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Craftsman Riding Mower Won't Start

January 14, 2016

I have a Craftsman 917.289700 with a 24hp B&S engine. Today it quit running while mowing. I thought it was gas, so I filled it up, but now it is a dead duck.

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Read in my manual, if you can call it that, to check a 30 amp fuse behind the dash, but no can see. Does anyone have a photo that would locate this for me?

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January 15, 20161 found this helpful
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I am a customer service rep for several lawn and garden companies. Usually when it says that the fuse is "behind the dash" you actually have to raise the hood and go in through the engine compartment and the fuse is most likely in the wiring harness. Hope this helps!

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Anonymous
April 7, 20161 found this helpful
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I just had to find that fuse on my mower, different model but same wiring. I had to remove the battery and the battery mount. Sort through the red wires. You may have to cut a few wire this. The fuse holder looks like an unused connector. It will have two red wires going into it.

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Mine was connected pretty close to the main switch. When you are through be sure to redress the whirring, replacing any ties you cut. When you do, pull the fuse holder up and tie it offsomewhere easier to get to. Good luck.

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97 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 15, 2016

I am 13 years old and I have a Craftsman 19.5 turbo cooled 2 cylinder
lawn tractor; there is no mow deck at all. I bought it for my birthday last year.


I can't get it started. I think it is the carb and the fuel pump. I just don't know how to fix those two things. Does anyone know how? I am trying to get it going so I can do the tractor pull at the Windsor fair.

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June 17, 20161 found this helpful
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Have the checked the spark plug? If it sparks it should run, unless the gas is bad. Check to see if its getting fuel and the fuel is clean. If not getting fuel, may need to check the fuel filter, which may need replacing.

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Check float in carb, if stuck, clean it and tap the float with your finger, raise and let it down to see if the fuel flows into the carb. Is the starter turning over? If not, may need a new starter.

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January 2, 2017

This mower will only turn over 1 time and it seems compression keeps it from continuing. If I take out the spark plug it will turn over like crazy. Yes I have spark.


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May 16, 2014

I have an 8yr old 42" Craftsman riding tractor that won't start. It will turn over a few seconds then stop and begin clicking. Once I was able to start it after I placed both hands flat on the thing that turns when you turn the key on and manually turned it a little. But I can't get it to work this time.

It turns a little then is tight and very hard to turn. Once I get it past the hard turn it loosens and turns easily a little, but tightens again. It makes me want to spray it with WD-40. But I don't want to do the wrong thing. I'm a female and don't know the correct name of parts...so patience please.
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By Connie B.

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Anonymous
February 7, 20161 found this helpful
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There are safety devices installed: you must weigh enough to compress the switch in the seat, you must have the shifter in nuetral or park, the belt lever must be disengaged. If after ensuring all of that is done and you still have the same problem, then there are only a couple of things it could be. I will list them according to probability: low battery( you can jump it with your car or charge it up, if it had last seasons fuel in it then it should be drained completely, and lastly your starter could be dragging because of age. Good luck.

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August 3, 2015

I have a Craftsman automatic 42" cut Koehler Pro 16.5 ohm, (S.s# 052000b007775/ Mod # 917.271141). I can not get it to start! I replaced the battery, spark plug, air filter, oil, and oil filter.

When I turn the key nothing happens except a faint click. The mower worked last summer without any problems. I'm not quite sure what to look into next. The starter?

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August 5, 20150 found this helpful
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Did you check your carburetor? I had the same problem with my push mower and did all the things you did but it still would not start and a friend told me to check the carburetor. Took it apart and saw a little sludge on the bottom that was plugging the hole in the carburetor screw.

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Cleaned it out, put it back together and it started right up. The thing I learned from this was to run the mower until there is no more gas for it to run after the season is over. And to always put gas stabilizer additive in new gas to also help prevent this problem.

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May 14, 2016

Nothing happens when I turn the key. It will start when I run a jumper cable from the battery to the starter. I replaced the solenoid, but it is still not starting. I have no idea what to do or check?


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May 16, 20160 found this helpful
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Check under the seat for a safety switch, it may be stuck open or closed.

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October 22, 2015

Why will my Craftsman lawn tractor not start with a new battery, new spark plugs, new gas, gas filter, oil filter, and new oil?


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November 22, 20150 found this helpful
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This happened to mine while under warranty (last year). Repairman came, raised my seat & there was a little fuse or something & he pulled it out & replaced it - told me to get on & crank it.

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It fired off & no more problem this year with anything.

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December 15, 20150 found this helpful
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Either a poorly connected battery ground if you get nothing or varnish in the carburetor if it tries but won't turn over. It never hurts to add C-foam to the gas. Let it sit 24 hrs then try again.

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March 30, 2016

I have a Crafstman riding mower. I haven't used it for about nine months. Unfortunately before winter came nothing was done to "winterize" it.

Now I can't get it to start. Should I change the oil? Empty the gas and refill it? As you can tell I'm not a "handyman"!

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April 2, 20160 found this helpful
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Change ALL the fluids, clean the battery terminals, and change the spark plugs as well. AutoZone and other auto supply stores sell a 'gap' tool that will assist you in adjusting the spark plug gaps.

I'm a woman who had to learn these things (the hard way, oh well, now I do know:). As the need arose pre-Internet days to get my mower running after a hard winter, I found a Reader's Digest 'how to' book at the library and learned from it. You can do the same - I would never have thought myself mechanically minded or able until I left a John Deere lawn mower under a tarp in my back garden over a harsh winter, now I can work on just about any mower or other small engine machine!

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April 19, 2013

I have a 15.5 hp Craftsman riding mower. It has a new battery, solenoid, starter, wiring harness, fuse, and clutch and seat switches. And it still will not turn over. What else is there to replace? The motor turns over when I jump the starter.

By Scott

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April 15, 20150 found this helpful
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I had a similar problem with my riding mower, would not turn over but would make a click when the ignition was turned to on. I replaced the battery, spark plug, solenoid, magneto coil, ignition switch checked harness for shorts and checked switches at the brake and lever to raise/ lower the blades and both were working as should be.

I even changed the gas and oil and nothing. I finally stumbled on the answer to my problem when I was holding the switch that depresses when the blades are raised in my hand and manually pressed it and the damn think fired up like nothing was wrong. Despite everything being ok, the switch was not positioned correctly to recognize the blades being up and was therefore not firing up when I turned the key. In other words if you know everything is working then try adjusting the position of your switches.

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July 16, 2015

I have an older Craftsman mower with the 19.5 horse Briggs and Stratton motor that was given to me. The guy said all it needed was a drive belt because the original one broke while he was mowing and he didn't know how to fix it. Well I put a new drive belt on and now the motor won't start with the key, it doesn't make any noises or even attempt to turn over.

The headlights will come on with the key, but that's it. I tested the battery and it's good, so I used a screw driver to bridge across the positive and negative side of the silenoid and the motor will turn over, but not start. What could be causing the ignition not to be able to turn over the motor?

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July 21, 20150 found this helpful
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I fixed it! Changed out my solenoid and it fired right up! but now when i put it in gear and let off the clutch it boggs down and dies, it also does the same thing when I try to disengage the blades and let off the clutch, but it runs great with the clutch pushed in, I even idled it up all the way and popped the clutch and the mower only moved like a foot then started bogging down and died again. I have no clue what could be causing this.

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May 1, 2012

My 12 HP Craftsman riding mower (Model 917.254551) will not start although the motor will crank. I have changed the battery, coil, and throttle cable. There doesn't appear to be any spark when testing at the spark plug. There are gas vapors when the air filter is removed and the engine cranked. What should I check in order to get a spark at the plug?

By William

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September 9, 20130 found this helpful
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Valve seat may be loose or broken. Had this happen to me and everywhere I looked, the answer was "Flywheel key". my key was fine. Valve seat was off. Fixed and good to go.

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February 21, 2014

I have a Kohler 22.5 h.p. engine in a Craftsman riding mower. It turns over, but won't start. Things I've checked: it has spark and there is gas pumping out of the fuel pump. Any more ideas?

By Del

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February 23, 20140 found this helpful
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Check engine compression or see if the float is stuck on the carburetor.

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May 30, 2011

I have a Craftsman riding mower, model 91720512, 6 speed, 42 inch cut, 14.5 Briggs and Stratton motor. I have replaced the ignition switch and starter solenoid. I was cutting grass yesterday, it was running fine and after running for about 1/2 hour, it just dies like if you get off the seat and safety switch killed it. I turned the key, no click, no crank, obviously no start. It was late so called it a day.

I checked today and thought I found the problem with a loose white crimp connector going to switch for clutch. It has a 4 pin block connector that plugs into clutch switch that clips into frame, 2 white wires and 2 black wires. I repaired the connection, nothing! I checked and replaced 30 AMP fuse, looked OK, checked battery voltage, fully charged 12.6 volts, checked wires for seat safety switch, they look OK. What next? Please help. My lawn is like a jungle! Suggestions to fix today?

By friendly frost from Hamden, CT

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May 31, 20110 found this helpful
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I think you may have an open ground. I have a John Deere with the same problem. I have yet to find the open ground. This is how I have to start my mower. I have a battery booster. I hook up the postive clamp of the booster to the postive side of the battery and the negative clamp to a metal part of the mower bypassing the negative battery terminal. The mower starts right up. Then I have my lady shut off the booster and unhook the clamps. If I get off the seat you know the safety devices shut down the mower.

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