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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just thought I would share my trials and tribulations of the past three weeks. I've had my 446 for almost 5 years since moving into our home which is on a normal sized city lot. More mower than what I really need, but I just really have a nostalgia for them. I also use it for snow removal.
I have mowed the last three years or so with an aftermarket belt from Tractor Supply which was purchased by comparing length with whatever was on it when I got it. The aftermarket belt finally shredded itself, so I ordered the correct belt according to the tractor serial number and deck model. That belt would not stay on the pulleys for more than about 15 seconds after engaging the clutch. I double checked the parts manuals to verify it was the correct belt.
I then searched the forum for reasons it might be happening because I didn't know what had shredded the old belt. It, too had jumped off the pulleys before shredding itself and had never done that before, so I suspected an underlying problem.
The idler pulleys spun freely and had no play, so I felt they weren't part of the problem.Every mounting hole in the mule drive was worn oblong as well as the areas where it slides onto the pins on the frame. I welded up those areas and reground the openings back to their original shape as best I could. I enlarged all the mounting holes and replaced the bolts with larger diameters or installed bushings to get everything back to as close to original clearances as possible but still could not keep the belt on.
The I went after the deck. The center spindle felt a little rough and seemed to have a little play in it compared to the outer spindles, so I ordered new bearings and replaced the idler pulley bracket which was worn out as well. Still threw the belt almost immediately.
After all that, I had to step back and analyze what was going on and what I was looking at on the tractor a little more carefully. The pulley on the mower deck was not in line with the lower edge of the pulleys on the mule drive. It sat quite a bit lower so the belt was at an angle entering that pulley and would jump off as soon as it was engaged. All of my repairs only seemed to make this worse. When installing the belt, I had to loosen the adjustment on the mule drive as far as it would go which caused the adjusting screw to bind on the bottom edge of the mule drive frame. Even then, it was difficult to get the belt onto the mower pulley and the new (proper) tensioner spring was already stretched beyond the recommended tension. There was just nothing else I could think of to repair or adjust that was going to make a difference.
In desperation, I concluded that a longer belt would allow the pulleys on the mule drive to drop down lower before tightening the belt and would help align them with the pulley on the mower better. After all my frustrations with fixing or rehabbing everything else, a 2" longer belt solved the problem. I have no idea why my particular tractor and deck need the longer belt or if the belt that was on there before was longer than the recommended length. I'm just very glad to have it working again and hope maybe this can help someone else avoid some of the frustration had while trying to figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just thought I would share my trials and tribulations of the past three weeks. I've had my 446 for almost 5 years since moving into our home which is on a normal sized city lot. More mower than what I really need, but I just really have a nostalgia for them. I also use it for snow removal.
I have mowed the last three years or so with an aftermarket belt from Tractor Supply which was purchased by comparing length with whatever was on it when I got it. The aftermarket belt finally shredded itself, so I ordered the correct belt according to the tractor serial number and deck model. That belt would not stay on the pulleys for more than about 15 seconds after engaging the clutch. I double checked the parts manuals to verify it was the correct belt.
I then searched the forum for reasons it might be happening because I didn't know what had shredded the old belt. It, too had jumped off the pulleys before shredding itself and had never done that before, so I suspected an underlying problem.
The idler pulleys spun freely and had no play, so I felt they weren't part of the problem.Every mounting hole in the mule drive was worn oblong as well as the areas where it slides onto the pins on the frame. I welded up those areas and reground the openings back to their original shape as best I could. I enlarged all the mounting holes and replaced the bolts with larger diameters or installed bushings to get everything back to as close to original clearances as possible but still could not keep the belt on.
The I went after the deck. The center spindle felt a little rough and seemed to have a little play in it compared to the outer spindles, so I ordered new bearings and replaced the idler pulley bracket which was worn out as well. Still threw the belt almost immediately.
After all that, I had to step back and analyze what was going on and what I was looking at on the tractor a little more carefully. The pulley on the mower deck was not in line with the lower edge of the pulleys on the mule drive. It sat quite a bit lower so the belt was at an angle entering that pulley and would jump off as soon as it was engaged. All of my repairs only seemed to make this worse. When installing the belt, I had to loosen the adjustment on the mule drive as far as it would go which caused the adjusting screw to bind on the bottom edge of the mule drive frame. Even then, it was difficult to get the belt onto the mower pulley and the new (proper) tensioner spring was already stretched beyond the recommended tension. There was just nothing else I could think of to repair or adjust that was going to make a difference.
In desperation, I concluded that a longer belt would allow the pulleys on the mule drive to drop down lower before tightening the belt and would help align them with the pulley on the mower better. After all my frustrations with fixing or rehabbing everything else, a 2" longer belt solved the problem. I have no idea why my particular tractor and deck need the longer belt or if the belt that was on there before was longer than the recommended length. I'm just very glad to have it working again and hope maybe this can help someone else avoid some of the frustration had while trying to figure it out.
One little side note. I did notice while mowing the other day that the deck is much quieter than before, so apparently the new bearings were not wasted.
 

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1973 Case 444, 1974 Case 644, 1976 Case 446, 1977 Case 646
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John glad to hear your all set with the mowing deck. With doing all you did, which was a lot of work, now you can get a lot of years of trouble free use of your terrific machine. I know the frustration you had with the problem. I've been there many times and in the long run the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of completion far out ways the frustration. You should be proud of your work ethic and tenacity in accomplishing your project!

Keep the Peace
Harry
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
John glad to hear your all set with the mowing deck. With doing all you did, which was a lot of work, now you can get a lot of years of trouble free use of your terrific machine. I know the frustration you had with the problem. I've been there many times and in the long run the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of completion far out ways the frustration. You should be proud of your work ethic and tenacity in accomplishing your project!

Keep the Peace
Harry
I think the feeling was more relief than satisfaction when that longer belt stayed on. Been a mechanic most of my life so I'm used to dealing with frustration, but I'm 76 years old now and having to install and remove that deck repeatedly was wearing on me.
Appreciate the kudos.
John
 
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