Mower shuts off as soon as I let off the clutch

Old 08-30-13, 09:00 AM
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Mower shuts off as soon as I let off the clutch

I have a 15hp 1995 Craftsman - I can only get it started by shorting across the solenoid posts - starts well then - key won't work. However when I let off the clutch it immediately stalls. We noticed that the shifter feels different - looser, works really easily. You can still feel it seemingly shift gears - even hear a click from the tranny - but it doesn't feel right. I'm wondering about a safety mechanism of some sort. Also, when we let off the clutch - it does not try to move - just immediately stalls.

What do I do next?

Old 08-30-13, 11:13 AM
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I would start by replacing the ignition switch and obtaining the wiring schematic. You can look up the part number and order the switch at, and I can't recall for certain, but think that you may be able to print the wiring schematic there as well.
Old 08-30-13, 02:21 PM
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That is one of the most common problems to show up here on the forum.

It's nearly always the seat switch in one form or another. Cheese usually points to the connector on the switch as being a little loose and needing to be forced in tighter.

I have seen a problem in the plunger not pushed in far enough to separate the kill circuit. You might look at that one.

If one doesn't help, try the other.
Old 09-01-13, 05:59 AM
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I'm going to suggest trying a jumper from the (S) terminal on your ignition switch, "white wire on the schematic I'm looking at, which may not be the same wire color on your model;" to the same color wire on the solenoid.
Then try to start it with the key.

If it doesn't turn over with that jumper then my best guess is the ignition switch is bad.

If it turns over with that jumper, then I am "guessing" that it is being prevented from starting because of a break in the starting circuit through the clutch switch and/or the PTO switch.

If the ignition switch starts the engine with the jumper, but still stalls when you let up on the clutch, start it again and instead of raising the clutch, engage the PTO and see if the engine stalls.

Remove the jumper from the solenoid and connect to the PTO switch side of the clutch switch and try to start it.
If it starts with this jumper, then my best guess is that you have a bad clutch safety switch that does not allow the starter circuit to complete.
If it starts with this jumper but dies with clutch raised, then you may have both a bad clutch switch preventing it from starting and a bad or going bad seat switch that kills the engine.

If it started with the jumper from ignition to solenoid, but wouldn't start with jumper from ignition to PTO side of clutch switch.
Leave jumper connected to the PTO side of clutch switch.
Remove from ignition switch and reconnect to solenoid side of PTO switch.
IF it starts in this configuration, then my guess is a bad PTO switch.
And very possibly a bad seat switch as well if it still dies when you raise the clutch or engage the PTO.

See attached schematic I found somewhere on the internet.
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