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I have an X380 with the powerflo bagger. The belt that drives the bagger seems have a relatively low tension. I recently replaced the belt with a JD belt that is supposed to be the correct size and it appears to be very close to the original belt. However the belt has so much play and movement when engaged that it has rubbed some of the plastic fittings and covers that are in close proximity to the belt.

With the new belt, the bagger works but I am just a bit concerned that it is not tensioned properly. Any thoughts or suggestions? I have verified that the belt is installed coorectly.
 

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AKA Moses Lawnagan
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I have an X380 with the powerflo bagger. The belt that drives the bagger seems have a relatively low tension. I recently replaced the belt with a JD belt that is supposed to be the correct size and it appears to be very close to the original belt. However the belt has so much play and movement when engaged that it has rubbed some of the plastic fittings and covers that are in close proximity to the belt.

With the new belt, the bagger works but I am just a bit concerned that it is not tensioned properly. Any thoughts or suggestions? I have verified that the belt is installed coorectly.
When you install the belt over the deck drive pulley and pull the lever to lock the powerflow assembly to the mower chute, it uses the belt tension to keep it in place. The belt will vibrate quite a bit, and those plastic parts (belt covers, mostly) are trimmed per a pattern or cut lines which are a general guide. In real use, they will get touched and worn by the powerflow drive belt. You may have to further trim those pieces to keep them clear of the belt. I found a couple of them a nuisance and removed them, but I can't recommend that to you due to MTF's policy against saying to remove safety features. As long as they don't make the belt come off, or rub bad enough to wear the belt or smoke from the friction, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
 

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Make Better Mowers
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One thing I know about belts is that if you'll buy Kevlar belts, you won't experience the stretching of the belt which can cause slop. If your floppin' & sloppin' is truly excessive, you might want to consider the addition of either a stronger spring or even the possibility of the use of two springs. You do NOT want so much tension on the belt that it causes the pulley bearing undue wear. Sometimes we need to use our engineering skills with our equipment when the manufacturer didn't use theirs!
 

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John Deere seems to be very low on there equipment design for belt longevity! I've noticed much of the equipment relies on springs for belt tension! Most people don't realize belt tension at 80% can reduce belt life 10X. probably because their selling the belts not buying them!
If I was operating equipment with many belts in use I'd invest in a sonic belt tensioner, expensive investment but over the long haul would save thousands in labour and material costs! I use to operate the hvac systems for a casino and had close to 1000 belts running 24/7!
 

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John Deere seems to be very low on there equipment design for belt longevity! I've noticed much of the equipment relies on springs for belt tension! Most people don't realize belt tension at 80% can reduce belt life 10X. probably because their selling the belts not buying them!
If I was operating equipment with many belts in use I'd invest in a sonic belt tensioner, expensive investment but over the long haul would save thousands in labour and material costs! I use to operate the hvac systems for a casino and had close to 1000 belts running 24/7!
Well, the belts for a HVAC system at a hotel have a pretty different set of operating conditions than the belts of a lawn tractor. The pulleys are all fixed distance, not varying a bit with say, deck height, or have to be put on/off if say you remove the deck for cleaning or doing something else. Spring tensioners are also simple to operate, automatically self-adjusting (vs, say a setup that you can more precisely set the belt tension, but you need to do it manually), and relatively cheap.

For most people, a given belt lasts multiple years, and when the belt does fail, it might be due to over/under tension, or it might be due to debris, or some of the pulleys failing in some way (say, going out of alignment or a bearing seizes for example).
 

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does john deere give you spring tension specs or idler positon indicators to know how much belts have stretched? I've never seen any! all I'm saying is they leave a lot of the machine setup/operation up in the air as far as troubleshooting or forewarning of declining performance!
 

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In lieu of the expensive industrial test equipment, one of the general rules of thumb for belt tension is a deflection of the belt 1/64th of an inch per inch of distance between the sheaves. Just as an example, if the space between the sheaves is 32 inches, 32/64 is ½ inch deflection.

Belt Tensioning - McGuire Bearing Company
 
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