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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just recently installed new drive belts on my 110. It is a 1970 model year, so a square fender tractor. But I'm having an issue that I did not originally expect and I need your advice on whether or not it is normal.

From the manual, it states that only the first 5 selections of the variator will actually change the tractor's speed, and the last 2 are for "belt wear tolerance". So essentially there's 5 different speed selections. The variator is currently adjusted properly to this setting. However, with the new belts, I can only move the variator lever between the upper 3 of the 5 speed selections. The secondary belt's idler pulley maxes out before it can reach the first 2. Based on my general knowledge of belts, this is normal, because the belt is new and it is not yet "worn in". I would think that simply driving it around a bit would allow it to wear into place, putting enough slack in the belt for those first two speed selections to work.

But, I am not sure about this because of my limited knowledge of these variators. So my question is, is this issue normal? And will driving it around to let the belt "wear in" fix it? Any insight is appreciated.
 

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So I just recently installed new drive belts on my 110. It is a 1970 model year, so a square fender tractor. But I'm having an issue that I did not originally expect and I need your advice on whether or not it is normal.

From the manual, it states that only the first 5 selections of the variator will actually change the tractor's speed, and the last 2 are for "belt wear tolerance". So essentially there's 5 different speed selections. The variator is currently adjusted properly to this setting. However, with the new belts, I can only move the variator lever between the upper 3 of the 5 speed selections. The secondary belt's idler pulley maxes out before it can reach the first 2. Based on my general knowledge of belts, this is normal, because the belt is new and it is not yet "worn in". I would think that simply driving it around a bit would allow it to wear into place, putting enough slack in the belt for those first two speed selections to work.

But, I am not sure about this because of my limited knowledge of these variators. So my question is, is this issue normal? And will driving it around to let the belt "wear in" fix it? Any insight is appreciated.
Did you install the correct part number John Deere belts? If not, all bets are off. I absolutely agree that you should make sure the variator's middle sleeve moves freely from one end to the other of its axle. If your idler pulley bottoms out, that USUALLY comes when your belts are worn. My experience is that a fresh set of belts and a recent adjustment gives you the best you are going to have on that particular tractor.

I do not believe that variator is adjusted properly if you have new John Deere belts and a fully functioning variator, and the variator does not work through its range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, so it turns out that there was nothing wrong with it in the end. I fired it up, drove it around, and the variator lever worked like it should, for the most part. I am going to pull the variator pulley, dismantle it, and re-polish it, as I suspect after watching it move between speed ranges that the center sheave doesn't want to travel fully side to side.

I did install the correct John Deere belts, and it's definitely a big improvement over the old belts, as I actually have multiple speed ranges instead of just one! But it's still not perfect yet.
 

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Have you lubed the variator?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How bad of a job was it? I gotta replace all my belts soon and those look like a nightmare.
First, Welcome to WFM!

First things first you better pull the fender pan. I can't imagine what it would be like without doing that! To remove it is only 4 bolts, but there's also the gear shifter, a deck height adjuster, and the clutch. I got lucky with the clutch coming right off but it could definitely be stuck if it's rusty enough.

With access to everything you'll want to remove the spring from the idler pulley on the secondary belt. Leave the clutch engaged and you should have enough slack to remove the belt from the variator pulley and from the idler. Unfortunately to remove the belt completely you need to partially remove the pulley on the transaxle. It's held in place by 3 bolts, I removed 2 and loosened 1 and that worked well. You should at that point be able to fully remove the secondary belt.

Next you do the primary belt. You'll want to re-install the clutch pedal so you can fully depress it and lock the parking brake. Then, there will be multiple guards that need removing. If you have the PTO shield (I didn't) you'll remove that, then I removed the PTO for easy access. Then there's a guard that wraps around the pulley where the primary belt rides on the crankshaft. You'll want to remove it, which is rather difficult given the small space. I removed the 2 idler pulleys that are meant to transfer the deck drive belt to the deck for easier access. There is also one guard at the back of the variator pulley, its only one bolt that just needs to be loosened. You should be able to remove the belt from the variator pulley and then from the engine pulley.

With both belts out the process for putting the new ones in isn't horrible. Primary belt goes first, loop it between the engine pulley and variator pulley. Be sure it goes on the INSIDE of the variator pulley. At this point be sure to tighten that guard up, because if you don't it will rub against your variator pulley and make a terrible grinding noise (ask me how I know!). Then, release the parking brake and leave the clutch engaged, and loop the secondary belt around the variator pulley on the OUTSIDE. Then loop it around the transaxle pulley, and proceed to bolt the transaxle pulley back onto it's hub. The last thing you need to do is loop the belt around the idler, remember that you pull the part that is up on top down and under the idler. Don't try to pull the part that's on the bottom up and over the idler. I did that by mistake and the belt is not nearly long enough for that! Then re-attach the spring to the idler and you should be good to go. Re-attach the PTO and all the front guards, then the fender pan.

Sorry for such a long explanation, but I hope this gives you an idea of what needs to be done to replace the belts. It isn't horrible, and certainly could be much worse, but it still isn't exactly wasy. Good luck!
 
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