Uh oh! Little problem with Wally

Had a little problem with Wally yesterday morning…

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Was pushing snow, sitting on the nice warm cushy seat, pushed in the clutch and “SPANG!” I heard a noise even over the sound of the engine! And suddenly my clutch won’t return… And i’m down to 2 speeds… Slow and Stop!

Found the above spring lying on the ground when I came back around….

Uh oh!

Time to hit JD Parts and phone Mother Deere!

$13 bucks overnight according to Deere, then I’ll be back in business…  Guess I can’t expect a 57 year old spring to last forever!

I had the replacement spring by 9:15 this morning…

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Interesting… same PN as the original, looks like they’ve gone with a newer design. I can understand why, it makes for a more rugged hook end and less chance for metal fatigue at the very end of the coil (which is where the original one broke, and where the bulk of the stress would be I imagine).
I got out tonight after LTBabe tucked in and Kidlet #1 was doing homework, to put the new spring on.  I had been worried about how the heck to pull this massive spring back 6 inches into a confined spot, but I figured…. Just had to think smarter, not harder!

First, I thought, I’d fish a line through the back of the tractor…

Then pull a winch strap through…

and hook the winch strap up to the spring…

and just winch the spring back.

The fatal flaw in THIS plan was that the winch strap hook was too big to fit past the neutral start switch bracket and wouldn’t come far enough back or get close enough to the mount point for the hook… Okay, plan B… pull the seat, the shifter quadrant and the lights off, then run the winch strap down through the shifter hole…

then hook on to the spring and pull it back to the mount point. Unfortunately, THAT was a bad idea too, again because the hook was too big to fit horizontally out the hole past the neutral start bracket, and by the time I got it that far back there was NO way to shift the hook at all, the tension was so tight on it… So, some way to get a thinner pull on the spring…

How about doubling back with the winch strap, and

hooking the STRAP itself to the spring!

Oh my goodness did THAT ever work slickly! I was able to pull the hook RIGHT into the mounting hole, AND let the tension off the strap without destroying everything!

A perfect bullseye! And, I’m happy to report, Wally’s variator functions perfectly now! He even shifts better, I think! By the time I was done strapping everything back together, however, it was 10:30 PM, so no chance to go out and push snow tonight!

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