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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pictured was the result of me mowing over an exposed tree root which stopped one of my mower blades cold.

My concern is that the yellow pulley system support (which is part of the deck housing) appears to be bent and repairing this to bring the deck back to 100% of factory specs/tolerances may not be possible (?). Initial inspection does not appear to show any mower blade/spindle alignment damage, but not 100% certain of this (?).

What also concerns me is that given a blunt force impact that occurred that this deck is not engineered with a sheer-pin or other mechanism designed to fail (absorb the blunt force trauma) in advance of the inertia from the blunt force transferring from the blade all the way to the deck’s yellow housing causing the damage that resulted in this situation.

Curious if anyone has experienced anything similar or just any comments in general...thanks in advance.

FYI ~ Purchased this lawn tractor new on 8/21/21.

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I have stalled the blades and caused the belt to start smoking many times on my 54" deck on my 445 using it like a brush hog before I got my 1026R and Brush Cutter. I am still using it to mow my yard. Would I use it to mow an Estate or Golf Course, probably not but changing the blades and one new belt since 1994, I am quite happy with my choice and equipment. Granted your deck is lighter than mine, I would just get a mower leveling gauge and check the blade level on all blades and replace any that might be bent and see how it cuts.
 

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Interesting idea on the shear pins, I've never seen a MMM with them. Guess the manufacturers figure it's a finish mower so you're not expected to hit roots and stuff with it. That, and if I understand correctly, some gas engines don't have enough torque to spin a mower deck up from idle so you have to give it some gas before engaging the PTO. Since it's just an on/off electromagnetic clutch I'd imagine the shock load when engaging would cause shear pins to fatigue and fail rather quickly.

You should be able to bend that back into shape with some persuasion and cussin at it. Might have to get creative with prybars and stuff.
 

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I've owned a number of tractors and commercial walk-behinds over the years and the only shear "pin" that I have ever seen is the key on the flywheel. Conversely, the blades aren't typically keyed and I would expect them to somewhat slip on impact despite the damage to your belt tensioner.
 

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What part do you think is bent? Did you take the belt off or did it come off?
On belt driven equipment the “shear pin” is the belt, it will slip easily if something stops the blades.
How many hours are on your machine? It looks super clean!
 

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What part do you think is bent? Did you take the belt off or did it come off?
On belt driven equipment the “shear pin” is the belt, it will slip easily if something stops the blades.
How many hours are on your machine? It looks super clean!
I was wondering the same thing......It appears the idler pulley bracket might be bent, but I don't know that machine well enough to know what its supposed to look like. The pulleys do appear to be at "unusual angles", to say the least.

If stopping the blades damaged the idler pulley with "Blunt Force Trauma", then there are other concerns.

If the idler pulley bracket is bent as a result of the blades stopping violently, well....................

Generally, the spindles will either bend or even break. No question, such an impact directly to the blade is likely to have seriously wounded the spindle bearings, at a minimum.

Really, until the deck is removed, the blades and underside of the deck inspected, everything else is purely speculation. Since the spindle bears the shock directly, that is where I would start.
 

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Did it destroy the belt, did the belt pop the pulley and bind in someway to cause the bent pulley mount?

As others said the belt drive inherently has slippage as the safety. Either way hitting a root should not cause that kind of damage, broken spindle and bent blade maybe.

If it is just the idler pulley, you should be able to bend it back and rock and roll with the mower. The pulleys don't have a bunch of tolerances that are super accurate. As long as the belt isn't twisted as it travels you should be fine.
 
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Hate that it happened on such a new machine.
 
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Go look at a new one and you will see that what concerns you is probably fine. I don't have a 42 Accel deck at the moment, but that's kinda how they look. Your shear pin is AKA your drive belt. Hitting a root tends to tweak the housing @ the offending spindle if any damage happened at all. It's a nice deck, very easy to pull and do a proper inspection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
STOP - PAUSE - REWIND

My apologies to all of you folks that replied to my post for it appears that I spoke prematurely regarding what to me appeared to be a mangled (bent) pulley system. Upon sending these photos to the JD dealer I purchased the mower at I received a prompt call informing me that the angles I'm seeing in this pulley system is how they are designed. They went on to say that I could (as several of you alluded to) have a bent/out-of-alignment spindle, blade and/or a slightly bent deck housing resulting from the impact...dropping the deck off at the dealer today.

At minimum from my eyeballing the blade appears to be slightly bent, more like slightly bowed. I'll send a final follow-up after the dealer accesses and performs their fix.

Again; sorry for the rookie over-reaction.
 

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STOP - PAUSE - REWIND

My apologies to all of you folks that replied to my post for it appears that I spoke prematurely regarding what to me appeared to be a mangled (bent) pulley system. Upon sending these photos to the JD dealer I purchased the mower at I received a prompt call informing me that the angles I'm seeing in this pulley system is how they are designed. They went on to say that I could (as several of you alluded to) have a bent/out-of-alignment spindle, blade and/or a slightly bent deck housing resulting from the impact...dropping the deck off at the dealer today.

At minimum from my eyeballing the blade appears to be slightly bent, more like slightly bowed. I'll send a final follow-up after the dealer accesses and performs their fix.

Again; sorry for the rookie over-reaction.
The belt makes bends like that? Interesting. I'd love to see a picture with the belt on. I'm having a hard time picturing it.
 

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The belt makes bends like that? Interesting. I'd love to see a picture with the belt on. I'm having a hard time picturing it.
It’s a single belt, not a 2belt system like larger units.

Go look at any x300 series with a 42 deck.
 
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I wouldn't have believed it either until I looked and found pictures on Deere's site.

Product Automotive lighting Font Toy Automotive design
 
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I wouldn't have believed it either until I looked and found pictures on Deere's site.

View attachment 803285
Whoa. All right then.

Isn't that going to put a bending moment on the pulley bearings? And extra wear on the sheaves? It would be interesting to compare that bending moment against the shearing force any belt exerts anyway. If the shaft is cantilevered, as all these pulley shafts are, that will also produce a bending moment. Huh. So that just leaves sheave and belt wear as things to watch. I wonder if every pulley is canted a little to minimize this wear, including the two blade drive pulleys. They look pretty flat, but even a degree or two would make a big difference.

EDIT: Also, the drive pulley on the mower...it's fixed in place, right? So there's a cant to belt on it's way up to the drive pulley with an angle that changes based on deck height? And that changes under load as the anti-scalping wheels bump the deck up during mowing?
 

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This Accel deck is so much better than the preceding X series 42" decks. The only belt problem that I've had on them I caused by running the belt over the right? deck lift arm adjuster. This one was raised fairly high and I didn't catch it. The earlier decks had lots of belt issues. With that being said, I think JD engineers were working under some kind of spiff program to see who could come up with the most convoluted deck design with bonus points paid by the running inches of the belt used!
 

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Whoa. All right then.

Isn't that going to put a bending moment on the pulley bearings? And extra wear on the sheaves? It would be interesting to compare that bending moment against the shearing force any belt exerts anyway. If the shaft is cantilevered, as all these pulley shafts are, that will also produce a bending moment. Huh. So that just leaves sheave and belt wear as things to watch. I wonder if every pulley is canted a little to minimize this wear, including the two blade drive pulleys. They look pretty flat, but even a degree or two would make a big difference.

EDIT: Also, the drive pulley on the mower...it's fixed in place, right? So there's a cant to belt on it's way up to the drive pulley with an angle that changes based on deck height? And that changes under load as the anti-scalping wheels bump the deck up during mowing?
There’s been bending moments and side loads since 1963, besides shaft drive models there is always an out of plane alignment on the primary belt of the larger x3/500 decks.

If you want to see a cluster look at the old wheelhorse models.




Actually I think this 73 roper is the only one I know of with no off parallel alignment. The motor it situated sideways, and there’s a straight shot to the mower driveshaft that turns 2 gearbox spindles.



 

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There’s been bending moments and side loads since 1963, besides shaft drive models there is always an out of plane alignment on the primary belt of the larger x3/500 decks.

If you want to see a cluster look at the old wheelhorse models.




Actually I think this 73 roper is the only one I know of with no off parallel alignment. The motor it situated sideways, and there’s a straight shot to the mower driveshaft that turns 2 gearbox spindles.
Does that do what I think it does? I'm assuming that's usually behind a panel, because otherwise, (a) it would eat fingers, branches, jeans, and basically anything else that brushed the side of the machine, and (b) who would buy the thing if they saw that? (To it's credit, the drive pulley shaft is not cantilevered! Granted the support itself is cantilevered out. I'm guessing that's to support the clutch, which looks like it's right there on the side of the motor.) I guess if they got any life out of that belt, the design on the JD one looks pretty mild in comparison.
 

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Does that do what I think it does? I'm assuming that's usually behind a panel, because otherwise, (a) it would eat fingers, branches, jeans, and basically anything else that brushed the side of the machine, and (b) who would buy the thing if they saw that? (To it's credit, the drive pulley shaft is not cantilevered! Granted the support itself is cantilevered out. I'm guessing that's to support the clutch, which looks like it's right there on the side of the motor.) I guess if they got any life out of that belt, the design on the JD one looks pretty mild in comparison.
That’s stock factory condition. I don’t know what to tell you besides the lawyers and engineers might still be around to explain their thinking.
 

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This type of pulley design isn’t out of the ordinary for a single-belt system. I see a lot of over-thinking in both the OP and replies (extra bearing and sheave wear? Pffft). Look at the 300’s, LX, GT, GX snow throwers for instance.

Get your operators manual, follow the directions to ensure the deck is level, then go mow again. If it’s not a level cut or is gouging the grass, then check in this order: the blade, the spindle, then deck (spindle mounting area, brackets, etc.). Chances are the blade is going to be the first - and only - damage in these instances.

Speaking of operators manual, those are provided for a reason. We are supposed to read them when we buy a machine. Had this been done, this post wouldn’t have even existed as the manual clearly shows the pulley system and how it works. Also included are troubleshooting steps for checking damage after hitting something/uneven cutting.

Please don’t take the tone of my reply as condescending or rude - just being matter-of-fact. I hope the dealer doesn’t charge you a silly amount for checking the deck, that you’re damage free, and can enjoy your brand new mower 😎
 

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Look at the odd belt configurations on most of the MCS deck mounted blowers, belts twisted, crossed over and the system also has the unusual loads on the belt and pulleys of lifting, compacting and throwing the material using the impeller inside the housing.

At least with the mower deck, the grass is a straight forward cut. But when the deck mounted material collection blowers are spinning, they are physically moving the grass, leaves and other debris inside of the compact housing and through the tube into the collection system.

If the housing or tube plugs, or should I say "When the housing or tube plugs", the loads skyrocket on the MCS drive belt, yet on my 455, I have only replaced two belts in 25 years. The belts usually wear from slipping more than anything else, and that happens when the chute is plugged or the bin is full and there is no room for more material...One belt was so worn, I would push the deck blower out from the end of the deck chute with my boot when in heavy material to keep the belt from slipping, yet it kept on accumulating the blowing debris into the cart................for seasons......
 
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