How to Change the PTO Belt on a Cub Cadet Rider

Cub Cadet RZT Riding MowerThe power take off (PTO) belt is a vital part of any belt-driven Cub Cadet riding mower. The PTO belt is the belt attached to the PTO pulley and the deck. Without this interface between the pulley and deck, the deck will receive no power and the mower will not mow anything.

Why Replace the Belt?

The main reason to replace the PTO belt is that the belt is no longer serviceable. All belts stretch, deform, crack, and break over time. If a belt breaks or stretches to the point that it is no longer reliably powering the deck, owners will have no choice but to replace the belt. Alternatively, owners may replace the belt as part of a preventative maintenance schedule.

Preventative maintenance schedules are particularly important to businesses. Commercial users rely upon their equipment functioning properly when their customers demand it. Every moment that the machine is down represents lost income. If the belt begins exhibiting cracking or if the belt is several years old and has not been replaced, owners would do well to replace the belt even if it appears to be otherwise intact, lest it break in the middle of a job.

Necessary Equipment

To change the power take off belt, you will first need a few simple items. The first and most obvious item is the new belt. When replacing any parts, including a PTO belt, owners should only use factory equipment. has a full selection of original equipment parts constructed to factory specifications. The parts are also matched to specific garden tractors, ensuring that owners receive the correct part the first time.

Fortunately, the new belt is the only replacement part that will be necessary. Beyond that, owners will require a socket set, a wrench, and a screwdriver. Most of the work will be done by hand and users may also wish to don a set of gloves.

Safety Precautions

Before working on the mower, secure a location with free space that is free of obstructions. Changing the belt will require sliding out the deck from underneath the mower and working on the top of the deck. The space should be well lit and free of oils and other potential hazards.

Changing the PTO belt will not entail working near the blades, but it will entail working near the PTO pulley and belt. As a result, preventing accidental ignition is very important. Before changing the PTO belt on a Cub Cadet riding mower, turn off the engine and allow it to cool. Remove the key from the ignition to prevent accidental starting of the mower. Remove the spark plug wire and the red cable from the battery terminal for added insurance. Set the PTO lever to the neutral position.

Once the mower has been rendered safe, it is time to begin working on the mower.

Step-by-Step Guide

To change the PTO belt on a Cub Cadet riding mower, operators must remove the deck to gain access to the belt, remove the old belt, install the new belt, and reinstall the deck.

Remove the Deck: To free the deck, begin by setting the deck position to its lowest point. Release the brackets on both sides of the frame. Pull outward and down to release each hook from the bracket. Then, raise the deck back up to its highest position. Once that has been completed, release the deck hanger rod by pulling out the click pin.

  • Unscrew the bolts that retain the belt keeper. Then, remove the belt keeper by pulling forward and down on the underside of the keeper on the bottom of the machine. This will free the belt. Remove the PTO belt from the pulley at the bottom of the machine. Remove the bow tie clip near the top rear of the deck and remove the tension spring from the idler pulley bracket.Once this step has been completed, turn the wheels of the mower all the way to the left and simply slide the deck out from underneath the mower. While it is not necessary to do so to change the PTO belt, this would be a convenient time for owners to flip over the deck and inspect the blades and ensure that the deck is not full of grass clippings and mud.
  • Remove the Belt: Once the deck has been freed, it is time to remove the belt from the deck. Before doing anything, note how the belt is routed and which edge is the inner and outer edge. Begin by unscrewing the bolts retaining the right outer belt pulley cover and removing the cover. Then, loosen both idler pulleys. This will free the belt completely. Remove it.
  • Replace the Belt: Replacing the belt is as simple as routing the belt back around in its previous configuration. When the belt is in position, tighten the loose idler pulleys and replace the pulley cover by screwing it back down.
  • Secure the Deck: Reattaching the deck also requires reversing the aforementioned steps. Reattach the tension spring to the idler pulley bracket and reinsert the bow tie clip. Then, loop the belt back over the PTO belt pulley attached to the mower and replace the belt keeper. Reinsert the J hooks by hand and the deck hanger rod with the click pin to attach the deck.

Once the deck has been reattached and secured, it is safe to start up the machine. Reattach the disconnected cable to the battery terminal and reconnect the spark plug wire. features a user-friendly online parts lookup tool. This tool makes it easy to locate parts by diagram or serial number, order, pay and ship the parts that you need to keep your Cub Cadet Riding Mower working all summer long.


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