How To Tighten Drive Belt On Cub Cadet?

A Cub Cadet drive belt needs to be tightened periodically so that it does not slip off the pulley. We have researched the proper DIY method for adjusting the drive belt tension, and here's what we found.

Tighten the Cub Cadet drive belt by replacing the spring tensioner or trimming some segments of itt. The spring tensioner provides a certain amount of tension, allowing the belt to run smoothly. Over time, it can wear out and need replacing.

If a worn belt cuses loose tension you can adjust the brake link for a temporary fix. Replace the worn drive belt for a permanent fix.

Most people think that they need to replace the drive belt when they notice that the belt is slipping. This could be the case, but it's just one side of the coin, and we'll look into this. In addition, we'll walk you through not only how to tighten the drive belt but when you should replace it. So keep reading below to learn more!

Why Is It Important To Check Drive Belt Tension In Cub Cadet?

When you mow your lawn, you'll see the blades spin quickly to cut the grass. The drive belt, which connects the motor to the blades, spins around the pulleys and provides the necessary tension to rotate the blades.

However, in some cases, the belt tension is too loose. A loose drive belt can cause a lawnmower blade not to spin. If your Cub Cadet engine is running fine, but it is not moving forward, you could have a loose belt.

However, if it does run, yet skips and jumps when you try to cut grass, this is because the drive belt is not able to grip the pulley. To keep the belt in place, it's crucial to know the proper tension. If you loosen the belt, you'll reduce its effectiveness.

Garden yellow new tractor mower

What Provides Tension To The Drive Belt?

There are two components of your Cub Cadet that provide tension to its drive belts: the spring tensioner and the drive belt itself.

The spring tensioner is a wearable part found in many Cub Cadet lawnmowers and is usually attached to one of the V-pulleys. The other component is the drive belt itself. A worn drive belt should be replaced if it shows signs of fraying.

How To Replace The Spring Tensioner To Tighten Cub Cadet?

If the spring tensioner of your lawnmower has lost its ability to hold the drive belt in place, it's time to replace it. Below are the steps to follow when replacing your Cub Cadet spring tensioner:

1. Remove The Cutting Deck

You should see a small bracket that holds the deck belt in place in your front engine pulley. Determine the bolt size (usually 8 mm) and loosen it up using the right socket size power tool. 

Once you have the bracket removed, slowly pull the deck pulley down. Check for bowtie clips within the deck frame and take them out. The deck frame should loosen up, and you should be able to move it away from the cutting deck.

You'll see a bowtie clip and spring attached to the cutting deck. These two connect the deck to the blade engagement cable. Pry the spring and bowtie clip out so you can separate the deck from the cable.

The video below illustrates the process:

2. Turn Your Cub Cadet On The Side

Once you have the deck out, turn your cub cadet on the side, so you expose the underside and start working on replacing the spring tensioner.

Alternatively, you can also jack it up so you can get to the bottom of it. It's much easier if you do it sideways though when replacing the drive belt.

3. Locate The Spring

You should be able to identify and locate the spring easily. Just look for the V-pulley with a spring.

4. Remove The Spring 

Cub cadet yellow tractor mower - How To Tighten Drive Belt On Cub Cadet

The spring is attached to a bolt and a V-pulley. You can pry both ends of the spring loose using a cutter-type plier.

5. Attach The New Spring

Once you remove the old spring, you can put a new one in place. Be sure to use a replacement part that fits your model of Cub Cadet mower. A temporary fix would be to trim segments of the old spring and reuse the spring.

However, we don't recommend this, as the spring has already been stretched out and has little remaining life in it. It's just a matter of time before the spring loses tension again or worse, breaks because of corrosion. 

Also, you might consider spraying anti-rust on the surface while working on replacing your spring tensioner or drive belt for an added layer of protection.


Check out this anti-rust spray on Amazon.

6. Follow The Steps In Reverse Order To Put The Parts Back

The last thing you want is to end up with a DIY project that turns out to be bigger and more complex than anticipated. It's important to document everything you do when working on projects, especially when it is your first attempt.

You want to be able to refer back to your notes and photos to help you identify any missed steps. 

Taking pictures and videos of the installation or replacement process helps you recall and visualize the exact steps you took to complete your project.

Video illustration below:

How To Adjust Brake Link?

  1. Release the brake.
  2. Remove cutting deck.
  3. Remove the fasteners (bowtie clip and washer) and slide the ferrule out of the bracket.
  4. The ferrule must line up with the rear slot. Secure the ferrule using the same fasteners.
  5. Turn your Cub Cadet on and test run.
  6. Reinstall the deck.

How To Replace The Drive Belt Of Your Cub Cadet?

Cub cadet yellow tractor mower

One of the best ways to tell if a lawnmower's drive belt needs replacing is by inspecting the condition of the drive belt itself. If you see any damage, rips, cracks, or cuts, then you know that it's time to change it.

Pro tip: when replacing either the spring tensioner or drive belt, you might as well replace the two altogether to save you time in the future. 

Here are the steps to replace your Cub Cadet drive belt:

1. Remove Cutting Deck

Follow steps 1 and 2 above. 

2. Remove The Clutch

You will see a bolt that attaches the clutch of your Cub Cadet to the motor. Loosen the bolt and disconnect the connecter that connects the clutch to the motor. You should be able to remove the drive belt after doing this.

3. Put The New Drive Belt

Slip the belt into the transmission pulley and into the motor pulley first. Once you have it in there, start working your way until the belt is slipped into each of the pulleys.

The groovy side of the belt should go to the V-pulleys, and the flat side of the belt should go to the idle pulley. You should have a diagram somewhere on your Cub Cadet, so just refer to it for guidance.

4. Put Everything Back Together

It's very easy to get lost when putting the different parts of a machine like your Cub Cadet back again. 

It's important to keep track of the steps when replacing parts. You might find yourself confused about which parts go where, which is why it's important to document the replacement process. This is a great way to be able to see if you did something wrong or not.

The video below should illustrate how the entire process is done:

Telltale Signs Of A Failing Drive Belt

A frayed Cub Cadet drive belt can make your mowing job much more difficult. A torn or frayed belt will be the cause of many problems that could cost you hundreds of dollars to repair. Here are the telltale signs to look out for of a failing Cub Cadet drive belt.

Losing Tension/Slippage

It’s important that the belt should be tight to avoid slipping. However, the belts can wear out ,and when they do, they lose some of their elasticity and become loose. As a result, the pulleys on the motor and the transmission become separated when the belt gets slack.

Engine Overheating 

A worn lawnmower belt is a silent killer. Over time, an undetected worn belt may slip without warning. This means the belt may not be able to move the pulleys effectively and could cause your lawnmower to stutter and run intermittently while you're mowing.

This will cause the engine to work harder than it should. It may even break down altogether, causing your lawnmower to grind to a halt. If you're noticing excessive heat coming from the engine, this could indicate the belt is failing. 

Cub Cadet riding lawn mower trademark and logo. Cub Cadet produces outdoor power equipment and services.

What Is The Purpose Of An Idler Pulley?

There's an idler pulley in almost every machine. So what does an idler pulley exactly do, and why is it important?

An idler pulley is a part of the machinery where the belt passes through, providing a means of supporting the belt without slipping or getting damaged. It's a crucial machine component that allows the motor to spin at a constant speed.

A pulley is a tool that allows one machine to work with another machine. In the case of an idler pulley, it's a part of a belt system that allows a machine to move along with the rotation of the pulley.

In addition, it's a device that is used to reduce friction and vibration between belts and pulleys. It is a mechanism that is used for providing tension and speed of the belt.

Should You Worry If The Idler Pulley Fails?

a set for replacing the timing belt in the engine, consists of belt, idler, pulley.

A common failure that occurs in a pulley mechanism is the idler pulley. These pulleys serve the purpose of taking the load of the machine and distributing it through various parts of the machine.

When the idler pulley fails, the load that it was meant to distribute will become concentrated on the remaining pulleys.

This can cause extensive damage to the drive belt and could lead to its destruction. As a result, you need to replace the idler pulley as soon as possible.

If your idler pulley fails, the drive belt may slip and no longer transmit the required power to the cutting blades. This can cause the blades to stop working, leaving you stuck in a very precarious situation.

In Closing

There are actually no settings that you can use to adjust the tension settings of your Cub Cadet drive belt. However, you must pay attention to the warning signs that your Cub Cadet needs a spring tensioner replacement. A loose drive belt is not something you should ignore.

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