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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Sears or Craftsman garden tractor

Sears garden tractor

These are some questions we’ve gotten in our e-mail about Sears – Craftsman garden tractors. We see some here at our shop for repairs and have repowered quite a few. It doesn’t seem as though there is as much on the internet about the Sears and Craftsman as the other brands. There is a Sears garden tractor Yahoo group, Here’s a link:

It is a well moderated forum and the members and moderator there are very helpful.

Q: I have Craftsman, 18 HP [opposed Kohler] powered 46″ triple blade garden tractor. While mowing the electric clutch fell of and was badly damaged by the mower blades. The 7/16″ bolt and washer went into the crankshaft end, holding the electric clutch in place, sheared the hex head off. The rest of the bolt stayed in the shaft. What would cause that kind of extreme breakage?

A: If the bolt was not completely tight, that could cause the bolt head breakage.

Q: My dad has an 18 H.P. 1984 Craftsman garden tractor. It runs fine and mows very good. Recently using the mower, the electric clutch stopped, the engine was still running. I turned the electric clutch off and ran the mower a few minutes. I tried the electric clutch again. It worked for about 5 minutes then stopped again. The engine was still running. This happened several times. I shut the engine off
and then there was no juice in battery to start engine again. I charged the battery and the engine started and ran fine several times. I started mowing again and same thing happened after a while, the electric clutch stopped and the engine still ran. We cannot find any naked wires or anything grounded out.

A: Take a voltmeter and hook it to the battery with the engine
running. Your voltmeter should read 13.0 to 14.8 volts. If it reads
less your charging system is not working. Try replacing the rectifier.

Q: My craftsman lawn tractor’s blade deck stays engaged at all times,
as soon as I start the tractor the blades are engaged.

A: Check if the belt clutch tightener is fully releasing when you
disengage your PTO. Also check all your belt guides and make sure
they are adjusted correctly. Also do you have the correct length belt
and correct width belt on your unit?

Q: I have a Craftsman 25 horsepower riding mower with a Kohler engine in it. The engine starts and runs fine, but the darn thing blows the 30 amp fuse and dies every time I pull the PTO knob to engage the
mower blades. I don’t see any bare wires shorting out anywhere. Any
ideas? Is it the PTO switch, or the ignition switch, or the electric
clutch? Just trying to figure out where to start replacing stuff.

A: You will have to locate a short within the circuit of the PTO
switch and the PTO clutch, you might need a new clutch.

Q: Is there a way to increase the performance of my new FS5500 Craftsman lawn tractor’s transaxle? Perhaps a valve that can be shimmed up. Under heavy load it’s like pulling a harrow uphill, the engine doesn’t bog down but the wheels don’t turn. I can back up, take the hill at a lesser angle & it does fine. I plan on installing some lug tread tires too.

A: They have that safety feature built into the transmission because the transmission will not hold up to a higher stress level.

Q: I own a Sears 14HP garden tractor and it is approximately 6-8 yrs old. I have noticed that it runs rough at low speed. I have changed the spark plugs but no change.

A: It could be a dirty carburetor or water in the carburetor. I think you should try adjusting your valve clearance.


Jim’s Repair/Jim’s Tractors

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