Small Engine Troubleshooting Problems? Ask a Mechanic Now.
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It is most likely the electric clutch that runs the mower deck. I see this happen really often as the clutches get some wear on them they tend to heat up more after running, sometimes it is due to slipping while running. If you have the triangle plate style clutch or the older four bolt style that John Deere used you could try to adjust the clutch clearance and see if that helps your problem if not you will most likely end up having to replace the clutch.