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RE: Lawn mower blades will not engage

RE: 2005 Craftsman Lawn Tractor DYT 4000, Model No: 917.275901, with 26hp kohler & automatic transmission. The blades will not engage using the electric switch pto. On shut down of the engine, the engine runs for about 3 to 5 seconds and then shuts down. All other systems, alternator, battery, starter are OK.

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This sounds like a faulty ground condition, the PTO clutch requires a ground provided by the chassis wiring harness to function and a ground for the ignition switch to kill fire to the coils. The other components work as they should because the voltage regulator, fuel shutoff solenoid and starting interlock system have their own grounds. The ignition switch in these mowers is a large round plastic switch not capable of grounding itself, it should have a black wire leading from the terminal marked "G" on the backside of the switch.

to diagnose a faulty ground you'll need a basic 12V test lamp:

Unplug the switch and and install a the test light clip on the positive terminal of the battery, probe the ground wire in the unplugged harness that corresponds with the "G" terminal only. If the ground is good the lamp in the test light will illuminate brightly, if poor or faulty the lamp will not light or be noticeably dim.

Further verification of a faulty ground or failed PTO switch can be tested at the PTO Clutch harness, turn the key on, engine NOT running, and pull the PTO Switch to the engage position, with the test light clipped onto the Negative Battery terminal or chassis, back probe the connected PTO clutch terminals. If the PTO switch is good and the ground is good then Only one terminal will illuminate the lamp, if both wires illuminate the lamp then the ground is faulty, if no lamp illumination then a loss of power is suspected, check the terminals on the PTO switch and Ignition switch for power.

Typical Ground termination locations are on the frame near the rear of the tractor frame, above the transmission, in the steering column area and near the solenoid, check for a loose or corroded eyelet terminal, broken wire, or a missing fastener in these areas.

Posted on Jul 04, 2010

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