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How to Replace the Drive Belt on a Craftsman Lawnmower, step by step

Craftsman is a famous brand among lawn and yard owners. Their lawnmowers, tools, and other machines are well built, reliable, and robust. But what if, one day, your Craftsman lawnmower stops moving at all? The first thing you need to do is diagnose and check the different parts of your mower. If the engine is working, but the mower is not moving or having problems moving, one of the most common issues is a defective drive belt. The drive belt may be loose, frayed, or broken. This makes the lawnmower slow, causing screeching sounds from the engine, or causing the mower not to move at all. If you have been observing any of these symptoms, it’s probably time to replace the old drive belt with a new one. This blog post will take you through a step-by-step drive belt replacement procedure for a craftsman lawnmower.

How to replace drive belt on craftsman lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Prepare the Craftsman lawnmower
  • Step 2: Disconnect the power and sparkplug cables
  • Step 3: Seal the fuel tank in case you have to tilt the mower
  • Step 4: Raise the front wheel
  • Step 5: Remove the deck
  • Step 6: Clean the deck and the shaft
  • Step 7: Bring out crankshaft pulley
  • Step 8: Replace the old drive belt with the new one
  • Step 9: Replace the Crankshaft Pulley
  • Step 10: Reinstall the deck and the blades
  • Step 11: Lower your Craftsman lawnmower
  • Step 12: Unseal the Fuel Tank
  • Step 13: Reconnect the battery and spark

What is a Drive Belt?

The drive belt is responsible for transferring power from the engine to the moving lawnmower components. It connects the engine of your machine to the crankshaft. If the drive belt is faulty, the power transmission will be affected, reducing the machine’s performance. Therefore, a healthy drive belt is crucial for the performance of a Craftsman lawnmower or any other lawnmower. To fix the problem, you should replace the faulty drive belt with a new one.

The most common symptoms associated with a faulty drive belt are screeching sounds from the engine, the mower slowing down, or the mower not moving at all.

The Step by Step Drive Belt Replacement On Craftsman Lawnmower

We will take you through the detailed process of replacing a drive belt on a Craftsman Lawnmower.

First, let’s go through some vital information related to driving belt replacement: 

● General preparation:

  • Difficulty: The difficulty level of this process is 3 out of 5
  • Time needed: The total time it will take to replace the belt is approximately 25 to 35 minutes, but if you are doing it for the first time, it could take 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Professional help: If you think doing it alone will take too much time or be too difficult for you, then don’t hesitate to call for help. Call a lawnmower technician if you want to be extra careful. Or read the manual instructions carefully to avoid any mishaps.

For a belt replacement, you need the following tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • A pair of work gloves
  • A wooden block
  • Protective goggles
  • A new drive belt
  • A socket wrench
  • A cleaning brush
  • Pliers
  • The replacement belt

● Step 1: Prepare the Craftsman lawnmower

The first step of the drive belt replacement procedure is preparing the craftsman lawnmower. Place it on a flat level surface with the parking brake engaged so it can not move. Make sure that you have your work gloves on too. Check that the replacement belt is the correct type. The length and shape should match your current one.

● Step 2: Disconnect the power and spark plug cables

Disconnect the battery by removing the attached power cables, so there is no short circuit chance. Disconnect the sparkplug cables, so it is impossible that the engine can unintentionally start running.

● Step 3: Seal the gas tank in case you have to tilt the mower

You need to tightly cover the fuel tank’s face well with a plastic sheet to prevent leaks. Open the fuel tank, cover the opening with a plastic sheet, and put the lid back on. Sealing the tank will prevent fuel loss during your work, especially if you need to tilt the Craftsman mower. If sealing it is a problem, you can also remove the gas from the tank.

● Step 4: Raise the front wheel

Press the rear handle downward to lift the front wheels upward. Place a wooden block between the cutter area and the front deck. Raising the mower will make your work easier. If you have a lawnmower lift, you can use that to lift the mower.

● Step 5: Remove the deck

You need to remove the deck for straightforward access to the drive belt using a screwdriver and a wrench. Make some pictures, so you know how the different parts are connected. Make sure you see clearly on it how the belt is running. This will make your life easier when you reattach the parts on your Craftsman lawnmower. Lift the front wheels and place a wooden block for easy access to the drive. If the blade needs to be removed to detach the deck, you can do this using a socket wrench. Mark the side of the blade that points to the grass.

Detach the deck by removing the retaining pin and washer on both sides of the deck. Once this is done, release the locking tabs from the blade cable and disconnect the cable spring. With this done, the deck is ready to be pulled off.

● Step 6: Clean the deck and the shaft

Use your cleaning brush to remove the dirt and debris attached to the shaft and deck. This step will make your task easier and help increase the lifespan of your Craftsman mower.

● Step 7: Bring out crankshaft pulley

Locate the crankshaft pulley and the flywheel bolt. Rotate the flywheel bolt counterclockwise to liberate the pulley bolt and washer; the pulley is free to be removed now. With the crankshaft taken out, you can quickly free up the drive belt.

● Step 8: Replace the old drive belt with the new one

With the blades and deck removed and the crankshaft pulley taken out, you can remove the old belt quite easily.

Grab the belt and free it from the guides and the other pulleys. Releasing it from the transaxle pulley will make it free to be taken out.

Attach the new Craftsman belt around the transaxle pulley and make sure it fits perfectly. Using the socket wrench, turn the flywheel bolt in the clockwise direction to secure the new drive belt in its position.

With this done, put the flywheel screencap, the bolt, and the washer back on—Route the new drive belt over the rest of the pulleys.

● Step 9: Replace the Crankshaft Pulley

Replace the crankshaft pulley in its previous location but this time by rotating the bolt clockwise. Tighten the crankshaft pulley with the new drive belt carefully.

● Step 10: Reinstall the deck

To ensure that the Craftsman mower will work correctly with the new drive belt, you will have to reinstall the deck and blades again. Here’s what to do:

Before reinstalling the deck, prepare the blade if you had to remove it earlier. If the blade does not look good, sharpen it. Make sure to reattach the blade correctly. Tighten up the blade as needed and make sure it is perfectly fitted with the crankshaft pulley.

Reconnect the pins and washers on both sides of the deck. Make sure they fit correctly. Now dispatch the blade belt through the keepers. It should fit with the Craftsman mower pulley so that the blade can rotate. After completing the pulley’s connection and the blade, your mower is ready to be checked.

● Step 11: Lower your Craftsman lawnmower

Once you have fitted the blade correctly, you can lower the mower now by removing the wooden block.

● Step 12: Unseal the Fuel Tank

After removing the wooden block, take off the plastic sheet from the fuel tank lid.

● Step 13: Reconnect the battery and spark plug

Reconnect the cable(s) from the battery and the spark plug(s). Start your Craftsman machine and run it for 5 to 10 minutes to see if it works correctly. If there’s no issue and it is working perfectly fine, then it means you have successfully replaced the drive belt on your craftsman lawnmower.

Safety Precautions:

As with working on any mechanical device, there are some safety precautions you have to keep in mind when you are working on a lawnmower:

  • Turn the mower off: You have to make sure that the ignition is turned off and the key is out of the ignition before starting with the replacement procedure.
  • Children: Always keep the children away when you are working on a mower.
  • Tank lid: Make sure that the tank lid is tight before starting the mower.
  • Blades: Be careful while removing and attaching the blades of the mower. Take help from the manual to know which side of the blade should be facing upward.
  • Safety gloves: Have your safety gloves on to avoid any injury from sharp edges.

Final Remarks:

The drive belt is crucial to the performance of your Craftsman lawnmower. If the belt is defective, the mower will slow down or may not even move at all. If you are faced with such a situation, check the drive belt, and if it is not in perfect shape, replace it with a new one. The replacement procedure is not too complicated. Following the steps mentioned above, you can perform the replacement procedure yourself. Make sure that the new belt is of good quality and matched the one being replaced. The new belt should fit perfectly over all the pulleys and guides.