Category Archives: Tractor

How I almost burned my Simplicity Broadmor tractor down

I got my 16HP Simplicity Broadmor tractor out the other day for another season. As usual, I checked the oil, tires and the battery had discharged some over the Winter so I hooked my portable jump starter to it and fired it up – after a bit of sputtering of course.

I brought it over to my garage and put fresh gas in it plus some Sea Foam cleaner to help get rid of water and junk. I then went to work mowing for the first time this year.

About a half hour into cutting I saw a bit of blue smoke but just figured it was the rings or the valves as the tractor was getting older. I then saw more smoke and thought the Kohler engine was wearing faster than I figured.

I no sooner got done with that thought when a lot of blue smoke started coming out – the blue smoke you get when oil is burning “Shit! Shit! Shit!” went through my mind as I hauled over to the hose, grabbed it and flipped up the tractor cover just in time to see it ignite on the exhaust pipe. Well, I hit it with water and it went out.

In looking at the exhaust pipe, I felt pretty foolish, I knew the engine had a slow oil drip – I didn’t realize it was dripping down on the exhaust pipe where it had coated a ton of dirt and dust that then caked the pipe. In short, it was a fire waiting to happen and it finally did.

So here’s my message to all you owners of old trackers – routinely check your exhaust pipe periodically and see if oily “gunk” is building up and take the time to clean it off. I went to the local Autozone and bought a can of Gunk Engine Degreaser, let it sit and hosed it off a number of times until everything was nice and clean. I went through a full can and most of a second getting it cleaned up.

Behind the red wire for the carb you can see the exhaust pipe and still some of the crud on it.
Gunk Engine Degreaser did a great job. I followed the directions on the can and everything was gone after maybe 3-4 rounds of application and then rinshing off.


I got lucky is the short of it. The fire was small and the hose was very close by. The thing is that it could have all been avoided. Going forward I will keep an eye on the exhaust and not let oily dirt build up. I bought my engine cleaner at Autozone and you also have a ton of options on Amazon.

I hope this helps you out.

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Replacing the Drive Belt On A 1998 Simplicity Broadmor 16HP Tractor

This fall we had a ton of leaves to mulch as usual. This means every week I mow our acre and a half for about two hours at a time. Long ago, I replaced the OEM Simplicity blades with Oregon Gator blades in the tractor’s 44″ mowing deck to help with this. At any rate, I pushed on the parking brake and all of a sudden heard a weird rattling sound so I turned the tractor off expecting to see a branch stuck underneath – no such luck. I started feeling and looking around and the drive belt felt loose and the idler assembly was as far as it could go. I looked closer and could see the cracks in the 21 year old original drive belt. Argh …. it needed a new drive belt and I really didn’t have the time but what are you going to do?

Finding the Belt

Simplicity did me a favor by having a decal under the hood that identified the drive belt part number along with a few other belts:

The top one is the drive belt – the 1717932 part number.

The correct drive belt part number for the tractor is the 1717932. If you look that part number up, it is an 84″ belt with a 4L profile. “4L” means that the top of the V=belt is a 1/2″ wide and from top to bottom, it is 5/16″ tall. The “L” means the belt is for light industrial or lawn & garden use.

Now, one could argue the original belt lasted 21 years so just get the same thing – either an original Simplicity part of a good 4L-84 belt. I tend to like safety margins and when something is a bear to do, I really just want to do it once and not worry about it again for a long time if ever. I have no idea how long the tractor will last – I’m replacing parts like the ignition switch and starter and even more recently torquing the motor mount screws back down. More concerning is that it smokes just a tad after it starts (wearing valve stem seals I bet) and has a slow oil drip (seals). At some point it will die on me but I do hope it is a long way down the road plus a friend pointed out I like tinkering and it gives me something to do – as if I ever have free time anways.

At any rate, let’s get back to the drive belt. All belts deteriorate over time. The question becomes how fast will they break down? There are many factors including the rubbers and fibers used plus the strain placed on the belt. 21 years was really a good run but I wanted to up my game and move to a 4LK belt – the “K” means that that Kevlar fiber is used vs. polyester or whatever.

Ordering The Belt

Once I knew the Simplicity part number, it was easy to do the searching and I found a Kevlar belt on Amazon that I ordered. Amazon’s delivery speed is astounding now – I have Prime, ordered in on 11/21 and receiver it on 11/22! I like Amazon because I can see the ratings and the delivery speed is fantastic.

I did take a bit of a gamble on the D&D PowerDrive belt – it had one good review and one complaint that it was the wrong size. D&D belts get mixed reviews but seem to be more positive than negative so we’ll see. I’ll post updates about how well it lasts because it definitely will be installed correctly.

If you are wondering why I didn’t get a Gates or a Dayton – I tried to go with an easy purchase experience. Hopefully it sorts out in the long run and time will tell.

How to Install the Belt

The installation went pretty well with two notable exceptions that I will cover shortly. I did some digging on the web and found a PDF of what to do that I then converted into a screenshot for you:

My two biggest headaches were unplugging the PTO clutch and then removing the damn cotter pin on the brake rod. For the PTO clutch electric fitting, slide a blade up under the locking tab and then keep working around the block with a small screw driver to try and loosen it up. I suspect that fitting hadn’t been disconnected since the factor and it did not want to come loose. Be careful to pull the fitting apart by focusing your efforts on the plug and the housing – if you pull on the wires, they may pull out. Eventually it did come apart and when I reassembled it, I applied silicone di-electric grease to both seal the connections and ease disassembly in the future.

The hardest step was removing the cotter pin (C) that secures the brake rod (A) onto the brake lever (B) in Figure 42 above. It is an absolute pain in the ass to get to and I had to work blind because I could only get one hand back in there. How they made it a pain was that the closed end of the pin was facing towards the inner rear meaning I could not hook it and pull. What I did was to take and hook the flared ends and pulled them relatively straight. I then shoved one jaw of a pair of needlenose pliers into the eye of the pin. To remove the pin, I then rotated the pliers and wound/curled the pin around the jaws until it was out of the hole. Sheeesh. When I reassembled it later, I put the eye facing the front of the tractor so I can grab and pull it way easier. By the way, I did not use a Dremel to cut out the pin because the plastic reservoir for the transmission oil was too close for comfort.

Before you remove the old belt, pay careful attention to the belt and how it passes around the brake assembly, through the idler assembly and around the arm. The illustration above is pretty good but the devil is in the details and the belt must not rub on anything when reassembled. My tip would be to take a ton of digital photos to refer to. In the old days you had to sketch stuff and the photos are way easier.

Here’s the original bet relative to the brake assembly.
Idler view one
Idler view 2
Clearing the steering arm
The electric PTO clutch
The original belt was in tough shape
The new belt was just a tad bit shorter when I stretched them out side by side with my hands. I learned years ago to confirm the belt as best you can before you install it. I double checked the part number on the bag before I even began just to cut my risk. It sucks to have stuff apart or be in a real awkward position and then find out you have the wrong part.

In Conclusion

Kudos to Simplicity for a good illustration and guide. Re-assembly went smoothly and I then mowed/mulched leaves for two hours including some really thick areas so it passed the first trial by fire. Looking up under the tractor, the belt looks solid – no fraying or cracks. We’ll see how it holds up over time and I’ll report back but so far, so good. I hope this helps you out.

2/12/24 Update: The D&D belt is still working just fine! Click here to go to the Amazon product page for it.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

I thought My 1998 Simplicity 16HP Broadmor Tractor Had Bent A Crank – The Real Problem Was A Surprise!!

We bought our Simplicty 16HP Broadmor tractor back in 1998 mainly because my dad had a Simplicity that he kept running for almost 30 years. So here are in on 2019 and the tractor is starting to show its age plus the dealership is long gone so a lot of self-service and tinkering happens now.

I was mowing leaves a few weeks back on out acre and a half property when I had to turn the tractor off to pick up branches and move stuff around. I went to start it up and immediately heard thud, thud , thud, thud … so I turned the tractor off. Oh crap … the last time I heard a sound like this a car had bent a rod. I immediately checked the oil and it was almost empty.

Now I was really pissed off at myself. I knew it was burning oil but why had I let it get so low? I thought it had a low oil level protection device to stop it running … Needless to say,I was mad and I knew the fault was all mine. It was the worst possible time also – we simply could not afford to replace the tractor.

So, I filled the oil and figured I would run it until it failed. I had to get the leaves done and that’s just what I did. I ran it for another hour and put the tractor away while feeling like an idiot the whole time.

A week later we had a ton more leaves on the ground so I went to get the tractor out of the shed fully expecting it not to start. Much to my surprise, it did start and I made it half way through the yard when I had to turn it off to eat lunch with my wife.

When I went back out I started it up and it was really clanging away and the tractor was really vibrating but the engine sounded good. I turned the engine off and thought about it. I assumed it was a rod because of the low oil but what if that was not the problem?

The exhaust was tight and not rusted out. The oil level was good. So I started it with the top open and put my hand on the engine to feel for vibrations and the thudding stopped …. Holy Crap???? I took my hand off and it started thudding. Put it on and it stopped. I turned the ignition off and found that I could move the engine on the frame!!

I looked under the frame and one motor mount screw was in the hole but loose. Another was cocked in the hole ready to fall out and the other two werre missing. As luck would have it, I found one screw in the yard. Looking at it jogged my memory of a screw I found a few weeks earlier and couldn’t figure out where it came from. To this day I am not sure if I threw the screw out or tossed it somewhere in my shop – I thinkI threw it out.

So, after almost 21 years, the motor mount screws came loose. It never occured to me to check them. Now, here’s what I want to share with you – the screws are M8 diameter x 1.25 pitch x 30mm long. You can find them at hardware stores, etc. The original bolts also have a washer and lockwasher. I bought the replacement and was good to go.

Say hello to Mr. replacement bolt, washer and lock washer. After torquing things down, the tractor was running smooth again. Duh.

The torque spec is 40 foot pounds and if you want to never deal with them again, put a bit of blue loctite on the screws. Note, I would highly recommend that if the engine is hot, let the engine cool down before torquing on aluminum. I’ve watched threads strip on hot aluminum way too many times and have learned to be patient although a floor fan pointing at the engine will help it cool down a lot faster.

When I started the tractor again after replacing the bolt and torquing down all the bolts it was a huge relief to see and hear the tractor operating normally. I figured it was a good story to share.

Moral of the story – don’t assume and check before you jump to a conclusion. I did make a big assumption based on the sound and freaked myself out before I started the process of elimination that I should have started with. I hope this helps you out.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.