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Tractors Big ones, small ones, old ones, new ones, buying, using, fixing...you get the idea.

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  #1  
Old 05-26-2017, 09:06 PM
Sugarfoot Sugarfoot is offline
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Default Help! I have a problem..

Have a EZ track zero turn John Deer mower about 10-12yrs old in order to operate for the past couple of years I have to jump off every stinking time I use it. Yes I have changed the battery. I have changed it, charged it etc. As aggravating at that was I just lived with it. But now it started some new. Once you get it started and engage the blades it will run for about 30 feet then the blade mechanism slows to barely turn and eventually stops. Sometimes you get lucky and it will speed back up again but usually no. Took to the repair shop (because the dealership where I will not mention didn't fix it last time) the repairman changed out a choke cable and all seemed well at his place. Got home and it won't start. I used to love this machine, now I want to torch it and buy something that doesn't have green paint! Any suggestions?
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:30 AM
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Here is an easy check.
If the engine slows down loosen the gas cap a little and see if it runs OK.
I have seen several pieces of equipment that had a plugged gas cap.
The cap should have a small hole in it to vent. If that gets plugged it will run awhile and then a vacuum happens and no gas.
If the engine runs at the normal speed then check the belt and the pulleys and make sure they are tight.
I always check the easy stuff first.
As far as not starting I would check the battery cables on both ends of both cables.
Make sure they are tight and clean.
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Old 05-27-2017, 02:02 PM
Sugarfoot Sugarfoot is offline
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Thanks Backlash, we checked everything you mentioned except the gas cap. Never heard of that one but sounds reasonable. I will check that today and see what happens.
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Old 05-27-2017, 04:34 PM
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I have a craftsman and occasional have a drive belt ( not the one driving tgf cutting blade - the one driving the tractor) . Slip off the idler pulley. Tractor just won't go even with engine running fine and blades turning good. Takes about 5 second to reach under while holding brake pedal down to reposition it and then everything is fine.
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:09 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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Quote:
Once you get it started and engage the blades it will run for about 30 feet then the blade mechanism slows to barely turn and eventually stops. Sometimes you get lucky and it will speed back up again but usually no. Took to the repair shop (because the dealership where I will not mention didn't fix it last time) the repairman changed out a choke cable and all seemed well at his place. Got home and it won't start. I used to love this machine, now I want to torch it and buy something that doesn't have green paint! Any suggestions?
Not sure what a choke cable would have to do with the blades engaging or not.

Most lawnmowers have some sort of safety mechanism in the seat that can disengage the blades. Could there be a loose connection there so when driving and you hit a bump the safety mechanism wants to kick in and stop the blades. It's possible while sitting still in his shop things work fine, but once you drive it across the yard the loose connection disengages the blades.
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:22 PM
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If you have to jump start it each time then either the battery is old &/or defective, or there's some drain on the battery while it's sitting unused, or the battery isn't well connected (like someone said above). Use a battery terminal brush on the battery and the cables or maybe there are cracks in the old cables.

The problems you have with irregular running once it starts sounds like intermittent fuel supply problems-- anything from plugged cap vent as mentioned earlier, or defective carb float (not usually found on small engines), hole in the carb diaphragm giving intermittent pressure problems, or inconvenient "safety switches" activated when your weight comes off the seat.

A defective choke mechanism may be causing it to flood the engine when it's under load.

I've rebuilt Ferrari & Lamborghini engines and can tune & synchronize 12 barrels of Weber carburetors by ear. But small engines baffle the heck out of me.
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:48 PM
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Maybe I misunderstood .. you say the blades stop turning . Is the engine still running fine and just the blades not of is the engine stopping ...??
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Last edited by MissouriFree; 05-28-2017 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:33 PM
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By this statement

Quote:
Once you get it started and engage the blades it will run for about 30 feet then the blade mechanism slows to barely turn and eventually stops. Sometimes you get lucky and it will speed back up again but usually no.
I felt the motor was now running fine, but the blades were disengaging, which could be a problem with the safety override shutting off the blades, which I think should be electrical.

The choke cable, gas cap vent, bad battery connection could all be possible for not starting. But I thought the blades not engaging was a separate problem since it sounded like the engine was running. Actually the engine would have to be running for the blades to engage in the first place.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter88 View Post
By this statement



I felt the motor was now running fine, but the blades were disengaging, which could be a problem with the safety override shutting off the blades, which I think should be electrical.

The choke cable, gas cap vent, bad battery connection could all be possible for not starting. But I thought the blades not engaging was a separate problem since it sounded like the engine was running. Actually the engine would have to be running for the blades to engage in the first place.
Same here.

Btw my seAt interlock shuts off engine - JD maybe different
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
JD maybe different
I have a JD, but it is from 1993 so they may make things differently now. You need enough weight in the seat to keep the blades running. Years ago my son wanted to mow. I had to put a 25# of birdshot in the seat with him so the blades would run.

Probably violated the safety measures.

If the safety feature is still on the bottom of the seat it could be as simple as something loose so when you hit a bump it tries to disengage.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:14 PM
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If the engine keeps rpm up but the mower blades slow, then it's simply a matter of a loose belt.

The safety checks-- like the cut-off button under the seat or the kill mode when shifting into reverse-- would kill the engine.

Load problems would bog down engine rpms as well as mower blade rpms.
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
The safety checks-- like the cut-off button under the seat or the kill mode when shifting into reverse-- would kill the engine.
On my JD the safety feature doesn't kill the engine, it just stops the blades.

Actually the JD has two safety features. Getting off the mower while the engine is running will kill the engine, even without the blades engaged. But lack of weight on the seat can disengage the blades while the motor will still run.

If there is a short with that feature, it's possible for the blades to stop but the motor still run.
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:19 PM
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I tend to agree with Doc, if I'm understanding the problem correctly. Blade drive belt could be worn, stretched, or the idler pulley could need some adjusting.

Starting issues could be due to stale gas. I always try to run the engine dry before letting it set up. Small engine carburetors are always the weak link in the system. Shot of starting fluid does wonders sometimes.

JVC
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Old 05-29-2017, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunter88 View Post
On my JD the safety feature doesn't kill the engine, it just stops the blades.

Actually the JD has two safety features. Getting off the mower while the engine is running will kill the engine, even without the blades engaged. But lack of weight on the seat can disengage the blades while the motor will still run.

.
How dey do dat??

On the Craftsman POS Model (aren't they all?) a simple button under the seat is depressed when you sit. If it's not depressed, as when getting off, engine will die. Engine will not start with no weight in seat. Simply hitting a bump so your butt rises enough will break that circuit, but you'll come down quickly enough to re-engage the circuit and the engine/blades will only falter and then pick up speed again as you proceed.

There's also a pick-up to kill the engine if you shift into reverse with blades engaged.

I have no experience with the JD, but their lawn tractors are also made in China, probably by the same underpaid slaves that make the Craftsman & others.

I have this dream of moving to Hong Kong and opening an American Laundry. Anyone want to invest in my project?
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:28 AM
hunter88 hunter88 is offline
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Quote:
How dey do dat??

On the Craftsman POS Model (aren't they all?) a simple button under the seat is depressed when you sit. If it's not depressed, as when getting off, engine will die. Engine will not start with no weight in seat. Simply hitting a bump so your butt rises enough will break that circuit, but you'll come down quickly enough to re-engage the circuit and the engine/blades will only falter and then pick up speed again as you proceed.
I'm not sure. All I know if get off while the engine is running, it shuts off.

Lean over in the seat while the engine is running and nothing happens. But lean over while the blades are engaged and you've lightened the seat enough to disengage the blades while the engine still runs.

That's why in an earlier post I said I had to put a 25# bag of birdshot in the seat with my son when he wanted to mow. He could drive it all over the place and the engine wouldn't die. But if he had the blades engaged and hit a bump it was enough to disengage the blades.

My JD has a switch on the dash you push to engage the blades. If you lean over and they disengage you have to flip the switch off and then back on to get the blades to run again.

Quote:
I have no experience with the JD, but their lawn tractors are also made in China, probably by the same underpaid slaves that make the Craftsman & others.
Mine is from 1993 so it's old enough to still be made here. Also quite a few years back JD started selling two lines, the newer one called the Saber. The new line was the cheaper line meant to compete with lower cost brands, and I wouldn't doubt those were made in China. I think their top of the line stuff is still made here.

I'm not sure this would have anything to do with the problem we're discussing here. It really doesn't sound like an electrical problem, but I did want to mention it just in case.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
How dey do dat??

On the Craftsman POS Model (aren't they all?) a simple button under the seat is depressed when you sit. If it's not depressed, as when getting off, engine will die. Engine will not start with no weight in seat. Simply hitting a bump so your butt rises enough will break that circuit, but you'll come down quickly enough to re-engage the circuit and the engine/blades will only falter and then pick up speed again as you proceed.

There's also a pick-up to kill the engine if you shift into reverse with blades engaged.

I have no experience with the JD, but their lawn tractors are also made in China, probably by the same underpaid slaves that make the Craftsman & others.

I have this dream of moving to Hong Kong and opening an American Laundry. Anyone want to invest in my project?


Not true
Sears/ craftsman pro lawn tractors are made by by MTD ( Modern Tool And Die founded and based in cleveland). Their regular lawn mowers and tractors are made by jusquevarns on South Carolina plant. Far as I I know only the eninginex are made in china for some of MTD mowers. Husquevarna. Uses Briggs and Koehler engines.

Here is a good source on the subject :

Quote:
These manufactures make all of the lawn tractors, yard tractors or garden tractors. They all have assembly plants here in the U.S. and except where noted all of the tractors you will find at your local dealer, Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, and Tractor Supply are made here in the U.S.
http://todaysmower.com/2014-lawn-yar...manufacturers/
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Last edited by MissouriFree; 05-29-2017 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:20 PM
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We have not heard back but unless engine is stopping completely I agree with hunter. . While our safety interlocks are different the one they do is act pretty quick . I would lean to belt or idler pulley issues.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:31 PM
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To all: y'all are great I appreciate all the impute. So far I believe he has gone through most of all of the suggestions he thinks it may be either something in the electrical system or the starter is going bad. The #1 problem we have had is the darn think won't start most of the time even when it has a new or freshly charged battery. I know that the terminals have been cleaned/checked & I believe he said he changed them not to long ago. On the good days when it would start that's when the weird behavior with the blades disengaging started. He still has somethings to go through. All the belts etc have been checked and double checked. It has not been easy to find anyone reliable to work on small engines around here. One thing I do know for sure is that we do not need more weight in the seat.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:08 AM
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May I ask what happens when the mower won't start.

Does the motor turn over, does it just click, click, click when you turn the key, or does nothing happen. Do any lights come on, either headlights if it has them or dash lights.

It's possible you could have a ground wire shorting out. Sometimes the wire touches and ground out, sometimes it doesn't touch and everything works. Here we'd be back to hitting a bump and the blades quit. Only here it's not weight on the seat, it's hitting a bump and the wire touches. Or it could be a loose connection somewhere. Sometimes you get a good connection, sometimes you don't.

It does sound like both issues could be electrical since you've gone over the belts.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:01 PM
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JD uses an electric clutch to engage and disengage the blades. I would check to make sure you don't have a voltage drop going to the coil on the clutch. But I would guess most likely the clutch has worn out. Now your battery trouble is something which is causing a draw on the battery even when the key is off. Which can be a real pain in the ass to find. A quick and dirty solution to your trouble is a manual battery disconnect switch if the battery is easy to access. You could also put an electric solenoid disconnect switch to isolate the battery. If you go this route make sure the solenoid is for continuous use. A starter solenoid won't last running continuous.

QGM
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