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My riding mower won't start.

my Craftsman riding mower model number 917-275761 won't start. I just bought a new battery this spring and now it doesn't start again. How do I know if my battery is bad or if it is the starter or another electrical problem?

Craftsman , Lawn Mowers , Computers
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3 Answers from these members:
afritz afritz
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by afritz afritz Earned 13,820 community points in Craftsman
August 13th, 2011
Answered in 5 minutes
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first i would check the fuse if thats ok i would check the solenoid if you can jump start your mower from the solenoid then you rule out a bad starter if it does start from solenoid but wont start from turning the ignition switch i would say the solenoid is bad and needs replaced. that should resolve your issue. if the solenoid is good then the ignition switch could be bad and causing the problem. a expert wil answer your question soon hope this helps and gives you a starting point to resolve your issue with your rider good luck
by Manage My Life
August 13th, 2011
Answered in 5 hours
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Mark T
Thank you for your question.

First make sure the Gear shift on the tractor is in neutral position and blade engagement lever or switch is in the off position.

Make sure the brake pedal is pushed down when starting.

Check the fuse that is located behind the dash.

Clean any corrosion deposits on the battery terminals making sure you have protective eye glasses and clothing that will not be damaged by the acid in the battery.

It still is a possibility that the battery may be the issue.

If you have jumper cables, I would suggest that you try to jump off the engine. If it starts or turns over quickly the battery is still the issue.

I will go through the proper procedure in using jumper cables for starting your tractor.

If you are using a vehicle to use as a power source please make sure the engine is


running when attempting to jump off the tractor.

To get the tractor ready for jumping off the battery, push the clutch foot pedal all the way down and hold it while you lift up on the parking brake lever and then release the clutch foot pedal. This will hold the clutch pedal in the down position.

Lift the seat forward to access the battery.

Take one Red end of the jumper cable and attach it to the red battery terminal on the known good vehicle battery making sure the other end is not touching any metal surface or the tractor. Put the tractor end of the Red jumper cable to the Red or + terminal on the tractor battery. Next put the Black cable on the Black or - terminal on the supply battery and take the other Black end of the jumper cable and clamp it onto the tractor draw bar at the back of the tractor and make sure is making good connection.

With the blade engagement lever in the off position you should at this time be able to turn the key and start the engine on the tractor. As soon as the tractor starts remove the cables in the reverse order. Black from the draw,Black from the power source, Red from the tractor battery and Red from the power source battery.

I have included a link to a video on battery jumping on

Manage My Life


If this does not work or you do not have a set of jumper cables, we can now consider some of the other components to check.

The Red cable that comes from the battery and ends at the start solenoid needs to checked for corrosion and cleaned if any is found. You can also jump across the big Red cabled terminals on the solenoid which will go around the solenoid and eliminate that as cause.

Carefully take a large flat blade screw driver and short across the two large terminals on the solenoid. When you do this, it will arc or spark and the starter should engage and turn the engine over.

If this works check the dc voltage to the solenoid. Have someone try to start the tractor while you check the voltage on the small wires on the solenoid. If you have 12 volts dc the solenoid is defective. if you do not have the needed 12 volts to the solenoid I would suspect a blown fuse or faulty safety switch.

The last possibility is that the starter is bad and is drawing to many amps with bad internal windings and or the motor has dry bearings in the starter motor.

There could be other electrical wiring issues with in the tractor but I think we covered the most likely possible causes.

If you need further assistance, please let me know if you have a volt ohmmeter. If you have a meter, I can give you the checks that have to be done to determine the problem. Also, include a model number with the reply.

Here is a link to order any parts you need.

Sears Parts Direct


If you do not feel confident repairing this problem yourself, then you can have it repaired at your home by a Sears technician. Here is a link for the website:

Sears Home Services


Thank you for using Manage my life.

Mark T.
by Mark T Earned 58,303 community points in Craftsman
August 14th, 2011
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