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blades wont engage

sears craftsman mower
model # 917.287071
when you raise the lever to engage blades the mower dies
there is a switch inside the canopy under the lever that looks like a brake light switch is this the problem

Craftsman , Lawn Mowers
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2 Answers from these members:
Manage My Life
I can appreciate your concern over the fact that you're not able to engage your mower blades.  The PTO switch could be a factor in that if you pull it out and the tractor dies, it's likely the PTO switch.  I have located a link that will discuss your situation in more detail. 

Click here

to view the link.  Though this link discusses a different model number,

the mechanics are likely going to be very similar.Keep in mind that an expert will be responding within the next two business days if not sooner and will likely offer you more information and instruction.  If you feel you would need further assistance,  or if you feel like you would be more comfortable having an expert resolve your issue, I would strongly recommend Sears Home 

Click here

to open to their page for home service.  I hope this will help you and have a nice day.
by Manage My Life
April 22nd, 2013
Answered in 7 minutes
0 votes
Mark T
Thank you for your question.


I am sorry you are having a problem with your tractor. If the engine is dying when you engage the blades the problem could be mechanical or electrical. To determine what the problem is I recommend removing the mower deck belt from the engine pulley. Then start the tractor and lift the engagement lever. If the engine does not die the problem is mechanical. If this is the case, I recommend checking under the deck for something binding. If the deck is clear, I recommend checking the belt routing and the pulleys. If the engine still dies with the belt off the problem is electrical. This could be cause by a defective safety switch. I recommend starting the tractor and releasing the brake. If the engine dies I recommend checking the seat switch. Your tractor most likely uses an Operator Presence (seat) switch that will cause engine to stall if blades are engaged or the brake is released without anyone on the seat. If ample amount of weight is not kept on the seat during operation or the operator is leaning forward the tractor will stall because the Operator Presence (seat) switch senses that the operator is not completely on the seat.


To check Operator Presence (seat) switch:



#Lift seat.

#Locate wires that connect to Operator Presence (seat) switch under the seat.

#Disconnect and clean any debris in the switch connector. Use an ohmmeter to check the switch. When the switch is not pushed, the reading should be 0 ohms (closed).


When pushed it should read ol ( open load )

#Make sure the connector is fully seated on the seat switch. The connector is a special connector that will short the two wires if it is not fully seated.





I hope this is helpful. If you need further assistance, please reply with more details.




Thank you for using Manage my life.


Mark T.
by Mark T Earned 58,303 community points in Craftsman
April 24th, 2013
0 votes
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