Hey folks. I just wanted to update this thread.
I spent some time laying on my back and trying to get this spring thingy going. I'm a bit dyslexic in some fashions, and by the time you add bifocals and laying on the back like that, well it just wasn't pretty at all.
I had to use my angle grinder to grind down the QA handle on the ends where the springs went. I would grind some, douse it with water and do a trial fit. Yes, it took more time, but I ended up with a custom fit that was nice and tight too.
Once I finished that part, I replaced the belt on the mower deck, mower blades with Gator Blades and the PTO belt. Yes it took a while - about 3 hours in all, but after taking the Cub Cadet for a test mow, I know it was all worth it.
BTW, the Oregon Gator Blade number for the 44A IH deck is 90-657. They were a perfect fit, and man do they cut some grass!
I want to thank all of you for your help. Bigdog, Paul and Bill. I really appreciate the input as it was a huge advantage for me once I dived into this task.