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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have resurrected an older Craftsman 13 hp tractor and the engine runs great. I also had to put most of the mowing deck together to get it to cut grass. When I cut tall grass, most of the time the mowing deck looses power and slows drastically but the engine doesn't labor at all. So, I have something going with the mowing deck. In light grass, the mower does fine. Is there something I can do to get the tractor to mow better? I do drive the tractor slow but it really doesn't help that much. I've borrowed a neighbors Craftsman tractor that has more horsepower and it has no problem at all cutting tall grass but, like I said, the engine on mine doesn't labor, it's just the mowing deck that gets bogged. New Craftsman blades, new spindles...any suggestions? Thank you.
 

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Sounds like the deck belt is slipping. Is it new? If so, make sure it's the right belt, if it's old, get a new belt.
 

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TE Writer!
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Like j.Gibson said, the belt could be slipping. And how much slack is in the belt when the blades are engaged. Using a small amount of pressure pull on the belt until you see the deck clutch spring begins to move. There should be about an 1" or so of play either way.
 

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Like j.Gibson said, the belt could be slipping. And how much slack is in the belt when the blades are engaged. Using a small amount of pressure pull on the belt until you see the deck clutch spring begins to move. There should be about an 1" or so of play either way.

This may be obvious, but don't check this with the engine running. Remember, safety first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I almost fell out of my chair laughing when Gibson stated "This may be obvious, but don't check this with the engine running. Remember, safety first."!:fing32: Is this why they have WARNINGS on paper bags stating that you might suffocate if you put plastic bags over your head?? Anyway...what Clutch Spring? I'd better check my diagram again and the deck to see if I even have one!! Thanks so much for the responses!

Like j.Gibson said, the belt could be slipping. And how much slack is in the belt when the blades are engaged. Using a small amount of pressure pull on the belt until you see the deck clutch spring begins to move. There should be about an 1" or so of play either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
What are belt keepers? (Ok, duh...I know what belt keepers are...the little metal dohickies that make sure the belt doesn't come off the pulleys...don't have any of them in the way that I can see) I don't see anything on the belt...it's a brand new belt and I ordered it specifically for my tractor...917.252502. I DO have a tension spring...I also checked it while the engine was stopped...lol It appears that the spring is compressed when you start to engage the blades and I see no more movement of the idler pulley while fully engaging the blades. There is about 1" of further travel (compressing the spring) after the idler pulley stops moving. So, I assume the idler is at it's full travel. I also tried to turn the top spindle (new)pulleys when the blades are engaged and I CAN turn the pulleys a little...so, the belt apparently doesn't seem tight enough. I don't know what else to do though except try a smaller belt. I did adjust the link rod a little that moves the clutch but seeing as the idler pulley isn't moving any more, it doesn't help.

Confirm that there are no belt keepers between the belt and a pulley someplace. They seem to hide in the darndest places.
 

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Yeah I have ran in to both these issues.....if the belt was over one of the keepers in my experience it will smoke like a chimney until the belt snaps.....so probably just a belt that is a little too large.....or not getting tightened correctly.....if the deck was in real bad shape make sure the tensioning lever is moving- there's a chance it's seized and not putting tension to the belt......my grandmas old tractor does this in reverse.....it tensions the belt good but don't wanna let go LOL......WD40 whips her back in to shape!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, I did more checking and noticed that in the manual it states that the front of the deck should be between 1/4 to 3/4" lower than the rear. This seems the opposite of my thinking but...I re-adjusted the deck so it's about 1/2" lower in the front than the back and it actually seems to cut a bit better. I think the real answer might be to get a slightly smaller belt however. The belt that I got for it is a 144200 belt. Do they have some that are slightly smaller??:banghead3
 

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Ok, I did more checking and noticed that in the manual it states that the front of the deck should be between 1/4 to 3/4" lower than the rear. This seems the opposite of my thinking but...I re-adjusted the deck so it's about 1/2" lower in the front than the back and it actually seems to cut a bit better. I think the real answer might be to get a slightly smaller belt however. The belt that I got for it is a 144200 belt. Do they have some that are slightly smaller??:banghead3
Take it to a parts store(NAPA has top notch GATES belts) and they can get you the next size up no problemo
 
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