How to Replace a Deck Belt on a Cub Cadet Zero-Turn Mower

Cub Cadet RZTThe deck belt is an essential part of the drive system on belt driven Cub Cadet riding mowers. The deck belt provides a strong and stable connection between the PTO system and the blades, ensuring that the machine operates efficiently. Deck belts stretch and crack over time, reducing the machine’s effectiveness. Periodically inspect your deck belt to ensure that your engine efficiently transfers its power to the blades with a minimum of noise and slippage. If the belt appears to be worn, it may be time to replace it.

Necessary Equipment

Replacing the deck belt requires few tools, as most of the steps can be performed by hand. However, a few tools are necessary to remove screws and bolts. Owners will need a socket set and a screwdriver set to remove the PTO belt and the deck belt. Beyond that, owners will only need the replacement belt. Replacing the deck belt is also an excellent time to perform other maintenance. Owners may wish to consider inspecting or replacing the PTO belt, spark plugs, blades or other components while the deck is free.

Replacing those components while the deck is free, will save owners the trouble of having to free the deck again later. Inspecting those components can identify upcoming issues before they reduce the mower’s productivity.

Safety Precautions

Safety begins with a safe work environment. The mower should be on a flat, level surface with plenty of space around it for the operator to move. The mower will require several square feet on the right side, as the operator must slide out the deck to replace the deck belt. The ground should be dry and free of debris. Engage the mower’s parking brake before performing any maintenance.If a level work area is unavailable, add wheel chocks to the mower to prevent it from moving in the event that the parking brake fails.

Replacing the deck belt involves working around the drive system of the mower. As a result, ensuring that the mower does not inadvertently start is very important. Before performing any maintenance, shut off the mower and remove the ignition key. Allow the engine to cool before doing anything else. Then, raise the engine cover and disconnect the spark plugs.


The first step is to remove the PTO belt. Start by disengaging the PTO button and setting the deck height to its lowest position. Depending upon your models, you may release the idler pulley tension lever by hand to remove the belt keeper and slide off the PTO belt. If a belt keeper is present, unscrew it from the sides of the machine and slide it down to free the belt for removal.

Once the PTO belt has been removed, the next step is to free the deck. Pull the J-hooks on both sides of the machine to free the deck from the deck hanger brackets. Raise the deck back to its highest position. Remove the front lift rod by sliding the deck forward and the front lift rod up at the same time.

Now, it is time to slide out the deck from underneath the mower. Turn the wheels all the way to the right and slide the deck out to the right side of the mower as far as possible. When the deck cannot slide any more, turn the wheels to the left to provide clearance to the deck out entirely. Slide out the deck from beneath the mower.

It is now time to remove the belt. Unscrew the belt coverings from the outer pulleys and remove them. Note how the belt is routed. Release the tension on the idler arm by pulling on it and remove the belt from the right idler pulley. Unscrew the left silver idler pulley to loosen the belt. The belt will now be freed.

Install the new belt by replacing the old belt, routing it in the same manner as the old belt. Fasten the left idler pulley to tighten the belt and ensure that the belt is routed over the right idler pulley. Depress the tension arm to free the belt for routing. Perform a visual inspection to ensure that the belt is mounted correctly on all pulleys.

Then, reattach the covers on the outer pulleys. Perform the preceding steps in reverse order to reassemble the machine. Slide the deck back under the machine, first with the wheels turned left and then turning the wheels to the right. Reattach the front lift rod and lower the deck to its lowest position. Reinsert the J-hooks and replace the PTO belt.

Where to Purchase Parts

When buying new belts, blades, spark plugs, or any other replacement parts, owners should always purchase factory original equipment. Original equipment replacement parts meet the stringent quality standards set by the equipment manufacturer. Buying such parts ensures that users do not receive a belt that is too thin to handle the stresses of mowing or blades that are too soft to withstand the same stresses. carries a full line of OEM Replacement Parts for Cub Cadet riding mowers. Users can locate the correct parts for their machine by entering their specific model into the site’s parts lookup tool, which will bring up diagrams and parts lists for their equipment. This allows users to obtain the correct parts for their machine without having to compare part numbers and compatibility charts.

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