How to Change the Belt on a Craftsman Garden Tractor

Written by gary macfadden
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How to Change the Belt on a Craftsman Garden Tractor
You can replace a mower drive belt on a Craftsman garden tractor. (man lawning image by laurent dambies from

It is not difficult to change the mower drive belt on a Craftsman garden tractor as long as you follow a few simple steps. The mowing deck on nearly all Craftsman garden tractors will need to be detached and removed before the mower drive belt can be accessed. The decks are held in place with a set of removable retainer clips. Removing a mowing deck can take less than 10 minutes once you are familiar with the procedure.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Replacement mower drive belt

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    Replacing a mower drive belt

  1. 1

    Work from the right side of the tractor (the side with the discharge guard). With the tractor shut down, the brake on, and the wheels chocked, place the mower clutch in the "disengaged" or neutral position. Move the mower attachment height adjustment lever to its lowest position.

  2. 2

    Roll the belt off of the engine pulley at the forward end of the tractor. Note how the belt runs on the outside of two larger pulleys---the "mandrel" pulleys---and on the inside of two smaller idler pulleys. Many Craftsman lawn and garden tractors have the belt routing diagram below the left-side footrest.

  3. 3

    Move the clutch lever to identify the clutch spring. Remove the retainer clip from the clutch spring, and lift the spring off of the pulley bolt. At the bracket at the right rear of the mower deck, remove the retainer clip, slide the collar off of the cable, and push the clutch cable housing guide out of the bracket.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the anti-swaybar from the bracket attached to the deck by removing the retainer clip. This is at the rear of the mower deck. Disconnect the mower deck suspension arms, located between the two smaller idler pulleys, by removing the retainer clips from the brackets attached to the mower deck. Disconnect the front links from the mower deck by removing the retainer clips. The mower deck will now be free from the tractor.

  5. 5

    Raise the mower deck height adjustment lever to its highest setting so that the mower deck can be slid from underneath the tractor. You will now clearly see how the belt is arranged around the mandrel and idler pulleys. Install the new belt, making sure that the belt is pushed into all pulley groves and is on the inside of any belt guides, then reposition the mower deck under the tractor.

  6. 6

    Lower the mower height adjustment lever to the lowest setting. Reconnect the front links, the suspension arms, and the anti-swaybar to their respective brackets on the mower deck, using the retainer clips. Place the clutch cable housing back into its bracket, reattach the collar, and secure it with the appropriate retainer clip. Slide the clutch spring over the pulley bolt and secure it with the small retainer clip.

  7. 7

    Reattach the mower deck to the tractor, then roll the new belt onto the engine pulley at the front end of the tractor. Raise the mower deck using the height adjustment lever. Before starting the garden tractor to check the new belt installation, be sure to check for tools that you might have left under the tractor. Unchock the wheels and roll the garden tractor forward eight to ten feet, which should clear any tools or parts that might be hidden in the grass.

Tips and warnings

  • After removing and reattaching the mower deck, check for side to side level of the mower housing and adjust as necessary.

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