John Deere L120 mower: electric clutch issues

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  #1  
Old 04-22-15, 12:42 PM
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John Deere L120 mower: electric clutch issues

Good Morning, I appreciate all the info on the forum, it has helped me diagnose and correct several issues, however, I am facing a puzzler and hoping you have some advice to narrow the issue.

Equipment: Riding Mower
Brand: John Deere L120 (48" Deck) Circa 2003 I believe
Engine: 15.5 Briggs (Sabre) 28N707-1135-E1

While a "proud" owner for a very short while, I agree that this equipment (not the engine, which is still running strong) is junk, I just can't afford to upgrade at this time.

My clutch issue just started last night. I had previously replaced the connector that attached to the clutch assembly as it had broken free. This worked great for several mows and was working great last night until I disengaged the blades and shut down the tractor to move some debris (several feet in front of tractor, did not cause issue), after starting back up, I engaged the PTO switch and the blades turned on as expected but after about 5 seconds they stopped. I initially thought the wire came loose again, but after checking and taking them off, cleaning them and putting them back on, still no joy.

The odd thing is, while the mower is running, and the PTO switch is on (just sitting idle) the blades will engage randomly for a few seconds and then disengage again (PTO switch is still on). I feel like something is loose and making a connection through the vibrations, but not sure where to start?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 04-22-15, 12:51 PM
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Check the PTO switch. They also fail.

RR
 
  #3  
Old 04-22-15, 05:39 PM
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Sounds like the connection may be loose or the wires going into the clutch coil might be broken. It happens pretty often, right where the wire comes out of the clutch and makes the bend.
 
  #4  
Old 04-22-15, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I was able to check the PTO switch with a volt-meter (attaching the meter to the wires that plug into the clutch) and it read 12.58 volts when the switch was engaged, which I believe is correct. So good on the switch.

Word of caution for others, leaving the PTO engaged (key in the on position, but not running) with the volt-meter connected to the clutch wires, I blew the 20-amp fuse after a few seconds. Luckily had a couple spares.

I took the clutch assembly off the tractor so I could test engagement without the mower running and visually see if it was engaging. With the clutch plugged in and resting near the foot pedal I turned the key to the on position and engaged the PTO switch, at first nothing happened and then I bumped the wires and it engaged then disengaged quickly. Jiggling the wire while the switch was on (the wires going into the clutch) would cause it to engage, and holding it in a certain direction with pressure also caused it to work without issue. Based on all this, I feel like one of the connections inside the plastic junction on top of the clutch itself is loose "inside" the clutch.

I attempted to jerry-rig it and finish the mow (about an acre shy of a cut lawn right now), but again, it wouldn't stay for more than a few seconds before cutting out. Like the trans-axle, I don't think the clutch is a serviceable part, though I would be very happy if I was wrong. I may be looking at the cost of a new clutch (and wiring harness) but any other suggestions or confirmations would be appreciated before I take that hit.

Thanks
 
  #5  
Old 04-22-15, 10:54 PM
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It's broken right where I described. If you pull the wires, one will have a "stretch" to it. That's the one that broke. Cut it at the stretching spot (might be right at the clutch itself) and find exposed wire. Sometimes the wire is broken flush with the resin at the clutch. In that case, take a dremel tool and grind out a bit of the resin to gain access to enough wire that you can solder a new wire to it. Once the new wire is on, I like to pack some JBweld around it and over the bare solder to help keep it from breaking there again.
 
  #6  
Old 04-23-15, 02:20 PM
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You called it cheese, right on the money!! The male spade connector (see pictures) in the resin housing on the clutch had come loose from it's connecting wire. This joint appears to be crimped, not soldered. I was able to grind down around the wire and expose enough wire to solder a new connecting wire.

I didn't have high hopes for the fix (based on my abilities and the assumption there would only be tiny strand wires inside the resin), but the new connection is solid and in preliminary tests it worked like a dream. I am waiting for the PlasticWeld (JB) to cure before re-attaching the clutch for use.

Thank you Cheese (and RR) for the responses, great advice!

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  #7  
Old 04-24-15, 01:36 AM
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Looks like a good fix. I assumed you had a connector and wires coming out of the clutch like many do, not the connector mounted on the clutch, but the symptoms and solutions are the same. Glad I could help.
 
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