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Mower Blade Pulley broke 3 times!

Discussion in 'Outdoors' started by Fotnot, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. Apr 13, 2020 at 9:44 AM
    #1
    Fotnot

    Fotnot [OP] Clueless Carl

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    Any insight on this would be appreciated. I have a Kubota Z125 54" 26HP ztr. It has been great for the past 4 years. Late last year, I had a blade pulley on the "passenger" side(which is furthest away from spring tensioner) shatter. The middle part of the pulley that mounts to the shaft broke away and the outside of the pulley. I replaced it the first time about 6 months ago after the mowing season ended. This season I started up again and after about 3 cuts it broke again. Then, 2 cutting hours later(or less) it broke again! My buddy had done a lawn business for a few years and said he'd never seen that. My brother worked at a Kubota dealer and said that it's not common, but some have been replaced. Also, I checked for campaigns on it and there are none for my model. I've been really happy with the mower, but surprised as hell this is happening. I have not replaced bearings since they are sealed and when I rotate them, they are extremely smooth and no resistance or noise. Never hit anything with it and never washed the deck off while warm/hot. Always let cool for a couple hours or waited until next day to make sure I wouldn't spray cold water on a hot bearing/spindle/etc. and cause any expansion/contraction issues from extreme temp changes. I always lifted up the plastic guard that covered them to make sure I got dirt and grass out. After it broke the first time, I just kept it off to help eliminate that problem, but obviously it's not helping. Pic below to show how it broke the last time. Thanks in advance to anyone that can help.
    20200320_111639.jpg
     
  2. Apr 13, 2020 at 10:09 AM
    #2
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ O'Keefe Music Foundation Staff Member

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    Wow..this is weird.

    Replacing with OEM parts I'm guessing.

    Shaft not bent?
     
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  3. Apr 13, 2020 at 10:13 AM
    #3
    rons23

    rons23 Get The Led Out!!!

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    I agree with TJ, there's an alignment issue maybe, deck position, or wobble in the pulleys.
     
  4. Apr 13, 2020 at 10:14 AM
    #4
    Fotnot

    Fotnot [OP] Clueless Carl

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    verified shaft not bent with another brand new shaft by rolling the 2 against the each other and looking for any gaps and nothing. And yes...replacing with OEM parts as of now. About to go and get my buddy to take the one that just broke and weld it stronger. The place it broke is just a crack now, but I'm almost positive it will be broken by next use. He's welded them before when he owned his lawn business and it helped and never had issues again...it was a different type of pulley/brand, but still on a blade pulley from a ztr.
     
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  5. Apr 13, 2020 at 10:20 AM
    #5
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ O'Keefe Music Foundation Staff Member

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    Hopefully that fixes your issues. Having down time on a mower sucks, especially where the grass grows fast.
     
  6. Apr 13, 2020 at 10:28 AM
    #6
    Fotnot

    Fotnot [OP] Clueless Carl

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    luckily i cut it about a half inch shorter than normally would for anticipation for rain. so I got some time before NEEDING another cut. found out just now that place i bought it from will replace under 30 day warranty(bought it 3 weeks ago).
     
  7. Apr 24, 2020 at 7:45 PM
    #7
    offsetplayer2

    offsetplayer2 New Member

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    I’m sure you’ve already thought about this but have you checked torque on it? Also belt size to make sure it’s not pulling and putting stress in it? I rarely clean my deck topside and pulley area and I live in a grassy and sandy area where buildup is going to happen and have never seen that happen yet.

    what about yard pattern? Does it struggle in certain spots but not others where it might stress the blades which might stress the shaft at certain spots in the yard?
     
  8. Apr 24, 2020 at 7:53 PM
    #8
    atrinh15

    atrinh15 New Member

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    How about the blade it self? Off balanced at all or chipped?
     
  9. Apr 25, 2020 at 11:17 AM
    #9
    Fotnot

    Fotnot [OP] Clueless Carl

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    so I have checked the belts and blades. both seem fine. I found one of the idler pulley's had some wiggle/slack to it, so I went ahead and changed that out. it's right next to the blade pulley that messed up, so i'm hoping that's it. also changed out one of the bearings on the blade pulley hoping it will help since it seemed like it wasn't spinning as easily as it should and had a couple feels of a bad ball in it.(the bearings on these are sealed bearings). Mowed yesterday and it didn't seem to act up or anything....time will tell.
     
  10. Apr 25, 2020 at 12:07 PM
    #10
    ZPhilip

    ZPhilip New Member

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    Swap it’s blade with one on opposite side to see if problem stays. Also check or just replace the deck belt. If a belt gets too hot or stuck for a second, it will become mis-shaped and cause a nasty vibration only seen when deck is engaged.
     
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  11. Apr 25, 2020 at 1:28 PM
    #11
    Dalandshark

    Dalandshark New Member

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    @Fotnot maybe the bearing is binding when it gets hot. Maybe check the balance the blades too. Seems to me that the shaft would have to come to a quick stop for that to snap, or vibrate enough to weaken it.

    Edit: Sorry just read you changed these!
     
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  12. May 11, 2020 at 6:15 AM
    #12
    BADmi

    BADmi New Member

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    I know you're talking about a zero turn, but I've worked on mower decks, new and old for many years now. This crap just seems to happen randomly. I had a mower deck completely disintegrate right under the pulley location you mention. No clue as to what caused it. I cut out the damaged area, welded in a new plate and drilled it out for the spindle. That was 8 years ago. It's a 1973 WheelHorse. My back-up mower. Sorry to hear of your misfortune on an expensive mower like that.
     
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  13. May 11, 2020 at 7:02 AM
    #13
    ShreveportTSS

    ShreveportTSS Huh?

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    I would assume it is being fatigued from flexing due to an alignment issue. Check to make sure it is at the same height off the spindle housing as the other pulleys. Also check spindle for excessive endplay.
     
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  14. May 11, 2020 at 11:08 AM
    #14
    Fotnot

    Fotnot [OP] Clueless Carl

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    So I ended up changing out an idle pulley next to it and have cut the grass once since then and haven't had an issue. When I pulled the idle pulley, it had a slight wiggle in the integrated bearing, so I'm hoping that's the fix. Time will tell. All the other pulleys seemed fine
     

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