Small Engine Problems? Ask an Engine Mechanic for Answers ASAP
You could have a few issues, but let's start with the most common and also the cheapest. These units are notorious for getting wear on the thin nyliner bearings and not correctly allowing the plates to pivot. Please check them to make sure there's no wear and that they are pivoting freely. If they need to be replaced, be sure to use Neverseez when reinstalling.
Attachments are only available to registered users.
Let me know and we'll continue.
I'm posting this as an answer, but it may NOT be the FINAL answer. This is just the first step in troubleshooting, so please hold off on accepting until we pinpoint the problem.Let me know and we'll continue.
If you've replaced both the belts, and are using original equipment belts replaced as a set, then one of the other areas to look at would be the variable speed pulley itself. The center sheave should move up and down very freely, even if you try to cock it to one side by lifting up on one side while pushing harder down on the other, or vice-versa. There should be no lubrication on the shiny center part.
I'm assuming you have not made any adjustments on the linkage? And that you have inspected the springs to all be in place and not stretched? Those are some other areas to look at, but my experience is that 80% of the time it's the bearings. You can do a visual inspection for movement to verify before tearing into it.
As far as price and part numbers, it takes (2) of(NNN) NNN-NNNNand (1)(NNN) NNN-NNNN They run between $2-$3 each, depending on where you buy them. A good online source is M-and-D since they are reputable and sell at a discount. (No, I'm not affiliated with them).
Here's the procedure for doing the adjustment just to make sure:
When operating the unit initially or after replacingthe belts, there will be little differencebetween the highest two speeds until after thebelts have gone through a break-in period andhave seated themselves into the pulleys.1. First, adjust the speed control lever by pushingthe clutch/brake pedal forward until the stop onthe speed control rod is against the runningboard rod (or until the stop on the brake rod isagainst the frame, if so equipped). Haveanother person hold the pedal in this positionas you make the following adjustment. Placethe speed control lever in parking brake position.Remove the hair-pin cotter and flatwasher, and adjust the ferrule on the rod so itis against the back end of the slot. Thenlengthen the rod one more turn. Replace theflat washer and hairpin cotter. See Figure 7-25.2. Adjust speed control link as follows:a. Start the engine.b. Place the shift lever in neutral position.c. Place the speed control lever in highspeed position.d. Release the clutch/brake pedal completely,then slowly depress the pedal all the way(to park position). Hold the pedal in thisposition.e. Turn the engine off.f. After engine stops completely, release theclutch/brake pedal.g. Position speed control lever as follows:(1) 7-speed units—Place speed controllever in second position.(2) 6-speed units—Place speed controllever between first and second position(hold in this position).(3) 5-speed units—Place speed controllever in first position.h. Remove the cotter pin and flat washerwhich secures the speed control link to thevariable speed torque bracket assembly.i. Push the clutch/brake pedal backward byhand as far as it will go using light pressure.Hold it in this position as you threadthe speed control link in or out of the ferruleuntil it lines up with the pin on the variablespeed torque bracket assembly.
j. Secure speed control link to variablespeed torque bracket assembly with flatwasher and pin cotter.
1. Neverseez is a brand of anti-sieze grease available at auto stores and home centers.
2. Drop the deck off the tractor and get the belts and pulleys out of the way. They'll need to be partially removed, but you can leave them close at hand. Don't take off more than you need to.
4. The center sheave is the saucer-shaped item that moves up and down between the upper and lower pulley on the variable speed pulley.
5. If you see spacing between the coils of the springs, that's a good sign they've stretched. Weakness is more of an experienced guess, unfortunately. They should be "crisp" to go back to their relaxed position when tension is removed. If we're talking a 1/4" change that's not a problem. If we start measuring the change in inches it well could be.
6. Let me include a quote from an old manual I taught technicians from for many years and actually help write:
A good general rule is to swing the idler pulleys out of the way and then take the belts off them first. That will sometimes be all the room you need. Other time you need to actually remove the idlers by loosening the shoulder bolts and nuts that go through the bracket.
Springs can be best removed by a spring removal tool. A long metal rod with a hook on the end and a handle to get a good grip on. Barring that, a good makeshift tool is to use a length of strong cord like starter rope and use it to get some leverage. The big warning is to keep your hands away from the springs because they can bite hard in an instant. Think bear trap and you've got a close comparison.
The sheave is another word for pulley. In our discussion I've been referring to the center portion of the variable speed pulley as the sheave. This is what it looks like when removed:
When the brackets pivot, the belts will tighten and loosen on one side other other and ride deeper or further out on the pulley when the center slides up or down. Without the belts and the pivoting of the brackets, the center sheave will just fall down due to gravity. It's not spring loaded. The system works like a multi-speed bicycle. When you are on the large front sprocket and small rear sprocket you go faster (assuming you pedal the same speed) than when the chain is on the small front sprocket and large rear sprocket. This system follows the same concept only with pulleys and belts instead.
#66 (732-0384) and #34 (732-0556) are the most common springs to fail. They can be purchased from an MTD dealer of from online sources. They can be special ordered from Lowes or Home Depot, but I recommend a dealer who will be more knowledgeable.
The manual is available from MTD or from a local dealer. MTD is quite protective over their copyright and I've not found the full manual posted anywhere. However, I'll post a portion for you under the legal concept that small quotes are permissible for the purposes of review or education.
The full manual can be purchased at:
The part number is XXXXX
Hope this helps!
Sorry for the delay. I had some family responsibilities last evening that took me out of town.
Everything you are saying is exactly correct. If the center of the pulley is not moving freely, you will not get the full range of speeds. To be certain, this is being checked with the belts out of the way, correct?
I've not seen much success with trying to free them once frozen, so replacing is the best solution if you are running a shop and want to keep happy customers, but since this is your own machine, I'd sure give it a try first. Remove the pulley, and get some PBlaster or Liquid Wrench (not WD-40) penetrating oil (most Walmarts have them in the auto section) and let it work between the center sheave and the middle shiny shaft. If it frees it up remove all the oil and polish up the shaft as best you can to make it as smooth as possible. Make sure you leave no oily residue at all since it'll cause belt slippage and prevent the unit from driving properly. Use a bit of grease on the needle bearings on the top and bottom ends as well.
I'm including a search below that will give you a few options to save a little bit of money in case this doesn't work.
Glad to hear this is working out for you. And $85 is a very reasonable price for the part. As far as the manual goes I'd be happy to post anything I've got but unfortunately not all procedures are detailed as well as one would like. I'll post the additional information I have but I'm not sure that it'll provide much additional help. The real meat of the manual was what I've already posted for you.ExcerptAs far as the retainer on top of the pulley, the parts list is referring to it as a snap ring. So I'm assuming that's actually what the item is. Although I have seen c-clips and e-clips used there as well. If it's a clip you can use the tip of a screwdriver blade in the hollow area between the clip and the shaft opposite the open side and just pry it off. However, if it's actually a snap ring, you'll need a pair of snap ring pliers. They are not expensive and make sure you get the ones that will fit the hole in the snap ring that you have. If what I am picturing below is the type you have, then you will need the snap ring pliers.
Please keep me posted and let me know how I can help.
If you aren't finding Never-Seez locally, it can be ordered online, but rather than going to the trouble white lithium grease is a very reasonable alternative. WD-40, as you stated, isn't the right product for this. Grease will stay put. Just don't overdo it, since any lubrication also attracts dirt. It's a trade-off requiring a good balance.
Glad to hear about the shredder/vac. That's a REALLY good deal. Kinda jealous... ;-)
As far as the new thread, just ask for me by name in the subject. Most of the experts here are very respectful and will leave the question open and we even alert each other via private message if someone is specifically requested. If it's a problem I know about, I'll be honored to help. If it's not, I'll let you know and leave it for another expert.
The variable speed pulley can be installed either direction. It's symmetrical. You can use some light oil on the needle bearings, but it's not necessary. I mention that as part of yearly maintenance for next season. The Never-Seez can be used in the pivot area of the nyliner bearings. Those are about the only spots to worry about. As I mentioned previously, lubrication is kinda a Catch-22. You need it for ease of movement, but it also attracts dirt and everything else small that gets in the area, so go sparingly.
As far as areas to avoid, make sure you don't get any on the belt shoulders, or on the shoulders of the pulleys. Belt slippage will occur.
If parts are rusting, cleaning off the rust and dabbing a bit of metal paint over it is certainly not a bad idea. Spray paint, such as Rustoleum, is easier if you remove the parts. And you can even use it while may are installed if you're careful. Otherwise the rust will come back. Realistically, it will anyway. Equipment is just not built to last anymore. But you want to get as much life out of it as possible, and that small step since you're already there will help.
Glad it's running. Leveling can be a bit challenging since an adjustment on one side affects the other. Here's some tips:
As far as cleaning, I'd avoid water since it can cause rust and older mechanical transaxles would often be inadequately sealed and water in the grease it a real problem. If you have access to compressed air, that's a better choice, then finish up with a rag. You can use a screwdriver to clean cooling fins if something's stuck. I'd remove the engine shroud and check under there too. Rodents tend to like the covered area to build their nests.
When you removed the wheels did you use a bit of the NeverSeez on the axles as well? If not, it's a really good idea. Should be done once a season to keep the wheels from rusting to the axles which I'm sure you discovered is not much fun.
If Grandpa did it with the wheels installed, some PBlaster, Kroil, or Liquid Wrench penetrating oil and a lot of patience will often work. In extreme circumstances you can use an air hammer to knock some of the rust loose, or a torch to expand the wheel with the tires removed. I'd hold off on the last two methods until you actually need to remove them if the oil doesn't work.
As far as the handle, I'm not an expert on this. I've replaced some over the years, but I'm not qualified to give advice on that.
Thank you so much, and be blessed in all you do!