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DaveM

Engaging PTO

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DaveM
Thought I'd pass this on. It could extend the life of your belts. I bought a new PTO-to-mowing deck belt for my 310. Didn't go cheap--bought the Simplicity belt. Anyway, I mowed 3 times with the new belt (approximately 5 hours) and the belt snapped in two. Actually ripped about a 3 inch sprip right out of it. I took the belt back to the dealer where I bought it and they told me this: You should have the engine running at mowing speed before engaging the PTO. I always assumed this would be hard on a belt AND the PTO so I always idled down before I engaged the deck... However, it seems it is just the opposite. The dealer said that when you idle down, the belt grabs immediately, which stretches it resulting in eventual snapping of the belt. When the motor is running at mowing speed (i.e. full throttle) the belt will slip instead of stretching. You want to hear that belt squeal when you engage the PTO. This will extend the life of all the belts hooked up to the PTO, including vacuum collectors, tillers, etc. Just thought I'd pass this along in case anyone else out there is making the same mistake that I was. DaveM

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SimpleMan
I'm having a hard time believing that. I've had the same mower belt on my Sov. since it was new. Bought the tractor in 98, and always engage the PTO at low speed. Never had any problems. My dad has a 1983 AC 917H, and ran the same belt for 10+ years. Also, engaged at low RPM. Only replaced the belt because of normal wear. Here's where some of the other more expert members should jump in...but I'd venture to guess that if your belts are breadking, it's because of some other mechanical issue. Just things that I"ve noticed. Gord

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HubbardRA
Belts usually break because the belt is wrong for the application, the belt is not aligned properly, the guides are not adjusted properly, or the bearings in one of the idlers are going bad and putting excessive load on the belt.

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slb04786
I was having problems on my 7116 keeping the belt on the back idler pulley. It kept running off the side toward the frame and smoking the belt. Couldn't figure it out until I took the pulley off to turn it around and noticed that there were two mounting holes to put the pulley in. It was in the lower one which angled the pulley toward the front for use with the snowblower. I had just got the tractor and had only used it this past winter with the blower on. I wasn't aware there were two mount points for the pulley. I remounted it in the upper hole which is angled in toward the center of the tractor and the belt hasn't come off again. (Knock on wood). Stan

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goatfarmer
My dealer told me years ago to engage the PTO on my 3410 at low speed.Said it was easier on the cone clutch lining. Only belt problem I ever had was when the center arbor on the deck was bad,and the belt wouldn't stay on more than a couple minutes.

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BigSix
I don't know if your 310 has an electric clutch or not, but if it's manual, I don't think your dealer is correct. With a manual PTO clutch, nothing prevents you from engaging the PT0 slowly, to obtain the same amount of slip as you have when engaging at full speed. I.e., you could slip the engagement at a slow (less stressful) speed as much as it would slip when doing it more abruptly at full speed. I can't believe that a "squeal" means anything other than excessive friction and wear on the belt, not to mention every other component in that driveline. If it's an electric clutch (with which I have no experience but which I assume engages without the ability to modulate the rate of engagement) I suppose what he's saying could be true, i.e., the belt is "grabbed" at a slower speed, but not at a higher speed, but I'm still doubtful. Can you tell by the broken ends of the belt whether it was "sawn" off by being trapped behind a pulley, for example, or if both ends are broken, indicating it truly snapped? I don't understand how a 3" piece could be missing unless it got gnawed on by something....

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dhardin
Your dealer may or may not be right about the full speed engageing. But i bet he sells a lot of clutchs giveing that advice. And he makes a lot more profit on a clutch than a belt. Or if you had told him you engaged at higher RPMs he would have said the other. I should not be so sinical. But the other guys are right the belt is only one link in a lot of moving parts and i would check the arbors and idlers for some bad bearings. or alinement and tightness. Im puting all new bearings in my 410 deck this week its not fun but its like new for around $35 for bearings. Its a buger bear geting off the pulleys, i had to buy all new.

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Kent
The operator's manual for the Simplicity 990885 and 990886 mower decks state to engage the PTO at 3/4 throttle: http://simpletractors.com/operation/885_886/page_4.htm

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Al
HI, On the new tractors with an electric clutch, the first item of setup after unit is together and running is to open the engine wide open and engage and disengage the mower 10 times. This is to provide an initial burnish of the clutch. The clutch is supposed to be engaged at full throttle. This continuously burnishes the clutch plates and allows slippage on mower start. If the mower is engaged at low speed it really yanks the belt and the clutch gets galled. This causes the clutch to grab on engagement. On the BGB tractors with the cone clutch, when the clutch is applied the ring that allows the pulley to engage the clutch plate has brake linings on it. If you engage it slowly, the pulley is slipping on the brake lining at the same time the cone clutch is slipping to apply. The same is true on disengagement. When the lever is moved to disengage the brake pads are applied to pull the pulley back. They are slipping until the pulley is released and the belt stops turning. I remember reading that you are supposed to engage and disengage the clutch quickly and about 3/4 throttle. My 2 cents worth and its free, value accordingly. Al Eden

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WiscTom
My experience with belt wars went on a long time. There were several years of belt poppings as you describe. The solution here was to not listen to the dealer. (I doubt he had studied his training sessions very dilligently.) But to dig in to the mechanics of what causes belt failure. After a most thorough job of cleaning and lubing bearings, cleaning up pulleys, getting everything into alignment, and insuring proper spring tensions the problems decided to leave. I have broken no belts for years, (knock on wood). The two Landlords run here (7010,7114) are often tasked with obliterating seven foot tall Canada Thistle, and the very tough Burdocks. Sure the engine needs to put some extra muscle on things. That's to be expected. The belts dont seem to mind the heavy diet at all. On another note, the squeal heard while engaging a manual PTO seems to come from the bell clutch slipping, and not from the belt. Once that clutch facing wears down below spec, it will continue to squeal until it is refurbished, or replaced. I have seen no issues whatever concerning the speed one engages the mower belts. But since I run it as if I will need to repair whatever breaks, I tend to engage the belts at a lower than full power. Good luck.

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Guest
The issues I've had with the PTO belt was it somehow popping out of the system and getting chewed. I narrowed one problem as I forgot to use the large pulley on the PTO to Mower deck, causing the PTO unit to not be forward enough to work properly. I found it strange that I had to push my idler pulley up to engage and this machine has never had PTO problems. The other times I was having problems, I was testing 42" decks and I am not sure if I had the right PTO to Mower deck belt for a 42". So these problems were self induced and damn I got mad because it raised my cost of cutting my lawn the price of a good belt. :) I look at how much I spent on Simplicity stuff and how much my lawn guy was charging me to cut my lawn. The AC/Simplicity machines won, he lost. He started charging me a contract rate and he told me he was coming way too many weeks (which I never saw him as much as he said). Anyway, for you landscapers out there, screw the contract rate, it just looks bad. So you add in the driveway plowing and a small amount for tilling, damn I really made out....

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Wphelps
I have had problems fitting belts and wearing them out before I realized the idlers were bent. So I would rather fix that problem first. Edited- Now that I have It adjusted right I would rather wear out my belt than my cone clutch. ?

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maxtorman1234
I just started having problems with my deck on the 410. I dont have a clutch, So I have to stop the tractor, put the belt on and mow. The tractor for some reason likes to stop and backfire. When I try to start it, the engine backfires and turns the opposite way, and causes the belt to come over the idler and off. Guess I gotta try to pull the electric clutch off the 10. Glad I figured that out, because it was really making me mad, having to put the belt on so often. I know my neighbours engage the deck at full throttle, but I never have to run the engines at full throttle when cutting:) Those MTD's and deeres have a hard time mowing the grass with more HP than my mowing tractor. I only have 14HP, they have 15 or 16, and cant cut anywhere near the speed i can, and it still looks crapy when they cut it.

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