Question about Craftsman 20 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor - CA Model

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Engine starts, but stalls when clutch is released.

4 year old craftsman 24 hp lawn tractor. New clutch in 2007, also new plugs, filters, fuel filter in recent past.

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  • 3 more comments 
  • sburkins Nov 15, 2008

    This is an automatic, Craftsman Lawn Tractor, model # 917.273622. To increase speed you push a lever forward, pull back the lever to decrease speed. Thanks!

  • sburkins Nov 17, 2008

    Using your directions it looks like the safety switch was the problem. I broke it while taking it out. Are there any instructions on how to easily install? Thanks!!

  • sburkins Nov 22, 2008

    Bought a new safety switch, not sure how to install. Any ideas on what, if anything I must disconnect before I can fit it through the opening? Thanks!

  • chris killeen
    chris killeen May 11, 2010

    Is this machine an "automatic" or hydrostatic drive, or do you have to shift for different speeds? If you have a model number, it would help but not necessary.

  • Anonymous Mar 13, 2014

    after 30 minutes it acts as if it running out of gas. after it cools off it restarts again. replaced air filter,sparkplugs and fuel filter. any help or suggestions.

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  • 14 Answers

The is a safety switch located underneath the mower, in the dashboard area. This switch will not pass voltage to the ignition system unless the pedal is depressed, or the deck is not all the way up. However, your culprit is most likely the pto (power take off) switch on the dash that engages the blades. It will not allow the mower to start, if pulled, and if faulty will shut off ignition power when you release the pedal. First. You'll need a volunteer to sit on the mower and operate the controls.  Now put the deck down and with the pedal depressed start the engine. Nothing should happen, if it does replace the deck switch Sears part number #176138 mentioned above. Now raise the deck and release the pedal. Again, nothing should happen. Same solution if it does. If nothing happens on both tests the switch is ok. NOW. Behind the dash, find the pto switch, and squeeze the sides, depressing two clips that hold it in the dash. You should now be able to slide it though the dash, wiring attached. Unplug the switch. With pedal depressed, deck up, someone sitting on the seat, start the mower. Now release the pedal (making sure to block the wheels and have the transmission handle is in the neutral position. If the engine continues to run, you found the problem. Replace the PTO switch. Sears part number # 174651. Also, check the plug to the pto, ignition and deck switches for corrosion as this is a common problem, though not likely to cause yours, it could. Good luck, and please let us know the outcome, good or bad. Thanks so much.

Posted on Nov 16, 2008

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