I have a John Deere LX188 and had a bit of a grass fire which destroyed the secondary deck belt.

I put a new belt on, and as soon as I engage the deck it starts burning rubber and smoking. When I shut it off the pulley that you see in the pic is blazing hot. That's where it's happening but I can't figure out why.

I took the belt off and it's rotating freely.

Any help is appreciated on what to do next.

enter image description here

  • Is everything else rotating freely? What caused the grass fire? Blade bearings in good shape? – JPhi1618 Aug 23 '19 at 19:51
  • Yes all is rotating freely. Granted it sounds like bearings are getting worn out here and there but not that bad. Lack of maintenance on my part for the grass fire. Too much got packed up in and around the belt and friction did its thing. Maybe when it's engaged it's pulling something just enough to lock up that one pulley? For it to get that hot it's making me think the belt is dragging over it and it's not rotating. – user1447679 Aug 23 '19 at 19:54
  • Right, that's what I was getting at, and JACK's answer is what I was going to say (and what you said). Probably binds up under tension. Check the other pulleys to see if they are hot as well to make sure that's really the binder (but probably is). – JPhi1618 Aug 23 '19 at 19:55
  • tell you what's a pain is trying to read these diagrams to see which part I actually need to order. Any of you awesome people care to help me find it? – user1447679 Aug 23 '19 at 20:51
  • I found one diagram that said it is a "secondary drive belt idler sheave" but they didn't list a part number. Hope this helps. – JACK Aug 23 '19 at 22:52

It's rotating free because there's no tension on it. It will probably seize up a bit under load. The bearings are probably shot maybe due to the grass fire burning the grease seals. try replacing that pulley.


You need to actually unbolt it off the mower and inspect it on the bench. The problem will become apparent.

I don't recommend this casually for any part, but in this case, a serious problem was directly observed.

There's a 90% chance you'll be replacing this part anyway, so it's not even an inconvenience.

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