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Cub Cadet mower blades won't stay turning. What can cause it?

Customer Question
I have a zero turn...
I have a zero turn cub cadet riding mower. The blades won't stay turning to cut the grass. I engage the PTO switch and they turn for like a second, then stop. I have already replaced the PTO switch and it hasn't fixed the problem. What could be wrong?
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Small Engine
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
4/1/2012
Technician: James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert replied 5 years ago
James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3,708
Experience: 7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years
Verified
James W :

Greetings, My name is***** and I am here to help the best I can. My goal is 100% satisfaction. Let's get started.

James W :


First. a battery problem will cause mojor trouble witht the PTO. It takes an enornous amount of battery engery to run an electric clutch. So if your battery is low...or goes down, the pto cannot work.

If you bought a battery from a discount store. There is a good possibility that either the battery was bad right off the bat or that it didn't have the required 350 cca that is the minimum for an electric clutch to wor correctly for any length of time.

If the battery keeps going down, you could also have a problem with the charging system. Just a note about charging systems in a lawn mower. YOU CANNOT EVER JUMP-START A LAWNMOWER WITH AN AUTOMOBILE OR YOU WILL RUIN THE CHARGING SYSTEM OF THE MOWER. tHE SYSTEM OF THE CAR WILL BLOW THE MOWER'S CHARGING SYSTEM.

You'd have to have the charging system in the mower checked.

The PTO switch could also have been part of the problem. But, since you replaced the switch, likely not still.be bad causing this problem.

Also check the wires that attetch to the pto clutch. If they came loose, it won't work.

Last but not least, the pto itself could be bad. or at least need adjusted...if it has an adjustment. If you have an adjustable clutch, the setting is .010" between the two halves of the clutch...(in between the slots)

.

Please click "ACCEPT" or I won't get paid.

You may also consider sending a bonus if I have been helpful,Please leave positive feedback this is how I'm rated. Thanks


James W :

Did you check the switch with a meter before or afer you changed it??? You may want to test it to see if it ever was bad

James W :

Please scroll up to read about 50 lines of answer I typed in before you entered chat.

Customer:

Ok, I am thinking the battery could be the issue. I jump started the battery with my car, didn't know that was a no no because I have watched my father in law do it before.

Customer:

What is the proper way to jump start a battery that has been sitting all winter? Or is it best to just replace? Last summer I had to jump start the battery a few times as well

James W :

do not jump start it at all

James W :

ONLY charge it

Customer:

How do you charge it?

James W :

if it will not keep a charge after charging

James W :

then you replaceit

James W :

I would get a decent battery charger, OK to use the same one you use for a casr

James W :

but never use the jump setting on it

James W :

charge using 2amps for a ling time

Customer:

Is it best for right now to try and fix this problem for me to just replace the battery first?

James W :

you can use 10 amp setting for a few hours, but not very long then finish it off using the 2 amp

James W :

take the battery with you and let the test it to see if the battery is good and could ever take a charge

James W :

but if the battery is like 4 years old, I would replace it period anyway

James W :

you have run the risk of damaging the charging system by jumping the battery

James W :

so if the mower runs for a short time, then stops, it may be because the alternator system of the engine has been blown by the jump starting

James W :

and will need to b serviceed

James W :

SOMETIMES you can get away with jumping it with a vehicl that is NOT running and cause no damage to the tractor

James W :

but if you jump it with the motor of the vehicle running, you have a HIGH possibilty of damaging the mower

James W :

I know this flies in the face of what father in law teaches...

Customer:

Ok this is all so helpful. The mower stays running no problem, it's just the blade that doesn't stay moving. It will come on for a second then stop. If I ride around the yard for a few mins, it will kick back on again for a second then stop again.

James W :

When jumping a car with another call, you always use a running vehicle to give extra umph and to keep from draining the battery

James W :

not so for lawn tractors

James W :

GOOOD

James W :

this may mean the charging system is still working

James W :

Just make sure to buy a Good enough battery like 350 CCA

James W :

do not buy from big box store.. Thes batteries seldom actually meet the rating even if they say they do

James W :

and they seldom last three years

James W :

this opinion based on 37 years of observations and interviewing customers in one of the largest shops in the state.

Customer:

Ok. I am going to try replacing the battery first because we have never done that in the 6 years we have had this mower. The battery issue is making the most sense to me. I promise to never jumpstart the mower with my car again lol.

James W :

Good plan

Customer:

What are the signs that I may have damaged the mower by jump starting it?

James W :

you can buy a smart charger

James W :

which you can leave hooked up all winter

James W :

it will charge only when needed maybe once evry 2 weeks

James W :

if the mower starts and if the engine actually charges the battery, then it is likely OK

Customer:

What's a big box store?

James W :

Walmart, Sams club, kmart,

James W :

Or the Big hardware store chains like lowes or home depot

James W :

There are a few things that I would ONLY buy from a lawn tractor dealer

James W :

our store uses a private label that is made by interstate batteries

James W :

they are fantastic

Customer:

Oh, lol ok. It is Sunday and the dealer I bought the mower from is closed. Do you have any suggestions of a place I can get a battery today?

James W :

I do not say you have to buy OEM batteries, just good ones.

James W :

what is yoru zip code??

Customer:

43110

James W :

SEARS

Customer:

Ok perfect. I thank you so much James. I am going to replace the battery first and see how it does. Just seems logical to me.

James W :

Let me knwo if you need more help

James W :

You can ask follow ups even after you hit accept

James W :

I will be glad to assist further

Customer:

If it doesn't fix the problem, how do I let you know if I need more help? Do I just coem back to this site and open up my question again or something? I've never used this website before

James W :

yes, that works.. i will be notified via email

Customer:

Ok. Great. Thanks so much for your time and help.

James W :

welcome

James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3,708
Experience: 7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years
Verified
James W and 87 other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
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Technician: James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert replied 5 years ago
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Ok James. I went to Sears to get the battery. After purchasing the battery and telling the guy I needed at least 350 cca, I saw that he sold me a battery with 340 cca. I told him I needed 350 cca and he guaranteed me that it would work just as well. Is this BS? Because after replacing the battery, the PTO still doesn't engage. This time at all.
Technician: James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert replied 5 years ago

340 CCA will be just fine.. I say 350 to prevent people from buying 250 CCA which will not work.

Must make sure the ground strap is good and tight and clean. from the neg of the battery to the frame of the tractor.

Disconnect the wires going to the PTO clutch and take a meter out and test to make sure that the clutch is actuyally getting 12V every time when you flip the PTO switch.

If not, check the switch with a meter to see if it is actually switching.

Also inspect all the wires from the PTO switch to the PTO and before the switch itself to make sure there is no fraying or shorts.

Be VERY careful not to break the wires off the pto clutch or you get to buy a new clutch,

Then it this does not do it, you get to get a new clutch.. NOT GOOD..

You may want to go back up and reread the first part of my first answer just to make sure.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Im not sure how to figure out where the pto clutch is at. I know the pto switch and the wires coming out of it, but those wires go into a harness and i cant see where they go from there

Technician: James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert replied 5 years ago

usually is on the bottom of the engine fastened to the crankshaft.

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Technician: James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert replied 5 years ago

Here is a parts manual for your engine

http://manuals.mtdproducts.com/mtd/Safety.do?pid=231547&model_num=17AE2ACG756&serial_num=&filename=769-01125d.pdf

Page 18 shows where the clutch is.

Better yet, here is a "dealers only" service manual which should help you out

Model: RZT Series (Model Years 2004 - 2005)

769-01636

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James W
James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3,708
3,708 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years

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