January 1, 2015

How to replace the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower

This step-by-step repair guide gives instructions for replacing the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower. The ground drive belt connects the engine crankshaft to the transaxle pulleys to drive the mower wheels. If the ground drive belt is worn or broken, the mower moves sluggishly or won't move at all. Replace a worn or broken ground drive belt with the manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Follow the steps in this repair guide and video to replace the ground drive belt on common Craftsman, Troybilt, MTD, Husqvarna, Cub Cadet and Toro zero-turn riding mowers.

Quick links
Tools required
Socket wrench set
Screwdriver
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
90 minutes or less
Replacing a ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower

This video explains how to replace the ground drive belt on a zero-turn riding mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the spark plugs

    Move the mower to a work area on a hard, level surface and set the parking brake. Disconnect the spark plug wires.

    Tip: Enlist a helper to assist you when you remove the belt.
    Disconnect the spark plugs.

    Disconnect the spark plugs.

  2. 02.

    Release the blade belt

    Lower the mower deck to the lowest cutting position.

    Remove the left pulley cover from the mower deck.

    Push in the blade belt idler pulley and roll the blade drive belt off the left blade pulley.

    Reach under the rear of the mower frame and remove the blade drive belt from the electric clutch.

    Lower the mower deck.

    Lower the mower deck.

    Remove the pulley cover.

    Remove the pulley cover.

    Roll the blade belt off of the pulley.

    Roll the blade belt off of the pulley.

    Release the blade belt from the electric clutch.

    Release the blade belt from the electric clutch.

  3. 03.

    Remove the mower deck

    Disconnect the mower deck mounting pins and release the hanging brackets from the mower deck.

    Push the mower deck slightly forward and release it from the front bracket.

    Pull the mower deck out from under the mower frame.

    Remove the mounting pin.

    Remove the mounting pin.

    Release the hanging bracket from the mower deck.

    Release the hanging bracket from the mower deck.

    Release the front bracket.

    Release the front bracket.

    Pull the mower deck out.

    Pull the mower deck out.

  4. 04.

    Remove the electric clutch

    Unplug the electric clutch wiring harness next to the motor.

    Remove the mounting screws from the flywheel cover and pull the cover off to access the flywheel nut.

    Have a helper hold the flywheel nut stationary while you remove the mounting bolt from the clutch.

    Pull the electric clutch off the engine crankshaft.

    Tip: Note the routing of the electric clutch wiring harness when pulling the clutch off the engine shaft.
    Unplug the electric clutch wire harness.

    Unplug the electric clutch wire harness.

    Remove the flywheel cover screws.

    Remove the flywheel cover screws.

    Remove the flywheel cover.

    Remove the flywheel cover.

    Hold the flywheel nut stationary.

    Hold the flywheel nut stationary.

    Remove the electric clutch mounting bolt.

    Remove the electric clutch mounting bolt.

    Remove the electric clutch.

    Remove the electric clutch.

  5. 05.

    Remove the ground drive belt

    Have your helper lift the driver seat forward and push in the idler pulley bracket while you roll the ground drive belt off the engine pulley.

    Release the ground drive belt from the transmission pulleys and pull the belt out of the mower.

    Push the idler bracket inward.

    Push the idler bracket inward.

    Remove the ground drive belt.

    Remove the ground drive belt.

  6. 06.

    Install the new ground drive belt

    Route the new ground drive belt over the cooling fans and onto the transmission pulleys.

    Thread the belt through the idler pulley and over the engine crankshaft pulley.

    Have your helper push in the idler pulley bracket while you roll the belt onto the engine pulley.

    Flip the driver seat down.

    Install the new ground drive belt.

    Install the new ground drive belt.

  7. 07.

    Reinstall the electric clutch

    Position the bushing on top of the electric clutch.

    Line up the slot in the electric clutch pulley with the key in the engine shaft and push the electric clutch onto the engine shaft.

    Make sure that the tab in the electric clutch bracket engages the mounting slot on the electric clutch frame.

    While your helper holds the flywheel nut, reinstall the electric clutch mounting bolt.

    Reattach the flywheel cover.

    Reconnect the electric clutch wire harness.

    Tip: Make sure that the electric clutch wire harness is routed to the engine properly on reassembly
    Reinstall the electric clutch.

    Reinstall the electric clutch.

    Reattach the flywheel cover.

    Reattach the flywheel cover.

    Reconnect the wire harness.

    Reconnect the wire harness.

  8. 08.

    Reinstall the mower deck

    Push the mower deck under the mower frame.

    Reinstall the mower deck on the front bracket.

    Reinstall the mower deck hanging brackets and secure them with the mounting pins.

    Push the mower deck in.

    Push the mower deck in.

    Reconnect the front bracket.

    Reconnect the front bracket.

    Reinstall the deck hanging brackets.

    Reinstall the deck hanging brackets.

  9. 09.

    Reattach the blade belt

    Reinstall the blade drive belt onto the electric clutch.

    Push the blade belt idler pulley inward and roll the blade belt back onto the left blade pulley.

    Reinstall the pulley cover.

    Tip: Make sure that the blade belt is routed correctly when reinstalling the mower deck
    Reinstall the belt on the electric clutch.

    Reinstall the belt on the electric clutch.

    Roll the belt on the pulley.

    Roll the belt on the pulley.

    Reinstall the pulley cover.

    Reinstall the pulley cover.

  10. 10.

    Reconnect the spark plugs

    Reconnect the wires on the spark plugs.

    Reconnect the spark plugs.

    Reconnect the spark plugs.

Warning: Undertaking repairs to appliances can be hazardous. Use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: damaged tie rods, bent or worn wheel spindle, worn front axle, damaged sector gear assembly
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
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How to replace a riding lawn mower spark plug

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Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

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