Craftsman DYT4000 Riding mower overheating

shawncAugust 26, 2009

I have a Craftsman Deck Yard Tractor 4000 20hp.I have had it for four years and I haven't had any problem with it until recently. I had it ideling with the lights on and when I attempted to go forward it shut down. I looked and found that a fuse had burned out. Now when I turn the lights on the fuse immediately burns out. Yesterday it caught on fire. It seems that the crank case in the front was dripping some oil. Not a lot but the tractor heated up and the crank case was on fire and there was oil on the muffler and that caught as well. I put it out it didn't seem to do much damage. I cleaned everything and tightened down the head of that crank case. I topped it off with oil and stared it again. This time I noticed just after about 20 seconds that the tube exhaust where it hooks into the muffler was red hot. Any idea what my problem is? Thanks!

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take the engine shroud sheet metal off and give the engine's cooling fins a thorough cleaning (NOT with water). If there is substantial debris present, check any exposed wiring for insulation damage.
If still more probs, post back with the tractor's 917.xxxxxx model number - same for the engine make/model info.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 3:48PM
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I suspect that the mices have built a nest under
the shroud or flywheel. You might be able to
blow it out with air.
I had a similar problem with an old simplicity 700
when I was trying to start it with starter spray
when a valve was stuck. When it backfired through
the carb and ignited the carb and floor I was
furious in using anything to put it out.

No more starter spray (only carb cleaner).
No more trying to start in the barn.
Always have an extinguisher nearby.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 6:59AM
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I pretty sure that this is my Model Number 917.249890 but I can't find it on any Sears website. The manual states to clean the transaxle and it shows the transaxle parts but doesn't show where it is on the tractor or how to get to it. It looks like the transaxle has a fan but I don't know how to get to it. I can't figure out what the shroud sheet metal is either or how to take it off. That is not listed in my manual either. Any help would be appreciated! It could very well have a mouse nest somewhere. We found a mouse nest in the air filter of my wifes car. All the driving around in the car didn't bother them.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 11:48AM
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You have a serious problem in the wiring as indicated by the fuse blowing too. Unless you are quite handy, or at least able to follow instructions, you may be better off in the long run to let a pro shop tackle the issues you have thus far described. The fact that your opening post refers only to a fire involving the engine, a fuse that continues to blow, and an unknown oil leak, would be OK by itself. But then, in your next post you go off in a completely unrelated tangent to the transaxle. This pretty much tells me that you are not a good candidate for DIY repairs to your tractor, especially when the problems involve the chances of recurring fire on a gasoline fueled machine. You probably better cut your losses to a minimum and leave this to the professionals. This is a lot more complex than you thought it might be. Sorry, but that is my opinion, FWIW

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 12:45PM
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The reason I am asking about the transaxle is that the owners manual states "Transaxle Cooling the transaxle fan and cooling fins should be kept clean to assure proper cooling" I have a problem with overheating and the schematics of the Transaxle shows a fan. I just wanted to know if somebody could tell me how to get to this so I could inspect it. That's not a tangent. I changed the air filter but it also mentions cleaning an air screen but doesn't tell me where that is either.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 3:42PM
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"I pretty sure that this is my Model Number 917.249890 but I can't find it on any Sears website."

I have a list of over 700 917 numbers and none of them start with 917.24xxxx

Look under the seat-

A lean fuel mixture (carb/intake air leak?) or retarded ignition timing (partially sheared flywheel key) can also cause overheating.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 4:16PM
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Thanks I'll look under the seat! Thank you very much!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 4:22PM
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***"I have a problem with overheating and the schematics of the Transaxle shows a fan. I just wanted to know if somebody could tell me how to get to this so I could inspect it. That's not a tangent."***
That is exactly what I was trying to tell you. You haven't a clue. You think your engine is overheating, and yet you are trying to somehow connect the presence of a cooling fan on the transaxle to the supposed overheating of the engine. The cooling fan you seek on the transaxle has absolutely no influence on the cooling of the engine. Here's a hint. The transaxle is the big object that the drive axles emerge from. If any of that means something to you, there is some hope for your plight. If you still don't understand what the transaxle is, you need to seek a professional shop to to the repairs.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 2:01AM
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I never said that I know about this stuff that's why I am asking on this forum. Instead of insulting me you could just answer my question. I did remove the engine shroud last night and cleaned up the cooling fins. The exhaust pipe where it connects into the muffler was still getting red hot after just a couple of minutes of running. I assume that this is not normal. Could somebody just tell me if this is normal or not without insulting me. I got my model number now it's 917.275660
Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 11:09AM
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I only wanted you to take an objective look at your skill level and basic familiarity with mechanical things before you get into something way over your head. If you have managed to removed the shroud, clean the fins, and get the shroud back in place correctly.......we have a base to build on. You must understand that we know nothing about the skill level of a new member, except from what they tell us. Every now and then, someone joins up with the "idea" of DIY repairs to their tractor and it appears that the minimum knowledge, experience, and skills just aren't there. For these folks, it's best to make an attempt at "shocking" them to reality. Sometimes, "giving the benefit of a doubt" is exactly what IS NOT helpful to somebody looking for advice on how to maintain & repair machinery. Kinda like an experienced swimmer leading a non-swimmer into the deep water. Now that we have that behind us, let's cover some basics. Get a digital camera and take plenty of photos of your tractor from all angles, take close-ups, get behind the dash, under the seat, everywhere. These photos will be a life saver later when you need to know where/how something fits. Put these photos into your computer and keep them as long as you own this machine. Every time you do something new or different, take more pictures, make notes and sketches too. You have to build a data base to refer to. You can click the link below and find illustrations that cover your tractor and subsystems. Use the page number and the item # or part # to reference our attention to specific parts or components for the greatest accuracy of dialogue to the forum.
In regard to the exhaust pipe "getting red hot". If the area where you are viewing this phenomenon is dimly lit, or if night has fallen, you may be observing a normal characteristic. Without knowing the conditions under which you are viewing, and without my being able to "see for myself" the intensity of the red heat, I can't say for sure if it is normal or not. If the red color is just a small red spot appearing in a bend or curve in the pipe as it comes from the cylinder head and routes to the muffler, you are probably seeing a normal condition. If the red color involves the entire pipe and carries into the muffler as well, you do have an abnormal condition and this must be diagnosed (along with the oil leak and the electrical short). So, if you want to get your feet wet, let's go! Just watch out for the deep waters. And you might have thought I was insulting you, but I just wanted to get your attention so you would be able to make an informed choice of which direction to take....DIY vs. Pro.

Here is a link that might be useful: 917.275660 owners man

    Bookmark   August 28, 2009 at 12:05PM
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IF you only blow the fuse when turning on the headlights, that narrows that problem down substantially.

It has to be a dead short between (or) the lights and the light switch.

Schematic page 33/60

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 4:00PM
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