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After my first snow blowing season and having read many owners' complaints about premature idler bearing failure on John Deere belt driven snowblower, I decided to design a way to prevent it.

Here's a simple way to extend the life expectancy of the two idler pulleys for the belt driven 44" and 47" snowblower.

The bearing inside the pulley is not well protected again outside debris and dust, which can cause premature wear.

The pulleys are designed like a cup that retain dirty water which contaminate the bearing seal resulting in washing out the grease and then finally rust and jamming the pulleys.

The modification consists of adding a bearing dust cover and drain holes.

Parts needed for the upgrade

Two 5/16" lock washers, two 1"1/2 fender washers (also called 5/16" fender washer).

The following pictures show the difference between the original pulley and the John Deere replacement pulley.

1. Removing the pulleys

Take the proper tools like wrench or a ratchet set to remove the two pulleys.

Note: Make sure to remember the order of the parts location, if you have a digital camera take pictures before.

2. How to determinate if the bearings in the pulleys are still in good condition

To verify if the bearing is still in good condition, take the center shaft of the pulley with your fingers and by holding the outside diameter of the pulley with the other hand rotate the center shaft, if you feel any resistance or a rough movement that mean the ball bearing are corroded and damaged, you'll have to replace it.

3. Reinstall the pulleys with the lock and fender washers as show in the pictures.

Note: Make sure to position the belt guard properly.

And here's the final result installed on the snowblower.

(11-08-2012) Note: It's been two winter going on the third that I done this modification and the pulley are still working like new.

Originally posted on November 2011.
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