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Engine runs fine but after changing blades and belts, PTO won't engage

I replaced blades and primary and secondary belts on my John Deere 42" X300R. I have taken it apart 3 times to confirm I put belts and blades on correctly (I did). Mower starts up fine, runs fine, but as soon as I engage the PTO, it runs very rough for no more than 5 seconds and dies. I have checked belts and blades to make sure they move freely and they do. I torqued according to the specs. I had no problem with the mower until I did the replacements.

I'm a 66 year old woman and my body can't take the abuse with too many more mower deck take downs/put ups but am retired and need to fix it myself. I'm stymied. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Why did you change it in the first place?

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The lower belt had slipped off and when I looked at it, both belts looked worn. The blades were pretty beat up too so I decided to tackle the whole shooting match.

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If you remove the belt to the blades and then engage then, does it still do this?

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I'll give that a shot tomorrow and let you know. Thank you for your comments. Really.

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No problem. Get back tomorrow. Also, if leaving a comment for me, out @cam2363 somewhere in the comment. That way you can ensure that i will see it.

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Dearest @cam2363 and @oldturkey03 ,

It is fixed. The instructions for the blades indicated to torque to 65. That however doesn't allow the belts nor the blades to move. 60 does. It is running smoothly now. Hallelujah! Who would have thought 5 pounds could cause such consternation, bruises, cuts and sore muscles...

If it hadn't been for your comments and suggestions I'm not sure I would have kept going on (although I am stubborn). I want to thank you for your guidance and support. It meant a lot.

I am now expert on putting on and removing a mower deck! And I know a lot more about a riding mower than I did a week and half ago. Thank you. Now it's time for some iced tea.

--Lynne

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Go have your iced tea. And that is strange that 5 pounds were so devastating. But you fixed it and learned a bunch in the process, which is the best part about fixing things.

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@lynnehammer welcome to iFixit. Age and gender do not matter on iFixit Answers, what matters here is a great attitude ;-)

Your symptoms sound like issues with the PTO clutch or with the ignition module (it runs very rough for no more than 5 seconds and dies.) or possible a faulty safety switch. So here are a couple of basic things that you can test. Let us know what you find:

Perform these tests in a clear open area. Keep bystanders away.

Testing Park Brake Switch

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

2. Sit on seat.

3. Unlock the park brake.

4. Try to start engine.

Result: Engine must not crank. If engine cranks, there is a problem with your safety interlock circuit.

Testing Park Brake

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

2. Lock the park brake.

3. Try to push machine manually.

Result: Park brake must prevent machine from moving. If machine moves, parking brake needs to be adjusted.

Testing PTO Switch

1. Park machine safely. (See Parking Safely in the SAFETY section.)

2. Sit on seat.

3. Lock the park brake.

4. Engage the PTO switch.

5. Try to start engine.

Result: Engine must not crank. If engine cranks, there is a problem with your safety interlock circuit.

Testing Seat Switch

Test 1

1. Start the engine.

2. Move throttle lever to maximum speed position.

3. Unlock the park brake.

4. Engage the PTO switch.

5. Raise up off seat. Do not get off machine.

Result: Engine should begin to stop. PTO should shut off immediately and mower blades should stop.

Test 2

1. Disengage the PTO switch.

2. Start the engine.

3. Unlock the park brake.

4. Raise up off seat. Do not get off machine.

Result: Engine should stop. If engine does not stop, there is a problem with your safety interlock circuit.

Test 3

1. Start the engine.

2. Lock the park brake.

3. Raise up off seat. Do not get off machine.

Result: Engine should continue to run.

We may need the wiring diagram for further trouble shooting

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BTW remember to engage the PTO at WOT (Wide Open throttle)only. It may be that the PTO bogs down the engine if less than full throttle.

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Lynne Hammer will be eternally grateful.
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