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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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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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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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