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Dixie drive belt/main pulley question

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by phermes1, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. phermes1

    phermes1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Hey folks,
    I'm hoping y'all can shed some light on a problem I'm having with my 72" SP2800 Dixie Chopper.

    I replaced the blades yesterday with a much heavier duty version. They fit fine, no issue there, but the new ones do weigh quite a bit more than the old ones.

    I get to mowing and the 2 outer blades aren't spinning as fast as the middle one. It only got worse, to the point that the two outer blades really weren't cutting. So this tells me the deck belt is slipping, so I go back to try to tighten it up some - perhaps the added weight of the blades is causing a problem, I don't know.
    Anyway - I tighten it up as much as I can and it makes no difference. This is when I notice that the pulley on the middle spindle that is for the belt that goes back to the engine spins relatively freely from the pulley below it, that powers the two outer blades. SO - I tighten that up as much as I can. Start her back up, and all 3 blades are spinning like crazy, so I figure I'm set.

    I finish my backyard when the drive belt comes apart on me. At first, I figure this thing had been slipping so much and was burnt up, so it was ready to fail already, so no big deal. I had a spare swapped them out, kept going. When the spare burnt up, I figured I had done something wrong. :)

    So finally, to my question - is the pulley for the engine belt SUPPOSED to have some play in it? That's the only thing I can think of. Right now, it doesn't give at all, so I'm guessing that is burning the belt up when the blades get bogged down or whatever.

    Either way, how do I adjust this thing?? Too loose and the blades don't spin fast enough to cut. Too tight and the belts get destroyed. I clearly don't know what I'm doing, so I don't know where to go from here. All help is appreciated.
  2. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Do you smell burning rubber? When PTO is engaged
  3. ilike2mow

    ilike2mow LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,032

    Are the belts running on a metal surface after you adjusted it?
  4. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

  5. phermes1

    phermes1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I don't smell burning rubber, and the belts seemed to be running free and clear, same as they were before. I can check that once I get a new belt and install it, though.
  6. phermes1

    phermes1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    I have the manual, so I know I ordered the right part #'s for both the belts and the blades. I understand the diagram, and my setup looks like it's right.
  7. phermes1

    phermes1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    It's been going fine for a year and a half. My issues started when I replaced the blades. Only things I can think is those blades are wrong, I didn't put the belts back on right, or I tightened that pulley too much. At this point, though, I think if I go back to the original blades, it's still gonna eat up belts.
  8. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    The way Dixie spindles are made, There's NO way to over tighten the pulley nut and cause issues. Remove both belts and check spindle bearings for play, Free spin to check for noise. Install proper blades designed for Dixies and don't mow continuously with the OCDC down if equipped, Engine RPM should be 3750 no load......
  9. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,530

    How many hours on this unit
  10. phermes1

    phermes1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    OK, thanks. I really wasn’t sure if I had screwed that up or not. I can tell you that those two pulleys are pretty well stuck together now and will NOT move in relation to each other, so if that’s correct, then I can eliminate that as an issue.

    Regarding the blades, this is what I bought:


    The main differences are weight and the lip on the back of the blade. These new blades probably weigh 50% more than the ones they replaced, and the lip is significantly higher. The previous ones didn’t have much lift at all, while these almost touch the bottom of the deck. All 3 blades spin unobstructed, but there isn’t much clearance at all. Length and width are the same, but the new ones are a lot thicker. The part # matched what the manual told me, so I figured I was good to go.

    Couple other things to note:

    When I removed the remains of each belt, they were basically too hot to touch. I expected them to be hot, so this didn’t surprise me too much. I mention it in case it IS unusual.

    I took another look at each belt last night. Kinda hard to tell the point of failure since both are a mess. There are some tears on each, which might have been the cause of failure or happened later after everything came loose. Also – each belt had come apart in layers in one section or another. Does that indicate heat might be the issue? I’ve never had the engine belt fail on me, but I’ve seen a deck belt fail, and it basically shredded. That did not happen in this case, with either of the engine belts I tore up yesterday.

    OCDC – I don’t have one.

    Hours – I bought it used about a year and a half ago, and was told it had about 500 hours on it. I suspect that it had more, but I can’t verify that. It’s a 2004 model.

    Finally – I wasn’t doing any hard mowing. Flat, easy ground, grass wasn’t very high, mower wasn’t bogging down. It was running fine - until it wasn’t. :)

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