How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Rick Your Own Question
Rick, Factory Authorized Trainer
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 8063
Experience:  Outdoor Power Equipment technical trainer since 1990, covering eight states.
Type Your Small Engine Question Here...
Rick is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a craftsman riding mower 917.273022, that has given

Customer Question

I have a craftsman riding mowerNNN-NN-NNNN that has given me the blues.
The darn thing dies if the cluth is let up or engage the pto.
Now I did tape the clutch switch under the cluth pedel and the tractor moves back and forth, The pto still shuts off the engine.
This is what i have replace so far to fix this issue.
Clutch switch,ignition switch(key), pto switch.
The seat safty switch was removed by the previous owner and was wire nut together, apparenty this switch assembly is not aval for purchase.

Please give me some ideas
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

Try separating the wires where the seat safety switch was previously and isolating them. By splicing the wires together, the previous owner would be grounding out the ignition any time the clutch or pto was engaged.


If this solves it, the switch should actually be replaced since it's part of the safety system to prevent accidents.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Now there are 2 wires both green that were twisted together in a wire nut.

So i need to remove them from each other and splice each wire to its ownself or back to each other?



Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

The wires need to be separated and insulated from one another. The seat switch is a normally closed switch that opens when you sit down. In other words, the seat switch is usually "on" through those wires to prevent the engine from starting by grounding out the ignition coil and preventing spark. When you sit in the seat, the switch is "off" to "unground" the ignition coil so that spark can take place.


If the wires are connected to each other, the unit will die anytime the clutch is released or the pto is turned on assuming everything else is properly wired. So get them apart and let's see if it runs for you...

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

graphic here is a pic of what i did is this correct, if so it did not work.


Btw before it totally dies the mower moves a couple feet.

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
The picture didn't come through. It has to be smaller than 1 meg. If it was larger that may have been the problem.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.


Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
Still not coming through. Are you using the icon that has the tree and using both windows that open to post it? Sorry this seems to be a problem. I wish it were a more streamlined process to post the image. Took me a few tries the first time until I got the hang of it.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

let me try again

I know the file is 71k

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
Thank you!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

mowergraphiclet me try again

I know the file is 71k


if that dont go thru i dont know what i am doing wrong as the size is correct along with format.

When i go to preview the image it just shows a box

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
I'm going to ask customer service to assist.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
While we wait is there anything else worth trying or checking
Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

Oops. I owe you a HUGE apology. Pardon me while I wipe the big messy egg off my face. The seat switch works differently on this one than most. This seat switch is normally open and it passes current to energize a relay to ground out the ignition rather than directly grounding through the switch like most do. It also allow the electric clutch to reach ground.


I'm posting a link to a manual that has a schematic on page 35. On this one the operator presence relay is often at fault.


Do you have a meter to test it?


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have a volt meter
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am not sure what i need or how to test...please be detailedEmbarassed

Do I need to reconnect the wires or??

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

Let me get detailed testing put together for you. Please give me a moment. Wanted to make sure you had a meter first.


The wires from the seat switch can be put back together. Again, I'm really sorry (and embarrassed) about the incorrect info. Keeps me humble I guess, but I sure don't like inconveniencing you so I really do apologize wholeheartedly.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hey no problem!!

It was still something I hadn't tried and I was fresh out of

I apperciate any help you can give me.

I dont like sounding like an idiot, but I want to make sure i follow your instructions and advice perfectly thats why i asked for detailed instructionsEmbarassed

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

Here you go...


Testing Procedure

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do i read the ohms as x1k or x10
Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
Should be plain 'ol ohms. So if you are on the 1k scale is would be .075 -.095. I'm not sure about your particular meter, but it's probably best to use the smallest scale you have.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

ok it read( 1) at the at the 1k .

I hooked it back up to the mower and listened for a clicking when turning the key and the only thing i hear clicking is the fuel solenoid.

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

If you energize the relay, it should click as the plate inside gets moved back and forth by the electromagnet. Since you're not hearing the clicking, I think you successfully troubleshot the problem.


Rick and other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.

I'm going to have to be offline for a bit (I'm a good little church boy and have bible study tonight), but I'll be back if there are additional questions in about 2 hours. Hopefully that works for you. If not, you can certainly opt me out and continue with another expert because I sure don't want to hold you up.


Best of success!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Can i keep this open until i pick up the relay tomorrow and try it?

I already checked the sears parts and repair store in garland and they has one for 15.00.

I just want to keep you as my repair advisor ...if you dont mind

Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
Certainly can. Just reply back when you are ready tomorrow and we'll talk then. Have a great night!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

you too ...Thanks for your help!

Talk with you tomorrow



Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.
Looking forward to it. I'm going to leave this with a reply to you. So that way once you respond back I'll be alerted.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The relay was the issue...

I pluged in the new one and heard a loud click and it drove....yea!!!!!

CRAP!!! Now I dont have an excuse to not mow the


Thanks so much for your advice



Expert:  Rick replied 7 years ago.



I'm so glad you're running again. But you might want to pull it out and unplug it for awhile and do something more fun? Wink


Take care and thank you for the accept! Be blessed in all you do...