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Craftsman Lawn Tractor won't start

I have a Craftsman lawn tractor model # 917.255520. The battery is fully charged, but when I turn the key to start I get nothing (no click / nothing). I jumped it off the truck and it started. Ran it all over yard, cut some grass, but when I shut it down same problem as stated above, nothing when try to restart. My digital battery charger has a built in alternator check swith which tells me the alternator is bad. If that were true wouldn't the battery loose power from running it? I was able to start it again by jumping it off the truck, but when I shut it down, same thing, nothing. The battery is holding it's charge. From reading answers on here I see it could be a variety of causes to include solenoid or ignition switch. If I jump the solenoid and nothing happens, it's the solenoid, correct? If it is the alternator, where can I get step by step instructions on how to replace it? The owners manual for this tractor is very vague, is there a service & repair manual available for this model that can be downloaded? If not where is one available? Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Craftsman , Lawn Tractors , Kenmore PRO Appliances
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6 Answers from these members:
Lyle W
The brake/clutch switch should be in the area marked in red on the parts image below. The attachment clutch switch should be behind the dash.
by Lyle W Earned 2,989 community points in Craftsman
March 22nd, 2013
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Manage My Life
I thank you so much for that information Lyle. I have replaced the ignition switch and still nothing. I also picked up a new solenoid, but they gave me the wrong one. I'm going to return it for the right one and replace that too. I replaced the starter 2 years ago. After doing this if I still get nothing, I'm thinking it's the clutch switch because there seems to be a lot less tension in the clutch. Could you please tell me where the clutch switch is located? Once again, thank you and have a great day.
by Manage My Life
March 21st, 2013
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Lyle W
Page 29 of the owner's manual shows the wiring diagram for the tractor. I posted that wiring diagram in the image below. When the ignition switch is in the Start position, you should have continuity between B and S. You should measure 12 volts DC at the S terminal if you have a volt meter. If not, you can check to see if you have 12 volts at B. If not, then you can check the fuse. If you do have voltage at B but not at S when you turn the switch to Start then the ignition switch will need to be replaced. If the ignition switch is okay, then you could have a problem with the clutch or attachment switches. A bad solenoid or starter motor could also be causing your problems. If you need more help, reply with additional details based on those tests. Note: Use caution when checking that live voltage. Wear electrical safety gloves and safety goggles when checking that live voltage. If you are not completely confident that you can safely conduct the live voltage checks, then I recommend that you have a service technician examine and repair the tractor.
by Lyle W Earned 2,989 community points in Craftsman
March 20th, 2013
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Manage My Life
I bought a new battery for the Craftsman 917.255520 still won't do anything when attempting to start. Ran a wire from positive terminal to solenoid, got a clicking noise, but the starter won't turn. Tired jumping it again and got nothing. Atleast before when I jumped it, it started and ran. I'm thinking of replacing the ignition switch and see what that may or may not do. I do have the owners manual, but that is very brief on any types of repair. Any more suggestions are greatly appreciated.
by Manage My Life
March 20th, 2013
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Lyle W
Your details seem to indicate that the tractor will start when you jump the battery from your truck. This seems to indicate that the battery in the tractor is bad even though you indicate that it is holding a charge. 

 

I don't have a repair manual for the tractor. The owner's manual has wiring diagram on page 29. Here is a link for that manual in case it is different than the one that you are looking at: 

Owner's Manual for Craftsman Lawn Tractor Model 917.255520. 

 

If you jump the solenoid then the starter should run if the battery is good. Since the starter won't run when you jump that solenoid, try attaching the jumper cables to the battery and see if the starter runs. If it does, then that battery is apparently bad.

 

That link for a previous Manage My Life answer that Alina posted in the above response describes a similar problem on a different model of Craftsman tractor. You can view that answer and use a similar process to check the voltage on your tractor if necessary. The wiring for your tractor is different but the process is basically the same. If you need more help, reply with additional details and we will assist you further.

 

 

If you get to the point where you need to have a service technician diagnose and repair this failure, you can schedule service through this link: 

Sears Home Services Tractor Repair. 
by Lyle W Earned 2,989 community points in Craftsman
March 9th, 2013
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Manage My Life
I understand that your Craftsman lawn tractor is not starting. While you are waiting for an expert to respond, I have attached some helpful links below that may provide information to assist you with your question. Have a great day!
by Manage My Life
March 7th, 2013
Answered in 4 minutes
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