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Craftsman Lawn Tractor: How do I replace the Transaxle Variation Belt?

How do I replace the Transaxle Variation Belt?

My Craftsman 42" Lawn Tractor (Model # 917.203901) will not move forward or backward, and the Drive Belt is fine.

I have found that the Transaxle Variation Belt has shredded and come off in pieces.

My novice understanding is that this belt is turned by the transaxle to set the speed/gear commanded by the foot pedal. This belt then turns the rear drive pulley that makes the mower move at the commanded speed/direction.

Or maybe vice versa, but it obviously is the belt that allows the mower to move at different speeds/gears.

There is all kinds of info, videos, etc on replacing the Drive Belt, but I can't find a single source for replacing the Transaxle Variation Belt.

Not even the Sears helpline seems to be able to provide any info. They are sending me a new belt, but they did not have any info on how to replace it.

Thanks!

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@vharbuck what model is your Craftsman? I am a bit confused by this. Craftsman uses a lot of Hydrogear tranaxles and on those The input shaft and pump cylinder block are turned in one direction only by the engine/drive belt/pulley combination. I do not see any other belt. Can you post some images of where this belt sits and what it drives? Use this guide Adding images to an existing question for that

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@oldturkey03 , I added photos... it's item 2 on the Tranaxle diagram. thanks.

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My novice understanding is that this belt is turned by the transaxle to set the speed/gear commanded by the foot pedal. This belt then turns the rear drive pulley that makes the mower move at the commanded speed/direction.

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Or maybe vice versa, but it obviously is the belt that allows the mower to move at different speeds/gears.

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Amazingly, there is absolutely nothing online about replacing this belt, but there are lots of videos about replacing the main drive belt.

It seems this would be covered under warranty since apparently it is a rare failure item, but Sears said it was not covered.

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@vharbuck notification just popped up :-). Bear with me and I am going to check to see what I can find out.,

Now I see what it does. Same as the old Skidoo engines (or DAF:-)

This mower is sold by Sears but actual built by Husqvarna so lets see whose axles they are using.

Update (10/19/2017)

Okay, so it uses a General Transmission RS800P transaxle.

- Remove cutting deck (see owner manual)

- Lift up the rear of the tractor, then remove both rear wheels.

- Disconnect the variation rod (1).

- Disconnect the switch (4).

- Disconnect the bypass rod (2).

- Disconnect the brake spring (3).

- Activate and lock the parking brake, to slacken the belt , and remove it from the main pulley (5).

- Remove the mounting bolts, to separate the transmission from the frame.

We recommend to keep 2 bolts partially unscrewed, to prevent the transmission from falling.

- Lower the rear of the tractor until the transmission lightly touches the ground, then remove the 2 last bolts.

- Lift up the rear of the tractor to release the transmission.

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Update (10/19/2017)

@vharbuck this should help you out to at least get to the drive/belt.

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@oldturkey03 , Wow! That might be beyond my skill set, at least timewise, but I’ll take a closer look to see. Thanks so much for the info. I have some more mechanically-inclined friends who may be able to help me get this done..

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It’s not that difficult to do yourself, lift seat, remove battery and tray, make sure you lock the brake on to remove tension from drive belt, remove top drive belt, remove 4- #25 torx screws that hold the 2 belts. Lift that piece out making sure you watch how it will go back in, Clean any debris from the area, install new variation belt and reverse the process. This only took me 25-45 minutes after I got the new belt. Don’t be afraid to try this, just watch how it come apart, if you have a phone take some pictures before you start as a reference.

Wish you the best!!

P.G.

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I have problems with my seats tractor right now same model as you have , my belt looks new yet but is very loose does nothing when shifter is moved stays loose is there any adjustments on this . And is the main drive belt pulley in three parts such as the top drive belt then the top of bottom vibration pulley then the m iddle and bottom of the vibration pulley in two separate prices . Please let me know . And do I have to drop the rest end to fix it

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Henry V Harbuck will be eternally grateful.
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