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My lawn tractor will not go forward when put into gear. It will not go backward either.

My lawn tractor is about 4-5 years old. No problems with it whatsoever, til now. 20.0 HP 42" mower Electric Start Automatic Transmission Model No. 917.287120.
I was mowing with it last fall, put it in gear to go forward and it wouldn't go, I put it all that way to "fast" and it crept along. It wouldn't go in reverse either. We have checked the belts, they are all good. It just won't go forward. Any suggestions of what to check?

Lawn Tractors , Lawn Mowers
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2 Answers from these members:
Manage My Life
Well, let's see what we can do to get that mower moving to make life easier. has many resources available on issues with the tractor not moving. Hope these links help while you wait for an expert.
by Manage My Life
March 16th, 2012
Answered in 5 minutes
0 votes
Mark T
I am sorry you are having problems with your tractor. I will try to give you all information needed to fix the tractor. The first question is have you removed the rear wheels. The rear wheels have a square axle key that drive them. I have provided you with an image below showing the placement of the axle key.

If the axle key is in position, the next check to make is if the drive belt is still on. With the tractor on a level surfaced and the engine off look under the tractor at the drive belt. The belt should be free of slack and go around all of the pulleys.

I recommend you try to purge the air out of the system. The purging instructions can be found in your owner's manual and I have posed them below.

Next check the brake lever on the transaxle. If it has been sitting for a long period of time it might be stuck on. The lever is located on the right side of the tractor inside of the frame. I recommend working the lever back and forth to make sure it is moving freely.

When you are looking under the tractor, have someone move the shifter. When the shifter is moved, you should see the shifter on the transaxle move. If the shifter is properly attached, have someone start the tractor and let out on the brake. Now carefully look under the tractor at the Trans axle drive pulley. The drive pulley should be spinning. If the pulley is spinning, the problem is most likely a defective transaxle.

I hope this helps get the tractor going. If you need further assistance, please reply with the details of what you have found.

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 54,715 community points in Lawn Mowers
March 17th, 2012
Answered in 13 hours
0 votes
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