Return to the Tractors Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Posted by brokentractor (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 1, 06 at 16:50

Hello - I have a 10 year old Sears 18.5 hp GT model 917.251481. Two weeks ago the mower deck quit working. I saw that the electric clutch was not turning when the switch was on. After trying to adjust, I ordered a new clutch ($200.00). Installed that and still no action. Talked with several people and ended up replacing the PTO switch and the switch that senses the brake/clutch. Still nothing. I disconnected the seat switch cable and tried shorting that with a paper clip (just to see if that was the problem - bty engine starts even with this cable disconnected?) --- No luck. Please, anyone with an idea (my wife is ready to kill me).


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

A wiring diagram and a test light are needed. If you don't have the wiring diagram, use a test light, start at the clutch and work your way back checking for current at each switch/connector. It maybe the ignition switch, there should be one terminal on it that feeds 12v to the clutch curcuit.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

brokentractor, go to sears.com and pull up their parts diagram.You will find a electric diagram. Did you check the item# 26 a fuse and item# 29 a switch plunger. Like butchs hoppy said you will need a voit meter to help find the missing current flow, HTH.

Dan


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Checked the fuse - its good (wont start at all without it). #29 is the seat switch and its good (engine quits when trans clutch released if not seated). I will get a tester tomorrow to trace back from electric clutch. Another really strange symptom is that if I try to start the tractor with the PTO switch engaged, the engine does not start (as it should not) but I hear a click from the electric clutch indicating that it is receiving voltage.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Any little black Relays in the system? Jump 12 volts from the battery to the elec clutch and crank the enigne BUT DO NOOT START IT. Blades shoudl turn.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have the belt from the deck disconnected while I diagnose the problem. I can jump from the battery to the clutch and it spins when connected - why did you say dont start the engine???


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Well - I found the problem --- Replaced the ignition switch and all is well. Surprised that it still worked enough to start and run the tractor - just no power from the ignition switch to the PTO switch. Now that I replaced everything electric (including a $200.00 clutch), the mower deck runs.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

brokentractor, been there and done that, that's why they call us back yard mechanics, some times we spend more, some time less but we do learn a lesson or two, worth the experience especially when we find the problem and fix it, so where broke after words, but it's worth it in the long run, we can brag about the experience and call ourselfs tractor mechanics, in one form or another. Glad you found the problem, your on your way to finding more problems and fixing them also.

Dan


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Had to replace the deck on Craftsman 42" 917.252521 riding mower because of rust. Now the blades will not engage or disengage. Can't seem to get the belt (not replaced) at the tension level needed for engagement. Have adjusted the trunnion several times. What else could be the problem? HELP!


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Hey Broken tractor... I just posted about my Craftsman tractor and the clutch that only engages about 10 sec at a time. Hoping it's a switch. Do you still have your old used clutch? I wonder if it's compatible with mine. model 917.251492 If it is would you mind selling it cheaply? I have a couple acres to mow before next weekend... its graduation party time...

Thanks, June toy4x4s@aol.com


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Electrical problems are a pain to trace out. Pretty much all you can do is replace stuff till it works.
Joeew - replace the belt. It sounds too long ( either stretched too much from age or slips) - Id look up numbers for the replacement decks original belt ( it could use different pulleys on the deck or engine pulley, hence the tension issue) . Or easier way, use a piece of small rope, follow the belt pattern, and tie it where its tight at mowing hieght, match it up at parts store. Another quick question : is the belt following the correct belt path? Meybe you have it looped the wrong way by accident?
Kidd


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Repair shop here told me a bit higher price for a PTO. Closer to 300.00. Maybe that was installed, but I think not. I too have replaced wrong parts. I figure what the heck, would need one someday anyway. I once purchased 30.00 in tools trying to reach the oil sending unit on my 76 mustang, only to find when I called ford house, they had a special tool and would install a new one for less than I paid for tools.
Chalk one up to experiance.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have a craftsman 26hp,briggs,My problem is that the electric clutch will only engage for a few seconds then stop.Sometimes it works fine then other times it quits.Seems like only when its hot or warm it wont engage.But if I let it set for a few hours it works(sometimes)but after a while then it quits.I dont want to order a 200$ clutch just to see if thats the problem.Can anyone help me out.(any ideals)


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Gurus,
I have a craftsman 20.0 HP, 48" Mower model 917.272248. Same thing, the engine starts fine, the mower deck engages for couple of minutes and then it starts to go on and off. engine still working fine. I noticed that the mower deck engages without any problem on lowest speed. Problem starts to show up once on high speed.

Thanks
Curious


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

gemtlemen,Your electric clutch is just an "electro magnet" energized or deenergized...it's that simple,it draws all it's power from the battery ,it puts one heck of a load on the engine and charging system when first energized....a weak battery,bad connection(S),broken or frayed wires OR A BAD GROUND ,will drive you nuts....a bad bearing and the clutch locks up,misadjusted it can't engage (air gap is important)....Good Luck Jim


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Killing Engine

I have a Craftsman 22.5 hp Kohler Command GT 22 HPV-Twin 50" deck with 6 speed transmission. Model #917.257740. I have a similar problem except when I pull the PTO switch out the electric clutch engages for about a minute and then it locks up the engine and kills it dead. I can push in the PTO switch to disengage the clutch and blades and the tractor starts fine and runs. But as soon as you pull out the PTO switch the electric clutch kicks in and locks up the engine an kill it.
I need to replace the battery as it is over 2 years old. Also reading the last post I read where the clutch gets it power directly from the battery. I will see if this fixes the problem. If it doesn't how hard is it to remove the old and install the new clutch? Do you have to press it on the shaft?
Also I checked the blades and they are free, all belts are good, all pulleys are turning free, and safety switches are working as they should.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I don't believe it would be the battery, even though it's two years old. .. some last 10 years.

You could remove the belt from the PTO and see what happens. If it doesn't lock up, look further into the deck.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

mower deck suddenly stopped working-replaced belt and did
not solve the problem. model # 917.255430. also checked
top of deck to ensure everything was moving like it's
supposed to. can anybody give me ideas as to what the
problem could be.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I think, you have to go back to the top of this thread and start reading. Your problem doesn't seem unique from the rest.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

My Mother has a Craftsman GT 23 HP electric start.
Question:
If I jump start the tractor, will the electric clutch run.
Right now the battery is dead.
I used to be able to do so with another Sears lawn tractor.
Right now - no moola for a new battery but the grass is growing.
Reason I'm asking - I already tried but the clutch shuts of after a minute or so.
The post by jimc_vt suggest the answer in no but just want to see if it is possible.
This tractor and the lawn belong to my 89 year old mother.
I'm just trying to help her.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Sue,
The electric PTO will need a constant 12v to stay engaged. Sounds like your battery is losing its charge after a minute or so. Can you charge the battery for a while before mowing? i.e. do you have a battery charger? If you don't have a charger, leave the jumper cables connected to a running car/truck for a while (maybe 15 minutes or more) and see if that gives the mower battery enough juice to keep the PTO engaged long enough to mow the grass. You might also consider disconnecting the battery wires and cleaning the connectors/terminals first before anything else.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Can you post the 917.xxxxx number. Sometimes one can figure out what charging system you have from that.
Lawn tractors can have a variety of charging systems. Some are barely sufficient to charge the battery and keep the PTO energized. Some have a "surplus" of power.
IF you don't have a battery charger, run the mower at higher speed without the PTO engaged for 10-20 minutes and see if that helps. It may get enough charge into the battery to get you "over the hump". Maybe not?
DO mow with the engine at full speed. ALL charging systems put at less at slower speeds. The marginal ones won't put out enough for the PTO AND battery charging, especially if the battery is low.

Do you have a voltmeter? IF you do, you should have >13V across the battery when running at high speed.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

It was my dead battery! I had the same problem as many above. All of my blades and belts were free of obstruction and turning smoothly, but after jumping off the battery and engaging the PTO the engine would start to quit unless I dissengaged the PTO. After reading above, I tried the least expensive first, leaving the jumper cables attached when trying to start the blades. They started right up with no problems. Get a new battery if yours is dead. My lawn tractor works fine now.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Check back next year to let us know if the new battery provides a lasting fix. Good luck.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Hello,

New to the site. I have a question for anyone who knows craftsman tractors. I have a 2001 Craftsman LT1000 with a 18hp kholer engine. The model number is 917.272420.

My issues is as follows. I was mowing today and while mowing the deck stopped. I turned off the tractor, restarted it and tried to pull the hydrostatic knob to turn on the deck. There is no response when I pull the knob and there is no wound of the pulleys even moving. The mower just quit.

I unplugged the wire harness from the hydrostatic button and cleaned it out still no response. If I turn on the mower and then pull the red knob then get off the tractor shuts off. Therefore i think its not the wire harness its something else.

Any help would be appreciated


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Hello,

New to the site. I have a question for anyone who knows craftsman tractors. I have a 2001 Craftsman LT1000 with a 18hp kholer engine. The model number is 917.272420.

My issues is as follows. I was mowing today and while mowing the deck stopped. I turned off the tractor, restarted it and tried to pull the hydrostatic knob to turn on the deck. There is no response when I pull the knob and there is no wound of the pulleys even moving. The mower just quit.

I unplugged the wire harness from the hydrostatic button and cleaned it out still no response. If I turn on the mower and then pull the red knob then get off the tractor shuts off. Therefore i think its not the wire harness its something else.

Any help would be appreciated


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Does anyone have the torque value for the bolt holding the clutch to the engine? When I removed the bolt, it was extremely tight and I do not want it to come loose while I am mowing the yard.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

tkandtkalex:

PLEASE start a new thread on fist page of this forum and also supply make/model number from the ID plate on your machine.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have a Craftsman LT2000 model# 917273140 and my pto will not engage. I just put a new battery in it and got it running after 2 years of not running and the pto will not work. Can some help


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have a PDF manual that covers testing and adjusting the PTO clutch units. I could e-mail it if you send me an e-mail. If the machine has some hours on it, the "air gap" of the clutch probably needs a normal adjustment. Rust on the mating surfaces of clutch mechanism (from inactivity) might be adding to the air gap issue. DO NOT spray anything on this clutch attempting to "bust rust".
Whatever you do, don't start buying a bunch of new parts without us (that means you) doing the necessary testing first. I just looked at the wireing diagram for your machine and it has a total of 3 operator presence relays (some have only one or none). I'll look over the diagram in case we (you) have to get down and dirrty. Oh yeah, please create a new thread for continuance of addressing this machine and the PTO problem. This thread is getting too crowded for the kind of detail work we might have to resort to :^)


 o
Electric Clutch problem?

Craftmans garden tractor (46 in deck, 23 hp Koler) ... 10th season mowning 2-3 acres (yes, it is very used)

Problem: After sitting overnight, will mow normanlly for approx 20 minutes then blades almost stop turning (but do continue to turn, just at too slow speed to cut grass) ... Let "cool off" for 30-40 minutes, will then mow OK for 10 munites, etc.

Can a well-used electric clutch "over heat" and start to lose ability to transmit torque?

Advice?


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

they can. But, the belt may also not have enuff tension after warming up, too... or possibly a bearing or spindle the same way. Is there any unusual noise/smell/smoke etc. when this happens?


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

No smoke or smell (though the belt has been smoked in past when the kids let the deck plug-up ... but at this time, no deck plugging either)

I am sure some of the pully bearings are well worn but can't see them changing dimensionally enough due to heat-up such that belo losses tension

Belt stretching with heat could be a possibility - not sure how to trouble-shoot

Think next step might be to take belt off after it "heats up and stops mowing" and see of clutch engages with pull of PTO switch - but how can I tell it clutch is fully engaged (with engine running but belot off) ???


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

might try using a jumper wire setup to supply 12 vdc directly to PTO clutch connector. If you hear a solid click each time voltage is applied, chances are good that the PTO itself is OK..

That drive belt - if it's a noname aftermarket special, would replace it with an OEM belt. Depending on the material used in belt construction, belt length change can become an issue.but- the fact that you say it's already been smoked a few times - will also allow stretching under load/heat.

But, closely check the spindle and idler pulley brgs - there's a greater chance for one of them to start seizing up after getting hot.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have doubts about the problem being in the PTO clutch assembly. The friction material in the clutch would not survive any period of slipping. My money is on the belt being worn out to the point it is burying itself to the bottom of the pulleys and that will cause it to lose its grip and ability to drive with any power. To try and explain the fact that the belt works for a short time, I offer this. Belts always take a "set" when they stop running. The "set" means that as they cool, they tend to become stiff and want to remain somewhat shaped where they stopped, resulting in a slight hump or bulge where the belt wrapped around a pulley. This set causes the belt to be just a little bit tighter (except for when it gets back to the exact same spot where it was when it cooled down). That shape or set soon disappears when the belt warms up with use. As the belt gets warm, it also grows a bit in length, add that to the other factor (cold set) and you have a formula that might account for the belt running the blades at adequate speed for a short time and then quickly losing its grip when the heat is on. Maybe you need to take the belt off and find a new belt to compare it to. While you have the belt off, closely check your spindles and idlers as suggested already.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

good thoughts - many thanks to all

looks like I pull the deck off this weekend - will let you know what happens


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have a craftsman 46" deck with a 15.5 Kohler engine. Ive been reading this thread and seem to have got the deck running again. I bypassed the PTO switch by wiring up my own switch coming off the battery. I was mowing for about 1/2 hr and the deck started to slow down, then it stopped, then would start again. I got off and watched the clutch, and it's not the belt tension. The clutch is actually stopping and restarting. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Oh model number 917.256600


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I'm not sure if this is a mower deck issue, but mower starts fine, but when I release the breack/clutch (foot pedal) after putting it in gear, it stalls ( I have the mower deck off). The Sears repair guy came and said it was probably the seat switch .... obviously not. Is this a clutch adjustment issue? Where is the clutch hidden?


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

If you would be so generous as to post the full technical model number of your Craftsman tractor, I might be able to look in my Craftsman manuals for the wiring diagram. The number needed will be under the seat and typically begins as 917.?????? (see the post directly above your post for example)
Why are you so sure this is not a seat switch related problem?


 o
re: craftsman mower deck (clutch) wont disengage

MY PROBLEM IS MY BLADES RUN CONTINUOSLY EVEN WHEN I PULL THE LEVER DOWN TO DISENGAGE IT. DO I NEED TO TIGHTEN THE CABLE AND IF SO, HOW?


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Lose the capslock key, please... on these forums, all caps is considered shouting.

M/W, have you read your manual for clutch function/adjustment information? Most of 'em have good stuff on that.
If you need to post back, please supply full model number from ID plate and more descriptive problem detail.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

hello I have a craftsman riding mower.mower stopped working and didnt crank.I just put new battery in today and charged it.....when i pulled the pto yesterday when key on mover not running i heard click from mower deck,, now i hear no sound but fuse keeps blowing.I disconnected lights and connector plug that goes through mover deck, i think is going to clutch...I keep blowing fuses like 15 of them.......I isolated volt meter and hr meter but had no luck...also disconnected lights.cheched for visable wire shorts no luck.could i have burnt something up trying to use my battery charger on 200amp while i tryed jumping and starting it??it starts and runs well but fuse blows when i pull pto ANY IDEAS THANKS EDDIE


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

short at defective pto switch...


 o
Great Dane Stander clutch won't restart

I have a 48" Great Dane Stander Super Surfer...Model GDSSZ17KA...The clutch will not re-engage after I run the tractor between 15 and 20 minutes..Here's the part I'm confused about...I can run the tractor for a straight hour or even longer with the clutch engaged as long as I don't disengage the PTO...The clutch will start working after about 10 minutes...Is it possible the clutch is over heating, if so, how is it possible that as long as I don't disengage the clutch I can cut forever...any help would be appreciated...Bobby


 o
Great Dane Stander clutch won't restart

I have a 48" Great Dane Stander Super Surfer...Model GDSSZ17KA...The clutch will not re-engage after I run the tractor between 15 and 20 minutes..Here's the part I'm confused about...I can run the tractor for a straight hour or even longer with the clutch engaged as long as I don't disengage the PTO...The clutch will start working after about 10 minutes...Is it possible the clutch is over heating, if so, how is it possible that as long as I don't disengage the clutch I can cut forever...any help would be appreciated...Bobby


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

a "hot" clutch does not have the "clutching" power of a "cold" clutch. That said (Ahem), might be wise to chk two things: 1) that your battery is up to full strength. 2) that the air gap in your PTO clutch is set correctly (if it is the adjustable type).


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I have a craftsman model 917.242420 with an 18 hp Kohler engine. It is about 11 years old. I was mowing and smelled some rubber burning. I thought it was a belt, but it was not. I noticed some smoke from the top of the electric clutch and a small piece of rubber sticking out from the top. It looked like some type of seal had broken and lifted up. I poked at it with a screwdriver to position it for grabbing with pliers, but it slipped back into a groove (?) between the clutch and the shaft that comes down from the engine. I started it back up and there was not more burning, I engaged the clutch and things were okay. As I mowed, I had to disengage the clutch for a minute and when I reengaged the PTO switch, nothing happened. It also seems like the PTO switch has lost some of its "click." The engine runs fine and the mower moves fine, but there is no cutting. Before I spring for $100 for a clutch and another $30 for a PTO switch (I am not shopping at Sear's rip off parts direct), any specific directions on troubleshooting and especially on removing and installing a clutch would be appreciated. If you suggest electrical troubleshooting, I can do it, but the PTO switch has about five wires connected to it so I need explicit info. Thanks.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

If yer gonna refurbish with brand "x" parts, best hope they can provide you with info you desire.About the only thing I can advise you is that the old clutch is best taken off with an impact wrench and once loose on the crankshaft will drop like a very heavy rock. Be careful.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

How about you recheck the model #.
917.242420 does not exist (according to the Sears Direct website).
With the correct model number we might be able to find an explicit wiring schematic for your machine.
And it would really be best if you create a new thread of your own to discuss this. Piggy backing a new post about an unrelated problem into old threads is not good for a number of reasons.

This post was edited by mownie on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 0:30


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

RE previous post from TopDawg69 -- model # is 917.272420 -- I was up too late when I posted the first time!


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I Have a Craftsman 18.5 horse Twin-V model number 917.272040. Tractor is about 16 years old but still a great work horse until yesterday. Was mowing with Blades engaged coming down a slight incline when the engine just died and the mower came to a stop. Key on position showed no electric to the Amp meter on dash. So it blew the 15 amp fuse. As soon as I climbed off the tractor I notice a smell and some smoke coming from the electric clutch / pulley area the belt had burned a bit when coming to a stop. I replaced the fuse that brought the electric back, but the engine is locked up and the starter tries to turn it over but can't. My first thought was the engine blew up, but I didn't hear any metal on metal or Chaos from the engine, no oil or rods sticking through valve covers engine looks fine, it just stopped dead smoothly. After reading one of the entries in this post, I suspect that the electric clutch has failed and hung up the drive shaft to where the engine is locked / stuck. Is it possible that the clutch can fail and lock up the engine so it can not be turned over. Any help is appreciated. Part from sears is 219.00, and I'm sure a bear to get the old one off.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

PLEASE start a new thread of your own to address this in depth.
Hitching onto an ancient thread (hijacking) may cause some unwanted/irrelevant e-mails to be sent to earlier posters who were set up to get e-mail notification of responses to their posts.

Yes, it is possible for an electric PTO clutch to fail and stop the engine, but it is rare, and the PTO clutch must be of the type that has a "built in" blade brake feature.
The old (original) style of electric PTO clutch could not act this way, when those locked up you simply would be unable to disengage the deck from cutting mode.

As to removing the PTO clutch from the engine CRANKSHAFT, the clutch is held onto the crankshaft with a 7/16" diameter bolt (5/8" wrench hex). You may need an impact wrench to remove the bolt if you can't hold the engine from turning. The bolt removes in the standard fashion of CCW to remove, CW to tighten (lefty loosey, righty tighty).
The clutch assembly is relatively heavy and might fall off when the bolt is removed (I said "might") so be aware and don't let it smash a finger if it does.
Before you remove the clutch from the crankshaft, note everything about how the clutch anti-rotation bracket is oriented into its holding fixture. The orientation of these 2 mating parts is crucial to the proper operation and health of your new clutch. Take a few photos of things before you remove something so you can review during installation.
If you need more help, new thread please.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

Thanks for your input. I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was "hijacking" anything here. It seemed similar problems existed in this posting, and I was having trouble finding anything on this weird problem.


 o
RE: Craftsman Mower deck (clutch) Won't engage

I was simply explaining one reason not to jump onto an old thread to resolve an issue on a different machine.
The other main reason is that a subsequent post tacked onto an old thread will not garner as much beneficial attention from some members as you will get by creating your own thread.
Some members avoid getting involved when they see piggybacking new issues onto an old thread.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Tractors Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here