scratchy mower clutch

My riding mower is more than 10 years old. I've had it a year. Today, I replaced the back idler pulley on the deck: bad bearings.
After installing the belt, I pulled to to see if the belt and the 4 pulleys worked freely. Pulling it forward, it was quiet, although there was more resistance than I expected. Pulling it backward caused a scratchy noise in the electric clutch.
With the belt off, the clutch pulley was hard to turn and made a scratching noise in either direction. In spite of all that drag, it doesn't move the belt when the motor is running and the clutch is switched off. If there's a scratching noise, it's not loud enough to hear above the motor.
I read on the internet that clutch plates can get rusty, and the cure is to start the motor and switch the clutch on and off several times. I tried that. It's still scratchy.
I wonder if the bearings are dry and dirty. As they're used only when the motor is running and the blade clutch is disengaged, they might last a long time this way.
Has anyone else encountered a scratchy blade clutch? I wonder if the solution is the pop the clutch off ( one 10x1.5x60mm cap screw ) and flush the bearings with lubricant. What would be a good lubricant for this?
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Does it drive ok,if so, stop worrying!
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On 11/29/14, 12:25 AM, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

It it were dirty, dry bearings, the only way to stop worrying would have been to clean and lubricate them.
I removed the deck for better access to the pulley. It feels and sounds like scratchy plates and not dirty bearings.
I'm baffled. Each time I run the motor a minute with the blades disengaged, that's 3,000 revolutions, polishing the plates. How could they sound so rough?
It looks like the normal torque for a cap screw that size is 35 or 49 foot pounds, depending on the class. I wonder how I can lock the crankshaft to get the screw loose.
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wrote:

Remove the spark plug and with the piston at a low point, shove a piece of rope in the spark plug hole. As the piston comes up the rope will stop the piston. Be sure to leave about 6 inches of rope sticking out of the hole so you can pull it all back out once you are done.
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On 11/29/14, 6:57 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

That's much better than my scheme, fill the cylinder with oil and screw the plug back in. :)
It dawned on me to see what happened when I turned the crankshaft with a wrench. The pulley didn't move. Blade brake!
Because nobody here told me there was such a thing as an electric clutch with a blade brake, I'm expecting a substantial award from the Alt.home.repair Complaint Compensation Fund. I only wish it had been in time for Black Friday.
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