Question about Craftsman 42 in. Deck 19.5hp Lawn Tractor

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Engine slows down with blades are engaged?

The engine runs fine when the mower deck blades are not engaged, once they are engaged the engine slows way down. There is no grass buildup on the deck, I have replaced the belt and the gas filter. I don't know what else could be the problem.

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  • 634 Answers

Sounds like the blade spindles are binding, many have Zerk fittings to grease them. with belt disengaged try turning the pulleys they should turn easily and have no wobble in them. if either is wrong replace spindle and best to change in sets. this is the most common issue.

Posted on Apr 23, 2010

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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My tractor with 27hp Kohler engine runs fine without engaging the mower deck. Once engaged and I start cutting grass or go uphill, the engine starts to slow down. Also, it smells like exhaust fumes.


Try blowing the air filter out with compressed air. Or replace the filter. Make sure the choke butterfly in the carb is fully open, adjust the choke cable for correct function.

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1 Answer

Craftsman Model Number: 917.377151 motor shuts down when blades engaged


The engaging of the mowdeck is cause an excessive demand of your engine. From that, we can assume your problem is in the deck. Since the power drive is all about belts and it threw the belts, from your information I can only deduce that either an object (stick-wood-rock) has wedge into a position that has stopped rotation of the blades. Also, each blade has a pulley/spindle. These have bearings which must be free to rotate.
A bearing failure or seizing can also cause the problem you report.

Follow safety rules in your manual to insure the engine cannot start. Attempt to rotate each blade to check for free rotation. If the do not you most likely will need to remove the mower deck and check further. An obstruction or seized spindle should be easy to determine and sit repair is easily possible.

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Engine seems to run fine but when pto is engaged engine loses power


whatever the pto is hooked to,is putting pressure on it and slowing it down,if its a deck,then the spindles are bad or binding,blades need to turn freely

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What makes the blades on a riding mower stop turning once the mower belt is disengaged?


The brake mechanism works when tension is released from the idler / cable. The brake is spring loaded to contact the spindle this stops the blades from spinning. I have attached a drawing showing the brake arm and where it can be found on the deck.
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Jul 03, 2009 | Craftsman 42 in. Deck 19.5hp Lawn Tractor

1 Answer

Engine cutting off


Depends on how it cuts off. If it gradually slows down over a few minutes or surges, it's likely the carburetor needs to be cleaned and rebuilt. But if it's an immediate cut off, it's likely to be a safety switch such as the one that shuts down the engine when you get off the seat if the mower is running. Sometimes this happens frequently to a light person who bounces on the seat when mowing.

Jun 07, 2009 | Craftsman 17.5 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor...

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It sounds like your blades may be restricted when you lower them. A possible solution for this problem would be to remove the mower deck and clean out all the dead grass buildup inside the housing.

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