Craftsmsn "tractor" belt stretcheing...

I have replaced the Primary (from the motor/clutch to the deck) belt on my Sears garden tractor (1996 model, 19HP Kohler, 42, Green) deck many many times for being too long, i.e. stretched. Nothing mechanical on the deck or clutch to indicate a problem, everything looks like the manual, nothing worn or our of alignment. Here are some of my theories, please advise.
1. Cheep belt: Get a better belt, maybe from on-line source, any suggestions where? (i.e. not sears parts department)
2. The grass that accumulates on the deck is causing the belt to not shed its heat, (like a blanket) and I should just keep the deck top clean, this option would require stopping and cleaning the deck maybe 3-4 times during a mow job.
3. Go slower and allow the belt to be at FULL speed during the entire mow job. I sometimes go moving too fast and have had to reach-in and clear the blades.
4. Mow more often, similar to number 3.
5. Sell this piece of crap and get the JD 300 series I always wanted?
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the belt Sears sells is the OEM belt . if you are not buying your belt there then I would say the belts you are buying are jobber belts and could be your problem for the belts not lasting. You can look in th eyellow pages for a local repair shop give them the part number of the belt from your owners manual and they should be able to get you the same belt that came with the unit. As for your problem with the tractor it is obvious that you have a mind set of the one you own now is no good and nothing anyone does says or fixes will change that so sell the unit that is the only way you will truly solve your problems.
oh belts don't stretch. A rubber band will stretch and then return to the orginal length, belts will have a effective length change but they do not stretch.
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Partially right. Sears, because they are Sears and think they can get away with it, use a belt with a different angle than the rest of the world does for v-belts. If you don't buy a sears belt, you *will* be frequently replacing it. My dad has a crapsman tractor that he's wasted an immense amount of time, effort, money, sweat, and blood on, which behaves infinately better with a sears belt (improves it all the way up to "bad").

Nope, gotta be a Sears belt. The geometry is all wrong unless you replace all the pullies too.

Hm, seems to me it's more a case of an iffy tractor, coupled with the wrong replacement parts. I can certainly see how that would give anyone an attitude about it. At least if I buy a hardware store belt for my John Deere, it will fit and work properly. Not as beefy as the Deere belts, but perfectly functional.

They stretch, and they stay stretched. I just replaced a 96" belt last week that had stretched to 98" (and the idler/tensioner couldn't take up any more slack). If your point is that it's only stretch if they snap back, then we must have read different textbooks. (Hooke's Limit would be one starting point for that discussion - the point where something can be stretched and will snap back to it's original position, vs. getting stretched and staying stretched).
To the O.P. - call up Sears and order the belts. Yes, it's annoying that they did it that way; something to consider when selecting your next tractor. But, the problem is a lot less of a problem when you have the right angle of belt.
Dave Hinz
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K Not trying to piss anyone off here or defend any company but lets use some common sense, The belts that are supplied to Sears come directly from the manufacture of the tractors.(i.e. Sears use to sell MTD Tractor long ago and when you get a Sears belt for that old MTD made Sears tractor the belt or part comes from MTD in MTD packaging and will fit any MTD tractor of the same model that was made by MTD with out a Sears brand name on it) they don't get special belts just so Sears can screw people over. I do agree that Jobber belts can be different, the jobber belt may not be made the same and may not withstand the same forces as a OEM belt or some jobber belts may be made exactly the same as the OEM Belt and cost less. (This is my experience only with people I dealt with over the years) I find when most people go to buy a jobber belt it is because the price of the OEM belt seems to costly for them and they cant or don't want to pay that much. So some of these people will look for the lowest price belt they can find which usually means lesser quality instead of the best quality jobber belt which may only be a slightly less then the OEM belt, the lower quality belt fails at a accelerated rate and then they blame the tractor for being crap and yell the the company saying how they have to change belts all the time but it was the jobber belt that was not made to with stand the load it was under they found at a really good price and had been useing.(also seen a lot of people complain about belts failing swear up and down it is installed right and no other parts are damaged but when I get it on the bench I find belts on wrong and or other parts failing or failed but that is a different issue)
As for the belt stretch I say effective length change as to me when something is stretched it should return to original size (ie a rubber band for example) which belts don't, (just a different way of looking at it that is all)
As I said not to offend anyone or defend any company buy to say Sears tractors are crap and JD are the best would one then beable to say JD never sold a tractor where someone had that same problems of belts failing premature because a low quality jobber belt was use on it and then they blamed JD for selling them a piece of crap?
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OK, tell you what. Go buy a sears belt, and a Gates belt. Measure the angles, and get back to us. Even the clerk at the local Home Depot knew about it. If you're claiming somehow that Sears (Sears!!!) sells better belts than Gates, well, I'm sorry, but I don't think so.

That's what most people call "a belt stretching". Whatever, I don't care to play word games with you. It was a 96" belt, now it's a 98" belt, therefore it has stretched.

Wow, these are long sentences. Hard to know where to interject.
Are you, then, equating a Sears tractor to a Deere? Even the entry-level Deere tractors have better materials in them than the Sears, "supplier of the year" tractors. At least, of the several of each I've worked on.
There's a reason sears sells 'em for 500 bucks, and the Simplicity and the Deere of the world gets 2 grand. It's not paint color, either.
Dave "You get what you pay for" Hinz
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On 29 Jun 2003 23:42:05 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Are you *sure* they don't use a standard angle? There are 3 different standard angles for V-belts, you know, and 8 standard profiles. They aren't compatible, but they are *all* SAE standard. The angle used is a function of the minimum radius of the smallest driving or driven pulley. Usually that's the pulley on the motor shaft of a lawn tractor.

*Which* Gates belt? They make a *huge* assortment of belts, including V-belts in all three standard angles and all 8 standard profiles. You just have to dig in the massive Gates catalogs to find the right one. It may not be one stocked by your local hardware store, but it is a very good bet that they *do* make the right belt for that tractor. If they don't, then Jasco does.
The SAE developed standards for V power transmission pulleys and belts nearly a century ago. Every pulley and belt manufacturer follows those standards, and every equipment manufacturer uses them. But there isn't just *one* standard, there are a total of 24 different combinations of profile and angle, and a huge variety of lengths in each. Equipment designers choose the one that best fits their application. It may not be one stocked by Autozone or Ace Hardware.
No design to price vendor is going to commission a unique non-standard belt design for his mowers. It simply would cost too much to have a belt manufacturer tool up and run a custom line just for a single product. BTW MTD makes Sears' low end riders. They also make the ones sold by Rural King, Lowes, and a bunch of other retailers. The only significant differences are the paint schemes and logos.
Gary
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They don't use the same "standard angle" that everyone else seems to have agreed upon, and it's not the angle that a hardware-store standard belt will have.

Well, sure, a 1/4-40 thread is an SAE standard too, but that doesn't mean that you'll be able to buy them readily.

I understand that someone makes belts of that variety. I also understand that sears has chosen to design around a belt geometry which is not commonly available at normal belt-selling outlets. I find it hard to believe that this is due to an engineering, "We know better than anyone else" kind of decision, which leaves it to be a "We're doing this to keep our replacement parts business busier" reason.

It's not unique, but it's unique enough that unless you go to a specialty catalog or store, you'll have to buy 'em from Sears. Again, it's got to be because Sears wants you to not buy belts from anyone but them.
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On 30 Jun 2003 18:46:09 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Its simply supply and demand.
ANY hardware could stock the same belt. But they may sell one in 10 years...so they DON'T stock them.
Anyway, this is not any more unusual than what Ford, GM, etc. do with many of their replacement parts.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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My local tractor supply gets replacements belts for our craftsman mower. Someone out there is making a match.

I have to doubt this one seriously. Sears makes and designs very little beyond marketing and sales. Craftsman equipment is outsourced and for the most part is just someone else's machine with the C label attatched. As for quality parts, most of this type of thing is sourced out too. I use to mold plastic in a former life and some of the items would have a variety of names. Parts were all the same with a different name plate inserted into the mold. The factory doesn't slip into low quality mode when Craftsman parts are being run.
clyde
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Sounds like this fits the definition of "specialty store" to me, but whatever.

OK, I'm sure it's because Sears understands how to engineer a belt-driven system better than all of the people who have decided to use commonly- available parts then.

I'm not saying their belt geometry is worse, it's just not the standard geometry that you can go to any gas station or hardware store to buy. Either they know something the rest of the world does not about what angle to use, or they're chosing to use that angle for a non-engineering reason.
Dave Hinz
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Not trying to be blatantly argumentative, but I'm sure I don't get the point of your "definition". Surely you don't expect to find replacement belts at the Quick Mart!?
My point was that someone else is making a replacement part for these belts, or my tractor supply is able to access the same supplier that Sears does.

I think Gary C. has pointed out, as I had earlier this morning: Sears does not have anything to do with the design of such things. Pretty much impossible to have that type of motivation if you don't actually do the engineering.
clyde
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On 30 Jun 2003 18:46:09 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@spamcop.net wrote:

Sears doesn't do design. Read that again. Sears doesn't do design.
MTD makes their mowers, and Rural King's mowers, and Lowes mowers, etc. In fact MTD makes darn near everyone's house branded low end riders. If you don't want to buy the belt from Sears, and you don't want to go to an industrial drives shop to get the Gates belt, then you can go to any of the other outlets who sell their house branded version of the same MTD mower and buy the belt from them.
Gary
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After consulting Machinery's Handbook, the bible of machine designers, I find that there are actually 12 standard profiles, and 4 standard angles, defined by ANSI/RMA. Four of them are the familiar deep V we see most frequently, four are the so-called classical V-belt profiles seen mostly in heavier industrial machinery, and the final four are "light" V-belt profiles commonly seen in fractional hp use. The four angles range from 32 degrees for pulleys under 3 inches diameter up to 38 degrees for large pulleys 16 inches or more in diameter.
Gary
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About a week ago, I went down to the local hardware store to get a new belt for my (very old) lawnmower attachment for a Simplicity tractor. The price was $24.00. I can afford to pay that, but for a common belt it seemed high. I left without buying it. Later I shopped around and one auto supply store quoted me $7.00 for the same size belt. It didn't have the fancy green cloth covering, but as far as I'm concerned, a belt is a belt so I bought it. I didn't stop looking though and the next place I went to was a farm supply store that had a belt (with fancy green cloth covering) for $9.00. Whatever happened to the time when a belt went for less than ten bucks at the hardware store? Almost everything in the local hardware stores is marked way up and they generally all have the same stuff no matter whether it's a True Value or Ace hardware. Lowes or Home Depot often have lower cost hardware and it's getting so shopping around is really worth doing even for small commonplace items. I'm retired so I have the time and inclination to shop around, but I don't understand why it should be necessary unless it's just to avoid rip-off pricing.
wrote:

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Dave A. wrote:

it keeps clogging up and stopping... i got the engine running slow and the selp propelled all the way to top speed... i gotta reduce the travel speed and keep the engine rpm's up and then there is no problem..
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Are you buying a Gates power transmission belt? A good power products center can get these. Anything less is asking for frustration.
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I'm buying only the Sears belts. I'm looking into the Gates or Dayco belts. I'm concerned about the three different angles (34, 36 and 38) mentioned in previous replies. Anyway of figuring out the belt angle with the Sears part number (148763)? I guess I could try to measure the angle of the pulley, I also have those part numbers.
I just measured this new belt, it's 84" x 5/8". Cloth covered. The old ones are 85.5" and 86", they won't drive the blades and pop off when engaged. I'm installing per instructions and nothing is wrong with the deck. The "tensioning pulley" (moves with large spring) only moves 1/2" from where it was without the belt, when the belt is installed. It has almost 2" more allowable movement (before the pulley bracket contacts the other/different blade belt).
The new belt touches the structure of the deck, as the belt stretches the spring pulley moves back and the contact with structure is worsened. When I pulled the belt to check the movement of the articulating pulley I noticed the belt moved away from the structure due to the change in angle.
I think if I got a Gates/Dayco I could use a 82-83" belt.
What are the chances that the new belts are longer, to fit other model application, and my tractor needs a shorter belt, or better-yet: came with a shorter belt?

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wrote:

It sounds like something is not installed properly, Dave.
Belts will stretch over time..that's their very nature. That's why the machine will have (should have! lol) a tension pulley. And there should also be guides in several places...preventing the belt from slipping off the pulley.
Make sure the pulley is the correct one...if you didn't buy the tractor new. Also, make sure that ALL of the associated parts are correct...again, if someone owned the machine before you.
Make sure the idler/tension pulley has good bearings...and that the spring is strong and that the pulley can move freely. It would be a good idea to replace all these. Idler springs can seem like they're okay if you don't know how strong they should be when new...but can actually be weak.
If the belt is hitting any part of the structure...even when stretched...something is not installed properly.
Good luck.
P.S. All the above is a generalization. I'm not familiar with your model of Sears tractor.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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wrote:

that year block of tractors just must have had problems, because we had the same model with the same problems...
I ended up contracting with my (now ex) brother in law to keep the lawn mowed...he uses JD zero turn radius models that do a nice job...but then, that's his main side line.
ck country doc in louisiana (no fancy sayings right now)
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