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School me on "varidrive"


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#1 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2016 - 07:13 PM

I just picked up a MTD "tradesman" 2050 for free, its complete but not running, but it should with some TLC.

It has a 7sp with a hi/lo range, from what ive read this is called "varidrive" and uses a spring loaded pulley....is this correct?

Ive also read its garbage...so im trying to find out what issues to look for as well as resoulutions. I never even heard of varidrive till i got this thing.

#2 jms180 ONLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2016 - 07:28 PM

I haven't seen a varidrive with a high low correct me if I am wrong please. here is a video of how a varidrive works. I do know those two belts are a pain to put on

https://www.youtube....h?v=KFar2Ez10Wk


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#3 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2016 - 07:39 PM

Thank you for the video. I havent crawled under the thing yet to see if it is indeed varidrive, just from what ive read thats what these tractors were equipped with.

#4 Eric OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2016 - 10:14 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but is this kind of like what was used in old snowmobiles? I built a four wheeler with a centrifugal clutch ran to a Jackshaft with a snowmobile pulley on the other side to the rear, the faster the motor turned the faster the pulley ratio became. I never got it up to full throttle as it became very dangerous, but it had wheel torque while slow. Loved that thing!
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#5 Tecumseh power ONLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 06:01 AM

That's kinda how they work yes.
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#6 Tecumseh power ONLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 06:04 AM

Most of all your shift on the go lawn mowers . Are the same setup just a different name. And fixed slots in the fender for "gears" instead of a vari-drive lever.
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#7 MolonLabe OFFLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 06:17 AM

They are really a pretty good drive system, older JD 1XX and 2XX used a "Variator" same as the Massey Variable Drive. The big difference is the Peerless 4 speed transmissions the variable drives connected to compared to the forward-reverse only on the MTD. My old MF-10 has a ton of hours on it and the variable drive has never been an issue.


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#8 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 07:32 AM

Mines got 7 speeds on the fender and a seperate hi-lo lever, not just forward and reverse.

Guess its time to learn new things! lol

#9 tater195 ONLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 08:14 AM

The biggest problem with those it when they have been setting for a long time the variable pulley gets rusty and wont move, the needle bearings crust up and wont turn and rust on the pulley where the belt rubs will chew up the belts. Replacement parts prices have a big range. from $40 to $140 depending on part number. When they work they work good, when they dont , they are a pain in the a$$.

I had one on a hot rod drag mower. You could pull up next to a guy that had a mild pulley swap and mash it and pull the front wheels as you pass him


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#10 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 08:28 AM

Im pretty sure mine has sat a while, luckly it looks like the pulley setups are avaliable if need be.

What about the belts? I read they use a special kind of belt?

#11 tater195 ONLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2016 - 08:37 AM

Standard size belts, but they can be a pain in the a$$ to change. the fender pan may need to be removed if the battery is not under the seat. If the battery is under the seat and it has the pull out battery holder, you can get an arm down the hole to work on the belts



#12 Bob E ONLINE  

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Posted October 24, 2016 - 09:34 PM

MTD's garden tractors got the benefit of a low range while their lawn tractors only had a single speed transaxle. I like the vari drive, it's my favorite set up for mowing. Smooth, simple, and tough enough to outlast most of the hydros. I think a lot of people love to hate it because they probably had one and put cheap v belts on it. MTD drive belts are a different shape than normal v belts and they are reinforced with kevlar. Even more expensive belts aren't any better. A few years ago I bought a different brand that was supposed to be better. Well, they were reinforcement with polyester instead of kevlar. Polyester shrinks when it gets hot. These belts would shrink so much the clutch/brake could no longer disengage the drive belt. I had to set the belt tension so loose the tractor would hardly move when I started it. Then by the time I got done mowing my lawn the tractor would be creeping through the clutch/brake.


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