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cutter blades will not engage on lawn tractor

Craftsman Lawn Tractor - Model #917.28858

Everything seems fine - tractor runs and rides. But, mower blades do not engage when pulling the red button.

I removed mower deck to check for obstructions ... everything looked clear. Blades turn easily without belt. Belt (and tractor) are brand new. When i look underneath as someone tries to engage the blades, I do not see the pulley turning ... the pulley that runs off the drive system I presume.

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Craftsman , Lawn Tractors , Lawn Mowers
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12 Answers from these members:
Manage My Life
I know that this can be a very inconvenient problem, especially on a new machine. While you are waiting for your expert answer, I have found a link that will provide some information and troubleshooting for the issue. I would suggest that you check the tenison on the belt and making sure it's turning freely. I hope this helps.
by Manage My Life
July 7th, 2011
Answered in 10 minutes
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Manage My Life
Make sure the engine is off, and then look under the tractor at the electric PTO clutch. You should see a pigtail going to it that supplies power. Make sure that pigtail is plugged into the tractor harness. This will be on the right side of the tractor. If that plug is not secure the clutch may not be getting power to it.

If you sit on the seat with the clutch/brake pushed down and turn the key on (do not start engine), you can pull out on the PTO switch and you should hear the PTO clutch engage and make a "clank" sound. If you do not hear that it may be due to a problem with power coming from the switch.

If the machine is new you may want to contact

Sears Home Services

and have a tech come out to take care of this.

Thank you for using Manage My Life!
by Manage My Life
July 8th, 2011
Answered in 20 hours
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FRANK FESTA
What is the PTO clutch and what does it look like?
by FRANK FESTA
September 13th, 2011
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Manage My Life
The PTO clutch is the large pulley on the end of the engine shaft that drives the blades. It will have a pigtail harness on it that connects to the tractor harness on the (usually) right side of the tractor beside the engine.
by Manage My Life
September 13th, 2011
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FRANK FESTA
I see no pigtail near the PTO clutch and is the PTO switch the ignition?
by FRANK FESTA
September 13th, 2011
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Manage My Life
@Frank: Do you have the same model number as the original poster? Better yet, to engage the blades do you move a lever or pull a knob?
by Manage My Life
September 13th, 2011
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FRANK FESTA
I have the same machine. Model No. 917.272672 and It is a lever.
by FRANK FESTA
September 13th, 2011
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Manage My Life
Okay. Your machine has manual PTO. So there is no "clutch" as when it's electric. When you move the lever a cable pulls a pulley on the mower deck back to tighten the blade. There are 2 idler pulleys on your mower deck. The one on the right side (kind of in the middle of the deck) is the "clutching idler" that gets pulled back when you work the lever. If the cable from the handle down to the deck is broke, nothing will happen when you move the lever.
by Manage My Life
September 13th, 2011
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FRANK FESTA
Thanks Wade,

I will try it first thing in the morning and let you know.
by FRANK FESTA
September 13th, 2011
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FRANK FESTA
Wade,

I just tried it and when I pushed the lever up the pulley you described came back but the blades still do not engage.
by FRANK FESTA
September 13th, 2011
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Manage My Life
Check the deck belt to make sure it's on each of the deck pulleys and the engine pulley. If the belt is on and it still wont engage the blades then it's most likely going to be that the idler bracket is sticking. The idler that moves when you engage the handle can hang up a little and not go back far enough. Loosen the nut that holds that bracket about 1/4 to 1/2 turn and put some oil on it. Then engage/disengage the handle a few times to see if you can free it up.
by Manage My Life
September 14th, 2011
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FRANK FESTA
I will give it a try and get right back to you.
by FRANK FESTA
September 14th, 2011
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