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  • strong spring install?

    My father-in-law, a very smart 74-year-old retired Boeing mechanical engineer, has a small Kubota tractor which he uses on his 5 acre lot on Cougar Mountain east of Seattle. The attachment he uses most is a mower. The mower has a very long serpentine belt which is expensive to replace. The belt is tensioned by an idler pulley which is forced into tension by a spring. The manufacturer recommends detensioning the belt in the winter, to keep it from stretching and prolong the life.

    His problem is that the spring is a real bear to get back on. The spring is quite stiff, and the end needs to be pulled out about 5" and slipped over a small hook. I was up there today for Mother's Day and clamped some Vise-Grips on the spring ring end and pulled as hard as I could and I myself could only stretch it about halfway. So I'm hoping the wisdom of this group can be applied to this problem.

    Here's a pic:



    Here are some of the ideas we considered and then rejected:

    just leave the spring hooked on all the time once he gets it on
    replace the spring with a longer one
    longer spring but with a cogged belt and make new pulleys

    In the end it seems what he needs is just some tool to install the spring.

    Any ideas?

    metalmagpie

  • #2
    Can you hook a turnbucle someplace past where the spring has to end up?
    "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
    world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
    country, in easy stages."
    ~ James Madison

    Comment


    • #3
      Or get a stronger son in law,
      "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
      world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
      country, in easy stages."
      ~ James Madison

      Comment


      • #4
        Spring tension

        It is hard to see where it attaches but can you use a chain and pry bar beyond the retention point? The chain may have to stay with the spring.

        Comment


        • #5
          Make up a set of pliers similar to a brake spring plier.
          All it would take is two pieces of steel with a bolt placed so that you had the desired travel, 5 1/2"-6".

          Grind hooks on each end, one to hook onto the spring, the other hook could be placed into one of the holes of the pulley in the right side side of your photo.
          Leave enough length on the handle end of the pliers to give yourself a comfortable amount of leverage. If too long you can always shorten them later.
          Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
          Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

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          • #6
            I think the hook is between 9" & 10" above the tape.
            "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
            world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
            country, in easy stages."
            ~ James Madison

            Comment


            • #7
              You have a 4 inch gap. Do you need to completely remove the tension, or just mostly?

              I'm thinking a cam action lever could be used to remove some of the tension.

              Dan
              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would consider useing a stronger shorter spring & leaving the turnbuckle in place. Just buy a good turnbucle & safety wire it & in the fall unscrew it to take off the pressure but leave it attached so he could do it himself.
                "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                country, in easy stages."
                ~ James Madison

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you have a spring shop in your area, ask them for a piece of chrome sil scrap that is a bit over the wire size of your spring, and a couple feel long. Bend a nice tight radius on one end to hook the spring and form a handle on the other end. It makes a perfect tool for pulling on springs. I have made loops of small wire or cable and then once the spring is seated, open the loop and remove the wire.

                  Another option would be to bore a hole beyond the hole for the spring and use a bar to load the tension then slide the spring down the bar to its home.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by high country
                    Another option would be to bore a hole beyond the hole for the spring and
                    use a bar to load the tension then slide the spring down the bar to its home.
                    I agree in principal.
                    “Give me a place to stand, a lever long enough and a fulcrum
                    and I can move the Earth”

                    ― Archimedes
                    However, I suspect that the L-shaped tab on the deck is the target, rather
                    than the hole and I vote against an apparatus that requires sliding the
                    hook end of the spring along the lever.

                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would tend to think about leaving the spring hooked up, and instead use some leverage of some kind to pull back on the pulley about 1/2 inch or so. The lever would be inserted through a steel loop on the pulley carrier, then into a hole in the deck, then pushed down on and held in place with a bolt into a drilled and tapped hole. When mowing season is here, remove the lever and put in a safe place where you can find it again.
                      I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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                      • #12
                        Looks to me like you are trying to tension the belt as you hook up the spring, if so, take the belt off that pulley on the left in the pic and use your visegrips to hook the spring as before, should not have to pull it near as far. when you get that done start the belt on the pulley and roll it on, make sure the disengage lever or pedal is in the position to let the belt idle.
                        James

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                        • #13
                          I have changed the belts on those. Don't remove the spring. Belts do not stretch.

                          But, to get it back on take the belt off one of the pulleys and reconnect the spring, then roll the belt on the pulley.

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                          • #14
                            Use the principle of a fence strainer (with chain included).

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                            • #15
                              If any of your neighbor's have bought a trampoline, in the ones here, the toolkit with them comes a tee shaped tool with a hook at the end for putting the springs around the edge of the mat under pre-tension.
                              I snagged the one from my kids trampoline kit when it arrived, and its incredibly useful for this job, much much better than mole grips etc. Sidestand and mainstand springs on motorbikes, industrial mower kit etc. The hook seems shaped so you can get it off once its round the post too. You could make your own up trivially also. It's something I just never bothered to make in the past, and just got by with vice grips or levers onto nearby holes etc, but now I have it I find I reach for it every time I have to deal with a spring.

                              With one of these you would find it easy to get that spring on. There's also the old method of filling the space between each coil with a washer to extend it while bending it to create clearance first one side then the other progressively, then removing the washers once its in place.

                              Probably a combo would be best, spring puller with the belt off the pulley then walk the belt back on against spring pressure and let your pulleys provide the final mechanical advantage.

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