Question about Craftsman 17.5 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor - CA Model

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Will not go into gear

We have a craftmans riding mower Model # 917258562 It will start but will not go into gear forward or reverse. the mowing deck will not go into motion either. You can put it into gear it will not move

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  • morris4 Oct 24, 2008

    Hydro Drive? We did purchase this second hand but it was only a couple years old. How do we found out?

  • morris4 Oct 25, 2008

    It has a clutch on the left side and the blades are manually, it must have a regular transmission. Please help.

  • morris4 Oct 25, 2008

    Okay Let me make sure I understand,

    The stack pulley key controls if the mower goes forward or backward, and controls the blades?

    We need to replace the Stack pulley key?

    Starting the mower and trying to the blades will not engage and it will not move.

  • taylorgighar Oct 26, 2008

    My Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower starts fine.  The Blades engage just fine, but it won't MOVE.  It won't move forward or reverse.  Just sits there and sounds pretty.  What should I do?

  • galesayers Nov 07, 2008

    can't get shifter to move, it seems to be locked in 3rd gear, will move forward, has clutch on left bottom.

  • RedneckCPA Nov 08, 2008

    I have a 16 HP 42" Craftsman with a similar problem. I recently jacked up the backend to take the rear wheels off to get the tubes replaced.

    Now the wheels are back on but the tractor won't shift into gear. The engine runs. The blades engage. But the transmission will not shift. You can depress the left foot clutch and move the shift lever, but it stays in neutral.

    It sounds like a transaxle problem - but I am not sure what to do about it. Any ideas?


  • Anonymous Mar 29, 2009

    my DLT craftsman lawn tractor on changes gears if you jam the shift lever ,. do you have any idea what i do first to correct this problem.

  • tiomel Apr 25, 2009

    Sears Craftman ridding lawn mower will not go into gear won't go forward or backwards model # 917.287251

  • RedneckCPA May 11, 2010

    To my earlier clarification post on 11/8, the problem was the axle key. For the ignorant ones like me that didn't know what an axle key is, it is a 2 - 3 inch long square piece of metal. The axle shaft has a square channel running down its length. The wheel has a square notch. The axle key sits half-way in the channel and half-way out. It is meant to line up with the notch in the wheel. Without the axle key, presumably, the axle will rotate but won't engage the wheels. I am not sure why they don't just design axles with a notch on them, but then, I am a CPA and not an engineer. Thanks FixYa for the help.

  • RedneckCPA May 11, 2010

    I am not sure what an axle key is - so that is possible. However, the gear shift doesn't seem to have the same resistence and when it is "in gear" per the shifter knob location, I can still push the tractor around as if were in neutral. How can I check the axle key?

  • enginedoc May 11, 2010

    sounds like the drive belt is off - does this unit use an electric clutch - hydro drive or not hydro- need to know to diagnose


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A hydro uses a foot pedal on the right side , you push forward to go forward or rock the pedal rearward to go in reverse - a regular transmission has a shifter usually between your legs for reverse 1st 2nd or 3rd gear - you also said the blades wont engage . are they electric ( with a switch ) or do you manually move a lever .

Posted on Oct 24, 2008

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  • enginedoc Oct 25, 2008

    with the info you have givin me so far it sounds like the stack pulley key has sheared - the stack pulley is the one that runs directly off the engine - start vehicle throw mower deck in gear and look to see if the front pulley is turning - some of these stack pulleys use a stampped key instead of a reg ular key - if pully isnt turning remove and replace

  • enginedoc Oct 26, 2008

    some stack pulleys are prestamped at the factory . they make an indentation in them to act as a key . if you look under the front of the tractor the pulley that the mower deck belt is conected to is the stack pulley - you will see a large pulley on the bottom and a small one higher up which runs the tranny - you will prob need to replace it - put your model number into sears .com under parts and it will show you the pulley and a price

  • enginedoc Oct 29, 2008

    how did you make out on the stack pulley ?

  • enginedoc Nov 09, 2008

    redneckcpa - this may be a stupid answer but when you put the wheels back on did you make sure that you didnt lose an axle key - if one fell out on either side the vehicle will not move

  • Ralph Dec 10, 2012

    hi,I replaced my left rear tire on my cradtsman 15.0 HP elec startt 42" -6 speed transaxle mower and it will now not go into gear,forward or reverse...don't remember replacing a key along the axel...could this be my problem?

  • Ralph Dec 13, 2012

    thank are correct.When I took off the tire,a 1/4 inch axle key must have fallen


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Sears Kohler 20 hp V-Twin Graden tractor
Will not go into gear ... help

Posted on Feb 13, 2010

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