Electric mower clutch troubleshooting. How to Adjust a PTO Clutch on a Lawn Tractor

How to Adjust a PTO Clutch on a Lawn Tractor

Many lawn tractors, particularly John Deere riding mowers, use a PTO clutch. The PTO function is what engages the mower blades of the lawn tractor. The mower’s battery sparks the PTO clutch, which then guides the shaft and rotates the blades of the mower. However, if your lawn mower is not working at its best capacity, it may need to be adjusted or replaced. There are two main ways to tell if your PTO needs adjusting. By adjusting the PTO clutch, you can ensure the best quality, most efficient and safest lawn mowing.

What Is a PTO Clutch on a Lawn Tractor?

A PTO clutch is a switch or lever found in tractor engines and stands for power take off. It can be run by a belt or shaft. Typically in larger lawn mower engines, the PTO clutch is shaft-driven. The operator of the lawn tractor engages the mower blades using the PTO clutch.

  • Many lawn tractors, particularly John Deere riding mowers, use a PTO clutch.
  • The PTO function is what engages the mower blades of the lawn tractor.

How Will You Know Your PTO Clutch Needs Adjustment?

As the lawn tractor engine ages, the PTO clutch can start to slip. This causes the mower deck to cut less efficiently and at a lower quality. If you notice a Rapid decline in the standard of your mowing, it could very well mean your PTO clutch needs adjustment.

Another sign your PTO may need checking out is if the mower in your lawn tractor is unresponsive. This could be a sign that the PTO clutch has stopped engaging the mower blades.

How to Adjust Your Lawn Tractor’s PTO Clutch

Firstly, you’ll need to ensure your lawn mower is parked on a flat, even surface. The parking brake must be on and the ignition must be off. For safety, you must also ensure that the PTO switch is in the off position.

  • As the lawn tractor engine ages, the PTO clutch can start to slip.
  • This could be a sign that the PTO clutch has stopped engaging the mower blades.

To find the PTO clutch, check the crankshaft under the engine. On the clutch plate will be a sticker, informing you if the clutch is Warner or Ogura. If the sticker says Warner, you’ll want the feeler gauge at 0.51mm. If it says Ogura, the feeler gauge should be at 0.41mm.

In the brake plate directly above the pulley, there should be a slot. Insert your feeler gauge through this slot so the gauge is between the armature and the clutch rotor. Keeping the feeler gauge under the bold directly, tighten the three lock nuts, one at a time.

  • To find the PTO clutch, check the crankshaft under the engine.
  • If the sticker says Warner, you’ll want the feeler gauge at 0.51mm.

Using a sweeping motion with your feeler gauge, tighten the first nut until you can feel adequate friction between the clutch rotor and armature. Then, repeat this step with the second and third nut.

Finally, start up the engine again and check the PTO’s engagement of the rotor blades. You may need to tighten or loosen the nuts again in order to get the exact engagement you need.

How to Fix CRAFTSMAN Riding Lawn Mower Problems

CRAFTSMAN-riding gasoline-powered lawnmowers are fantastic for cutting larger expanses of grass, such as those found in golf courses or parks. Being able to drive the mower is much more fun and requires far less physical exertion than pushing a mower up and down in the blazing sun.

CRAFTSMAN Riding Lawn Mowers offer many advantages but do occasionally develop problems:

Engine won’t start

Blades won’t engage

Runs for a bit, then dies

Won’t cut lawn evenly

electric, mower, clutch, troubleshooting, adjust

Won’t drive forward

Doesn’t steer correctly

Exhaust billows smoke

And more …

Engine Won’t Start

We all know the disappointment when you’re all “dressed up” and ready to tackle the first lawn-cutting exercise of the season, only to find that your trusty CRAFTSMAN riding mower won’t start.

The CRAFTSMAN riding mower is, of course, fitted with a gas engine which means several problems could be causing the engine not to start. The below covers the common reasons why the engine doesn’t start.

Solution 1: Drain and Replace Old Gas

Check that the gas tank contains fuel, especially if the mower has been standing for an extended period. Gasoline degrades over time and evaporates.

Old gas should be drained from the system and replaced with new to eliminate this problem.

Solution 2: Replace the Fuel Filter

Following the gas line from the gas fuel tank to the carburetor will lead you to the fuel filter. The filter may be dirty, restricting or preventing fuel from reaching the carburetor so the mower won’t start.

If the fuel filter is visibly dirty inside, replace the fuel filter to ensure the gasoline can pass through the filter.

Solution 3: Ensure All Safety Cutoff Switches Are Engaged

CRAFTSMAN riding mowers have two safety switches that ensure the mover won’t start accidentally. One switch is under the driver’s seat, and the foot brake controls the other.

Their design is such that the driver must be seated on the seat, and the brake must be depressed to disengage the safety switches for the mower to start. Standing next to the mower while trying to start the engine will not work.

Solution 4:Charge the Battery

All CRAFTSMAN riding mowers have a battery located under the driver’s seat to turn and start the engine. When turning the ignition key and the engine turns very slowly but won’t start, the battery is most likely discharged.

Turning on the ignition and hearing a clicking sound without the engine turning is a sure sign that the battery is drained and needs to be charged.

In both scenarios, the battery requires charging, or if the problem persists, the battery may need replacement.

Solution 5: Clean or Replace the Solenoid

The carburetor fuel solenoid is attached to the base of the carburetor. The carburetor controls the fuel and air mixture required for the engine to run. The solenoid is an electrically operated fuel supply and shut-off valve. When the valve doesn’t work, it prevents fuel from entering the carburetor.

Diagnosing if the solenoid is faulty is quickly done by getting an ear down close to the solenoid. A click sound will be heard when the key is turned on and off as the solenoid retracts and releases. If no sound is heard, the solenoid is likely faulty and requires replacement, or the mower won’t work.

The solenoid will need to be removed by unscrewing it with a spanner of the right size and cleaned or replaced if the cleaning doesn’t work.

Solution 6: Replace the Filter

The air filter is next to the carburetor and filters the air fed into the carb. When the air filter is filthy, it may get clogged up by dust particles. The clogged-up filter will prevent air from reaching the carburetor and the engine from starting.

The solution is to replace the filter with a new one.

Solution 7: Replace the Spark Plug

The spark plug performs the critical task of igniting the fuel in the cylinder head while the engine is running. The spark plug is constantly exposed to burning gas and oil residue; therefore, the spark plug can quickly become dirty.

Removing the spark plug is a simple exercise using a spark plug spanner. A dirty spark plug can be cleaned using a wire brush but will eventually need to be replaced. Instead, replace the spark plug to be sure it’s working well.

Blades Won’t Engage

Your CRAFTSMAN riding mower is running, you’ve reached the area that needs mowing, but now the blades won’t engage. What could be wrong?

We’ve found five possible causes for the blades not engaging with CRAFTSMAN riding mowers. These problems may differ depending on if your mower has a manual lever clutch or an electronic PTO clutch.

Solution 1: Replace the Electric PTO Clutch

Faulty PTO clutch. When power is supplied to the clutch, the clutch engages and turns the mower’s blades via the drive belt. When the PTO clutch doesn’t engage, the internal mechanism has failed.

The PTO clutch is not a repairable part as it’s a sealed unit, so it needs to be replaced.

Solution 2: Remove and Test Take-off Switch

The second reason the blades won’t engage on the electrically operated unit is a faulty power take-off switch. This switch is located on the dashboard of the mower and is usually yellow. Pulling the switch engages the blades, while pressing the switch disengages the blades.

Removing the switch and testing it for continuity using a multi-meter is the best to determine if the switch won’t work. If faulty, the switch would need to be replaced as you can’t repair it.

Solution 3: Replace Drive Belt

Before we deal with the manual clutch mowers, one common item between the electric clutch and manual version mowers is the drive belt.

The drive belt is located underneath the mower and connects the crankshaft to the mower blades via the clutch assembly.

The drive belt is a high-quality V belt, similar to those used in model car engines. When this belt becomes excessively worn or is damaged or cut, it can no longer drive the mower’s blades, which won’t work.

The drive belt must be replaced when damaged or worn out.

Solution 4: Replace Lever Mechanism Unit

CRAFTSMAN riding mowers fitted with a manual clutch can suffer the following failures over time that prevent the mower’s blades from engaging.

The clutch engages and disengages the blades on the manually operated version. The clutch is operated by pulling down a lever on the right of the dashboard. A cable connects the lever mechanism to the clutch located under the mower.

The lever mechanism in the dashboard can fail over time, making it impossible to retract the cable connected to the clutch.

A failed lever mechanism will require the replacement of the unit.

Solution 5: Replace Broken Clutch Cable

Broken manual clutch cable or spring: The cable, as mentioned earlier, connects the lever mechanism, and the clutch, along with its tensioner spring, is wearing parts, so it can fail with excessive use and eventually won’t work.

A broken or severely worn clutch cable and its accompanying tensioner spring must be replaced should they fail.

Runs for a Bit, Then Dies, Won’t Work

The CRAFTSMAN riding mower is reliable and generally doesn’t cause problems. Occasionally, you may find that your mower starts up and then dies. When you crank it, it starts, only to turn off again.


Briggs and Stratton’s engines used in CRAFTSMAN mowers are four-stroke engines, so they use unmixed fuel (no two-stroke oil required). They generally run very clean and shouldn’t develop any carburetor blockages.

Fuel starvation is the most likely cause of the engine starting and then stopping shortly after.

Assuming the fuel tank is sufficiently filled and contains fresh fuel. The motor dies because the fuel entering the carburetor flows in slower than the outflow of fuel into the engine; effectively, the carburetor runs dry, which causes the problem.

The cause is a blocked fuel line or clogged fuel filter. 10% Ethanol fuel is tough on rubber fuel hose and causes the fuel line to degrade internally. This degradation blocks or severely reduces fuel flow from the tank to the engine.

Replacing the fuel line and filter will restore the fuel flow to the motor and prevent the engine from turning off when you least need the problem.

Won’t Cut Lawn Evenly

Cutting a large section of lawn only to realize that you’ve cut a series of steps into the lawn’s surface can be disappointing. How does this happen?


An uneven cut results from the mower deck (cutting blades) not being set to the correct height, or your mower may have a deflated tire causing the problem.

A mower-cutting deck rides on a series of linkages. They allow the deck to be adjusted up and down to adjust the cutting depth.

An underinflated or flat tire can play havoc with the angle of the cutting blades. If the blades are not level with the ground and cut deeper on one side of the mower, it will result in an uneven cut. So make sure all the tires are inflated to the correct pressure.

Cutting deck adjustment is made through two adjustment bolts. One adjusts the height seen from the left and right of the deck, and the other changes the front and rear deck height. It’s quick and easy! We’ve attached the below YouTube video, which details how the adjustments are performed.

Won’t Drive Forward

Like so many other mechanical devices, excessive use of a CRAFTSMAN riding mower will eventually take its toll. Occasionally something may go wrong, preventing it from driving. The gear lever is one of the items on a mower that sees a lot of use as it’s constantly shifted between drive, neutral, and reverse.


The linkage joining the gear selection lever and the actual gearbox may go out of alignment or get clogged up with dirt, preventing the gear levers from traveling the entire distance to engage or disengage a gear. Of course, the gearbox could be faulty, but this is unlikely as they’re robustly built.

Following the gear level selector down below the right fender of the mower will reveal the linkages that would need adjustment when gear selection becomes difficult.

Given that the linkages vary from model to model, it may be necessary to enlist a professional. Alternatively, some trial-and-error adjustments may do the trick.

A build-up of dirt inside the linkages is a real problem. The underside of the mower is exposed to a lot of dust generated by the spinning blades.

Carefully removing the various parts of the gear selection linkage will reveal dirt that prevents the levers from shifting their entire length of travel, preventing the shifter from working. Removing the dirt will enable the gears to be selected and allow the mover to drive.

Doesn’t Steer Correctly

The CRAFTSMAN riding mower follows a traditional tractor design, having two driving wheels at the rear and two front wheels that provide steering by turning left and right. The driver operates a steering wheel precisely like you would when steering a vehicle.

Over time the steering mechanism of the CRAFTSMAN riding mower is prone to developing a problem with turning to the left but normally turns to the right. Fortunately, this is a pretty simple fix.


The CRAFTSMAN steering mechanism is pretty basic, consisting of a steering column housing a gear that connects to a gear plate. The gear plate connects the left and right front wheels via a metal rod or linkage. The gear plate rotates as you turn the steering, changing the wheels’ direction.

The steering column’s base gear plate is slotted to limit the wheel’s rotation to either side. Over time the slot located in the gear plate becomes clogged with dirt which is compressed into a solid mass inside the slot or cut out, causing left turns not to work.

The dirt build-up inside the slot limits the gear plate’s movement, limiting the wheels’ ability to turn. The plate design seems to create the problem when turning left only.

The gear plate needs to be removed to get the wheel turning again, which is more straightforward than it may sound. The dirt and grime build-up must be removed from the slot in the gear plate, and the area housing the plate must be cleaned. Once the dirt is removed, the steering mechanism will function.

Exhaust Billows Smoke

Even a great engine such as the ones used in the CRAFTSMAN riding mowers can develop a problem where white smoke starts billowing from the mower’s exhaust. The problem can become so bad that the engine won’t work.


Worn piston rings can cause the mower’s engine to billow smoke, but this tends to happen slowly over time. If a perfectly good running engine suddenly starts billowing smoke, the cause is likely a blown head gasket.

electric, mower, clutch, troubleshooting, adjust

The head gasket seals the space between the cylinder head, which houses the valves, and the part of the engine housing the piston. When smoke starts billowing from the exhaust, it’s a sign that oil and even water are entering the combustion chamber, where the oil ignites and starts smoking.

Replacing the cylinder head is a task best left to a mechanic as additional damage, such as a cracked head, may have developed and would require identification and repair.

Vibrates a Lot When Mowing

Vibrations are common amongst riding mowers as they bump and grind their way. Excessive or new vibration is not good, meaning something has a problem.

Numerous problems can cause vibrations, but the most common is a blade or blades that have become unbalanced or, in older machines, a mandrel that’s gone faulty. The mandrel contains a shaft supported by bearings. The mandrel houses the blade on one end and a pulley around which the drive belt runs.

Numerous problems can cause vibrations, but the most common is a blade or blades that have become unbalanced or, in older machines, a mandrel that’s gone faulty. The mandrel contains a shaft supported by bearings. The mandrel houses the blade on one end and a pulley around which the drive belt runs.

Solution 1: Replace Worn or Damaged Blade

CRAFTSMAN blades are made of high-quality hardened steel, which lasts a long time. Blades take the brunt of the force when cutting grass; although one tries to avoid it, they strike a rock occasionally. The impact can bend or even break a blade piece, which can cause vibration.

The solution is to replace the damaged blade with a new blade. A replacement will stop the blade from vibrating.

Solution 2: Replace Worn or Damaged Mandrel

A worn or damaged mandrel can cause the mower to vibrate. Although mandrels are a sturdy kit, they can eventually wear and fail, causing vibrations.

The mandrel needs to be replaced to fix this vibration, per the YouTube video below.

Lawn Mower Leaving Uncut Grass – The complete fix with pics

It’s a common source of frustration, and ARGH!! But more than likely, the solution is a simple one, and you can fix it right now.

So why is my lawnmower leaving uncut grass? The most common cause of uncut grass is a dull blade, but it’s not the only possible reason:

This problem has many possible causes, but a dull blade is a usual suspect. Check your engine performance; if you feel the engine doesn’t sound right or it’s sluggish, go ahead and solve engine-related issues first.

Very often, uncut grass is simply caused by a dull blade. If you need help inspecting and safely sharpening your blade, check out “How to sharpen mower blade video”.

Check For Blade Damage

A defective blade will cause all kinds of problems in the grass-cutting and collection department. Examine your blade checking for loose bolts, and damaged, misaligned, bent, or broken blade tips.

Mower blades have it tough, and hitting stones, sprinklers, stumps, and dog toys is all part of the job. Mower blades turn about 50 times a second – that’s 200 mph at the tip.

So when you hit something, it’s going to damage even hardened steel. Bending and gouging chunks from the metal blade will cause uneven cutting and a horrible vibration.

A blade may look OK, but they do wear. If it’s more than four seasons old, it’s probably worn out. The leading edge cuts the grass and is easy to see when it’s worn. The trailing edge stuffs the bag, and as that edge wears, it becomes much less efficient. The solution – replace the blade.

Never attempt to repair or bend a blade; the metal has been specially treated, and interfering with this can cause them to shatter.

When replacing the blade, go ahead and get a new bolt and washer. They’re mower-specific and also specially treated, so a bolt from the local hardware store won’t be up to the job.

A torque wrench should be used to tighten the bolt to the correct specification. A quick check of your mower manual or on the dealer site will give the spec.

Blade Orientation

It’s possible to fit a blade backways, so if you fit a blade recently, just check that the orientation is correct. Hey, it could happen a Bishop, don’t worry about it!

Imagine looking down at the blade from above – the leading edge of the blade will turn clockwise.

Bent – A bent blade is dangerous, and it will cause lawn scalping and vibration and, if ignored, will damage the mower engine.

Replace – A new blade will solve many problems; when changing the blade, replace the bolt and washer too.

If you need video help replacing the blade, check out the “Replacing blade video” and if you need mower blades, check out the Amazon link below.

Dull Blade

Is your blade sharp? A dull blade is the number one reason for leaving uncut grass. The blunt blade will damage your lawn in no time at all; it tears the grass and leaves a jagged edge which turns the grass tips yellow.

The recommended way to repair the yellow grass damage – regularly cut with a sharp lawnmower blade. I tell my customers to sharpen at least once per season, and more depending on how often you cut and terrain type. A sharp blade is the secret to a healthy, beautiful green lawn.

Check out “Blade maintenance tools” here; they make the sharpening process a ton easier. And if you need video help sharpening the blade on or off the mower, check out the “Blade sharpening video”.

Sharpen – Your blade needs a sharpening once per season, at least. If you file your blade regularly, it won’t take much effort to keep sharp.

What Blade Type?

You may have a blade that doesn’t suit your climate or your needs. So what’s in a blade? Quite a lot of clever engineering, actually. A blade looks pretty unimpressive, but change it out for a different type or a new one, and you’ll be surprised at the difference in cut and finish.

There are two main blade types, the lift blade, and the mulching blade; each has its own strengths. How you intend to handle your clippings and your climate will likely dictate which blade suits you.

Lift Blade

The Lift blade, also known as the 2 in 1 (collecting or discharging), vacuums the grass upright, before cutting and moving it to the bag. These lift blades are designed for collecting grass and come in low, medium, and high lift.

Lift means sucking power, and a higher lift blade will require a more powerful engine. The lift is created by curving upwards of the trailing edge of the blade; the steeper curve, the more powerful the lift. These blades love to bag grass, wet or dry.

Lift blade – Also known as a 2-in-1, it loves to bag grass, wet or dry.

Mulching Blade

A true Mulching blade is designed to finely chop and disperse grass clippings, not collect them, a proper mulching mower won’t have a grass bag.

Many of the latest mowers are fitted with a hybrid mulching blade, also known as a 3-in-1 (collecting, discharging, or mulching). It’s sort of half lift blade, half mulching blade – Jack of all trades if you like.

These blades are not designed specifically to collect and are really best suited to very regular dry weather cutting; if the grass is tall, a 3 in 1 mulching blade may struggle to bag efficiently.

Mulching – 3 in 1 blade is good but has limited success in more challenging conditions.

Check Engine Power

Check if the throttle is set correctly; it should be set to fast/run when cutting. Does your throttle cable need adjustment? Is the engine running as it should? If the engine power is reduced, the mower will not cut well, especially when it hits a patch of heavy grass.

Lawnmowers are generally very reliable; give them a tune-up and blade sharpening at the start of every season, regardless of how it’s running. The oil should be changed every 50 hours, and clean the air filter every 25 hours, and more often in dusty dry conditions.

Check throttle lever – If your engine seems to be a bit sluggish, first check that the throttle is set to full. The lever may be reading full throttle, but the cable may not be moving at the carburetor end.

Second, check the air filter is clean, try running the engine without the filter, and see if it makes any difference.

Gas – Old fuel is the number one cause of poor engine performance. Fuel older than a month goes stale and will gum up the inside of the carburetor.

This blocks the fuel feed ports and causes fuel starvation. This results in a sluggish engine and a poorly cut lawn.

Try using a fuel stabilizer, it will keep the gas fresh for up to two years, but more importantly, it will prevent gumming up of the carburetor. Check out the video showing how to mix and add gas stabilizer. The page includes a link to the gas stabilizer I use.

If you suspect bad gas is causing sluggish engine output, try draining the fuel tank, and carburetor bowl, and filling them with fresh gas. This will very often fix the issue, and if it doesn’t, a full carburetor cleanout will.

Clutch Slip

If you’re using a tractor mower, you may have a clutch system fitted. The clutch or PTO (power take-off) transfers the engine power to the blades. When the clutch starts to fail, it slips, which means the blades are not turning with the same power or speed as normal. It will be especially noticeable in taller, heavier grass.

Some walk behind lawn mowers (Honda) use a very similar clutch set up, so if you have a separate control to engage the blade, then it’s likely you have some form of the clutch system, but note these clutch systems are cable operated and the tension on the cable may simply need to be adjusted.

If you don’t have a clutch fitted, but you do have a separate lever to control the blades, then your blades are possibly controlled by a tensioned belt. The Toro Time-master is a good example. (see below)

Pulling the bail lever tightens the tension on the belt and makes the blades spin; the tension on the belt may simply need to be adjusted.

Clutch – Three types of clutch, the tractor PTO, the Honda blade clutch, and finally, the belt-type clutch fitted to the Toro Time-master.

Related Questions

What causes uneven grass cutting? The most common cause of uneven grass cutting is an uneven deck. Other possible causes include:

  • Damaged blade
  • Deck wheels are set at different height
  • Tire pressures are low (tractor mower)
  • Deck height needs adjustment (tractor mower)
  • Anti-scalpwheels are missing (tractor mower)

You may find this post helpful:

Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.

I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.

And the best part. it’s free!

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The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System

Never drain engine oil again.

We’ve changed the oil change. Revolutionized it really. See how fast and easy changing your oil can now be on 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors with the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. Only from John Deere. Included on the E120, E130, E150, E160, E170, and E180 models.

Step One. Take it off.

Lift the hood. Make sure the engine is cool, then, twist to remove. It’s that simple.

Step Two. Twist and lock.

Grab the new Easy Change™ Canister, twist and lock into place. Make sure the arrow on your Filter System aligns with the arrow on your engine.

Step three. Done.

Close the hood and mow. John Deere recommends the Easy Change™ 30-second Oil Change System every 50 hours or at the end of your mowing season. Don’t drain engine oil ever again.

Draining engine oil is so 2017.

The engine modifications and new technologies are in. The re-envisioned oil filter with a media designed to resist breaking down in oil over time is here. The thousands of hours of testing are done. The end result is an all-in-one, oil and oil filter system like no other. The first of its kind. And thanks to the new John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System (“System”), you’ll never have to drain the oil from 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors again.

Here’s why: The new System captures contaminants and recharges your engine with nearly a quart (0.8qt) (0.76 l) of new oil. In fact, this System increases the amount of oil in the engine by nearly 40%. 2 Your engine likes that.

What do you mean, I will never have to drain oil from my engine again? How is that possible? The answer is simple. We have developed a better filtration system and filter design for our 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. This fully synthetic filter media has greater surface area which increases its capacity to hold harmful contaminants. What’s more, the filter media is designed to resist breaking down in oil over time. Which means you’ll get a cooler running engine. And a cooler running engine and better filtering helps increase engine oil life. John Deere’s recommended oil service for 100 Series Riding Lawn Tractors 1. is to change the System every 50 hours or once a season, whichever comes first. Remember, the System replaces a portion of your engine oil. And that’s plenty.

The System uses John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil. Using John Deere Turf-Gard™ Oil ensures you are using the exact oil specified by John Deere engineers.

Testing. Testing. Testing. Thanks to thousands of hours of rigorous and extensive testing, you can feel confident your engine will run for years to come.

1 The John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System is available on E120, E130, E150, E160, E170 and E180 Lawn Tractors today.

2 Compared to similar V-Twin engine models that do not have the John Deere Easy Change™ 30-Second Oil Change System. That includes equivalent Deere 2017 models and 2018 models without the System.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is new with John Deere Riding Lawn Equipment?

We are excited about the exclusive John Deere Easy Change™ 30 second oil change system. Exclusive to John Deere and only available on certain models of the new 100 Series Lawn Tractors. These tractors are designed for ease of use for both operation and maintenance. The John Deere Easy Change™ System (“Easy Change”) allows the user to easily complete the recommended engine oil and filter maintenance in 30 seconds.

What is this new oil change system?

We changed the oil change. The all-in-one oil and oil filter system gives the owner the ability to change a portion of the oil and the filter in less than 30 seconds.

What happens to the rest of the oil in the engine when the Easy Change system is replaced?

The Easy Change system replaces.8 quart of oil. The remaining oil in the engine is refreshed by the charge of new oil included in the replacement Easy Change system. Combined with 40% more engine oil capacity, improved filtration and cooler running temperatures which help extend oil life, it is no longer necessary to remove and dispose of all the oil in your engine during service.

What makes the Easy Change system unique from other filters?

It is not just a filter. It is a newly developed technology system that allows a new “filter” to come already charged with oil and allows you to remove an existing filter and the contaminants inside without tools and without making a mess. Beyond the filter, technology within the canister and on your engine makes this possible.

16-Assembling A Clutch

Models with the Easy Change oil system use a fully synthetic filter that has more capacity to trap and hold contaminants. The larger surface area of the Easy Change canister acts like a radiator helping the oil to stay cool.

Does the Easy Change system somehow decrease the life of the engine?

The John Deere 100 Series lawn tractor models, with and without Easy Change, are specified for the same lifetime and are rigorously tested to the same standards to ensure the life of the tractor meets expectations.

Can I add the Easy change system to an existing tractor?

Because this system also requires unique features within the engine, the Easy Change system cannot be added to an engine that was not equipped with it at the factory.

Can I change all the oil if I choose to?

You could if you wanted to. There is an oil drain plug. It is not required for maintenance.

How often do I need to change the Easy Change canister?

Every 50 hours or once a year. The 100 Series Lawn Tractors with and without the Easy Change system have the same maintenance schedule.

What type of oil is recommended?

We recommend only John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 Oil. The Easy Change canister comes pre-filled with John Deere Turf-Gard™ 10W30 oil.

How do I recycle the old oil?

Many local government recycling programs, authorized retailers, auto repair stations, and auto parts stores will puncture and recycle used oil filters and oil.

Do I ever need to add oil?

Yes. Consistent with our service recommendations for this product, you should check oil level daily and add oil if required.

Tractor PTO Won’t Engage: Troubleshooting Guide

Your PTO is essential to getting certain tasks done with your tractor. If your PTO isn’t engaging, you’re not completely out of luck because there are some things you can do to fix it.

Two common reasons that a PTO won’t engage are installation issues and owner misuse. Addressing these possibilities first might be the only thing needed. Additional problems could arise if the switch is showing no continuity. Check for continuity using a multimeter.

Other measures can be taken to prevent future engagement issues, while also coming to better understand your PTO shaft. Mechanics can get pricey, so being able to fix your PTO shaft yourself will save you time and money.

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Troubleshoot Replace mower PTO CLUTCH

What Is a PTO?

PTO stands for Power Take-Off. PTO can refer to one of many methods for taking power from a power source and transferring the power to an implement or separate machine. On a tractor, the PTO is a stub shaft that connects to the drive shaft of the implement/attached machine. When properly engaged, the stub shaft and driveshaft will rotate together at either 540 RPM or 1000 RPM.

There are three types of PTO control for tractors: Transmission, Live, and Independent.

A PTO control that is directly connected to a tractor’s transmission is a PTO transmission control. This is one of the earlier forms of PTO, and it is unique in that the PTO will only run while the tractor’s clutch is released. Should you choose to slow down and take the tractor out of gear, you will find that the PTO has stopped running.

A live PTO utilizes a two-stage clutch. This eliminates the problems a transmission PTO faces of the PTO turning off when out of gear by allowing for two options: you can either press the clutch halfway, to disengage the transmission but still keep the PTO running, or you can push the clutch all the way and shut off the transmission and PTO.

The independent PTO controls the PTO shaft with an entirely different clutch. Just like with the live PTO, you can operate both transmission and PTO separately. Source

Why Won’t My PTO Engage and How to Fix It

Note: These are general troubleshooting suggestions. specific suggestions are dependent on your tractor’s make, model, and year.

Basic Reasons The PTO Won’t Engage

Your problem could be as simple as your transmission oil levels or air pressure levels being too low. If that’s the case, make the necessary adjustments and check to see if the PTO is engaging again. If not, continue troubleshooting.

If your PTO is electric, first check for a bad electrical connection. Your electrical connection can be improved by replacing defective or damaged wires and cleaning corroded terminals or connections. There might be something obstructing the circuit. Check the hoses and screens for obstructions or kinks and remedy either problem.

Check if you have the right PTO for the actuation being used. If not, that will need to be reconciled.

The PTO Clutch Won’t Engage

If your PTO clutch seems to not be working and you aren’t sure why, one of the reasons could be that it doesn’t have sufficient voltage to run.

Find the clutch drive assembly and check your owner’s manual to locate where the battery is on your machinery. Once that is found, use a voltmeter to check voltage. Should your PTO shaft not be getting enough voltage, it will not engage. For an in-depth description of how to properly do this, an article can be found here to give better directions. You will want your voltmeter to read above a 12.5—anything lower and you will want to charge it.

Another thing to look for is the in-line fuse that runs between all of the electrical wiring and the PTO clutch assembly. This will all be found under the deck. After locating it, unscrew the cap wires and take a look inside at the fuse filament. You might need to replace the fuse with the exact same ampere rating as the original if the fuse appears to have blown and is a black color. Source

The PTO Grinds but Won’t Engage

In this case, there’s nothing you can do externally to fix it. This is a problem that typically means you’ll need to replace your clutch pack.

The clutch pack gets damaged when you overload the PTO. This can also damage the PTO clutching rings and shaft, resulting in both being replaced as well.

If you think this is the problem, you should go to a mechanic that has experience with your particular tractor.

The Clutch Is Engaged and the PTO Light Is on, but the PTO Shaft Isn’t Turning

If your PTO is mechanical with levers, check the linkage between the hand lever and the clutch. If that is bent, the clutch won’t be able to engage.

You can also check to make sure the link that connects the driveshaft to the rear gearbox is not bent or broken as well. The rear gearbox has a lever that controls the shifter. The shifter is what engages and disengages the PTO. If the linkage between the shaft and the shifter is bent or disconnected, you won’t have control of the PTO.

“You’ll see a shaft going through the box located on the top left, and looking from the back, the shaft moves the shifter inside. You might need to try disconnecting the outside rod and using vise grips to exercise the lever.”


If the linkages aren’t the problem, try turning the PTO shaft manually. When you shift it in one direction you should be able to turn it easily. When you shift it in the other direction, you should have a much harder time turning it because it will be connected to the PTO drive shaft and clutch.

Be Aware of PTO Hazards

PTO shafts can be dangerous, with countless stories of people becoming injured through interactions with these. Most of these accidents are resultant from clothing getting caught in the PTO stub that is engaged and left unguarded.

This happens when the operator is busy and happens to forget the PTO is engaged or maybe is not aware that it is. Should clothing, jewelry, or long hair get caught in the shaft, the fast rotations will cause you to be entangled in the shaft and thereby result in spinal and neck injuries, dislocations, broken bones, etc. Be extremely careful when interacting with your PTO shaft.

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Should your PTO shaft continue to cause you problems that none of the solutions above are able to resolve, then it would become necessary to contact your local mechanic.

Paul has a two-acre yard on red clay soil in Southeast Texas. He knows exactly what the challenges are to nurturing a thriving yard in difficult soil.Paul takes a practical approach to yard improvement and enjoys putting best practices and “golden rules of lawn care” to the test.

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