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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I have a 2003 Conquest that I bought new and have been using the 2 stage blower for snow removal. Over the last couple years I’ve been having occasional issues with forward and reverse not wanting to engage when the blower’s sub-frame hitch is installed – no issues at all when no attachments or just the mower deck. I finally diagnosed the issue which is the sub-frame’s rear hook (it rests on top of the lift shaft / cross bar) is interfering with a drive belt / brake pulley.

What’s happening is when you release the brake the pulley isn’t able to go back to the neutral position because it hits the sub-frame hook. I can get it to go to neutral by quickly grabbing the drive belt or push up a bit on the pulley.

When it’s working properly the pulley sits just above the hook and there is very little to no clearance between then. There appears to be a small amount of wear on the pulley but hardly noticeable. With the setup working fine for about 13 years and only appearing the last 2 or 3 something must have changed. The shaft and hook position is pretty much fixed so I’m assuming the pulley is lower than it was. Does anyone have any ideas what might be going on? Maybe just wear and tear, or putting on a new drive belt caused it to drop down?

Attached is 1 image of when pulley is where it should be, but probably rubbing on hook, and 2 of when it's blocked by the hook.

Any help is much appreciated.
 

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Moderator
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:Welcome1: Good to see you here, glad you joined in....I had a similar problem with the blower attachment on my Broadmoor ( I know it does not compare to the Conquest)...it is hard to see what is going on in those pictures, but have you removed all of your mowing hardware when you put the blower on?....My problem was similar when I bought the machine the blower was mounted on it...when I went to mow I had a couple of problems and I discovered that I had not taken everything off from the blower set up that was interfering...there are a few guys on here that have that same model as you do and someone else should chime in with a more satisfactory answer soon, if what I mentioned is no help
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes it's nice to join the group after lurking over the years. Thanks for the ideas but I don't think it's an issue with not completely swapping over from summer to winter. And yes the pics are hard to really see much, but hopefully a little bit of help - I know I always have a tough time making much sense out of them. To hopefully help a bit I circled the areas I'm referring to and reattached them.

The bar the hook sits on is fixed, and both ends of it do have some things done to them to swap from mower to blower, but even if they weren't done correctly it wouldn't affect the hook and pulley.

The pulley is at the bottom of an assembly that holds a couple of pulley's and allows them to pivot when applying the brakes. My best guess is the "assembly" has lowered a bit thus causing the issue, and if so I'm wondering if it's normal wear or something broke, or altogether something different.

The first pic is where the pulley should be above the hook. The next 2 show it being held back by the hook.
 

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Learning the hard way
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I was so excited when I 1st saw this post. I was like, I had the same problem. However, that is not the case. I hung the hook upside down therefore, it was making contact with the pulley. Flipped it over and I was good. Sadly, I don't have an exact answer for you. I would assume something in the pulley assembly has worn to the point where it has dropped it just enough to make contact. Let us know what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It looks like the problem is the nylon bushings have worn enough for the whole assembly to drop down a bit. There are 4 of them and I have new ones on order and will let you know if they do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Finally got it fixed up. There was some definite play in the idler assembly in that it could slide up and down the pivot pin. When everything is working as it should there’s only about 3/16” between the pulley and subframe hitch hook, so the idler sliding down just a little causes problems. I ended up removing the idler assembly and replacing most of the parts, so here’s some details.

It wasn’t too difficult to remove the idler assembly. First you need to remove the pulleys, belt, engage the parking brake, remove spring, then take off the clip at the bottom. It has 3 rods attached - the brake rod (front one) needs to be detached at the idler assembly. The others can be detached at the rear of the tractor and left on the assembly, then remove them after you’ve taken it out.

I ended up replacing the 4 nylon bushings, both pulleys, main idler assembly/arm, and brake rod. Nothing seemed worn enough to account for why the assembly was hanging lower and hitting the sub-frame hook. The bushings were in pretty good shape with 1 worn a bit. The pulley’s were only OK with their rotation slightly rough.

I replaced the main idler assembly because the pin the brake rod attaches to was worn about a third of the way through. The brake rod was also severely worn where it attaches to that pin. The new assembly differs in that the spacer on the pin is welded to it, and there’s no grease fitting. The lack of the fitting concerns me because if the pivot pin wears out it will be a huge pain to fix. The wear on the brake rod was severe so I added a washer underneath it.

The pin where the brake rod attaches to the brake pedal is nearly impossible to get to. There’s a plate underneath it that holds the brake and gas pedal linkages. It’s held on by 4 bolts and will drop down just far enough to get to the brake rod’s pin. I think I also had to remove a couple other pins on some linkages.

After all the above the assembly still dropped more than it should so I ended up adding a washer at the bottom of the pivot pin. Adding this washer could be a quick fix but due to all the wear on other parts I recommend you tear it down and replace as needed.

It took awhile but we're back on the road.
 
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