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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Simplicity Garden Tractor

Simplicity Garden Tractor

We offer free “technical support” about most outdoor power equipment. Jim doesn’t know all the answers but helps when he can. Disclaimer: He isn’t always right! We have quite a few of the questions asked on our web site and according to the calls and e-mails we get, you like reading them! Here’s more:

Q: I have a Yard Machine (Gold Series) 17.5 hp engine. Because of work I do not get to cut the grass until late evening, so I install a couple spot lights to allow cutting at night.
Unfortunately the lights are draining the battery. What are my options? I am thinking of installing an alternator. is it very difficult?

A: You should be able to order out a bigger amperage output alternator and rectifier and come up with enough power to stay ahead of your added lights.

Q: I have an early 1970′s Jacobsen Super Chief, Hydro 1200 tractor, with a Rand
Hydro-Transmissions unit in it, number 90-4029. I would like to know which transmission oil to use. I have been told by one dealer to use Dextron automatic transmission oil and be another dealer to use regular hydraulic fluid. I would certainly appreciate knowing for sure which type of oil to use.

A: I would use the red Dextron III transmission oil.

Q: Is there a way for me to test the alternator on my Toro Wheel Horse 520-H garden tractor? To be honest, I can’t even locate an alternator. According to owners manual the alternator is 12 Volt, 20 amp. Regulated. When the battery is fully charged the voltmeter reads 12 volts. As it discharges there is no voltage reading. The 30-amp fuse tests good. If you can help me locate the alternator I can check electrical connections. Apparently this is some kind of pulse alternator since I can’t locate it. The engine is an Onan P-220-G I/10955D.

A: I think if you would install a new rectifier you would be working fine again. First make sure you have power to the center wire on the regulator with the ignition key on.

Q: I have a Scotts 2554 and the electric clutch makes a squealing sound when the mower is not engaged. When the mower is engaged the sound goes away. I understand that the clutch has a brake adjustment. How do I adjust it? The mower has a Kohler 25 hp motor with serial number 3034903061. If the bearing in the clutch is bad how much trouble is it to take it off and where is the best place to get a replacement part?

A: You adjust those self locking nuts until you have about .010 clearance in the brake. It sounds to me like you have a bad bearing and on that clutch I do not think the bearing can be replaced. That would make you have to replace the complete clutch.

Q: Help… mowing season is here and after servicing my Simplicity mower I now find that the mower starts and runs fine. However…when I engage the PTO the engine stalls. I replaced the PTO dash switch and unfortunately this did not help. Do you have any suggestions or thoughts that might assist me with my troubleshooting?

A: Yes, check out the wiring or the seat switch for an open circuit. Check out the hydrostatic switch and the switch on the brakes. 1-800-618-8738

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Ford 120 Garden Tractor

Ford 120 Garden Tractor

Our shop offers free equipment troubleshooting advice by telephone or e-mail. I don’t know it all but I have a lot of experience and sometimes know where to find the answers. Sometimes I can’t help at all, but I try. I know the visitors to our web site enjoy reading the questions and answers that are included there, they e-mail and tell me. Now and again I will post some here.

Q: My 1978 John Deere 316 with a Kohler engine starts with a jump but the battery won’t charge. I dont know if it is a voltage regulator or if the starter has a generator built into it. I would appreciate any advice.

A: No, you do not have a generator built into your starter. Your engine has an alternator built into the engine under the flywheel. Take a test light, turn on the ignition switch, touch the center wire on the voltage regulator with the probe of your test light. The light should light, and if it does, then it would tell you that your voltage regulator needs to be replaced. If the light does not light that would mean that you have an open circuit in the ignition switch or the electrical circuit.

Q: I have a Ford 120 with a Kohler 321 engine with an electric clutch to operate the hydraulic pump. I think the bearing has gone bad and I don’t know how to remove the clutch. Is it threaded on or pressed on or…. Please Help. I need this tractor.

A: They are usually bolted on the front of the engine, meaning the crankshaft. Take off the other nuts if you see them on the clutch. Then part of the clutch assembly should slide off – but this very seldom happens. The hub is usually rusted to the crankshaft. If this happens use a lot of penetrating oil and pry back and forth until it starts to loosen and keep oiling it. After it is off, clean the crankshaft with some emery cloth.

Q: I recently bought a 1970 Simplicity 3212H tractor. I new it either had a rod knock or something so I took the engine out, replaced the piston, and put the engine back in. The tractor runs much better, but is there any way that you know of to adjust the hydrostatic rear end for a bit more speed?

A: You can check the hydro linkage if you are getting the maximum stroke on your linkage. I can also go through them and come up with a fair amount of a higher top speed. 1-800-618-8738

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