Question about Craftsman 42 in. Deck 19.5hp Lawn Tractor

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Can't get stick to move down to disengage, push with all my power

My 14 year old craftsman riding mower is stopped in the yard and won't start because the mower deck won't disengage, I can move the stick up to engage it but it only comes about half way down and won't go any farther. Help.

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With the engine off, reach under your deck and pull on the belt. This will force the idler arm back into disengaged position so you can start it. You can probably free the mechanism up with penatrating oil by spraying the pivot point on the idler arm ( the bracket the idler is mounted to that moves back and forth) while alternatly engaging the lever and pulling the belt till it frees up and returns by itself.

Posted on May 25, 2009

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Craftsman tractor won't go into gear; had flat tire, got it fixed and remounted, now tractor won't go into gear

Not much info here on model and type. However, my Craftsman Tractor 46", 971.288520 with automatic transmission. On all these similar models, on the rear of the mower and the rear axle level, a small key-hole type opening exists that has a small diameter wire protruding with a 90 degree bend at the end. If you pull on this wire, it disengages the transmission so you can push the mower around for loading or other reasons. To reengage, just push the wire back in and transmission will again work. Only moves about an inch each way when pulled and pushed. This may have been hit while working on tire. Can also be use to prevent driving by others who do not know about the release. Another possibility that happens quite frequently with this model mower, especially when jacked up to replace wheels, tires or bearings, is the drive belt will drop down off of the drive pulley under the engine. Belt is loose when drive is not engaged. That is how the design keeps the mower from moving when you are "out of gear." So, loose is fine, but not up and around the pulley is not. The belt is held in place by a couple of "keepers" on each side so that it does not completely fall off. I have even had this happen when I stopped mower in yard, disengaged transmission to get off and pick something up. Kind of a goofy design, but cheap way to solve the disengage drive issue.

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Mower starts and runs but won't move forward or reverse and brakes don't work.

If your transmission is automatic on the drive axle, look for a small lever inside the frame and below the seat. It can be hard to find the first time. This lever disengages the drive inside the auto gearbox so the mower can be pushed by hand. If the lever is not not moved, pushing the mower also tries to turn over the engine making it impossible to move. With the lever moved accidentally the drive is disengaged and the mower won't move in either direction. The lever operates a flexible cable that comes out from the auto transmission.

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1 Answer

I have a craftsman riding mower that's 2 years old and it won't go into gear it's a 6 speed won't go in reverse either

Hi, did this happen when you went to use it or while mowing? Also will the lever go in but the mower won't move or won't the lever go in either gear at all? Regards Phil.

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My 2 year old Craftsman lawn tractor will no longer go in forward or reverse. It has the hydra static gear shift. All the belts look intact. Mower blades will engage. It is a 24 horsepower. Any...

There is a lever in the rear of the rider that allows you to disengage the transmission. It is intended to make the rider easy to push around. Make sure that hasn't gotten activated. The lever is usually located just above and to the right of the hitch plate (where a trailer would attatch). Sometimes it is located under the seat near the seat hinge. Hope this helps.
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1 Answer

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Does it still move? Make sure you don't have a stick or something stuck in the transmissions pulley/fan. Check idler pulley's too.
What kind of noise?

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