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How do I remove a stuck mandrel pulley from a riding mower?

I have a 917.270514 Craftsman Riding Mower. On the mower deck, the shaft of one mandrel pulley no longer rotates smoothly, and needs to be replaced. I attempted to hold the blade while turning the nut on top of the pulley, but the "nubs" that hold the blade rounded off. Without the blade, there's nothing to keep the shaft from turning. Next, I soaked the nut in WD40 overnight. Then I drove a large back-out (reverse thread) screw in the blade's bolt hole to hold the shaft, and held that while turning the pulley nut. First, one of the nuts that holds the mandrel to the deck sheared off. Then the 3/4" back-out screw snapped, and the nut still hasn't budged. What do I try next??

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Craftsman , Lawn Mowers , Lawn & Garden
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2 Answers from these members:
Manage My Life
Actually, I managed to get it loose. I took my biggest pipe wrench to the stub of the backout screw, and my biggest socket wrench on the pulley nut. Took some work, but the nut finally popped loose.

With the bottom of the headless bolt still in the mandrel, I'll have to buy a new mandrel/shaft assembly, rather than just the shaft. And since I had to replace the mandrel anyway, I attempted to pull the other two mandrel bolts. The heads popped off those, too. But at least the assembly is free of the deck.

Luckily, the other mandrel seems to be working well...
by Manage My Life
April 10th, 2008
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Manage My Life
You could try some actual penetrating oil that might work better than WD40, and possibly a strap wrench or even a large pipe wrench might give you more bite, but you may be at the stage where you need to apply heat or even cut off the end of the shaft/pulley. Unfortunately both of those might require a complete mandrel be replaced rather than just the shaft and assorted parts and they also increase the potential for damage to other parts of the deck. But with the environment decks operate in it sometimes is unavoidable and it is already at a point where the forces on your deck are breaking secondary parts anyway.

If you have any reservation you may want to consult a professional just to be sure everything is handled with as little secondary damage as possible.
by Manage My Life
April 10th, 2008
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