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Rick, Factory Authorized Trainer
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 8063
Experience:  Outdoor Power Equipment technical trainer since 1990, covering eight states.
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I have a Cub Cadet LT1000 42 inch riding mower. I have a problem

Customer Question

I have a Cub Cadet LT1000 42 inch riding mower. I have a problem with the PTO. I replaced the PTO last year and a new PTO switch this year. I pull the PTO switch and sometimes it will engage the blades, sometimes not. I tried using the cut in reverse switch...that worked once and I was able to cut the lawn. It shut off the PTO, disengaged the blades and now will not re-engage. It appears to be an electrical problem...can you help?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
Hello, and thank you for choosing JustAnswer. I'll be helping you today and am committed to providing clear and concise answers to your question.

Let's start with some basic troubleshooting steps that usually nail the problem:

First, check your battery. The PTO takes a great deal of current to operate. Consider that you are energizing an electromagnet that has to stay joined with a metal plate while the horsepower of your engine and the load created by the cutting deck are trying to pull them back apart. If your battery isn't fully charged, or is failing under load, the PTO goes cannot work. a fully charged battery will put out about 12.7v. By the time it drops to about 12.1v it's 50% discharged.

Also, check to make sure the battery is rated at least 350 Cold Cranking Amps. If you have possibly replaced your battery, this could be the cause. Also, we find a higher incidence of initially defective batteries sold though discount retailers than though servicing dealers.

If the battery keeps doesn't maintain its charge, you may have a charging system problem. A word of caution, never jump-start a lawnmower with a running car. The higher-powered charging system of the car will likely blow out and ruin your mower's charging system. The charging system should be checked against manufacturer specifications to make sure it's performing properly.

Your PTO switch could be failing. Some switches will "open" when they get hot.

Check for loose wires where they attach to the PTO clutch. If they wiggle loose, current cannot flow.

There's always the possibility the PTO clutch itself could be going bad. Some are adjustable, and this can make a difference, saving the cost of replacement. If you find slots and adjusting nuts, you can go in and check the gap between the two halves with a .015" feeler gauge. Make sure it's adjusted equally all the way around.

Let me know and we'll continue....
Rick and other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I replaced the battery this week with one that has 365 cold cranking amps. Just replaced the drive belt and reinstalled the PTO clutch. No loose wires, it engaged the blades and ran three times then stopped. What about engaging the blades once with the reverse engage button...worked once then shut off
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Is that it? Not satisfied with the responses so far...what do you suggest I do next?
Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
Sorry for the delay, we kept having power outages out here.

Also, please never accept an answer until we are done and you are completely satisfied with the results, just as it says in my signature line.

What I went back over your question, I don't see any mention that you had replaced the battery or the belt, only that you had replaced the PTO last year and the switch this year.

So the next step would be to verify the PTO clutch itself, please take the wires off, they are usually a blue wire and a green wire, but this varies depending upon which clutch you have on your particular unit. Then use an ohmmeter, and please let me know what the resistance value is that you are reading between those two wires going into the clutch.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I will check this...but not I need to trickle charge my battery? I will get back to you when I have the do I get back to you? Please let me know.


Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
Thank you, Bill. Yes, the battery should be trickle charged. A fast charge on these small rider batteries can sometimes cause the cells to go bad and wreck a good battery. Trickle charging overnight is the best option. Once you check this, just reply back to this question and I will be alerted when you do and we can continue. Thank you so very much, and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Here's the link to this question in case you want to bookmark it:

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Was able to trickle charge the battery the volts...registers 12.9 volts. The resistance to the PTO clutch is 3.0 ohms. Ran the engine after the trickle charge...the PTO engaged the blades and it cut the lawn for one pass of the yard then disengaged the blades. Would not reengage again, even though I trickle charged it overnight again. What's next to test or replace? Hopefully not the PTO clutch...I replaced it last year...surely, it will last longer than one year. Interestingly, Cub Cadet's newer models all have a lever to engage the blades...seems like to electromagnet PTO was a bust! What do you think?

Expert:  Rick replied 5 years ago.
There's a lot of PTOs still out there. The lever is the entry-class, the electric PTO is the upper class.

I'm not sure what the voltage on the battery was when it stopped? This is sounding like it could be either a suspect battery or a charging system. Did the voltage drop noticeably? How many volts is the charging sytem putting out when the engine is running at full throttle? Please test the battery voltage at rest withough the engine started, then when you crank it what does it fall off to? Does it drop more than 2V?then with the engine running, what is the voltage? that will tell us if the battery is being charged by the engine. It may have been running only on the voltage from your charge and then when it dropped, the PTO shut off.

Hope this helps. Keep me posted, please.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The battery reads 13.7 volts at rest, then I started the engine and it reads 14.2 volts. The two wires leading to the PTO clutch from the switch read out 13.7 volts when the PTO switch is pulled. The PTO will not engage the blades when the switch is pulled. What is next?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Need to know what the next step is...have checked the voltage from the battery while at rest and running full
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Never got an answer to the last two replys...went to Cub Cadet web site and contacted the tech rep and solved the problem...Rick was never close to the answer...would like to terminate this service...was not helpful...but thanks for trying