Tecumseh 10HP Carburetor Choke problem - HELP! :)


Old 06-21-05, 09:30 AM
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Question Craftsman Rear Engine Rider Transmission issue - HELP! :)

OK everyone, I have a 12 year old Craftman II rear engine rider that was made by Murray.

It has a Foote/Spicer/Dana 4450-1 transaxle on it. I just replaced the drive belt and have adjusted the clutch out as much as it will go while still moving the riding mower. The problem existed before I replaced the belt but since it was an old belt I thought I'd give it a try. The belt was Murray OEM 37X65 30" belt (meaning it was Murray brand and not an aftermarket)

Here is what I am trying to figure out. I understand from the manual that when the transmission is in Neutral, the pulley on top of the tranny should not spin. However, mine does. And like I said the clutch is adjusted all the way out and there appears to be an appropriate amount of slack with the clutch disengaged, I'd say more than an inch.

When I start the mower, I can shift to any gear I want once. And if I choose gear 2 thru 5 I can freely shift to and from gears 2 thru 5. However if I select 1 or R then I cannot shift again without extraordinary effort (this is with the engine running mind you). If the engine is off I can shift without a problem from R to 5 and back.

Now when the engine is running and I am in 1 or R, and I can't shift, if I turn off the mower and still hold the clutch down, I still cannot shift until I release the pedal and engage the clutch again. Very strange.

I had one of those mobile mower places come by and take a look at it. The guy was in his early 20's, did not bring much of anything in the way of tools, and was very quick to say "it's a bad tranny" and took off with check for one hour minimum in hand. I am not trying to unfairly judge him but I don't know just how accurate that diagnosis was.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks in advance!

MOWER MODEL # 502.255060

You can see the diagrams of each if you go to Sears Parts http://www3.sears.com and type in the model #

Last edited by Ender27; 06-21-05 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Got choke issue fixed, now onto problem #2
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Old 06-22-05, 01:18 AM
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Hello Ender27!

It could be that the tranny is the problem here. The pulley SHOULD turn with the tranny in neutral, but not if the clutch is pressed. It sounds like either the belt is still too tight when the clutch is pressed, and keeping rotational pressure on the input shaft of the tranny, or, a possibility is also that the shift rails are sticking/dry and not allowing the shifter to move as freely as it should. Disassembly of the tranny would be required to fix it if that's the case. Does the tranny pulley try to turn with the clutch pedal pressed?
Old 06-23-05, 08:19 AM
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Thanks for the reply, cheese!

Well here is the deal. The input shaft DOES still turn with the brake/clutch pedal all the way in. However I want to explain this because I know the concept is confusing if you are not there witnessing it.

WITH THE ENGINE OFF, I can shift freely to any gear.

WITH THE ENGINE ON AND IN NEUTRAL, I can freely shift to any gear with the brake/clutch depressed.

IF I SHIFT TO REVERSE OR 1ST GEAR INITIALLY, I cannot subsequently shift back to neutral or to any other gear without a LOT of effort. Sometimes if I jog the clutch pedal a lot it will do it.

IF I SHIFT TO 2ND, 3RD, 4TH, OR 5TH GEAR INITIALLY, I can subsequently shift gears freely with the brake/clutch pedal depressed all the way, between gears 2-5. So within that range it shifts great. However, I cannot shift back to 1st gear, neutral, or reverse.

Now I know what you're thinking, hey the belt might be too tight, why not go and buy a 31" belt instead of a 30"?. Well I tried that, but all I could find was a basic black rubber utility belt. When I installed that and tightened it enough that the rider would move, I could shift once to any gear but I could not shift out of it no matter what.

The "Murray" OEM belt is made of a different material (kevlar?), and I suppose the black rubber may have a tendancy to "grab" and therefore does not allow the input shaft to slip against the belt.

I've considered maybe some sort of belt dressing or something along these lines to try to give the input shaft that chance to slip... but I don't know if that would do more harm then good, and besides if I can shift freely between gear 2-5, then why not be able to shift in and out of reverse or first? Wouldn't the shaft need to slip the same way from gear 2 --> 3 and it would from gear 1 --> 2?

Thanks for your help!
Old 06-23-05, 08:24 AM
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I also might add that the reason I have so much vested interest in this is that there are NO generic or even used trannys of this model # that I can find, and the manufacturer charges about $400 for the part. Because of the unique shape of the transmission I cannot adapt the widely available Peerless transmission that is used on more recent rear engine riders. Believe me, I'd love to replace this tranny but it makes no fiscal sense to do so.
Old 06-23-05, 10:48 AM
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If the input shaft is still spinning with clutch depressed while and in neutral, you can then assume that once you shift into gear it will have some rotaional force applied to the shaft even though now the shaft has stopped. This will cause binding in the transaxle.

The taller gears will be easier to shift but the lower 1st and reverse will magnify the force on the shifter. This is the reason that once you power down the engine you can then shift out of the lower gears due to no rotaional tension on the input shaft. Also, as Cheese stated, your transaxle is most likely worn and making the problem worse.

You will need to find a way to relieve the tension on the belt by either the correct belt or further adjustment. You should have no rotation on your input shaft when your clutch is pressed fully forward. If you can correct this problem I'm sure the shifting problem will disapear.

God Bless,
Old 06-24-05, 08:38 AM
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Check to see if the idler pulley spins freely...as for the clutch adjustment..how did you make the adjustment..? The linkage from the clutch should attatch to the clutch end via a pin,washer and key (cotter pin or spring clip) At the tranny end it connects to a ferrule that fits into a bracket atop the idler pulley. Adjustment should be to remove the clutch end from the pin and turn the linkage in the ferrule for proper travel, (belt should loosen with clutch depressed)
Also check where the ferrule attacthes to the arm at the tranny for looseness or wear. If you can not get the belt to go slack using the clutch pedal, see if it will move enuff manually at the idler pulley to allow the belt to slack. If so this should confirm the problem is linkage and not tranny related.
The OEM # for the belt u supplied appears to be the correct one.
Old 06-24-05, 09:57 PM
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I agree that you undoubtedly need to get the input pulley on the tranny to stop turning when the clutch is depressed. You may be able to help accomplish this by adjusting the brake on the side of the tranny. The brake, when working properly, will stop the input shaft from turning if the belt is loose enough when the clutch is depressed.

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