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Simpleton7016

Belt tension - rule of thumb

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Simpleton7016
As mentioned in different threads, I am setting my 48 inch deck up with a 3 inch drive pulley instead of the 6 inch pulley that came from the factory. I bought a couple of different drive belts to run the deck off of the center PTO. One is a very tight fit and the other seems a little loose. Both belts spin the blades just fine. I only want to keep one of the belts. Which option is preferable for overall function and life expectancy? A belt that may be a little tight or a belt that is a little sloppy? Thanks in advance.... Erik

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UCD
My question is WHY? These decks were designed for optimum performance and SAFTEY. Speeding up the blade tip speed not only causes undue stress on the spindles and bearings but it is also DANGEROUS. You are doubling the blade speed plus it is going to take more power to turn them. You will really see this in heavy stuff. I would not want to be on the tractor or anywhere with in a mile when it decides to come apart and it will not give you a warning.

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Simpleton7016
Understood, but safety notwithstanding, this is not going to be my everyday deck. The sole purpose for the existence of this deck is to mulch up the leaves that are going to plague my yard in about two weeks. I might use this deck for 6 hours per year. The concerns about the bearings are dually noted, but at 6 hours per year it should still last well into the next decade, shouldn't it? I was thinking more along the lines of having the option to decrease my engine speed.

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dirtsaver
Erik the smaller pulley will allow you to decrease engine speed...untill...you put a load on it. Then you will likely bogg down due to lack of torque. Remember speed alone is not power. If you want to mulch the leaves buy a set of mulching blades and use a mulch kit. Maybe not as cheap a fix but morepractical and safer.

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UCD
Eric Safty should be the first concern. It is the Tip speed of the blades that becomes dangerous. That is why it is controlled by GOV. regulation. Take a small nut on the end of a string and twirl it notice the pull then take a large nut and spin it notice the difference. Then spin it as fast as you can The centrifugal force wants to pull it out of your hand. Now think about a 2 or 3 lb. mower blade with the tip moving at near the speed of sound and the force that is generated. Do as you like but why ask for trouble. Who is going to be liable when someone gets hurt. Another accident waiting to happen. I use a 48" deck with Gator blades to mulch my leaves and it does a good job and come spring there is no trace of the leaves.

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Simpleton7016
Maynard, your advice is as invaluable as your knowledge. Ok, Ok - I guess I get carried away. You are absolutely correct, nevermind myself, if something ever happened to my kids as a result of one of my hairbrained ideas, I would not be able to live with myself. So factory pulley it will be. Plus, I can save the $40 clams I would have had to spend on a new belt. Still, I will always wonder what "might have been". I really had visions of welding two gator blades together (like a helicopter) and using a 3 inch drive pulley to shred those leaves into dust particles. But alas, common sense prevails again. So now I owe you for talking me out of two stupid ideas. Maybe I will try these things when I am an old gray empty-nester! Thanks.

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Mick14
When your deck fails [not if] i think you will be amazed at just how much damage is going to be done. when the blade punchedthru the steel of the deck there no predicting its next target,since it can't penetrate a wheel rim it may be turned by it or the tire--towards you !

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dhardin
I do agree speeding up a deck x2 is a little to much. I have speed up 2 decks with no problems, the pull-behind and my AC416. 3" to a 6" is to fast, I increased only about a inch and a half with no problems. The reason i spead up my deck was for me to mow at a faster ground speed. Gaders and high grear it mows great. But still not as fast as the blades speed of my Dixie Chopper. I now use the pull-behind with my Dixie Chopper and the speed up pull-behind just bearly cheeps up. But the cut looks great and when your cuting 8 feet in one pull I seam to get a lot done. Dan H

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