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Curtis B.
Curtis B., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 27469
Experience:  have worked on and around most engine models for 35 yrs./Polaris ATV expert
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Cub cadet 2166. Mowing with PTO engaged and then it suddenly

Customer Question

Cub cadet 2166. Mowing with PTO engaged and then it suddenly stopped with a backfire. No response to turning the key. No lights on the dash. Worked on it for a while, checking for loose wires, charged the battery, etc. Still no reaction to turning the key. Disconnected the ignition switch to check that it was getting power.
It seemed that I was getting intermittent power readings. Finally got a continuous power reading and jump wired the power, ignition and starter terminals to get the starter engaged and the engine turning over. It started but on trying to shut it off it backfired. Reconnected the ignition switch and could get it started but the PTO would not engage. Turned the ignition switch to off and it would keep running with intermittent backfiring. Turned the switch to the headlight position and it would stop.
I tried this several times and the same thing happened.

John, Sag Harbor, NY
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 6 years ago.
Explain the headlight thing again. If you turn on the headlights, the engine runs ok?? I assume you checked the fuses and they check ok. The starting circuit and the pto circuit are hooked up through the safety switches, Seat switch, neutral switch, pto switch. Any one not functioning will keep the starting system from working. If engine starts , the pto should work. If not ,check it wires going to the pto and see if voltage is present. If voltage is present, the pto is probably bad. You can use jumper wires from battery to see if it will engage . The intermittent power readings make me think of a bad ground cable to frame, or the one relay located in the wiring harness is stuck. The backfiring and then running ok, indicates that the timing control on the engine is bad. But again, check the battery cables for a bad ground. Anytime you have intermittent electrical related issues, think of the ground system. Let me know. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Now that the engne does start and run, turning the key to off will not stop the engine - it keeps running and starts backfiring.
Turning the key to the headlight position does stop it.
So the engine does start and run relatively normally as long as you use the headlight position of the ignition switch to turn it off.
The PTO does not activate. I did not check to see if there was power to the switch and unfortunately am not where the tractor is right now to check it.
Both 25 amp fuses behind the dash are OK.
Checked battery cables and ground strap and both are OK.
I do not have any information on the " one relay in the wiring harness" or how to check it. What does that control?
The problem seems to have started when it first backfired then went dead with no elect. power. Would that be from a problem in the ignition module? I don't have a service manual so do not know how the timing controls are setup.

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 6 years ago.
Cub Cadet has a great site ans that is what I use to see what system you have. I will leave the web address. Whit all the key positions weird, I wonder if there is not a short in the harness or a bad key switch??