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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I bought a used Deluxe 24 (921045) and realized it has an issue as soon as I got it home. Whenever drive is engaged it makes a clunking noise. I took the bottom panel off and found that the friction wheel is always engaged with the drive plate/pully. I pulled the belt cover and found that the drive plate wasn't fully retracting and hitting the stop bolt. It looks like the drive belt tensioner is coming into contact with the drive plate/pully and not allowing it to fully retract. I'm assuming this is because the drive belt has stretched or was defective.

This looks like it could be fixed with a new drive belt but i'm confused how that could have stretched in the first place. Is there anything else I should check before I replace just the belt?

Thanks!
 

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Yesterday I bought a used Deluxe 24 (921045) and realized it has an issue as soon as I got it home. Whenever drive is engaged it makes a clunking noise. I took the bottom panel off and found that the friction wheel is always engaged with the drive plate/pully. I pulled the belt cover and found that the drive plate wasn't fully retracting and hitting the stop bolt. It looks like the drive belt tensioner is coming into contact with the drive plate/pully and not allowing it to fully retract. I'm assuming this is because the drive belt has stretched or was defective.

This looks like it could be fixed with a new drive belt but i'm confused how that could have stretched in the first place. Is there anything else I should check before I replace just the belt?

Thanks!
I installed a new drive belt, which isn't stretching as much (it is shorter in length). Since then, I am having the same problem that you have. It must be the belt that is causing it. As we all know, the two pulleys don't align with each other very well when drive is not engaged. On some Ariens models, it can cause the drive belt to slip out. The problem here is that, with the stiffer belt that I have and the pulleys misalignment, it can prevent the drive plate from retracting fully. The fix for me is to have a stiffer spring to pull the drive plate/pulley back. I haven't looked into other solutions, yet, but I sure will figure it out.

I will do some changes to minimize the pulleys misalignment (2-3 millimeters space between the drive plate and friction disc only). Mine didn't seem to misaligned that much in comparison with the ones that I saw, so it is not a huge problem for me.
 

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On Ariens, its best to use OEM belts. They use some strange sizes, that will not match with standard belts. Is the tensioner cable too loose?
Nah, universal belts work fines if you know what to look for. I don't like to pay extra for nothing. You are right about them using strange sizes. If I remember correctly, they listed the drive belt 35", but it was longer than that. It might even be 36" and also wider than the belt I got. Despite of the differences, it still work fine for me. It is not as critical as the auger belts.
 

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I don't have one of those models, but that spring does not look right, and appears to be way to close to the pully?

I would be looking at the return spring for the drive plate, or an adjustment for the control lever of that plate. Or possibly something broke or is missing?
 

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Second and third pictures, he had no belt on that is why it is so close to the drive plate pulley. The belt tensioner spring looks right to me. There is a tiny spring hooked to the side of the frame to pull the drive plate back. Yes, it is tiny and rusted. It wasn't strong enough to pull the drive plate all the way back on my machine when I installed a new belt.

You are kidding me. Belts do stretch a lot, that is why we replace them. I use Kevlar corded belts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I found the issue and it was a weird one. I installed the new belt and the tensioner was still rubbing so I split the unit in two and found the issue right away. On the shaft that supports the drive pulley there are two clips to keep it in place. They had fallen out so the pulley slid on the shaft and was rubbing. I pulled the pulley back into position on the shaft and reinstalled the clips. Now there is plenty of room.

How those clips fell out is beyond me.
 

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Good job ……

Usually, as you have done, you will find with a little detective work and common sense, just about every issue on these machines is pretty simple and straight forward.

These units are for the most part, pretty well designed, and they do try to keep them basic. I will admit though, there are some designs I think were put through on a Friday, 30 minutes before quitting time …. :)
 
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