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How to Replace Blades on a RZT 54 Cub Cadet

By Jeremy Holt
Thick brush and weeds will dull the blades on the Cub Cadet RZT 54.
grass image by Thomas Quinlan from Fotolia.com

The grass-cutting blades on a Cub Cadet residential zero turn, or RZT, have a 54-inch cutting width. The cutting blades can become dull over time, especially if the area being mowed contains thick plants or weeds. Cub Cadet recommends keeping the blades sharp at all times and sharpening evenly to maintain balance. To sharpen the blades, the cutting deck must be removed; this is a fairly simple and straightforward task.

Deck and Pulley Removal

Park the mower on a level surface. Disengage the power take-off, or PTO, switch located to the right of the seat; turn the engine off and engage the parking brake.

Locate the PTO pulley on the bottom of the engine. Raise or lower the deck with the deck height-control lever to a position where the PTO pulley is level with the idler pulleys on top of the deck.

Pull the idler bracket, located in the center of the deck, backward; this will extend the tension spring and loosen the pulley belt. Lift the belt up and over the idler pulley. Slide the belt off the PTO pulley.

Lower the deck to its lowest setting with the deck height-control lever. Locate the deck support pins to the left and right sides of the deck. Pull the pins out of the deck lift arms.

Raise the deck to its highest position with the deck height-control lever to release the deck lift arms from the hanger brackets.

Slide the deck forward and lift the hanger out of the front deck bracket. Slide the deck backward, then sideways to the right and out from under the mower.

Blade Removal

Flip the deck over.

Place a block of wood between the deck housing and the edge of the blade to prevent the blade from turning.

Turn the nut in the center of the blade counterclockwise with a 5/16-inch open-ended wrench; lift the nut off and remove the blade from the spindle. Repeat this procedure to remove all three blades.

Blade Replacement

Install the new or sharpened blade onto the spindle assembly.

Replace the retaining nut and tighten it to 70 to 90 "ft-lbs" torque with a torque wrench. Repeat this procedure for all three blades.

Flip the deck over. Hold the front deck hanger up and slide the deck under the mower from the right side. Slide the deck forward and place the front deck hanger into the front deck hanger bracket.

Slide the deck backward and lower the deck height-control lever. Align the deck lift arms with the rear deck hanger brackets. Pull the deck support pins outward; then push the pins into the deck hanger bracket on each side of the deck to secure the lift arms.

Deck and Pulley Replacement

Raise the deck to a position where the PTO pulley is level with the deck idler pulleys on top of the deck. Install the belt around the PTO pulley.

Route the belt around the idler pulleys on top of the deck.

Pivot the idler bracket in the center of the deck backward, then slide the belt around the idler bracket. Release the idler bracket to tension the pulley belt.


Things You Will Need

  • 5/16-inch open-ended wrench
  • Block of wood
  • Torque wrench

About the Author


Based in Middletown, Delaware, Jeremy Holt has worked as a writer, copy-editor and proofreader for MBNA Corporation, Rahli Inc. and Kreativz.com. since 1998. Born and educated in the United Kingdom, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Glamorgan.