Craftsman garden tractor

Another popular garden tractor - Craftsman

I get quite a few questions about Craftsman garden tractors and they have been a pretty popular brand over the years. We have repowered some and repaired some here at our shop. There is a Yahoo group/forum for Sears garden tractors. Joseph is the moderator and a pleasant, helful guy. If you check out their files and database sections there are some helpful guides for attachments. Following are a few Q&A’s we’ve answered about Craftsman garden tractors.

Q: We have a Craftsman Garden Tractor model # 917.257720. It stalls out after it warms up or is under load for a few minutes. We have given it a full tune up, replaced the gas filter, new carb, changed all the belts, changed oil and filter, adjusted carb.

A: You need to check out your ignition spark quality. I sounds to me like you have a bad ignition coil.

Q: Jim, I have a Craftsman tractor with a Kohler Command 20.5 hp twin engine. It runs fine cold and mows with no problem at all. When I am finished mowing (engine hot) and turn off the deck, the engine idle varies, like it is hunting for the proper speed when the load is released. It will run with this hunting idle until I turn it off. Once cool, it starts right up and idles smoothly again. Any idea of where to look to correct this problem?

A: Yes, that sounds to me like a carburetor air fuel ratio problem. In other words, the carburetor is running lean when hot. You can check this out by putting the choke partially on and then I would say your engine will smooth right out.

Q: I have an old Craftsman Lawn Wizard with a Kohler 20 hp engine. I have to replace the electric PTO, I guess it is the bolt in the center of the motor,however, everything spins when I try to remove the bolt, what is the trick to remove the pto?

A: To check your PTO clutch, put an ammeter in series with your PTO clutch and check your amp draw. It should be 3 amps or less. If it is more, you need to replace the PTO clutch.

The very easy way to get that front bolt loose is to use an impact wrench, it will come off without even holding onto the crankshaft. 1-800-618-8738

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8 Responses to “Craftsman Garden Tractors”

  1. Help.
    I have a 1998 Craftsman lawn tractor with a 15.5 hp Kohler (engine model CV 15S) it runs great and easy to start in warm weather just by setting the choke. I also use it with the snow plow attachment, it will not start when it’s cold unless it’s primed, and there is no primer option that came with it. Any ideas? I called Sears, they say it needs a new carb, but since it works well in weather over 50 degrees, that’s kind of drastic. Any help is appreciated.

  2. I think the carburetor is okay but that Kohler engine has hydraulic valve lifters in the engine and under colder conditions the oil viscosity is heavier and holds the valves slightly open making it hard to start when it is cold. You could try using a lighter weight engine oil.


  3. Hello,

    I have a Craftsman 18.5 HP Kohler Garde Tractor (model 917.258860). Recently my Electrick Clutch, and subsequently mower blades stopped functioning. When I looked under the tractor, I noticed two wires, coming from the electric clutch had been severed from the tractor’s electrical system. One of the wires from the clutch was connected to one red wire on the tractor’s system, and the other clutch wire was connected to two black wires on the tractor’s system. However, both of the clutches wires are black.

    Do you know how I can tell which wire from the clutch goes to the red, and which to the two blacks?

    Also, would you know how this happened?

    Thank you in advance,
    - Brian

  4. Hi Brian,

    These 3 wires can be hooked up either way. Check if the bracket that holds your clutch from rotating broke loose and tore off your wires.


  5. I have a Craftsman garden tractor with a 2 cylinder, 26hp Briggs engine that’s only a year old. It runs perfectly but then it will just stall. It will restart if you choke it but then stall again when the choke is turned off. It will do this a few times but then it won’t even start with the choke. It started doing this last season but is getting progressively worse. The fuel filter is clear, spark plugs changed, oil and filter changed, air filter cleaned. Could it be the fuel pump. I was told the fuel pump either works or it doesn’t and wouldn’t give the intermittent problem I’m having. I was told to check the carb first for varnish to eliminate that as a problem, maybe a chunk of varnish intermittently blocking a jet. What do you think? I’ve heard maybe ignition coil could be the problem but the way it will start with the choke has me thinking it’s fuel related.

  6. Yes, overhaul the carburetor and replace the fuel pump.


  7. Hi, 2006 Craftsman YS4500 Briggs 2 cyl 22 HP Electric start auto tranny; I ran into one of my ramps and now the left steer wheel is busted. The wheel has about 2-3 inches in play when you move it by bare hands and acts like it’s popped out of joint/not engaged and has basically no steering for that side. Draglink seems to be intact, spindle assy possibly broke? I see there’s a bearing in the assy. Suggest I take spindle assy apart for broken pieces or draglink is not engaged in steering knuckle gear/plate?

    Thank you!