Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower Troubleshooting

Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower Troubleshooting

Electrical Lawn Mowers are always pleasant tools, until they start developing problems that you can barely understand, let alone solve. Although they do come with manual guides, sometimes it takes a little more explaining to interpret them. This article serves as a troubleshooting guide for the Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower. We have outlined the common challenges you are likely to face as you use this tractor, and suggested remedies.

Table of Contents

Mower Won’t Start

You may experience difficulties starting your mower for a number of reasons. Before trying to repair anything, check if you have observed all “To Start” recommendations as outlined in the owner’s manual. Other causes of failure of engine to start may be related to electrical wiring, battery issues or fuel and air restrictions. Troubleshooting the starting issue on the Craftsman Riding Mower can be sorted out in a relatively short time if the following areas are checked thoroughly.

Check Gas

While the gas factor may be quite obvious, troubleshooting the starting problem for your Craftsman Riding Mower would not be complete without a gasoline check. Ensure that you have gas in the tank before attempting to start the tractor. Fill with fresh gasoline with an octane level of 87-grade or higher and ethanol level no greater than 10%. Of the gas he been stored for a prolonged period, empty tank and refill with fresh gasoline.

Clean Air Filter

The air filter will allow your engine to continue pulling in clean air by preventing dirt and debris from entering. Solve the starting problem by cleaning your Craftsman Riding Mower air filter. You can remove the paper air filter from the housing and gently tap it on a hard surface. This will get rid of dirt. When you hold the filter up to the light, you should see light through it from any angle. You probably need to replace it, if you can’t see the light.

Replace Spark Plugs

Spark plugs ignite the fuel-and-air mixture inside the combustion chamber. Any attempt to troubleshoot your Craftsman Riding Mower should prioritize spark plug checks because the plugs initiate the whole process of powering the machine. Check spark plug connections and inspect spark plug for any damages or carbon build up. The porcelain insulator must also be intact.

You may clean spark plugs and reuse them but the best option is always to replace them because old plugs may fail under a load. Deposits of oil or soot, carbon build up or any form of damage indicate that the plugs need replacement because they give electricity an alternative pathway.

Fuel Cap

Understanding the purpose of the gas cap will make the troubleshooting process for your Craftsman Riding Mower much more effective. The gas cap allows for proper breathing of the gas tank by normalizing the air pressure inside. A secure gas cap will prevent water from damaging the fuel system. While the gas cap needs to be secure, you need to ensure that the vent is not clogged and preventing fuel from moving through lines.

Loss Of Power

You may need to troubleshoot your Craftsman Riding Mower for loss of power during the course of its useful years. Clogged filters, incorrect oil levels, clogged deck and stale gas are jut a few of the factors that can cause this problem. When the mower loses power, it starts working harder and in most cases, covers less ground in more time. There are a couple of places to look in order to restore power to your machine.

Check Oil Levels

Oil, as a lubricant, enhances the engine’s capacity by reducing wear and tear on many components. Troubleshoot the low power problem by constantly checking oil quality and oil levels for your Craftsman Riding Mower. The manufacturer recommends that you check oil levels before each use and inspect engine oil quality every 25 hours. The most suggested oil grade is SAE 10W-30, but it’s always best to check manufacturer recommendations.

Replace Fuel Filter

A faulty fuel filter is the last thing you need because it spells all kinds of problems for your mower. Filter maintenance is troubleshooting 101 as far as the Craftsman Riding Mower is concerned. The fuel filter acts as screen to prevent dirt and other harmful foreign materials in the gas from reaching the carburettor. The disruption of this process is likely to cause power loss issues as the carburetor gets clogged and suffocated. The manufacturer recommends replacing the fuel filter every season.

Service Mower Deck

You may notice, on ocassion, that as you operate your mower, it feels and sounds sluggish and ineffective. This may even show in the quality of work that is produced on the grass/lawn. This could be an issue of a clogged deck or faulty blades. When the underside of the mower deck accumulates grass blades, it compromises the effectiveness of the mower’s cutting ability. As you troubleshoot deck problems of your Craftsman Riding Mower, also check components like blades, pulleys and belts. Pulleys also gather grass blades and this reduces power and traction on the machine.

Regulate Ground Speed

Craftsman Riding Mower eases your troubleshooting worries by coming with most of its components factory set. The engine governor is factory set for proper engine speed. Recommended speed is 5.5mph forward ad 2.4 mph in reverse. If, for any reason you see a need to adjust the high speed setting, it is recommended that you contact your nearest authorized dealer. Also in relation to ground speed, its best to slow down your mower so it can cut grass at an optimum pace. If your pace is not in sync with blade rotation, the engine may have to work more.

Smoking Problems

It’s not uncommon to see your Craftsman Riding Mower smoking from time to time, but troubleshooting this problem will depend on your ability to correctly interpret the nature of smoke that is produced at any given time. White or blue smoke may indicate an oil spill on the engine or an overfull oil reservoir while black smoke may indicate a rich fuel-and-air mixture. Each has its own remedies.

Check Oil Levels

Craftsman lawn mower engine’s oil capacity, according to manufacturer recommendations is 3.0 pints or 48 Oz. Ensure that you maintain correct oil levels and avoid spills when changing oil by pouring slowly and not overfilling. Oil Spills contribute to smoking problems in your Craftsman Riding Mower so when troubleshooting, don’t skip that area.

Check Air Filter

Smoking that is caused by the engine running reach is mostly attributable to a dirty air filter. An imbalance in the fuel-and -air mixture causes the carburetor to burn too much fuel, emitting black smoke.  The Craftsman Riding Mower manufacturer recommended schedule for servicing the paper cartridge on your filter is every 100 hours of operation, so as you troubleshoot, check if that is being adhered to. Under dusty conditions, the air cleaner must be serviced more frequently.

Avoid Steep Angles

Oil spills don’t happen only during replacement but may happen during operation, when you are mowing on slopes. Hills with slopes greater than 15°are generally off limits, as per manufacturer specification. Also avoid driving across slopes and opt for the slowest speed when going up and down hills. When mowing on a hill, avoid as much as possible stopping or changing speed.

Mower Blades Not Rotating

You need your mower blades to engage, rotate and cut, otherwise what’s the point? So it’s possible that one morning you will take the seat, start the engine and go no further. Causes of this range from weak battery charge to faulty deck mechanism. Here are a few suggestions that you can combine with the summarized troubleshooting guide on your manual and get your Craftsman Riding Mower going again.

Blade Mandrel

The mandrel is an assembly that is attached to the mower deck. When in proper condition, it is supposed to be spinning the blades, but just like any other mechanical component, it wears down through use. Damage to the mandrel bearings can be accelerated by unbalanced blades or hitting rocks while in motion. In the troubleshooting process, check the mandrel assembly of your Craftsman Riding Mower and replace worn out bearings.

Service Clutch

Rotation of the mower blades is driven by the drive belt, after being engaged by the clutch. An obstruction in the clutch mechanism or any loss of power and damage to the clutch means that the blades will not engage. A defective clutch solenoid will also have the same effect, so the recommendation is to service the clutch system and remove any obstructions.

Clean Mower Deck

Any debris that’s caught under the deck or in the blade mechanism may  obstruct blade rotation. This is a very common occurrence which is sometimes worsened by cutting long grass at too low a height or mowing in very wet conditions. After every mowing session, care must be taken in removing all grass clippings and other debris from the underside of the deck.

It is in your best interest, as a user of the Craftsman Riding Mower to realize that when troubleshooting your mower, most components are interrelated in terms of functionality. For example, when you clean and service your air filter trying to solve a power loss problem, you will, in the process, address the smoking problem. Adherence to manufacturer recommendations will trouble shoot for you some problems that you are not even aware of in the Craftsman Riding Mower.