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

6 Answers

Why des mower lose power when brake is released or mower is engaged?

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Can't speak for the power loss when the brake is "released," but if the engine bogs down when engaging the deck, then it's likely that the carburetor needs an adjustment or a serious rebuild.
Power loss when releasing the brake makes no sense, unless the brake and the clutch are the same and owing to the fact that some belts may be misrouted or other devices in the drive line could be worn to the point of causing problems.

Posted on Jun 03, 2014

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Could be a bunch of things. My first thought would be that the gas tank and carb were never drained for the winter and it\'s now it\'s late spring and you\'re wanting to use the machine.... aka bad or stale gas will cause this. dirty or clogged gas filter, crap in the carb from sitting all winter, they all can cause it not to have power. If it is a 20 hp brigs, it has 2 cylinders, it may be firing on only one, causing a lack of power. That could be a coil, a coil wire, an bad plug, etc. Not being there to see it first hand, leaves the door wide open to be almost anything, including dead mice in there somewhere. Gas is the best guess though.

Posted on May 17, 2014

Testimonial: "thanks for advice. I have checked for mice, and thought about bad gas however I have already mowed once this year with no problems. I replaced the battery and it starts and runs fine, not missing or hesitating at all until I release brake or engage mower then just cuts out completely"

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  • jcz26 May 17, 2014

    Now that additional info Lisa, helps out a lot. I have in my custody a 19hp briggs that is doing the same thing. I assume you have a button that have to pull out on to engage the blades? The one I have here dies when you pull the button for to engage the blades. Though I haven't really dug into it too deeply yet, I believe the electric clutch has an internal short and is causing the alternator to overload and bogg the engine down. The alternator coil was new last summer, then shortly after it's replacement, the runability issue started only when the blades were electrically engaged, otherwise the machine runs, drives and charges fine without issue.

  • jcz26 May 17, 2014

    Darn auto correct, that should have read: "button that YOU have to" Other error: "pull the button TO engage the" point being, the blade clutch is likely the issue..

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    do not have button to engage mower but a lever, either way, the engine dies when i release brake or try to engage deck, if it was deck issue why does it stall when brake released?

  • jcz26 May 17, 2014

    I'd say that the air cleaner may be clogged or it's not getting enough fuel, either way it sounds like the air/fuel ratio is not right. It's hard to diagnosis something like this without being there. A vacuum leak will cause issues, but again, that would be an air/ fuel ratio problem. You could try adjusting the needle screw on the carb, but I'd change the air and gas filters, and use fresh gas. Let it idle for 10 minutes to run old gas out of the system, and then try using the tractor again. I think there is something clogging a fuel line, or filter somewhere. Just because it's not spewing out black smoke doesn't mean the air cleaner can't be clogged. When it get's clogged it works like a choke, and causes a rich condition or too much fuel. if it doesn't have enough air, it can't build the power to run the machine. If the fuel line or filter or port in the tank is clogged, it won't get enough fuel, the air mixture would be too high (lean condition) and again, it won't be able to make enough power to run the machine under load. one thing I hadn't considered till now, though it is unlikely.... the fuel pump may be failing. Sorry I can't fix it for you, I'm in Boston.

  • jcz26 May 17, 2014

    Lisa, reading the other posts whereby people are trying to help, maybe I missed something here.... I guess I need to ask the right question: When you let the cluch/brake out, does it stall like someone shut the key off, or does it start to die like it's running out of gas? If it acts like someone stut the key off, then theres the possibility that there is a wire that has bare insulation touching and rubbing on one of the rods or levers to the clutch/brake and it's shorting out the electrical system.

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    heres where i am now, took air filter off and let it tun for 5 minutes, was then able to release brake and engage mower. put new filter on and can now mow on flat ground, when on an incline and i have 4 acres of hillage, it cuts out like i turn switch off but will continue to run if mower deck off and brake engaged?

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    thank you all for trying to help, i think we are getting closer. if you have any more ideas i will do my best to fix it

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    i have adjusted the carb and seems to be running fine now. thanks everyone for your help, if i continue to have problems i will keep you posted

  • jcz26 May 17, 2014

    Good deal, you should be proud of yourself, most women wouldn't even attempt to do what you have. Glad that you're up and running again.

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    thanks jcz26, i appreciate your help. and if i can assemble cars i figure i can fix a mower or at least try :)

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Hi it be the carb has grass in it and causing fuel trouble........also in the carb are little jets and if they get blocked they will cause you a lot trouble.....also the spark plug might need changing....these are my thoughts but i am no expert on this...i hope my info helped.......

Posted on May 17, 2014

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  • 38 Answers

Sounds like the govnor is not working correct. check to see if it moves feely on the carb.

Posted on May 17, 2014

  • Jim Mcwha May 17, 2014

    I'll bet you were there to actually see the problem like me Fred. To many variables without hands on. Another good one though.

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    mower runs fine until break is released or mower engaged then dies completely. will check manual to see how to check govnor and carb

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Hi Lisa Have you Checked your deck out underneath to make sure nothing is wrapped around your blades and there is no grass build up around them? Also you may want to take off the belt that runs your blades and see if they spin freely. Sometimes one or two of them seize up or get to tight from wear as they do have bearings in them. I have replaced them before so it's not uncommon. Let me know what you find. Good Luck it's a place to start as this could bog down the motor and no power results. ( let me know if you have electric clutch on the motor or just the handle on the dash? )

Posted on May 17, 2014

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  • Jim Mcwha May 17, 2014

    Hey Russ good one. I should have asked her if it completely shut down if not I hope one of us got it.

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    mower shuts down completely if brake is released or mower engaged, runs fine if just on with brake on

  • Jim Mcwha May 17, 2014

    Find the switch under the seat and jump the connection after you unplug it. You can do the same with the safety switch on the bottom right under your hood cover, it should be grey colored. Do them one at a time so you know which one is bad. good luck.

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If your saying the engines dies when you release the brake or try and engage the blades something is wrong with one of your safety switches. there is one for the brake/clutch and one for the seat and one for the blade engagement. if one isn't making good contact it will shut down. if yours is one under the seat and round lift the seat and depress it several times quickly and try again. most of the time thats the culprit. good luck

Posted on May 17, 2014

  • 1 more comment 
  • russ francis May 17, 2014

    thanks jim.we are all here to try and help, we have all needed some at one time or another.

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    lisa here, wondering if there is way to bypass safety switch, I didn't think mower would start without seat switch, starts fine but dies when break is released or mower engaged. runs fine as long as brake is on

  • lisa clark
    lisa clark May 17, 2014

    can I disable the seat seitch or bypass it in any way?

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: mower dies when i try to engage blade

Hi, what you wrote is exactly what's is suppose to do. what is it about the mower that's not doing?

Posted on Nov 23, 2008

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have 16 hp Craftsman riding mower with a Kohler engine.

It may think you are in reverse and is killing the motor to keep you from backing up with the blade running. Look for switch that is telling it when you are in reverse, maybe it is stuck with grass or other debris. another possibility is that the blades are jammed and they are stalliing the motor. Mines stalls easily when cold.

Posted on Mar 12, 2009

  • 40 Answers

SOURCE: Craftsman 42

Seems that your clutch needs adjustment, no biggie here. Get your needle nose pliers and a spare ¼ inch bolt or pin. A small Philips screwdriver will also work. The needle nose pliers are for removing the cotter pin and the screwdriver (or bolt) will hold the brake lever in place while you make the adjustment. Then, check under the right side of the deck (side where the grass discharges) right under the plastic mat where your foot rests and next to the tractor's frame you will see the brake lever with the long spring attached. Have a helper move the brake/clutch pedal so you have a better idea of what's going on down there. Then:

1. Remove the cotter pin, washer, and brake spring from the
adjustable nut
2. Disconnect the adjustable nut from the brake lever assembly
and the parking brake latch.
3. Align the hole in the brake lever with the hole in the frame. Hold
the brake lever in place with your 1/4 inch pin, bolt or the screwdriver.
4. Pull the clutch rod forward until tight. Turn the adjustable nut
until the nut will fit through the hole in the brake lever.
5. Assemble the adjustable nut to the parking brake latch,
brake lever and brake spring. Fasten with the washer and
cotter pin.
6. Remove the 1/4 inch (6 mm) pin, bolt or scredriver.

That should return everything to normal. Assuming that there are no broken or bent parts in your clutch mechanism.
I hope you find this solution helpful. Please rate it and thanks for using Fixya. Good luck!

Posted on Nov 05, 2009

Mike258
  • 1498 Answers

SOURCE: release clutch/ brake pedal engine stops / as well

Hi Carl,

Just had this happen to me. The mower had sat all winter. During that time a couple bearings froze up.

It took a pipe wrench to free them up.

I worked in some oil and that solved it.

You need to check each pulley and bearing to see if you can spin it. If you can't, oil it first, then try to **** it free.

Once it lets go, a little more oil and you are all set.

Best regards
Mike

Posted on May 04, 2010

  • 36 Answers

SOURCE: I have a Craftsman mower,

Sounds like you have a broken spring #148 on diagram, part #169022 that holds the idler arm back. Go to www.searspartsdirect.com and enter the model # of your mower and click on the mower deck to print drawing out, take your deck off the mower and see if all the springs are ok. If the pads are closed on the pulleys and the pads release when you turn the idler arm, the deck is ok. The problem will be a bad or disconnected safety switch that cuts the motor off if you try to ingage the mower. If the switch is disconnected under the seat it will kill the engine when the mower is engaged. I had this problem on my mower, just plug the wiring into this switch or replace it if it is bad.

Posted on Aug 16, 2011

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