Pto riding lawn mower. 6 Reasons Your Lawn Mower Engine Dies When PTO Is Engaged and How To Fix

How To Troubleshoot a Cub Cadet PTO That Will Not Engage

Have you ever encountered a situation where you pull the switch of your Cub Cadet several times, but PTO will not engage or works for only a few seconds at a time? If yes, you might have wondered whether it is possible to troubleshoot this PTO failure and if possible, then how to troubleshoot a Cub Cadet PTO that will not engage?

First, gather all the required tools and materials. Then, check the PTO switch and do a continuity test of your Cub Cadet PTO switch. Next, mount and remove the PTO. Lastly, if required, replace the PTO switch with a new one.

Continue reading this following article to learn how to troubleshoot a cub cadet PTO will not engage.

What Causes the Problem?

If you own a Cub Cadet mower and the PTO is not engaging, it most commonly occurs due to either the clutch not getting enough power, a worn-out clutch, or the clutch solenoid being defective.

Similar PTO malfunctioning or complete failure issues can also arise due to improper installation or user misuse.

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In any circumstances, as soon you notice that your Cub Cadet PTO is failing to engage, make sure to perform a continuity test to ensure whether it’s the switch that requires to be replaced or a simple adjustment will do the job just right.

Steps to troubleshoot a cub cadet PTO will not engage:

Imagine you are about to start mowing or middle of mowing your lawn on a perfect sunny day.

Suddenly, you notice that your Cub Cadet stopped working. When you investigate further, you noticed that the PTO won’t engage even after several tries, and you have no idea what went wrong cause last time, it worked perfectly.

Isn’t it one of the most frustrating and discouraging moments to encounter?

Undoubtedly, it is, and when the PTO failure or malfunctioning occurs, it can cause the blades to either not engage, or fails to disengage properly after finishing the cutting job.

That’s why I am going to explain a quick, easy, and cost-effective way of troubleshooting your cub cadet PTO that fails or will not engage:

Things required to troubleshoot the cub cadet PTO will not engage:

Look at the checklist of the required tools and materials for this troubleshooting task:

Step 1- Checking the PTO Switch:

First, pull the switch out of your Cub Cadet dash.

Then, turn on the key, and you will hear a click of the fuel solenoid on the carburetor bottom.

Now, pull up your Cub Cadet PTO and see if it is responding or not.

Step 2- Testing Continuity of the Cub Cadet PTO Switch:

If the PTO on your Cub Cadet is not responding, the next thing you should do is, test the switch with a Digital multimeter or voltmeter.

The Cub Cadet PTO switch will look as shown in the above image.

There should be continuity through the pins right through these two. And through these in some way as indicated in the picture.

Now, turn the multi or voltmeter on first and set it to continuity.

Next, connect the switch with the meter and check whether it has continuity or not.

If it has continuity, open the switch and test again, it should not have now. If those two prongs are in good shape, try testing the middle two.

Check while keeping the switch open, and then, check again while keeping the switch close. When you close the switch, the continuity should stop.

Now, check the last ones and repeat the same testing method once again.

Step 3- Mounting Removing the Cub Cadet PTO:

If you see no continuity through any of the particular rows, see closely towards the switch.

If you find that the switch has started to burn or melted a little bit as shown in the image, you can try to mount the PTO.

But make sure the PTO is good because you can have a PTO going bad, which can cause your Cub Cadet PTO switch to fail.

So, tilt your Cub Cadet mower upward with the help of a 2 Ton Chain Hoist to access the underneath of your mower more comfortably.

Now, go underneath your Cub Cadet and disconnect the PTO switch. Sometimes these switches can be pretty tight.

So, be careful while you try to remove them.

Now, clean out the terminals.

You can also see that there are two wires in there to check the amount of resistance.

First, look at your Cub cadet’s owner’s manual to know what the resistance should be like 2 to 4 Ohms.

Now see this one is coming in 3.3, so it’s right in the middle of spec, and that means your Cub Cadet PTO is in good term.

Step 4- Changing the PTO Switch:

First, buy or bring a new PTO switch to replace the older one.

Then, plug this in by pulling one of these tabs, and they snap in on the plastic.

You can put a screwdriver under these and usually pop them up from the top side as long as you are careful enough.

When you have successfully inserted the switch in place securely, do not forget to check whether it works or not.

Tips: Sometimes, the PTO switch can be from different configurations or different manufacturers, but they test straight across. So, make sure you first test the continuity before installing the new PTO switch.

How to fix a mower that dies when the blades are engaged

To troubleshoot your Cub Cadet Mower or tractor, follow this article: How to Troubleshoot a Cub Cadet PTO. You can also watch this detailed video.

Performing such troubleshooting tasks can be hazardous if you do not have enough expertise. Also, always read your tractor or lawn mower’s instructions manual before operating, servicing, or troubleshooting it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a cub cadet PTO to not engage?

Your Cub Cadet PTO might fail to engage due to two typical reasons. One of the reasons can be incorrect installation or adjustments, and another one is aggressive use or owner’s misuse.

It can also occur due to a lack of continuity or no continuity issue of the PTO switch. So before confirming, investigate thoroughly.

Where is the PTO switch located on a Cub Cadet?

To locate the Cub Cadet PTO, first, open its engine cover. Then, remove the ignition wire from the engine assembly side’s the spark plug. Now, find the small bell housing located on the underside of your Cub Cadet’s engine and this housing is for its PTO.

How to engage PTO on Cub Cadet?

To engage your Cub Cadet mower, thrust the blade or PTO lever forward into the On position. If your mower’s PTO is in good condition, it will engage immediately with a click sound.

How tight should a Cub Cadet slip clutch be?

On average, your Cub Cadet slip clutch should be 14 thousand an inch tight.

Why won’t my Cub Cadet blades not engage?

The main reason your Cub Cadet blades won’t engage is either a weakly charged battery or a dead internal battery.

Final Verdict

Cub Cadet lawn mower or tractor users often complain that their Cub Cadet’s PTO will not engage even after several tries, and if the PTO engages, it won’t last for long.

This is not a rare or particular issue that only occurs while using Cub Cadet mowers and can arise with any other brand’s mower or lawn tractor. But there’s an easy-to-do technique to get rid of this problem, and I have already explained it in today’s article.

Remember, you can only get the best result if you thoroughly follow all the instructions to troubleshoot a Cub Cadet PTO will not engage.


Reasons Your Lawn Mower Engine Dies When PTO Is Engaged and How To Fix

An engine is the primary source of power for your lawn mower. If it fails, your lawn mower may be slower than usual or may not start at all. If your lawn mower engine dies when PTO is engaged, there could be multiple issues that need immediate action.

Your mower’s engine fails when PTO is engaged because of fuel issues, PTO clutch issues, battery issues, air filter issues, or a poor charging system.

Luckily, most problems are simple, and you can readily diagnose and fix them. Below we explore the main reasons why your engine stops and quick fixes.

Reason 1: Fuel Issues

Your lawn mower needs oil for effective operation. However, multiple fuel issues may make the PTO clutch die shortly after damage.

No fuel – Your lawn mower will not start if there is no engine to run the fuel.

Old fuel – Oil breaks down with time and becomes less or not effective at all. The oil might be too old to keep your engine running despite engaging the PTO clutch if you haven’t used your lawn mower for years.

Clogged fuel pipe or cap – Clogging happens when the oil valve is very old and ineffective or when some grass and debris have filled it, restricting the free flow of fuel. In such cases, the passage of oil is limited, which may be why your lawn mower engine dies when PTO is engaged.


Here is how to prevent the fuel issues from affecting the smooth operation of your lawn mower:

  • Check the fuel tank if its empty and refill it with the correct fuel or gas
  • Drain any old fuel if you have not been using your lawn mower and refill with a newer one
  • Remove any clogs or deposits on fuel valves that may be interfering with the free flow of fuel
  • Clean the fuel filter or replace

Lastly, ensure you use the proper oil, fuel or gas for your lawn mower engine type.

Reason 2: PTO Clutch Issues

A faulty clutch may be the reason why your lawn mower engine dies when PTO is engaged.

If there’s a clutch issue, the engine might not start or die shortly, and the blades may not begin turning.

The main clutch issues happen when the clutch has mechanical damage or does not get the correct voltage.

  • Noisy clutch when you engage it
  • Clutch starts and stops immediately
  • Clutch is taking more time to engage
  • The engine fails to start when you engage the clutch
  • Visible fluid leakage from the PTO clutch
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Repair and replacement are the only solutions to faulty PTO clutch systems. An expert should identify the defective part in the clutch system and recommend a solution.

Replacement becomes a viable solution if the clutch is too old or highly damaged for repair.

Reason 3: Battery Issues

Just like vehicles, lawnmowers rely on a battery to start. If the battery is drained or is not working well, you may notice that the lawn mower engine dies when PTO is engaged.

Most lawn mower battery issues are caused by loose terminal connections, corrosion, and over-draining.

How To Fix

  • Test the battery with a multimeter and charge it to less than 12 volts
  • Inspect the battery for corrosion and clean and affected parts with baking soda
  • Inspect the battery wires and terminals for loose connections
  • Replace the battery if its old and has visible signs of wear and tear

Reason 4: Air Filter Issues

Dirt is a big enemy of your lawn mower’s engine because the mower requires clean air to run effectively.

If the mower air filters are damaged or clogged with debris, there won’t be enough free flow of air to facilitate the combustion of gas/fuel in the engine.

This issue may make the mower engine die shortly after engaging the PTO.

The most obvious signs that your lawn mower air filters are clogged include a surging lawn mower, the mower producing black smoke, and when the engine fails to start at all or makes strange sounds.

How To Fix

Inspect the air filters, then clean them if they are dirty. Alternatively, you can remove and replace them if there is extreme clogging or damage in the filters.

Reason 5: Poor Charging System

A poor charging system may not directly impact your lawn mower engines but reduces the battery’s effectiveness.

The battery won’t charge well when the charging system is faulty. Due to this, your engine will not start or stop immediately when you engage the PTO clutch.

Apparent signs that your lower battery system is ineffective include low fluid levels, visible signs of corrosion, and difficulty charging.


A battery is a sensitive unit of the mower and requires professional handling.

Unless you are skilled enough, you should seek professional assistance whenever you notice your lawnmower has a battery charging problem.

The expert should do the required tests, fix the issue, or recommend an entire battery systems replacement.

Reason 6: Ground Struck

Sometimes, your lawn mower engine may fail simply because the starter rope is stuck on the ground and hard to pull.

This scenario is common when the mower is placed in areas with tall grass or some debris is stuck on the lower part of your mower.

How To Fix the Issue

Adjust the current position of your mower to ensure no obstacles affect the functionality of the mower.

Alternatively, you can switch off the mower and disconnect the battery to look for grass, stones, or anything that might be blocking the start rope.

After the inspection, connect your mower again to see if it works.

Final Remarks

You might not prevent some issues affecting your lawn mower, but you can quickly fix them.

The above are possible reasons why your lawn mower engine dies when PTO is engaged. If a problem persists, seek a professional for better repair and fixing.

Hello! My name is Chris, and I am the founder of Yard Floor. When I was a toddler, my family had a lush green lawn. I was at the center of caring for and maintaining this lawn and even proceeded to take an associate’s Degree in landscaping. I am here to share my years of experience with you – be it repairing your mower/tractor or caring for your lawn.

Lawn Mower Clutch Problems (How to Spot Fixes)

The PTO clutch is an essential part for your lawn mower’s function. Without the clutch, or with a poorly functioning clutch, your riding mower will be nothing but a slow, one-seater vehicle. While this may be useful for teaching your teenage kid to drive, it will be useless for mowing the lawn. The clutch is needed to transfer power from the motor to the blades, so that you can cut grass! Luckily, it’s pretty easy to tell if you have a bad clutch. We will go over some ways to diagnose and fix lawn mower clutch problems here.

How to Spot Common Riding Lawn Mower Clutch Problems:

If you are activating your PTO switch on the mower, and you don’t hear it engage or hear the blades start turning, there is probably a problem with either the engagement mechanism or the clutch. The electric solenoid can go bad, the clutch can be worn out and slipping, or the clutch can be fused together by excessive heat. There may also be a safety system malfunction, which may not let the blades engage.

With the first problem, nothing will happen when you activate the switch. This is a telltale sign of an electrical problem. If the clutch is damaged, you may hear it slipping while it tries to engage, or you might hear your PTO engage and then stop right away, as it is designed for the fuse to fail first if it cannot turn the clutch.

Most Common Riding Lawn Mower Clutch Problems:

The Electric PTO is Not Getting the Voltage Needed, or the PTO Solenoid is Toast

If the solenoid switch that controls the electromagnetic clutch engagement is bad, you will not hear anything happen when you activate the switch. There are three common reasons for this: There could be a bad fuse, which is the easiest fix. The solenoid may not be getting enough voltage from the battery to engage, in which case you will want to test the voltage coming from the battery. The other possibility is that the solenoid is bad, and in this case, you will want to head down to your local small engine repair shop to obtain a new one.

The Clutch is Slipping, Damaged, or Fused Together

If you activate your PTO switch and you hear a squealing, screeching sound, disengage the PTO and turn off the mower. You may have something in the blades that is keeping them from turning, your PTO belt may be worn out, or worst-case scenario, you may have a lawn mower clutch problem. Whatever you do, NEVER GO NEAR THE BLADES WHILE THEY ARE SPINNING, OR THE PTO IS ENGAGED. It’s best to completely turn off the mower and remove the key before trying to service any part of the PTO system.

A Safety Switch Somewhere Else is Causing the Blades Not to Engage

There is the possibility that another safety mechanism or switch is keeping the PTO from engaging. There are multiple switches in most mowers to ensure that you are safely seated on the mower when the blades start spinning. This may be a safety switch in the seat, or possibly a switch in the emergency brake or transmission. Try shifting your mower into neutral, engaging and disengaging the emergency brake, and make sure your weight is centered on the seat while engaging the PTO switch. Sometimes the switch under the seat may go bad or get dirty, and it will not sense your weight on the seat. Your lawn mower blades won’t engage if this is the case.

Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch on Your Lawn Mower (Mechanical):

These symptoms may indicate a mechanical problem with the actual clutch of the mower.

The Clutch Makes Noise When Engaged

If this is happening, your clutch may have a bad bearing, the surface of the flywheel may not be in good condition, or your PTO belt or pulley may need replacement. The belt slipping may cause the noise, so the first thing to check would be that the belt is tight and not damaged.

The Clutch Causes the Engine to Rev Higher

If the engine is revving up higher when you engage the PTO, it becomes evident that the power transfer from the engine to the blades is not working as it should. This may indicate some of the same things mentioned above. Your actual clutch may have a bad bearing and not be spinning smoothly, causing the engine to use more power. The PTO pulley may also have a bad bearing which would cause the engine to supply more power to get it moving.

The PTO Clutch Starts, Then Immediately Stops, and Fuse is Blown

If the fuse to your PTO switch blows right away when you activate it, that could still indicate a mechanical problem. This could mean that the clutch was impossible for the motor to move, and the motor had to try and supply so much power that it blew the fuse. Your clutch may be seized up completely, there may be something stuck in the blades, or your PTO pulley may be seized up. Either way, you won’t be mowing until you figure out the problem.

Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch (Electrical):

The PTO Switch Makes No Sound When Activated

This can indicate that the actual switch is bad or is not receiving enough power from the battery. You will need to do some electric PTO clutch troubleshooting to fix this problem. Listed below are the possible problems to check for if you experience this. You will likely need a multimeter to check for these.

Check the Fuse – The fuse for the PTO System is the easiest part to check and change. It should not be burnt, and you should be able to see that there is still a solid connection.

Battery Voltage – The battery may not be supplying enough voltage to activate the solenoid. This is a common problem, as lawn mower batteries can lose charge while sitting.

PTO Solenoid – This is the actual electromagnetic switch that controls the clutch, and replacing this part is a little more in-depth. You can check for its function with a multimeter.

How to Test the PTO Clutch on Your Mower

For the purpose of testing the PTO clutch on your mower, you will need to use a multimeter. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just needs the ability to check voltage, resistance, and amperage.

Testing the PTO Clutch (Mechanical)

First, perform a mechanical test on the clutch just to rule out any physical problems with the clutch. You will need to turn on your mower. Make sure the mower is in neutral or park, and that the emergency brake is engaged. Some mowers have differing safety features, and you may need to disengage the emergency brake to start the PTO.

With the mower running at full throttle, try engaging the PTO switch or lever. If you hear the blades try to start up, you can rule out the PTO solenoid. If the clutch is squealing or the mower engine starts revving higher, disengage the PTO and turn off the engine. You may have a bad bearing in the clutch, a bad contact surface on the flywheel, or a bad PTO pulley.

Also, check the belt for the PTO and make sure that it is not loose, frayed, cracked, or otherwise worn out. You can find replacement pulleys, belts, and clutch assembly parts at your local small engine repair shop. If you activate the PTO switch and your blades turn on without incident, Congratulations! You have a functional PTO clutch and you can mow away!

Testing the PTO Clutch (Electrical)

If you tried to activate the PTO in the last step and nothing happened, it’s time to check some electrical connections.

1) Fuse – First, look for the wire that goes to the PTO mechanism. There should be a small fuse box containing the fuse for the switch. If the fuse is blown, you will be able to see it. The metal connection inside the fuse will be melted, broken, or burnt-looking. This means that the clutch was trying to draw too much amperage for some reason, and it usually points to some sort of mechanical problem (bad bearing, etc.). Replacement fuses are cheap, and you can replace it with the same amperage fuse that was in there. Usually, they are 10 or 15A.

2) Battery – If the fuse is good, the next thing to check would be the battery. You want to make sure the battery is supplying the correct voltage to the parts of the mower. Take your multimeter, switch it to Volts, and place the positive (red) probe on the positive terminal of the mower battery. Take the negative (black) probe and place it on a metal part of the engine. If your battery is putting out the correct voltage, the meter should read about 12.6 volts. Anything under that and your battery will need a charge. If this checks out, all that is left to check is the function of the solenoid.

3) Solenoid Function – You will want to find the clutch assembly under the mower, with the mower turned off, and unplug the wire that comes from the PTO switch. Put the key in the mower and turn it only to the first click. You don’t want to start the mower up, you just want the battery turned on. You will need to switch your multimeter to Amperage and connect the black probe to a grounded metal piece. Next, you will need to insert the red probe into the wiring harness coming from the switch. Activate the PTO switch and this should give you a reading of about 4 amps. If there is no reading, it is likely that the switch is bad. You may need to contact the manufacturer to get the part number for that PTO switch.

If you checked for these lawnmower PTO clutch problems and everything worked, your clutch is in working condition and you are ready to mow!

About Tom Greene

I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the lawn mower guru (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!

Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Hi mate, I’m Farud. I have a Mcculloch m175h38rb ride on mower. How can I tell if the clutch is bad and if it is, can I still mow?

Hi Farud, First, driving with a bad or “failed” clutch on a mower isn’t particularly dangerous or likely to damage more than the clutch itself, but it’s unlikely that you will be able to mow for very long. Any breaking mechanisms may also be worn down more while driving with a bad clutch than they would be otherwise. Further, if your clutch is failing, it may “stick” in the on position and make it difficult to disengage the blades. If this happens, turn off the mower and remove the key. The clutch will need to be repaired or replaced before using the mower again. To know if you have a failed clutch, look for the following signs: – Is your clutch hard to use? If the clutch fails to engage or disengage without more than a reasonable amount of effort, your clutch could be failing. – Does your engine rev every time you engage the clutch? If so, your clutch could be faulty. If either of these criteria is true, you likely have a clutch with a mechanical problem that needs to be repaired or replaced. If neither of these is true, there may be a problem elsewhere that is interfering with how the clutch operates. This usually means a problem with the wiring to the clutch, your mower’s battery, the solenoid related to your clutch if your mower has one, or a fuse attached to the clutch. I hope that helps

My husband purchased an old Craftsman DYT 4000 from a guy he works with last summer. We replaced the carb and it ran good and cut great last summer. We used it for the first time this spring last week. Now the blades are turning but not really fast like normal. It isn’t cutting the grass, just pushing it over. It doesn’t sound like the electric PTO is engaging correctly, but the blades are turning. Switch or electric clutch?

Hi Brenda It sounds to me like that would be an issue with your clutch. If the blades engage at all, the switch should be working fine. Since your blades aren’t spinning as fast as they should I would guess that the clutch isn’t functioning properly, or that the f belt is worn out. Aside from that, I would also recommend taking a look at the blade itself. Make sure that it is tightened securely, and that all grass and grime buildup has been cleaned from the blade and deck. The only other thing that would cause the blades not to spin properly would be lack of power from the engine. However, if you’ve got a suspicion that the clutch is faulty I would check that out first. Let me know how you get on!

Hi Ted, The process of belt replacement will vary depending on the type of mower you have, but generally speaking there are a few things you can expect to do. First, you will have to loosen or remove your variable speed pulley. In order to get some slack in the belt you can almost always expect to pull out a pulley or two. This is usually done by pulling out a handful of mounting screws around its edges, or by taking out its center bolt and fully disassembling it. Now, with tension released, you can remove the old belt and then thread the new one in. Just be sure to route it the same way it came out. There will be some other parts that you’ll likely need to remove when doing this to free up space, but it really depends on the type of riding mower you have. As long as you keep track of all the parts involved, you should be able to get your new belt on just by noticing how the old one is installed. Good luck! Tom.

I have a Cub Cadet 1515 which is having issues with the pto clutch. Last fall the blades quit spinning while cutting grass. I pulled the pto switch out and pushed in several times and the clutch would still not engage. So today I found the air gap on the clutch to be.035 inches which I thought might be the problem (too large). I removed the deck and started the engine and pulled out pto switch and clutch did not engage (pulley was not spinning). A few hours later I started the engine again and the pulley started spinning immediately without pulling out the PTO knob. So, I pulled out and pushed in the PTO switch several times and the pulley kept spinning. I checked the continuity on the PTO switch pushed in: Com a=.89, com b=1, com c=1 and pto switch pulled out: Com a=1, com b=0, com c=0. I think the PTO switch is OK. With the engine running the battery was putting out 13.40 volts and the voltage to the clutch was 14.05 volts. The resistance to the clutch was 5.9 ohms and the continuity was 0. Any ideas on what the problem may be?

Hi Doug While I’m not a trained small engine mechanic, I can definitely offer my perspective. You’re right that your clutch’s gap is off. From what I understand, the average gap is meant to be about half that wide (.016 inches). I’m having a hard time finding the specification from Cub Cadet, but I’ve been reading that other 1515 owners use a gap of 0.012”. Your test results do seem to indicate that the PTO switch still works, and if the pulley can spin, I would assume engagement is the problem here. Try and adjust/shim your gap first. It seems like that should be your issue since you’ve had good readings from the electrical system. If that doesn’t help the problem, make sure you’ve checked your brake switch and safety shut-down circuit too. If these are out of whack it could prevent your PTO switch from doing its job. If all else fails, you might want to consider going for a new PTO and belts. Hope this helps! Tom.

Hi. we have a Husquvarna zero turn CZ4817. Every time we try to engage the blades it rips through my wires on my clutch. I can’t find any information on this and how to fix? Some talk of a anti-rotation bracket but again I can’t find any information on that either? Please help.

Hi Donita, There is a part you need called a clutch tie-down. If you search on the internet for the following – Husqvarna CZ4817 CLUTCH TIE DOWN – you’ll find what you need. It’s a small 15-25 bracket that bolts to the underside of where the engine sits. It slots between a cut-out on the clutch and stops it from spinning. If someone changed the clutch for you, they could have forgotten to put it back on. If the wires were just ripped out, then it probably fell off. If you search on the internet, you’ll find some images that will show you exactly where it goes. I hope you find the part you’re looking for. Thanks, Tom.

I have a 1996 Toro Pro-line model # 30182-690727. While mowing the blades disengaged. Everything was within specification, so I suspected the delay module. I bypassed it and kept the relay for power transfer. I connected the wiring to a 12-volt battery to prove the wiring and everything worked. The system works directly from the alternator which puts out 28 volts ac. The regulator puts out varying voltage between 7.2 and 13 volts dc. When back probing the hot wire going to the clutch, I got 7amps and the clutch engaged. When I remove the meter it disengaged. I cleaned all my grounds and bought a new regulator for the hell of it. It still does not work. Any ideas? I’m stumped.

Hi Matthew, Well, it seems you know your way around electrical systems better than I do. But I did come across a case where the inside of a clutch was shorted out but would still engage. The problem is that it was burning out switches. Now, I’m not sure if this would have anything to do with your case, but it could be something similar. Checking the resistance through the clutch with a multimeter might shed some light on the matter. Also, I’ve heard of starter solenoids causing strange issues with clutches engaging and erratically disengaging. I hope you get things sorted out. Cheers, Tom.

The PTO clutch will stop the engine. The Engine stops when the PTO clutch is in “ON” position. Electrical switch under clutch? What should I look at? I have a Stiga Villa mower.

Hi Aleks, First, you want to make sure that the clutch can spin when the mower is switched off. If it’s seized, then it could trigger the engine to shut down. Then, take a look at the safety switches to make sure that they are connected and working. Your mower could have a safety switch that requires you to have your foot on the brake to engage the PTO. If this is malfunctioning, then it will kill the engine. Next, I would want to check the clutch itself. It could have shorted out and caused the engine to cut out when you tried to engage the PTO. You can test for the resistance through the clutch using a multimeter. At the same time, you can check the switch with the meter. By the sound of it, the switch seems to be working. I hope this gives you some idea of where to look. Good luck! Cheers, Tom.

MY SIMPLICITY CORONET 1694288 had a bad solenoid and I replaced and now starts fine. But when I release the clutch, it shuts down. What did I do wrong?

Hi George, Well, I wouldn’t say you did anything wrong. It could just be a coincidence that when the starter solenoid went bad, so did something else. Or something else caused the clutch to go bad. Here are a few items that could be worth looking into. Check the Safety Switches First, run through the mower’s safety features. I’m sure you know that micro switches around the mower will cut the engine if safety isn’t followed as per the manufacturer’s design, such as sitting in the seat when you engage the PTO switch. Next, check that the switches are working correctly and are still connected to the wiring harness. These could have been disconnected when the solenoid was being replaced. Check the Wiring Harness for Damage Next, check the wiring harness for any damage. There could be a damaged cable causing a short and resulting in the mower cutting out once you engage the clutch. Once you’re confident that these are working correctly, move on to the clutch. Checking the Clutch First, set the ignition to ON (not start) with the mower’s engine off and engage the clutch. So you should hear the clutch click on and off as you move the switch. If it engages, then the switch should be ok. Next, you want to check the clutch. I’m not sure if you are handy with a multimeter, but if you are, you could test the resistance through the clutch. If the clutch is shorted out internally, it could be drawing too many amps from the battery. You can test the switch to see how many amps run through the circuit or how many ohms pass through the clutch. If the clutch is burned out, it could be drawing too much power and killing the engine. A clutch can still operate even if it is burned out electrically. I hope this information can point you in the right direction. Tom.

I have a Craftsman zero turn mower about 10 years old. Model 247.25001 42″ deck. The last year or two I’ve been having an intermittent problem with my PTO switch. I start the mower, turn on the switch and the blades engage fine. After about 30 minutes or so, sometimes longer (takes me about an hour or so to mow the lawn) I may stop the mower and blades to get off and clear the deck off, or move something (its setup for mulching). I’ll get back on the mower, engage the switch and nothing happens. However, if I leave the switch in the on position in about 3 – 5 minutes the blades will start up again. I changed the switch and it was a little better, but still doing the same thing. I had read something about overheating of the PTO switch and I see where they now sell 10 amp switches versus the 5 amp that came with the machine. Any ideas what this could be?

Hi Robert, It sounds like there could be an issue with the actual PTO clutch. Inside the clutch, there is an electromagnet that has windings. As these windings degrade, they can cause a short, which in turn changes the resistance through the PTO. What can happen is the PTO switch can overheat and damage the switch. Basically, the change in resistance can cause an increased pull of amps and melt the switch. So, the fact that you changed the switch from a 5 amp to a 10 amp probably masked the issue for a while. I recommend disconnecting the electrical connector from the PTO and testing it with a multimeter. If you set your multimeter to ohms and connect the two probes to the clutch, you will be able to check the resistance. Typically a PTO clutch will have a resistance between 2-4ohm. If your clutch is outside of this range, then this is likely the cause of the problem. You should be able to find the specific resistance for your PTO in your manual. I hope this gives you an idea of what to check. Thanks for the question. Tom.

Hi Tom, I have a Scag walk behind. There is a high pitched noise when I disengage the blades. Also I noticed when I spin the blades the clutch moves back and forth. Any thoughts? Are these issues related? Thanks!

Hi Travis, The clutch should be locked in place with a small metal bar/bracket. So the clutch should only move a tiny amount between the bracket. Now inside the clutch, there are a few bearings that allow the clutch to spin. I’m thinking that the bearings could be worn and are causing the noise, or the clutch isn’t properly installed, and it could have come loose. I would take a closer listen to see where the noise is actually coming from. It could be coming from the clutch, or it could be belt noise as the belt slips when the blades are disengaged. First, I recommend that you inspect the clutch to make sure the bearings are ok and that the clutch is correctly installed. Then I would take a look at the belt and pulley system. If you are only having a problem when the blades engage/disengage, then it must have something to do with the driveshaft, clutch, belt, pulleys/spindles, or the deck. I hope this gives you a few ideas. Tom.

What Are The Symptoms of bad PTO Clutch?

PTO clutches are generally used with outdoor power equipment that used for start the rotation of and implement a cutting blade. Also, It helps to slow down the implementation when the clutch is turned off.

riding, lawn, mower, reasons, your, engine

You’re here because you wanted to know what are the symptoms of bad PTO clutch. Don’t worry, the dedicated article is on this topic. You will learn some common signs of bad PTO clutch in the following post. Plus, The solution to those problems.

What Are The symptoms of bad PTO clutch?

Hard To Start

Usually, the common symptom of a bad PTO clutch is taking time to engage. In the beginning stage, It takes several seconds for the blades to engage. It will be getting hot after running for a while.


The PTO clutch will make some awkward noise when engaging or disengaging. If you hear such type of noise when your release or depress the PTO clutch, or both at the same time when the engine is off, It’s probably a problem with the PTO clutch and Its release mechanism.

Also, When the transmission is neutral, the car makes a chirping, whirring, or grinding sound, but the sounds go away by depressing the clutch pedal that indicates the PTO clutch problem. The possible reason behind it is the noise is coming from a worn-out input shaft bearing.

You can use noise to understand that is the clutch has any defect or not. For this, first, disengage it and turn it on and off few times. If you notice that the power takes off slowing down or stopping and won’t make a disengagement noise, It indicates the PTO clutch galled together fo heat or slip ring has jammed.

Engine won’t turn over

The blades will not engage if the PTO clutch solenoid is defective for this clutch won’t get any power. Also, The engine won’t get any power if the switch has any defect.

How to solve bad PTO clutch symptoms?

There aren’t a single solution to solve the PTO clutch problems. For example, If your PTO clutch solenoid is defective, then you need to replace the clutch. But, If the problem occurs on a switch, the problem will solve by replacing the switch.

Also, Adjusting the PTO clutch, especially electric clutches, are mandatory for getting the highest performance. Otherwise,You will notice the gap between contact plates that reduces magnet power and complexity to hold them together. For this, with a heavy load, the contact plates may slip, which will cause heat from the friction of lowering.

Sometimes, Adjusting the PTO clutch from time to time can solve some common issues and provide optimal performance.

Here are some common issues and solutions you may apply to solve the PTO clutch problem:

How do I Test A PTO clutch?

Follow this quick guide to test a PTO clutch:

  • First, Use a floor jack to lift the vehicle up and use two jack stands under the rear frame and two in the front frame to provide clearance to look at clutch drive assembly.
  • Read the volts using a good engine source. If you find output below 12.4 volts or equal, then charge the battery because it won’t engage without enough voltage.
  • Then, Check the in-line fuse. If it turns black or blown, replace it with the same amper fuse rating as the original.
  • Active the engine and carefully check the blade operation. If it makes noises, first replace the ignition key and unplug the battery cable.
  • Remove any type of broken branches that jammed into the drive belt and the pulley.
  • Again plug in the ignition key and negative cable with a socket. Turn on the clutch engagement lever and disengage it after starting the engine. Then, turn it on and off several times. If the pulley is slowing down and stopping frequently, It’s the sign that plates and clutch have galled together. For this, you need to remove the clutch and inspect the internal issue.

How Do You Remove A PTO clutch?

Fortunately, We don’t need any type of special tools and equipment to remove a PTO clutch. Just a screwdriver, a socket wrench set, and a pair of good-quality gloves are enough. After you collect those tools, let’s jump into the removing part:

  • To reduce the risk, first, disconnect the spark plugs.
  • Then, You will have to take off the plastic covering from the pulley, which protects the belt from any sort of damage.
  • Then loosen the blade belt to access the clutch.
  • After removing the belt, you’ll find two sets of wires which directly connect with the PTO clutch. Disconnect those wires before releasing the clutch.
  • In this step, A assistant must be needed. There is a bolt connected with the top of the mower or vehicles. At the same time, unscrew the bolt, the assistant help you to keep the nut in place, and he used a screwdriver to take off the flywheel cover.
  • Finally, You can remove the PTO clutch after the bolt is out.

Final Words

The power takeoff clutch is a piece of important equipment used on small tractors that activate mower tillers or blades. It’s used electricity to produce a magnetic armature to rotate the blade. But, to get the optimum performance, you need to keep it in regular maintenance.

So, Knowing some common Syndrom of bad PTO clutch helps you do the maintenance process easily and find out any problem quickly. In the above guide, You find some common syndrome and how to solve those, which might help you identify the problem and solve it.


What is a PTO Switch on a Lawnmower?

A PTO, or Power Take Off switch, is an integral part of any ride-on lawnmower. The switch controls the power from the engine to its drive system, as well as other accessories attached to it. Without this switch, the lawnmower would not be able to start up and begin mowing. This article will discuss the PTO switch on a lawnmower in more detail.

What is a PTO switch?

The PTO can be found on the dashboard of most electric ride-on lawnmowers. It is a large red switch, which needs to be turned on each time you mow your lawn. The main job of the PTO is to act as a safety feature so that the lawnmower blades won’t go around unexpectedly.

When the PTO switch is in the “on” position, it sends power from the engine to the lawnmower blades, which allows the grass to be cut. The PTO has metal prongs that conduct the current and pass power from the engine to the blades.

The PTO acts as a clutch on an electric ride-on mowers and is commonly found on lawnmower makes, including John Deere and Ferris. It is commonly referred to as a PTO clutch or switch.

If the PTO is in the “off” position, it won’t send any power. This is because it will deactivate the clutch and won’t send any power to the blades. The operator can turn the PTO switch off and then work safely on the lawn mower mechanics without worrying about accidentally activating the mower blades. Properly using a PTO switch is essential for safety.

The PTO switch is also an excellent addition for those who want to use their riding lawnmower as a tractor. It allows you to disengage the blades, meaning that the grass won’t be cut, and the mower will also be safer if it’s running around children or pets.

How to maintain a PTO switch

To maintain a lawnmower’s longevity and performance, it is essential to remember to turn off the PTO switch after each use. This will prevent unnecessary wear or damage to its components and ensure that it works as intended every time you need it.

To ensure the PTO switch is working correctly, it is crucial to inspect the switch periodically. This can be done by turning off the engine and using a multimeter to test the power source from the battery to the switch. If there is no current flowing through, then it’s likely that the PTO switch needs to be replaced. Additionally, it’s essential to check the safety features on the switch for proper operation.

Finally, it is important to regularly clean and lubricate the PTO switch to ensure it works properly and safely. Cleaning should be done with an air hose or a soft brush, while lubricating should be done with a light lubricant suitable for the switch.

Following these steps will help ensure that your lawnmower is working safely and efficiently. If the PTO switch has gone bad, it may need to be replaced. PTO switches can be affected by the following problems:


Corrosion can occur when moisture accumulates and creates a thin film that weakens the PTO switch. This weakening can lead to difficulty starting your mower, or it may stop working altogether.

Frayed Wires

Frayed wires are one of the most common problems people face with their lawnmowers. If the wiring around the PTO switch gets worn or damaged, it can cause the mower to not start or become difficult to operate.

Dirt and Debris

If dirt and debris get into the PTO, it can lead to a faulty connection that won’t power up your lawnmower. Cleaning out the area around the switch is often the first step in solving this problem.

Loose Connections

Loose connections can cause a false connection with the PTO switch, leading to difficulty starting up your mower or other problems. Tightening the screws and connectors around the switch can help resolve this issue.

Blown fuse

A blown fuse can be caused by a faulty connection or other problems. If the PTO is not receiving enough power, it could cause the mower to fail to start or become difficult to use. Replacing the fuse should resolve this problem.

Bypassed connection

If the connection to the PTO is bypassed, it can lead to a faulty connection that prevents the mower from starting up. Correcting this issue requires identifying and fixing the bypassed connection.

Riding Mower No Power, Bogs/Dies Under Load Easy Diagnosis and Repair


To summarize, the PTO is an essential part of any lawnmower. It controls the power from the engine to its drive system and other accessories. Without this switch, it would be impossible to start and use a lawnmower. To maintain your lawnmower’s performance, make sure to turn off the PTO switch after each use.