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Repair guides and support for riding lawn tractors sold under the Murray brand name, currently owned by Briggs & Stratton.

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When blades are disengaged, engine drive pulley still spinning.

I have a Murray 42” deck riding mower. After mowing for an hour or so the mower started smelling of burned rubber. I turned it off and left it for a few days. Upon starting again it immediately smelled of burning. Blades disengaged obviously for startup. The engine drive pulley (the one nearest the front of the mower holding the deck belt) is spinning and just shredding the drive belt to smithereens. It’s not supposed to spin when the blades aren’t engaged, right?? Why would it be stuck like this?

ETA: photos of the mower, a 14hp 42”deck. The model number sticker is entirely worn off so no idea. Best guess after hours of online searching is a 2004.

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My motion belt is real loose and cant seem to see why it dont work. All pulleys seem to be fine any ideas ?


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Maggy Rhein  it is entirely possible that the pulley continue to turn but the belt loosens when you disengage the blades. We would need to know what model your deck and mower are. Also, it may help if you post some good pictures of your deck, belt etc. See if you can move the blades by hand with the with the belt off (mower off of course as well). Let us know what you find. Voeg afbeeldingen toe aan een bestaande vraag

Update (08/10/2019)

Maggy Rhein  would be great to have a model number so we could be specific but even generic should help out. So the pulley that drives the deck belt will always turn for as long as the engine runs. The engage/disengage of the deck is actually done by a pulley that tightens/loosens the belt enough to decrease/increase the tension around the spindles for the blades. Double check all the pulleys on your deck and double check the belt. A belt that is to short will always have to much tension and can eventually shred on the pulleys. A belt that is to loos will get caught and shred as well

Here is the typical way the deck engages

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This is the typical belt diagram for a 42” Murray deck

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Thanks for the response oldturkey! See post for updated info, no model number unfortunately.

Blades and pulleys all turn (not easily but not grinding either). Mower was working without burning for about an hour before it started with the burn smell. Just had some wiring replaced at a mechanic after it sat for 4 years. He had it working, I had it working, now this seems an unrelated problem.

Basically I’m wondering if it’s normal for the drive pulley to spin when the blades are disengaged, because the loose belt against the spinning pulley seeems to be what’s shredding it.

In the photo you can see how worn one part of the belt is and also all the black rubber that’s shredded off. I’ve taken the belt off so I can simply drive it out of the way without further destroying the belt.

Drive belt (the belt that controls the wheels turning, also attached to the front most pulley) is in perfect condition not rubbing, and doesn’t spin when in neutral, works fine in gear.


Another overlooked item is when belts AND machines sit for a year or two, anything that is plastic,

or rubber related (including belts) starts to deteriorate pretty quickly. Just like rubber tires that can weather check when they are not being used. It is simply because the oil in the rubber compounds start to dehydrate.


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Maggy Rhein zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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