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craftsman lawn tractor problems

Posted by lawntrouble 6 - Long Island, NY (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 12, 10 at 13:19

Hello everyone -

I am new here, so please forgive me if my questions are not posed correctly. I have a Sears Craftsman ride-on (apologies that I do not know the exact ID#/type, but its a standard ride-on, 42 inch deck, B & S engine I believe) - it is about 3 years old only.

No major problems until this season - about 4 weeks ago it just died on me. Was mowing fine, finished the lawn, went to get off to close my fence, and it died. I tried all that I could think of to trouble-shoot - and my knowledge of such things is limited, I will admit. I changed the battery and spark plug, changed the ignition switch, checked all the connections, etc. Finally gave up. Sears sends out this jerk to fix it - he was useless, basically jump started the battery, and apparently (I was at work, my wife was home) it started, he drove it around the yard once, parked it, turned it off, and promptly charged us $200. I got home, sat down on the tractor, and it would barely start- was trying to turn over, struggled a lot, then finally did start up weakly - but then once it started up, it wouldn't move! Would not move forward nor backward, and this had never been a problem for me. Called Sears back, they send someone else out - he tells my wife that I had a bad battery (even though I just purchased it like a week before) AND, confirming my worst fears, says my transmission is dying and will need to be fixed (for 450-500$). He changes the battery, and now it starts right up, and DOES move when put into gear (automatic tranny not a manual) BUT, and this is my reason for writing today, when I try to move the tractor forward, there is a significant hesitation - its like it wont go, it wont go, it wont go, and then all of a sudden - bam! - it kicks forward into gear, nearly throwing me off the tractor. Then it rides fine, but after I slow it down again and then try to move forward, same thing - wont go, wont go, and then BAM! kicks in and jolts foward. I almost have to push the gear shift all the way forward before it kicks in. I am concerned the Sears guy might be right and I will need to replace the tranny - but before I did I wanted to check with this forum to see if anyone had other thoughts, or if there is some relatively easy fix for this that I could do. I know I might be having to bite the bullet, but its worth a try. This forum is always a big help.

Many thanks in advance for any ideas/tips that you can provide me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

Lift up your tilting seat. Look around in there for a plate/decal with the full (917.xxxxxxxx) Sears tractor model number - post back here with that number so we can determine exactly what sort of tranny is in that machine.


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

"Then it rides fine, but after I slow it down again and then try to move forward, same thing - wont go, wont go, and then BAM! kicks in and jolts foward." A sticking brake arm can cause this condition, though most folks on a hydro use the lever only to slow down. Does this do it consistantly after releasing the brake? It may be worth a look anyways.


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

I have a Craftsman DYT4000 lawn tractor, Model# 917-28936. I am trying to locate the fuse on it. Manual says behind the dash, but after searching with 3 other people, I can not locate the fuse. The manual does not have a diagram of it's location. Help!!


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

jerry mac - best to start your own thread - see forum instructions for doing so. It gets confusing with several different posters and issues in the same thread..


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

"Lift up your tilting seat. Look around in there for a plate/decal with the full (917.xxxxxxxx) Sears tractor model number - post back here with that number so we can determine exactly what sort of tranny is in that machine."
- thanks for offering your help - the model number is
917.28708, its a 20 HP, 42", auto tranny

"A sticking brake arm can cause this condition, though most folks on a hydro use the lever only to slow down. Does this do it consistantly after releasing the brake? It may be worth a look anyways."
-it does this throughout movement, as soon as I get it out of the shed - I back out, and as soon as I try to move forward, it happens - and continues throughout mowing. Becoming very difficult to use this way. Can you tell me how to check if it is this "sticking brake arm" and how/where I can find this to check it??

thank you all again.


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

We are not trying to run you through an obstacle course..........but that model number is not valid.
A valid Sears model number has at least 6 digits that follow after the 917. prefix.


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

"We are not trying to run you through an obstacle course..........but that model number is not valid.
A valid Sears model number has at least 6 digits that follow after the 917. prefix."
- with respect, this IS, in fact, the correct number - please refer to the following url for the "tractor blue book" web site which verifies this as the valid number - I purchased this tractor in 2007:

http://groundsequipmentbluebook.com/Tools/EBB/Value/18576


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

OK LT, sorry about that. I see that it is one of those Sears anomalies that they switched to a 5 digit model number.
Click the link below and then, put in that model number and you will see why I thought the Sears site was telling me I had to pick between two 6 digit model numbers, neither of which was the number you posted.
But I went back to the site and I did click both numbers that were offered.
The model listed as 917.287080 broght forth an owner's manual that actually had "917.28708" printed on the cover.
But alas, the manual turns out to be the bi-lingual version instead of a manual with usable information.
Once again, sorry about the mix-up. :^(

Here is a link that might be useful: searsdirect


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

lawntrouble - picking up on tomplum's brake arm comment - there's only one "brake" on the machine called the park brake. It's located on the side of your auto transmission - consisting of a external disc and caliper with pucks. When you push your clutch/brake foot pedal fully down, first the ground drive belt is disengaged ad then the little disc brake is activated.
Sometimes, that little disc brake can get corroded/trashed up to where the disc brake will not release by itself...and prevents the transmission from operating smoothly. Find the brake and then make sure it is not sticking. ENGINE OFF AND BE CAREFUL UP UNDER THERE. You may have to take off the mower deck and have an assistant operate the clutch/brake pedal while you are observing the little disc brake mechanism itself for correct movement. If dirty/corroded, apply brake cleaner that comes in the aerosol spray can to get it clean and working. If the brake linkage needs adjusting, refer to the procedure for such in your manual.
(BTW, that manual that mownie chased down for you is indeed bilingual - BUT contains a complete english version. Get a copy if you do not have one now.)
There can be several root causes to the type of prob you have (and possibly some others caused by those "repairmen" from sears)... some simple things to check:
1) make sure that the tranny freewheel control rod is fully pushed in (not hung partially out). It's located on the back frame lower left.
2) If either/both of the rear wheels have been taken off recently, make sure that both axle hub keys are correctly assembled.

Hope all this might help. Post back with results/comments.


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

I got one for you. Craftsman 16hp ohv, under load it will run for 30min and shut down, 5min cool off starts and runs for 30min. New coil,plug venting gas ok valvs adjusted,new head gasket


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RE: craftsman lawn tractor problems

bently02 - best to start a new thread. see opening webpage for doing such.


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