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Lawn tractor - mower deck won't start?

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  • Lawn tractor - mower deck won't start?

    Have a Troy-Bilt lawn tractor. Pulled it out of storage and cleaned it up, hopped on and it started up right away... went to turn on the mower deck and .......... nadda.

    Not even a shudder. No movement whatsoever.

    Mr. Rodawn (most decidedly NOT a mechanic) pulled it all apart, checked the fuse (okay), checked the belts (all in the right places), checked the blades in case something was wrapped around (clear), double-checked the battery (okay). Now stands there scratchin' his head.

    Any ideas what the problem could be? Electrical??
    Practice! Patience! Persistence!

  • #2
    I'm no pro, and I'm sure someone will be in here to correct me, but I don't think there's anything electrical about the blade engagement on a lawn mower. It's all mechanical. When you engage the lever, that pulls a tensioner to tighten the belt to the pulleys. Whether the mower is on or the keys even in the ignition, moving the lever should tighten the belt.

    You need to check what's happening when the lever is moved. Turn the mower off. Feel the belt on the pulleys with the lever disengaged. it should be very slack and can even be slipped off the pulleys. Now engage the lever. You should be able to feel the belt tighten and you shouldn't be able to move the belt, but you should be able to manually turn the blades. If you can't turn the blades, maybe something is wrapped up in the spindle that holds them.



    • #3
      I will check with Mr JB as our Cub Cadet had a similar issue and the problem was an easy fix
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


      • #4
        Well darn, Mr JB said our problem was the belt having come off. Since yours is still on, make sure it's tight enough.

        Check the connection between the seat and the whatever it is that won't let the PTO run if you get out of the seat.
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


        • #5
          there's probably a safety switch that will only allow the mower to engage if you are sitting in the seat. check that
          Last edited by Mudroom; May. 6, 2012, 07:53 AM.


          • #6
            Many mowers have an electric clutch with safety interlocks for the blade. See if the manual has a wiring diagram. It will show what the interlocks are (seat, reverse gear, etc.).
            The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
            Winston Churchill


            • #7
              Could be stripped gears in the mower deck (possibly in the tensioning mechanism? Not sure). I had a ride-on mower which ran well, but wouldn't mow. It would lower (mechanical), but the blades wouldn't cut. It spent 2 YEARS in the shop waiting for replacement gears, which never came. It was an older mower, so parts were very hard to come by. I ended up giving it away. I haven't been able to afford to replace it, so the lawn looks like he!!.
              My Equestrian Art Photography page


              • #8
                Originally posted by Frank B View Post
                Many mowers have an electric clutch with safety interlocks for the blade. See if the manual has a wiring diagram. It will show what the interlocks are (seat, reverse gear, etc.).
                I agree. I should think most newer mowers have an electric clutch, ours is a 2005 Cub Cadet with one. If you have a switch, pull or toggle, to turn on the mower deck then you have one. I also agree the safety switch under the seat may have gone bad or a wire came loose. Or the wire from the mower on/off switch came loose or pulled out, at the switch or the clutch. If you are not sitting on the seat then mower deck will not turn on. First look to see where the mower drive belt loops over a pulley, usually under the engine, in most models this is the electric clutch pulley. Sitting on the seat with the engine running turn on the mower deck and have someone look to see if the pulley is spinning when turned on. If so maybe the belt is worn or too loose. If so the belt maybe incorrectly run, check and make sure it is looped over all of the pulleys. Or the tension pulley spring has sprung and needs replacing. If the clutch does not come on the easiest to check first is the safety switch under the seat. There is usually a wire coming in one side of the switch and another wire coming out. Take these two off and tape the 2 metal ends together this will defeat the switch and you do not need to be sitting in the seat to turn on the mower deck. . I got rid of the safety switch years ago and have yet to cut off my hand or foot. It is pretty easy to tell the mower deck in engaged by the noise. Start the mower and turn on the deck. If this does not work then you need to check the wiring from the switch to the clutch, make sure they are securely attached the same with the wires going to the switch from the mowers electrical harness. Also check the wires from the safety switch. If all of that checks out then you will need a circuit tester to make sure the clutch is getting power and if not trace back until you find a “live” wire. If so then clutch maybe be bad or the wire pulled out internally. This is tricky to fix. I know you checked the mower deck fuse but I would pop a new one in anyway. Make sure you have the right fuse holder there maybe several in line fuses. The mowers manufacturer’s web site should have a link to you mowers electrical and mechanical diagrams and maybe some trouble shooting tips. Good luck. Don’t buy a Cub Cadet unless you are very handy it will be in the shop more then you mow


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all of that info. Yes, was sitting on it when I tried to turn on the mower deck - pull button. You can't even start the machine without sitting in the seat. I will show my hubby this thread and all that you said. Will keep him busy for a while, methinks! Thanks again for the help!
                  Practice! Patience! Persistence!


                  • #10
                    Let us know what you find out - might help one of us one day LOL
                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                    • #11
                      I could be wrong, but it sounds like a broken or slipped belt. VERY easy fix


                      • #12
                        That was my first thought too, that's what we had to remedy, but rodawn said all the belts were all in the right places, so... *shrug*
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                        • #13
                          Oh! I guess I missed that. Could it be the belt tensioner then?