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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to isolate a vibration on my new (to me) X340. I thought about switching decks to see if the problem goes away... at least then I'd know the problem was exclusive to the newer deck if the vibration went away when using the older deck. A knowledgable friend told me the problem might be the clutch; I'm thinking I might be able to rule that out by swapping decks.

I've currently got a 48C deck on a 1999 LX277, and I want to know if it will work on the 2009 X340. I know they can both run up to a 54 inch deck (the X340 has a 54 Edge on it now). I just don't know if older decks don't work with newer mowers. I figure they would all have the same mounts but things might change given different models and the passing of a decade.
 

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AKA Moses Lawnagan
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I'm trying to isolate a vibration on my new (to me) X340. I thought about switching decks to see if the problem goes away... at least then I'd know the problem was exclusive to the newer deck if the vibration went away when using the older deck. A knowledgable friend told me the problem might be the clutch; I'm thinking I might be able to rule that out by swapping decks.

I've currently got a 48C deck on a 1999 LX277, and I want to know if it will work on the 2009 X340. I know they can both run up to a 54 inch deck (the X340 has a 54 Edge on it now). I just don't know if older decks don't work with newer mowers. I figure they would all have the same mounts but things might change given different models and the passing of a decade.
If you have both tractors and both decks, it's as simple a matter as trying the LX177's deck on the X340. if it fits the hangars and the belt is the right length, give it a whirl. Quicker than searching for a list of compatible decks. It's about ten minutes of work to remove or install a deck on those machines.
 

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Does it vibrate when the deck is not running? Release the tension on the deck drive belt to see if it is in the PTO while it is running. If not then it might be in the deck. Have you taken the deck off to check if everything looks normal? Maybe a broken blade or one that got bent badly or a string wrapped around one of the spindles? If not then take the blades off and run the deck again to see if the vibration is still there. If not then it is in the blades. If it is still there then it could be the deck drive belt that has stretched and is flapping as it turns. I've seen this on some older tractors and many times will leave a black mark on the deck where it is hitting. Buy a new set of blades and try it again if it went away without the blades. I would do this before trying a new deck. Good luck!
 

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I am running a deck that was supposedly off an X320 on my 2002 GX345 which originally came with a 48c. I would say that it's highly likely that it will fit.
 

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Check for bent spindles, that's serious. The vibrations will certainly bring your deck to a slow death. Cracking and worn parts! Try it with no blades and running while watching the shafts turning as slow as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I called the dealership and asked the service department if the old deck could go on the newer mower. I was told it wouldn't. This is also the same guy that told me I'd need 4 self tapping screws to mount a spindle assembly in my deck when I was just able to use the old nuts from the one I replaced, so take that for what it's worth.

I first changed the blades to new ones and greased up the spindles. No change. Pulled the deck again to take the belt off to see how the spindles were doing. One was rough to turn and made a growl. Got it off and replaced the whole assembly with a new one. Greased it up, put the deck back on, engaged the blades... same vibration, although maybe just a tad better, and oddly enough, the new assembly turned just as rough and made the same sound as the old one I thought was bad. Pulled and mounted the deck again to try two new idler pulleys for giggles. Possibly a bit improved, but maybe I'm just getting used to it. It's still there for sure.

I've pulled and mounted this deck three times now in a week. I'm getting tired of it, although I'm getting faster at the whole deal with practice. Still, I don't want to pull and mount two decks if I find out I can't swap them... I don't have tons of free time.

Both belts are good, or at least seem as though they are. The previous owner replaced them last summer, but not sure how much use they have on them in that time. Strangely enough though, now that it's been mentioned, I just noticed black marks on the deck that I'm pretty sure must be coming from the blade belt as it travels around the middle spindle, and coincidentally, that's the spindle I thought was bad and replaced. I wonder if there is something wrong with the shell of the deck itself that would have made the new assembly sound and turn bad like the other one? It's worth investigating at least. I'll have my wife sit on it and engage the blades so I can take a look as best I can at what's going on with the belt. I sort of feel dumb I didn't do that first.

The vibration is definitely not there until the blades are engaged. I didn't know it would be safe to power up the deck belt without the blades mounted. I'll try that as part of the troubleshooting.

As far as the suggestion made above to "Release the tension on the deck drive belt to see if it is in the PTO while it is running." I'm not sure what that means exactly. Should I literally take the drive belt off and then pull up the knob that engages the blades?
 

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Have you spun the pulley on pto while off and without deck belt on. Of course engine off. How does it feel and sound?
Also engage the PTO with engine running. Without belt on.
 

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I'll bet your idler pulley is not pivoting freely. Take it apart, clean it and grease it. That's why your belt is so loose. That's likely the vibration. I used to see that a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I changed both idler pulleys with new ones yesterday and still no change. The mower is new to me, and the marks on the deck from the belt could have been there before I got it. I know the previous owner replaced both belts last year; maybe they were too loose for him and that's how the marks got there.

Maybe I need to look into adjusting the idler tension. It might be a little slack.

The suggestions about investigating the PTO seem to be a good next step, but could someone describe the process with a little more detail; maybe with some step by step directions?
 

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If you have dropped the deck you removed the belt from the PTO. Release the tension on the belt as you did when dropping the deck and get it off the PTO. Get under there and spin it by hand. There you go. You can also start it up, throw the switch and give it a listen. When I replaced spindles I did both to be sure.
 

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I changed both idler pulleys with new ones yesterday and still no change. The mower is new to me, and the marks on the deck from the belt could have been there before I got it. I know the previous owner replaced both belts last year; maybe they were too loose for him and that's how the marks got there.

Maybe I need to look into adjusting the idler tension. It might be a little slack.

The suggestions about investigating the PTO seem to be a good next step, but could someone describe the process with a little more detail; maybe with some step by step directions?
I believe the post to check the idler was with regard to the pivot, not the pulley itself. I think it good advice to check the pivot as the bushings do wear and need replacing periodically. And if it's binding, could be your issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I took the deck off and tried to rotate the pulley that moves the deck drive belt, the one on the tractor itself that is underneath the motor, but it wouldn't budge. I pulled up the switch to engage the deck with no belt on it while the deck was off and there was no noise at all. I had to have my wife sit on it and engage it so I could be underneath it to see it start to turn, that's how quiet it was. I guess the good news there is the problem is in the deck itself.

I popped off the entire assembly that holds the idler and the double stack of two pulleys (one for the blade belt and one for the drive belt) and checked all that out. As best I can tell, and I'm no mechanic, those things are rolling smoothly. The spring that pulls against the idler arm seemed to have been bent out of shape at some point in the past, so maybe there just isn't enough tension on the idler because the spring isn't at 100 percent.

I pulled the blades off of the deck, remounted the deck and engaged the PTO. The noise from the vibration wasn't as loud, but the vibration was still clearly there, so the problem has got to be somewhere in the deck. With my wife sitting on it, with no blades on the deck and the belt engaged, I couldn't see the belts flapping about and hitting anything but I could see the idler moving up and down in time with the noise of the vibration, so that has to be the source, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why it would be doing it. The only thing I can think now is the tension on the idler is wrong, but I've already thrown 200 dollars in parts at this thing and spent all of my free time this week trying to fix it. I've pulled and remounted this deck five times this week; two times today and I'm just knackered with it. I'm taking it in to the Deere shop and they'll be able to diagnose it faster and more accurately than I can. Probably should have just done that to begin with; I'm tired of throwing parts at the problem...
 

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It sounds like you have a stretched belt and a weak idler spring. Even though you did not see it hitting anything the belt is flapping and the idler is showing you how much it is. I hope you dealer is a nice guy and only charges you for a new belt and spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm tired of messing with it, but the sting of defeat is worse than the work of trying something else as simple as replacing a spring and a belt. The idea of a loose belt has been bothering me all night... From looking at it and taking it off so many times it just doesn't seem that the belt is loose, but I keep wondering if it could be and that's all it is.

A spring and a belt shouldn't be more than 40-50 bucks. I'm sure that means I'll have to pay nearly 100 dollars at the Deere place..........
 

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Belt problems can be notoriously vexing even when you've seen it all. I'm sure by experience of working on the same machines so many times and knowing what's most likely going on the dealer will get yours right. Once I had a customer's AMF, a very old one, 25 yrs. at the time, kept throwing belts. Turned out someone removed a belt guide sometime in the past. This was around the time mtd was buying up roper, bolens, troy bilt, cub, some craftsman, etc. I couldn't get an exploded parts list anywhere let alone a part number or the part. So I made one....problem solved. :)
 

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Another option, if not too late, as it is difficult to diagnose the problem from the web, would be to post a video of the deck (with the belt covers off) and PTO in operation. Perhaps someone will be able to figure it out.

If you do go this route, I would video it at both full speed and idle - just be careful where you put your hands and feet.
 

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The only thing I know of that will make the idler move back and forth is the belt. If the belt has slop in it then it will make the idler go back and forth.
 

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I agree with the belt being loose.
Also make sure the belt is the right width.
Should be 5/8 inch. 5L*** example of belt coding.
If the belt is deep in the pulleys its not wide enough.
Just a thought there cause not sure if the PTO pulleys are same belt width.
I have found that JD seems to go a little soft on belt tension anyways.
My X530 will sometimes squeal the deck belt on one side in high grass.
And it was checked by JD when under warranty - every things OK. Right...
It still does it occasionally. Just need to beef up the tension spring a bit.
I have a D170 had the same issue.
Fixed it with an old washing machine belt tension spring. It had just a little more pull.
Still working on more spring for the X530.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I bought a new belt and new spring today but won't have the time to install them for a few more days, possibly until the weekend. I'm hoping that takes care of it... there are only so many things that can go wrong on a deck and I've worked through nearly all of them.

In regards to the right width on the belt, I'm not sure where the old owner got the belt he said he put on it last year, but I'm wondering if it wasn't an actual John Deere part. The one I picked up from the dealer today was gray in color... almost white, and looked like it was made out of a different compound than the belt that's on it now, which is straight black. I guess a year of use can turn a white belt black, but after hearing mention of a belt of the wrong width being the possible cause, I'm hanging my hat on that for the time being.

I hope it solves the problem. I'm at 300 bucks on parts for this deck already. That new belt was nearly 90 dollars!
 
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