Craftsman 17hp mower, blades won't stop spinning

b1gr00sterOctober 20, 2008

My Craftsman LT2000 Kohler 17hp riding mower has a strange problem. When the cutting blades are disengaged they keep spinning, gradually slowing down but taking a long time. Very unsafe! Just started doing this. I've had the mower about 4 years now. If I throttle all the way down, the blades stop spinning as they should but I've never had to do this before.

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I've got 500+ Sears owners manuals, but Sears isn't astute enough to put LT2000 etc. on the manual.
What's the Sears 917.xxxxxx number so we can figure out if it has an electric PTO etc.

The only manuals I have that I've marked LT2000 AND Kohler are 20 HP engines.

That said, I have 9 manuals for tractors that have 17 HP Kohlers.
ALL of them have an alternator ENGINE brake that would slow the ENGINE down, but I don't see how it would affect the deck speed when you disengage that.
They ALL have 3 OPR's, aka Operator Presence Relays.
OPR #2 controlls the engine braking.
They are Bosch Relays that look something like this-
Available at auto parts & car stereo stores among others.

IF 1 of the 3 "looks" heavier duty, that would probably be #2.
Also check the connector and look for burnt terminals.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 5:32AM
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Better check the disconnect sequence. might have a sticky lever that isn't letting go quickly enough.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 11:12AM
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I have the same problem with my craftsman 5000 GT. The electomagnetic clutch clicks and moves. I took the clutch assembly off, took it a part, cleaned and adjusted it. Same old problem, blades will not dissengage.I am going to trace the wiring and swiches next. Anyone have any welcome tips on this matter? Happy Gardening

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 2:19PM
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Correct me if I am mistaken, but the electric PTO not only engages the deck drive belt but it also acts as a blade brake when disengaged. it could be that that particular feature of it is worn out. AND, and this may be a little retarded, make sure your tensioned idler pulley on the deck is doing it's job. The plate it pivots on could be a bit jammed up. If the belt is loose enough it could allow those spindles to spin down freely.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 2:37PM
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As I mentioned in my second sentence-
"What's the Sears 917.xxxxxx number...."

Some GT5000's use a separate relay to complete the ground circuit to the electric clutch, and some don't! Example, 917.276012 vs 917.276011. ONLY ONE number apart!

Without the proper schematic, who knows if your tractor may be one of these? If it is, it could be that the relay carries enough current to "try" to engage the clutch, but not enough to complete the task.
Did you connect 12V directly to the clutch leads, bypassing ALL switches & grounds?
Did you check the clutch "coil" for proper resistance and current draw?

Here's a "generic" troubleshooting manual-

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 2:56PM
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None of the 9 manuals I looked at last night showed an electric PTO-

That's why the 917 numbers are important.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 3:06PM
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Amazing, here's a guy who knows his stuff practically begging you to give him needed info so he can help you and you just keep stumbling around.

I won't ask for number more than once.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 9:40PM
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I gotcha Bill. I agree totally with getting the Sears number, however, the guy who started this thread has yet to respond at all. It's quite possible that it's already fixed but he hasn't bothered to repost and let us know.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 8:47AM
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Some mowers in the past had brakes attached to the steps, that contacted the spinning blade pulleys when the handle was pulled all the way back, and if they got worn down, they wouldn't stop the spinning pulleys, and would make a grinding noise.
I'm not sure if your mower has this feature, as it seemed to be discontinued a few years back, and wasn't used on some machines at all.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I'm sorry for not following up sooner, have been out of town on a job and did not have internet access (not much fun). Thank you all for your responses, I will locate the Sears part number and let you know soon. I really don't want to have a mechanic look at this as it seems like something I can tackle myself.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 12:44AM
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I have the SAME issue - my LT2000 is model 917.273770 I've tried to lubricate the clutch. It seems like when i disengage the wire doesn't get pulled back like it used to. This started to happen about 3 weeks ago and is driving me nuts. My way around it for now is the disengage then turn off the mower - when its started back up the blades are off. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:39PM
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Craftsman Koler 17.0 Model#917.273135. I changed the mower belt and now the blades will free spin after i disengaged the clutch,stopping eventually

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 10:21AM
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Allthumbs, this seems to be a rather common occurence on this family of Craftsman LTs.
The Craftsman Owner's Manuals just barely mention that a "Blade brake" might be featured and even at that I find only one clue alluding to a blade brake. That clue being found on page 47 is item #142, dyslexically described "Arm Spring Brake Mower" (Mower brake spring arm, for those that don't spell or read backward).
The OMs are also no help in determining how the blade brake mechanism operates.
Could you possibly take some pictures of the idler pulleys from a couple of feet away (and from different angles) and either post them here, or send them to me in an e-mail.
It would also help if you could take shots with the blade lever in the engaged mode, and also with it disengaged, so I can see the relative change of position of the mechanism. DO NOT run the engine for the pictures, just move the engaging lever. I would appreciate if you can do this because I'm sure the issue will surface again for another owner.
If you can't do this, perhaps another member who owns one of these LTs can accomplish getting some pics posted or sent to me in e-mail.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 11:30AM
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thank you for the quick response. I will use the info you have given me and try to make it work. Pictures are not an option I'm sorry to say.
thanks again

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Commonly the return spring that hooks from the idler cam to a slot near the front of the deck turn up missing. Sometimes The idler cam itself develops wear and binds on returns where it rolls against the above mentioned brake arms. Try holding 1 arm slightly away from the cam, then the other and see if the arm action improves. Of course- this are must be free of debris and must work freely.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 11:09PM
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I have an LT2000 and had the trouble as well. All it was was a spring that was missing on the top of the deck which operates a pulley. That's the best detail I can give as I'm not a pro at all the parts.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 1:22AM
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Yep. those springs get rusty and soon lose their springy state. I have found a good spring supply at the Trader Horn's stores, in this area of W. PA. And, while on the subject of mower decks, a man told me to check the mower deck on his tractor that i am doing some other work on. He said that the outlet brace on his machine was bent in, and kept the grass from blowing out of the opening! HUH???
So, after i got the brace back in the correct shape, i noticed that the blade was on up-side down! No wonder it didn't throw clippings out! Instead of cutting the grass, it was putting it back on the stems,
or something---?? ;0)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:19PM
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