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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! Looking for a little help from those who know these small JD mowers.

My LA125 has 100 hours on it. It's pretty clean and isn't used for mowing - just for hauling trashcans, wood chips, etc. Is garage kept and well maintained. I got rid of the mowing deck as I've no use for it.

The other day after startup, inexplicably, it wouldn't go forward or reverse. It also had a distinctly annoying, loud, and new rattling sound, and was burning the belt when I tried to drive it.

I read up on this and it seemed prudent to replace the two idler pulleys and the belt which I did with OEM parts. The old pulleys weren't trashed but the flat pulley did have a flat spot on it. The belt wasn't cracked or obviously damaged but was probably 8 or 10 years old. So all of those parts replaced.

After installing the new belt and pulleys, it now drives once again in forward/reverse but the rattle is still there and is quite prominent. When I put on the brake, the rattle stops; when I let off the brake, thereby engaging the drive belt by releasing the idler bracket to put tension on the drive belt/pulleys, the rattle is pronounced. It also continues to rattle when driving.

I left the engine running and the belts engaged and crawled under to watch what is happening. It appears that the idler plate - onto which the pulleys are mounted - flops around a bit and is partly the cause of the rattle. The tensioning spring is intact and connected. The other part of the rattle is the steel rod that runs down from the brake pedal to the linkage with the rod going back to the transmission -- there's slop there. I made sure that the pivot bolt holding the tension plate to the mower was smoked up tight. But you can rock the plate which seems normal in that this plate need to be able to pivot.

I'm not too worried about rattling per-se except that it wasn't present prior to the driving failure and it sounds like something's wrong. The rattle started only when the drive problem started -- they happened together. How floppy should that pivot plate that holds the pulleys be? Is this something not to worry about? Drive more, worry less?

Thanks up front and sorry for the long post!

Eric
 

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I don't know much about the LA125 but others might have some advice. I think this is the belt drive and pulley diagram for the LA125. Maybe you could point out by numbers, which part(s) are loose and rattling.
2460289
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, thanks Alien!

The plate I'm referring to is #5 which teeter-totters on #16, its pivot point. Probably a good half inch of tilting occurs out at it's edges. #4 is another point, I think, where it attaches to the pedal shaft coming down from the brake pedal.

Thank you!
 

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I don't think I'd be really worried about rod #4 at the moment. But plate #5 appears to pivot on bolt #16 to tighten the belt drive. If the plate wobbles that much, something has worn out. I don't know where the plate mounts to the frame but would carefully check that for wear or loose bolts/nuts or worn bushings.

Just to avoid buying parts that are not needed, I would remove the belt, and the tension spring #10. Then work each piece in the belt engagement mechanism and carefully observe each part's movement to see exactly where it is loose. A slight amount of play is needed for proper operation, but without belt and spring pressure, you should be able to spot really wobbly points and focus on replacing those parts. I'm guessing but sounds like a pivot point, be it a bolt or pin has worn out or its bushing is shot, allowing the plate to wobble that much. The BEST diagnostic tool is your eye. Observe how all works, you'll spot the problem.

PS You mentioned a flat spot on one of the old pulleys. That would indicate that it had frozen up on its shaft and the belt wore that flat into it, also causing the burning smells. Be sure the new parts rotate freely.

Good luck and if you are able to spot and fix this issue, post your findings so others can learn too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Alien -- I think that perhaps that pivot bolt (#16) has worn as I don't see any bushing or collar at that point on the diagram (unless a collar is built into the bolt). Getting that tensioner spring off is a [email protected]# but I should be able to do that. Any tips or trick regarding that would be helpful. I'm afraid that at my age, my ability to brute force things like that spring are a mere hint of what they once were!

There is a steel strap of sorts that droops down off of the frame, through which the pivot bolt mounts the pivot plate. Perhaps it's as easy as ordering a new bolt. I'll give the local JD dealer a call and see what they say.

Cheers - Eric
 

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7 may be the culprit, also check the hole it goes in and make sure that is round. The vibration from the bearing going out may have enlarged the bolt holes in the plate. Then check the pulleys to make sure they are not slightly out of round. And make sure they are aligned with the other pulleys for height.
 

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Roger that, Madflower. I found all of the part numbers and will call a bricks and mortar dealer as I cannot find anyone online who has these parts in their parts databases! I should be able to simply remove the idler pulleys, remove the spring and foot brake shaft, and drop the idler plate. What possibly could go wrong? HA!

Thanks much
 

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Hello! Looking for a little help from those who know these small JD mowers.

My LA125 has 100 hours on it. It's pretty clean and isn't used for mowing - just for hauling trashcans, wood chips, etc. Is garage kept and well maintained. I got rid of the mowing deck as I've no use for it.

The other day after startup, inexplicably, it wouldn't go forward or reverse. It also had a distinctly annoying, loud, and new rattling sound, and was burning the belt when I tried to drive it.

I read up on this and it seemed prudent to replace the two idler pulleys and the belt which I did with OEM parts. The old pulleys weren't trashed but the flat pulley did have a flat spot on it. The belt wasn't cracked or obviously damaged but was probably 8 or 10 years old. So all of those parts replaced.

After installing the new belt and pulleys, it now drives once again in forward/reverse but the rattle is still there and is quite prominent. When I put on the brake, the rattle stops; when I let off the brake, thereby engaging the drive belt by releasing the idler bracket to put tension on the drive belt/pulleys, the rattle is pronounced. It also continues to rattle when driving.

I left the engine running and the belts engaged and crawled under to watch what is happening. It appears that the idler plate - onto which the pulleys are mounted - flops around a bit and is partly the cause of the rattle. The tensioning spring is intact and connected. The other part of the rattle is the steel rod that runs down from the brake pedal to the linkage with the rod going back to the transmission -- there's slop there. I made sure that the pivot bolt holding the tension plate to the mower was smoked up tight. But you can rock the plate which seems normal in that this plate need to be able to pivot.

I'm not too worried about rattling per-se except that it wasn't present prior to the driving failure and it sounds like something's wrong. The rattle started only when the drive problem started -- they happened together. How floppy should that pivot plate that holds the pulleys be? Is this something not to worry about? Drive more, worry less?

Thanks up front and sorry for the long post!

Eric
The diagram you're looking at is the wrong one. The rattle is the brake linkage which is on the left side. When the brake is engaged it is under tension and won't rattle. With the brake off, it is free to bounce about and if it is near anything metallic, will rattle. Test it. With engine running and someone in the seat, disengage the brake. The rattle starts. Reach under and (Carefully!) grab the brake linkage. Rattle stops. Then figure out where it's touching metal. The lock screws on the rod can be adjusted to "twist" it out of the way.

HTH,
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for that information, Paul. I got underneath today and removed the entire idler plate and checked the bolt, the bushing, and it all looked almost pristine. I measured the bushing with calipers and it was even all around. No smoking gun there.

I reassembled, tightened everything up and it still rattles like crazy. With the brake off, I got underneath with engine running and the drive belt engaged. When I reach up and put pressure on the idler plate, the noise ceases. However, given the information you provided, Paul, I will check again. Perhaps me pushing on the plate to stop its movement made the sound stop because that rod is connected to the plate.

Anyway, I will check that line of thinking next.

Thanks!
 

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Yes, Eric, I shouldn't have been so positive. It's just that my L120 rattles whenever the brake is off, and I know where it's coming from. That brake rod that runs from the brake pedal assy. back to the hydro. It started when it was about 8 years old and I've just put up with it. As they age and things get looser, everything starts to rattle. Sounds a lot like my aging body - it creeks and groans more each morning!

Good luck,
Paul
 

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HA! I hear you! No worries. I had trouble getting off the creeper after being underneath!

I wouldn't even worry about this except for two things: 1) the rattle started in conjuntion with the drive train failing to propel the tractor making me suspicious that they are somehow related (I have since regained propulsion but the sound remains), and 2) it's not a rattle like a loose part that is kind of jumping around, it's a disturbingly loud and intermittent (not patterned) clatter that makes one think "hmmm, that's not right..."
 
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