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Blows a fuse every time I engage the cutting deck

The mower will start up with no one in the seat

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It is not supposed to start unless some one is in the seat
now for your problem, if engaging the cutter deck blows a fuse then check the wiring for a wire that is cut or shorting out on a lever that moves when the cutter is engaged

Posted on Apr 18, 2015

  • James Wolf
    James Wolf Apr 18, 2015

    I know it's not suppose to start when no one is in the seat but it does?


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"Fuse blows every time I start the blades." This is a problem involving power from the battery which finds a shortcut to ground.

For a machine specific diagnosis we need some or all of the following:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • Engine Model (Briggs engines, look above the starter on single cylinder models, opposite side on twin cylinder models)
  • Transmission Model (sticker on back of tranny axle)
  • Deck Size
  • Hours on meter (indicates wear patterns and problems that only occur with time.)
  • If you haven't already done so, add a short description of the events preceding the beginning of the problem.
For now, I will assume your engine starts and runs just fine. That eliminates most of the electrical system problems. I will further assume that you have an electric clutch.

With an electric clutch power (12 volts) flows:
  1. From the positive terminal on the battery to the fuse.
  2. From the fuse to the Key Switch.
  3. From the Key Switch, in the run position, to the PTO Switch.
  4. From the PTO Switch, when activated, to the PTO Clutch.
  5. After flowing through the clutch it goes to ground.
So, somewhere between the PTO Switch and the PTO Clutch the wire is grounding to the frame. This is not uncommon. Look around the clutch and see if you find any worn insulation. The other and worse possibility (meaning more expensive) is a shorted clutch.

If the engine starts and runs fine until you activate the PTO, this shows us the rest of the wiring, prior to the PTO, is fine. Your problem can only occur after the PTO Switch.

Starting with a fresh fuse, sit in the seat and turn the key, one click from off to run, you will hear a faint click. That faint click is the fuel shut off valve under the carburetor. It is turning on and off when you cycle the key from off to run. Do not confuse this click with the Clutch click.

Leave the Key in the Run position, cycle your PTO Switch on and off. You will hear a click. This click will be twice as loud as the fuel switch click. This louder click is the Clutch engaging. If you do not hear this click, the PTO switch may be bad or the Clutch may be bad. This is assuming your battery is good and fully charged and that your Key Switch is functioning correctly.

On the other hand, if you perform this test and do not hear a click AND it blows another fuse, you have just confirmed the bad wiring/bad clutch scenario.

PTO Clutch will Not engage or stay engaged.
There is a very fine discussion on evaluating electric clutches at this site:

My JD tech manual, which covers the entire LA 100 series, agrees with the electrical specifications. It states that the Electric PTO Clutch should show the following:
  • Resistance 3.7 ohms
  • Current Draw 3.25 amps.
  • It does not give the air gap.
Examine your wiring for exposed wire. If you do not find any, you can proceed to do an ohms test on your clutch. If the clutch passes this test re-examine your wiring for a short.

A short cut test would be to disconnect the clutch harness nearest to the clutch. With a fresh fuse, run the PTO switch test again. If it shorts and blows the fuse, your problem is with the wire, likely not the clutch. If the fuse does not blow, your problem is likely with the clutch.

On a final Note: On all John Deere 100 series and other machines, you can and should be able to start the mower without being in the seat.

  • First get in the seat and lock down the brake/clutch.
  • Run the fuel lever up to choke.
  • Make sure the PTO is off.
  • On a manual tranny put it in neutral.
  • Step off the machine and turn the key.
  • Waaalaa, it should and IT WILL crank, start, and run.

Fixing Electric Clutches

Posted on Apr 18, 2015

  • James Wolf
    James Wolf Apr 19, 2015

    Fantastic information


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For starting with one one the seat either one safety switches has failed or have been bypassed.

For the blowing fuse problem if it has electric PTO test it for shorted condition. Most usually PTO coils have a resistance of 1.75 ohms. anything under 1.5 ohms is a severe shorted PTO coil. If it is a manual engaged PTO then either you have a wiring shorting ground or someone have mis-wired the safety switches.

Posted on Apr 18, 2015

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