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Lawn tractor won't stay running.


Bettyboop321's Avatar
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07-25-06, 02:26 PM   #1  
Lawn tractor won't stay running.

It starts great & will idle as long as my foot is on the clutch/brake. If I remove my foot it dies. I can put the parking brake on & it idles fine. I can get off it & it still idles, w/parking brake on. The blades are not engaged.
It's a Craftsman 16.0 HP Electric Start. model # 917.271080 with a Kohler engine model # CV16S, spec # 43519
Thanks, Betty

 
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07-25-06, 04:51 PM   #2  
If you set the throttle higher to low or mid throttle does it do the same thing?

 
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07-25-06, 05:12 PM   #3  
It really sounds like the safety switch under the seat. Disconnect it & try it, If it's still the same, jump the terminals of the connector. Remember, You're bypassing a safety ....So be carefull

 
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07-25-06, 05:15 PM   #4  
mower not staying running

It doesn't matter where it is. High, low, or in between. Motor slowly dies, The lights go out also [didn't know if that matters or not] It's not a sudden stop, it just slowly dies. It will also die it I have my foot on the brake & try to engage the blades.
Betty

 
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07-25-06, 05:23 PM   #5  
mower won't stay running

"It really sounds like the safety switch under the seat. Disconnect it & try it, If it's still the same, jump the terminals of the connector"
It will not start at all if the switch is disconnected. I know this because I disconnected the switch & wired the wires together to bypass the switch. The way this mower is made you cannot do that. I had to connect them back to the switch in order to get it to run. I mowed my yard & the neighbors yard then when I stopped it to open the gate that's when it started doing this.
What do you mean "jump the terminals of the connector" ?
Betty

 
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07-25-06, 05:42 PM   #6  
Sorry Betty, forget my suggestion, As you've already done it

 
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07-25-06, 06:43 PM   #7  
mower won't stay running

That's okay.... I am open to any & all suggestions.
It seems like the mower thinks the blades are engaged when they aren't. But the odd thing is instead of it dying if I get off the seat, it dies if I let off the brake.
It's got to be something simple. I hope it's something simple. Betty

 
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07-25-06, 07:23 PM   #8  
Betty:

You may have to look at your fuel system. Possibly when the engine is idling it barely has enough fuel to maintain an idle. When you take your foot off the clutch you're loading the engine to some degree with the input on the transmission and it's more than the engine can handle without adequate fuel.

Since the engine dies slowly could indicate it's slowly starving for fuel. There could also be moisture in the fuel.

I would suggest doing the basic checks a user would be able to do. Change the fuel in the tank to get rid of possible moisture accumulation. Check the flow of fuel from the tank- a fuel filter that's possibly dirty. Disconnect the fuel line from the fuel pump or carburetor (if it has no fuel pump) and see if the fuel flows freely from it.

It depends on how far you would like to go to fix it yourself and what your mechanical abilities are.

Hope this helps

 
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07-25-06, 07:29 PM   #9  
mower not staying running

I just put a new line line fuel filter on it a week or so ago. It has fuel in the filter. There isn't any water in the fuel that I can see.
I know some things about this mower & am learning more as I go I'm not afraid to try to fix it myself, I just don't know what I'm looking for right now. I'm thinking more of a loose connection or a connection that has come off. Guess it's time to pull the gas tank off [again] to look at the wiring under it.
Betty

 
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07-25-06, 07:39 PM   #10  
You might try this:

Go to each of your safety switches and work them from on to off manually a few times. If they have gotten corroded it may restore continuity to them. Seat switches can sometimes be rejuvenated like that.

I noticed you said the lights go out when it dies. I'm assuming the lights are switched through the ignition switch - then an accessory switch turns the lights on.
If this is the case it's a good possibility the problem is in the ignition switch.

Hope this helps


Last edited by marbobj; 07-26-06 at 08:31 AM.
 
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07-25-06, 07:43 PM   #11  
mower won't stay running

Okay, it will be either tomorrow of the next day before I get a chance to check the switches. I will let you know the out come. Betty

 
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07-26-06, 08:25 PM   #12  
Take a piece of wire, or a cable tie, and strap the seat switch connector as tightly as you can to the switch (making the connector push as far up on the switch as it will go). See if that solves the problem. There is a shunt in the connector that is activated by a small rib/bump on the switch. If you disconnect it, it won't start. If you jump across it, it won't work. Not with the shunt in it. If the connector works away from the switch just a tad, the bump doesn't release the shunt connection, and the mower thinks no-one is on the seat, so it shuts off if the clutch is released or the blades are turned on.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-27-06, 05:40 PM   #13  
mower still not staying running

I have got the seat switch in as tight as I can--still won't stay on. Here's what it's doing one more time...it starts right up, will run as long as my foot is on the brake. When I let up on the brake it dies. I can put the parking brake on & it runs fine. I can even get off the mower & it runs [w/pk'g brake on]. When I get back on, release the parking brake it dies if my ft is not on the brake. While my ft is on the brake I have tried to engage the blades--it died. What in the world is wrong with this thing???? Betty

 
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07-27-06, 06:30 PM   #14  
Did you actually strap it tight to the switch? Simply pushing it on as far as it will go doesn't solve the problem when the shunt is what's making it stall. Still most likely something wrong at the seat switch. Maybe it's bad, or a wiring problem. You can clip one of the wires going to the seat switch to eliminate it as a problem. Simply disconnecting it won't work. If it works then, you know the switch or the connector is at fault and you can repair as needed and connect the clipped wire back together. If it's a bad connector, you'll probably be clipping the wire anyway.


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07-27-06, 06:42 PM   #15  
mower still not staying running

I cut both wires a few days ago to try to bypass the safty switch. Not a good thing to do. It would not start at all. I have since rewired them to the switch. That's when I got it to running & mowed for over an hour, killing it onve to refill the gas tank. When I finished mowing I killed it to open the gate. It hasn't stayed running since. I have checked the wires & they are still twisted together.
Could it still be the seat switch even though I can get off it & it runs with the parking brake on?
I've tried to find a repair person that makes house calls [I only have a car, can't take it in to be worked on] & no one around here does that.
Betty

 
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07-27-06, 06:49 PM   #16  
Cheese:

Do the lights on her mower draw through the seat switch?

Thanks

 
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07-27-06, 06:51 PM   #17  
Whats wrong with this....

I believe it is the clutch/brake switch or the wire going to this module. Ther may be even 8 wires coming out of the back of your ignition switch but one of them goes to your clutch/brake switch. This saftey switch will keep the mower from being started if the brake is not engaged. Try unplugging the two wires going to this switch and connecting the two together. If it starts then replace the clutch/brake switch. If this doesn't work then call the number in the service manual and ask to talk to a service man on duty. :

 
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07-27-06, 06:51 PM   #18  
It's not the clutch switch. The clutch switch is working. That's why it is shutting off when the clutch is released. The clutch switch should never shut the engine off unless there is no-one on the seat. So if it was bad, it still wouldn't shut the engine down if someone is on the seat. Same with the blade safety switch. Unless this has electric pto, the blade switch should never shut the engine off unless there is noone on the seat. They both depend on the seat switch.

If the seat switch wires are tiwsted to each other, then that's a problem. They need to be disconnected from one another. The seat switch shouldn't have anything to do with the mower starting or not though, as long as the clutch pedal is down. If that's what's happening, then I wonder if you have a bad relay.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-27-06, 07:09 PM   #19  
mower still not staying running

The wires are twisted to each other. There are 2 wires going to the seat switch & I have them twisted separately, not a one.
It acts like it thinks the blades are engaged when they aren't. It stops just like it would if you got off the mower while it was running with the blades engaged.
This really is giving me a headache Betty

 
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07-27-06, 07:16 PM   #20  
mower not staying running

<<Do the lights on her mower draw through the seat switch?>>

Marboj, the lights will work even if the mower isn't running. So, I'm thinking the seat switch has nothing to do with the lights. Betty

 
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07-27-06, 07:21 PM   #21  
Betty:

Maybe I misunderstood you, I thought the lights were going out when the engine dies??

 
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07-27-06, 07:29 PM   #22  
mower not staying running

You are right, marbobj--they do go off when the engine dies since all this started. Sorry, I was thinking of something else. This has my head spining. I know it's got to be something simple.
Tomorrow I will try the wires coming out of the ignition switch.
Betty

 
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07-27-06, 08:07 PM   #23  
The lights going off is significant. Forget about the possible fuel problems. If the lights aren't routed through the ignition switch look for a grounded hot wire. It would create a situation where the lights would lose their ground and go out.

Hope this helps, hang in there

 
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07-27-06, 08:59 PM   #24  
mower not staying running

I think I understand what you are saying about the lights & the ignition switch. They do go through the ign. switch.
Do you think I should try a new ign switch? Betty

 
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07-27-06, 10:50 PM   #25  
heh...ok...

The lights don't matter. They go out because they don't run off the battery. They run solely off the engine's alternator. When the engine quits turning, the lights go out because there is no current being produced by the alternator.

Bettyboop, you said it yourself. Quote:"It acts like it thinks the blades are engaged when they aren't. It stops just like it would if you got off the mower while it was running with the blades engaged."

It stops like it would if you got off the mower.

What switch would be activated when you got off the mower? The seat switch!

So, you have either a problem with the seat switch, the connector, or the relay that is activated by the seat switch. I have seen this problem many times before, especially on craftsman and other AYP mowers with this setup. I'm trying to help you here. If you want to go to the source of the problem, we'll do it. You don't want to start replacing a bunch of parts on a wild goose chase.

Someone mentioned calling sears for a tech. I was sears warranty authorized. "Was", only because I quit doing any warranty work for any manufacturer. Now I don't have the paperwork to deal with, and many other hassles that come with warranty work.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!


Last edited by cheese; 07-27-06 at 11:07 PM.
 
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07-28-06, 04:32 AM   #26  
mower not staying running

Yes, I want to get to the source of the problem! So I am to start with the seat switch first, correct?
I guess I just have this block in my head that if it was the seat switch it would die even with the parking brake on. But I will go by what y'all say because this is the first time I have done this much work on her. Usually it's just the normal daily/weekly check ups.
I will disconnect the wires to the seat switch & see what happens. Will get back to you after work this PM. Bettty

 
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07-28-06, 04:26 PM   #27  
mower not staying running

I disconnected the seat switch, same thing...starts, dies when ft brake is released. I then took off the ignition switch, the prongs looked ok. There are 6 that go to one switch & then a single one for a single switch. I put them back on --- same thing.
What do you want me to check next?
Betty

 
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07-28-06, 09:12 PM   #28  
When my son was 2

He found my tool set and the 14horse craftsman mower and began his career as someone who takes apart things with purpose! That summer I mowed half my yard and my mower didn't start again.....Until I found that little nut that holds the govener in place and contols the high speed idle.

 
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07-28-06, 09:31 PM   #29  
Ok Betty, that eliminates the seat switch, AND the connector from the equation. Now the only component left is the relay. Remove the gas tank (should be held on with two 3/8" head bolts). Look under the tank, probably towards the right side of the mower. There should be (going from memory here, so I might be a tad off) three or four relays. The relays are black plastic cubes about 1 inch square with several wires going to each one. I can't remember what color wires are going to the relay you're looking for. Seems like one or two yellow and or orange wires go to it, among others. Unplug it and with a small screwdriver, pop the black cover off of it. Look at the electrical workings inside it. Are they rusty and corroded? If so, this is probably the problem.

There are contact points in it. Sometimes they can be cleaned with a piece of sandpaper or a nail file to solve the problem. Sometimes the coil inside the relay is bad, and replacement is the only option.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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07-28-06, 09:43 PM   #30  
mower not staying running

I know exactly where/what you are talking about.
They are all the same but have different wires going to them. There are 3 of them on my mower. Will look for the one you are talking about. They are to get off.

It's going to be either tomorrow PM or Sunday before I get a chance to work on it.
Thanks, Betty

 
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07-28-06, 09:57 PM   #31  
Getting closer.....

I found the relay I replaced the other day when the mower would not start at all. I did what you said & looked inside it. It's all rusted. In fact some of the small wires feel like they would fall apart.
This weekend I'm check the other 2. Wow! Maybe we are onto something here
'night, Betty

 
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07-31-06, 02:50 PM   #32  
BettyBop321
Had the same problem with our mower, and fixed it by relay behind battery, to be stuck, took apart and cleaned contacts. This fixed our problem. Was exact problem as you where having.

 
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07-31-06, 07:05 PM   #33  
mower not staying running

dean2111, where was that switch? I have 3 under the gas tank but haven't seen one behind the battery.
It's been too hot to get out there to check those 3 but I really think it's going to be one of them. I'm going to try to get out there tomorrow PM & clean the contacts on those.
Thanks for the info , Betty

 
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07-31-06, 10:49 PM   #34  
Betty, if your battery is under the seat, there isn't a relay there on yours.


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08-01-06, 04:55 AM   #35  
mower still not staying running

Oh, okay.....thanks. Betty

 
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08-02-06, 12:24 PM   #36  
mower not staying running

I took off each relay[ there are 3] , sanded/cleaned each prong, took the black cover off checked everything inside. Put everything back together,started it up------same thing----it dies when I take my foot off the brake/cluch. I put the parking brake on & let it run for awhile to charge up the battery. It runs just fine with the prk brake on. I can get off & it just idles fine. But when I let the prk brake & reg brake off it dies.
I don't know what else to do. Betty

 
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08-03-06, 10:58 PM   #37  
Were the relays rusty inside?


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08-04-06, 04:51 AM   #38  
mower won't stay running

No, they were all just like new. When I was having the problem with it not starting I replaced one of the relays. That was the one I used to open up so I could see what they looked like [the old one] It was all rusty inside. All 3 of the ones on the mower now are clean as new. I cleaned off the prongs & lightly sanded them also. I also made sure I connected them back tightly.
I'm going to take the mower deck off this weekend & check it out just incase there's something there.
Any other suggestions? Betty

 
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08-04-06, 08:44 PM   #39  
Take all 3 relays off, and put each one back in a different spot than what it was in. See what happens then.


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God bless!

 
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08-04-06, 08:58 PM   #40  
mower still not staying running

Okay, I'll try anything It will be later tomorrow or maybe even Sunday before I can try it but I'll let you know what happens. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that this works 'cause I hate taking that deck off. Betty

 
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