspected anything was going on with the power train, ofcourse I informed the customer and replaced the belt, but when i showed it to him he thaught it was made like that (like a cog belt he thaught.)

any other belts would never have lasted this long, it was holding together by the back layers and i suspect was running like that for quite some time
 

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Super Duper Member
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1,471 Posts
That is correct. I learned that leason when I changed the v belts on my washing machine. I had Autozone match me up two belts, not knowing the originals were the green style clutch belts that slip. Needless to say, my wash machine would not spin up to speed. I wound up paying twice, and buying the correct belts on Ebay for the machine.
 

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Also check the belt path. Make sure the pulleys are not nicked up or bent even a little bit. The best way to shorten belt life is to bind it in a bent pulley.
 

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Yes,there are "fractional HP belts",and there are "Kevlar" belts sold by OEM manfacturers and other companies like Gates and Dayco...

"Fractional HP" belts are designed for just what the name implies--applications with HP in "fractions"--namely electric motors with less than 1HP!..things like a drill press,table saw,sander,washing machine,dryers,and other appliances..use one on a mower deck or tractor drive,and you'll be lucky to have it last a few mowing sessions..they are usually not very resistant to oil or grease either,and especially do not like being used with a backside idler pulley and "clutched"..

The Kevlar belts are desigened specifically for high HP transfer and backside idler applications that use the belt as a clutch..they have much stronger cords and usually have a rougher outer coating made of more heat and oil resistant fabric than fractional HP belts..and yes,their sizes ARE slightly different in width and height than fractional HP ones also..(usually not enough to be critical,but sometimes certain applications NEED the correct belts,or they give nothing but grief!)..

Dayco's belts suitable for back side idlers and lawn and garden applications are labeled "GPL" belts,usually blue in color---also the "Super Blue Ribbon" series are suitable..they are typical looking black belts,but have the correct cording for idler uses..

In Gates,I stick with the "Green Stripe" labeled belts,that are usuallu green in color..I've noticed these two once "great" brand names in belts aren't always the high quality I became accustomed too lately..I bought some "Valuecraft" lawn and garden belts at Autozone recently for my MTD's deck--I'm curious to see how long it lasts--it was $7.99 for a 1/2" x 79",twenty one bucks cheaper than the "MTD" brand OEM belt would have been had I gone to Lowes!..it looks like a regular black fractional HP belt to me,made in "hencho-en-mexico...but hey,if it lasts a season,its a bargain as far as I'm concerned..

I'm hoping the guy I ran into selling brand new dayco & browning industrial belts for a dollar each comes back to the flea market again..I'm going to compile a list of all the belts everything I own uses,hopefully I can score the right ones from him!..already bought 10 belts for my Sears tractors from him a few weeks ago..
 

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Citizen of Earth
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"V" belts also come in different widths, and different tapers. There are "A", "B", "C", and "D" belts, with "A" being the smallest and "D" being the largest. And then there is the "L" series of belts with "2L", "3L", "4L" and "5L" which are notched inside for tighter bends in both directions, and there are the "V" series of belts with "3V", "5V", and "8V" for higher HP ratings in a smaller space. Plus there are double wide, triple wide and so one for multi groove sheaves. I design belt drives for fans and machinery every day for electric motors from 1 HP to 100 HP. The most important thing is getting a belt rated for the duty needed. Also to make sure the sheaves are in line and not offset, and the condition of the sheaves, any burrs, dents, or chips will kill a belt quick.
 

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Snapper Lover
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Gates makes a special lawn and garden type belt. That's what I usually put on my mowers if I need one. They put up with my abuse. O'Reilly's usually can cross check a brand of mower and give me the correct belt.

T.C.
 

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I absolutelly agree with the previous two posts, I replace lawn tractor belts for a living, I should tell you, I've seen some hard evidence that an oem belt is the only way to go,
What is the proper composition for a PTO or drive belt? Rubber, fabric covered, kevlar, or other? Does it differ by tractor manufacturer?

I just ordered PTO and drive belts" for an older Bolens H14 1456 from the local, knowledgeable tractor supply. I just phoned in for "v-belts" of a certain length, but I did not specify the composition. About 12$/belt. That sounds kind of low for anything but a rubber belt.

I don't mind re-ordering and paying more if it will work significantly better. Heck, Kevlar belts did not even exist when the tractor was built!

-DougL
 

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Small Engine Tech
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Many Gt's use a belt width that is not standard. The twin belts for JD's with the variator drive and Simplicity/Allis "shuttle" transmissions will not properly adjust with Non-OEM belts installed. Also the mid pto driven mower decks on Simplicity/Allis GT's are sensitive to Non-OEM belts, with the OEM belt lasting much longer. Sometimes its best to stick with the belt from the OEM vs the green Kevlar belt from the aftermarket. But its getting hard to find some of those OEM belts for older GT's, so we are stuck with the aftermarket ones. Mike
 

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Briggs powered Sears.
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i run kevlar belts. either huskee from tractor supply (also known has pix brand) or rotary kevlar belts. stay away from gates i hear nothing but issues from them
 

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Lots of variables at hand, choosing the right belt for the job is usually where people go wrong. I have done write ups about belts on another forum and have been experimenting with all the major brands for years and you do pay for what you get in most cases. Also I see alot of guys go to auto parts stores for belts and places like napa do not even sell kevlar rated belts, they claim their green belts are good but they are not even kevlar and scored the worst when a sales rep demonstrated cutting belts in half to test the cord strength.
 
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