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how do I tell if the engine pulley on my craftsman mower is bad?? belt is smoking around the engine pulley. Does this indicate problem with engine pulley or i

Does this indicate prblem with engine pulley or is this indicative of idler pulley problem?? I have replaced the blade spindlers. Model number of mower is 917.270920.

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Craftsman , Lawn Mowers , Tools
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7 Answers from these members:
Joseph Perez
I'm sorry to hear that you are having some difficulties with your mower, its important to have the belt working properly on the mower to keep it running strong. I did some research for you at Managemylife.com and found an expert answer to a similar question that may help until your expert can respond to your specific question. The link is attached below. If you do decide to schedule service and have a qualified technician help you, I have also attached a link to Searshomeservices.com. I hope these links provided assistance for you.
by Joseph Perez Earned 1,602 community points in Craftsman
December 19th, 2011
Answered in 6 minutes
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Manage My Life
This problem could be due to the engine pulley, but it's not something we see very often. Because of that I'm going to have you check some other stuff. Also, to check for the engine pulley it's a process of elimination unless you happen to have a brand new one sitting there (I'll assume you do not).

First: Have the engine off and lower the mower deck down to where you can get your hands to the pulleys. Now take the belt off of the engine pulley. Now

HAVE THE ENGINE OFF

and engage the lever for the blades.

Once you have that in order reach on top of the mower deck and spin each pulley by hand. You should be able to turn all of them with minimal effort. If there is one you cannot spin, we need to look at why that is.

Now, disengage the lever for the blades and notice if the small flat idler on the right hand side of the deck moves several inches when you do. You may need someone to work the lever while you watch the pulley. If the pulley does not move, that could very well be the problem. The reason for that is if the pulley does not move all the way in each direction then the blades could

A: Not fully engage and cause the belt to smoke

B: Not fully disengage and cause the belt to smoke.

If all of those things are in order then have a very close look at the belt. If it's old or stretched out a bit you can have some smoking, but it's usually not going to do that.

If you go over all that and everything appears to be in good working order then I would say it is most likely going to be a bad engine pulley. Again, it does happen but it's extremely rare.

Thank you for using Manage My Life!
by Manage My Life
December 20th, 2011
Answered in 16 hours
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Manage My Life
TY. Good response. I think my problem may be with the guide bars that are located at the spindle pulleys. When I dropped the mower deck to replace the blade spindles, I think the guides went forward in front of the spindles and I think they are supposed to be to the rear. One of the guides appears to be sheared/cut where the up tab will not carry the belt properly. Another routing of the belt issue is at the clutch pulley. The one with the spring. It seems like from a picture of a deck that I got on line that the belt routs in and out of the two thin belt guides at this pulley. I'm hoping I can just tape together some kind of repair for my shortened guide bar. I am hoping it really does not require much pressure on the belt just a little nudge to keep it on track with the pulleys. Please tell me what you think.
by Manage My Life
December 21st, 2011
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Manage My Life
The "guide bars" you mentioned are the blade brakes. they have a little brake pad on them. When the mower deck is disengaged, the pad should rest on the spindle pulley. That's what actually stops the blades from turning when you disengage. Otherwise the blades will spin for a long time. It's a safety thing.

I do think the belt routing you mentioned at the idler is the actual belt problem though. On this deck configuration, one of those little thing metal tabs (belt keeper) does not get used.
by Manage My Life
December 21st, 2011
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Manage My Life
Dropped deck again went by picture of deck and figured everything out. Fabricated a fix for the guide bar/brake. I just riveted a piece of sheet metal onto the bar then bent it upwards. No brake pad on it. Not sure if I can make something for that so it will brake the blades. Currently the right hand spindle just has the fabricated arm to provide whatever belt guidance it can provide. The belt routing at the idler was left as I had it. Just bringing the guide bars or brakes back to their proper position seems to have been the key. I see what you mean by the metal tabs at the idler pulley. They are side by side. I just ran the belt inside the tabs. I don;t see how one "does not get used" If you mean that it does not effectively do anything, I get it. Probable eliminating either one of them would not cause a problem but since they are both there, I assume the belt runs inside them to keep the belt closest to the idler or engagement pulley (not sure if this is proper nomenclature but I hope you get my meaning). Used mower to mow my yard and neighbors. I have bagger unit and everything seem to work OK (30 buckets of leaves and clippings). Was getting a little noisy at one point. Not sure if one idler pulley is close to malfunction. It was a little "raspy" when I spun it without belt engaged. Bearings may be shot thus causing noise. Will keep an eye on it. Simple fix if it breaks. The next problem is my drive operation. It seems that I have to pull back on the brake pedal with the top of my foot to get the unit to move especially on an upward climb. I put my foot under the brake pedal and pull back. Something wrong obviously. I looked at brake adjustment info but spring at end of brake line looks loose and not right. Brakes work fine. I guess clutch or clutch adjustment is issue??? Can you help me with this too????
by Manage My Life
December 21st, 2011
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Manage My Life
Wade: Can you responde to the last part of my response above. I am going to gorilla glue a piece of pad or a wood paddle to the brake arm. I have ordered a new brake arm from Sears for the final fix.. The problem now is the drive problem. You have been very helpful. Do you have any info that you can provide on the drive problem???
by Manage My Life
December 22nd, 2011
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Manage My Life
Sorry for the delay on this. I was out of town on vacation and had no access to a computer.

On the drive issue. It sounds like there is a clutching issue or a worn out belt. If you look at the drive belt system and work the clutch/brake you will see a pulley (and bracket) that moves when you move the clutch/brake pedal.

There should be a spring that pulls that idler bracket back when you release the pedal. If that spring is broke or missing that can cause the problem you have.

Also, where that bracket pivots corrosion can build up and cause this problem. If the spring is in place you can lower the idler bracket to clean it. In many cases you can just oil that pivot point and it will be fine. In other cases, you will need to remove the bracket from the stud and clean it up then grease it. It really just depends on how bad it is.

If all that appears to be in good working order then the belt is just stretched out.

Again, I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you.
by Manage My Life
December 29th, 2011
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