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

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Craftmans Rider Model # 917.273403. Dies when on decline, slight

As in first post I stated mower would die on the slightest decline but seems to do fine on an incline. I am talking the slightest of inclines and not hills, They are barely noticeable. At the end of the year, I always do a complete tuneup and changing oil was one of those things. I am unaware of where the oil snsor cutoff is on the rider and how would I repair or correct this problem. Also if float is "out of whack" how would I readjust or repair. What would be your suggestions for getting my rider running again. I have mowed this same lawn for 5 years without any problems on the declines or inclines, so interested in your thoughts and suggestions. thank you.

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  • stardustbelo May 28, 2009

    For rockitman187:

    Tried the bypass of seat safety switch, and then it would not run at all. So bought new safety seat switch and installed. Ran for all of about 20 minutes and then started the same as before. It's almost as if when it gets warmed up then it starts the business with dying on a slight incline, I am so stumped as I checked the float and it appears to be fine, fuel flow is good to carb, so don't know what to check next. PS. There were 3 safety switches and tried bypassing all of them one at a time. The one closest to foot rest/clutch blew the fuse. replaced fuse and mower started but still done same thing. When trying the other 2 switches by bypass methods, the mower would not start at all. So reversed the bypass and the mower would start, just not run once warmed up and on the incline, so me and a buddy of mine are stumped. Anymore suggestions? Thank you,

  • stardustbelo May 31, 2009

    Thank you for the info, and considering I just got home from the hospital tonight and will be incapacitated for a few more days, I will have to let all of your instructions wait on me. Soon as can, will try the mentioned repair items and let you know how it went. But for now thank you all for the suggestions on repairing this item. Keep up the good work! This site rocks!!



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I agree with Rockit on this one. It keeps giving me that gut feeling of "fuel flow" (regulation) problem.

Meaning (I know you did it!) Fuel Tank-> Fuel Filter-> Fuel Line-> Fuel Cutoff-> Carb-> Fuel Ports/Air Ports-> Float-> Needle Valve-> Needle Seat-> Intake.

I swear, I want to say pull that carb, and slap another one on (you would be amazed what you can do with a 4-stroke, you can throw almost ANY carb from ANY motor on one, especially a Briggs) on there and test. In your case, I would suspect (as you said), a bad Float Bowl, Needle Seat, or Needle Valve.

In any of those 3, simply tearing the carb COMPLETELY down, you can check the Float Bowl by simply shaking it. If it has fluid inside, it is bad. Replace it! If not, check your Needle Valve and Needle Seat (don't lose that spring man!).

In the Needle instance, simply clean the seat with Gum-Out (etc.), and clean the Needle itself with some paper towel (they come in two varieties now, rubber tipped, and metal tipped, either will show right off if junk is on them.) Junk = Needle not seating = way too much fuel, or, not enough (if badly junked up). As for the seat, Gum-Out & Compressed Air. But do this to the ENTIRE carb, with the ENTIRE carb pulled apart. (You DID remember to write down how it came apart......right?)

Be ESPECIALLY mindful of an screen(s) on/around the Needle Seat. They WILL be the first to get trashed up. This is a common occurence, and no one's fault, time, fuel, and trash take their toll!

Now, that said, double check for a trashy Fuel Filter, or a chunk of trash IN the fuel line (even grass will do it). Check for "vapor lock" as well (easy check): Your gas cap on your tank is supposed to "breathe". If it ain't, vapor lock occurs, hence, not the correct amount of fuel! (I know, sounds stupid, but it happens! Just spray your cap down, from the inside out, you should see fluid come out the top side, where a little "filter" or equivelent is)

One side note: Just for the sake of it, make sure your one of your kill switches is not grounding out, and that your plug wire isn't doing it either.

This will be a simple fix. The hardest thing is finding the simplest thing to fix. (Otherwise, you did a GOOD job on the rest!)
And if you already did the above in your "tune up", I apologize for the lengthy reply!

Posted on May 30, 2009

  • Captain Slap May 31, 2009

    You just take your time to get fixed up YOURSELF.....

    That mower can wait until then to get fixed!


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Try and temporarily bypass the safety button under the seat and see if that does it.(It don't sound like an oil sensor)

Posted on May 27, 2009

  • Randy Hough
    Randy Hough May 28, 2009

    1. The operator presence relay maybe going bad,(You can find it near the back off the ignition under the hood or by tracing the wires from the seat safety switch)

    2. *The fuel shut off solenoid. (Depends on motor brand)

    3. *The fuel pump may be partially clogged.(Depends on motor brand)

    *You may or may not have this on your mower,It will depend on the motor brand used on your model.

  • Randy Hough
    Randy Hough May 31, 2009

    Well take care of your self and get well, We will be here when you get back up and running again if you need us.



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