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Experienced gardeners share their insights in answering this question :
Bad safty switch.

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This is most likely a safety switch issue. Usually the seat safety switch will cause this problem. The mower dies because it thinks nobody is sitting in the seat, and shuts off for safety reasons.
If the blades are engaged and you shift to reverse the mower is designed to either shut off the blades or the engine. Some units have ROS, this is an additional position on the key switch that can be activated if the operator feels the need to mow in reverse.
Other possible causes include: Loose, Dirty or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten. Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace. Fuel Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas.
An improperly routed belt can cause the engine to die when the blades are engaged. To check belt routing, lower the deck to its lowest setting and remove the belt guard by the drive pulley. Next, lift the belt over the pulley and remove the pins that support the deck at the rear.
A Dirty Carburetor Can Cause a Lawnmower To Start Then Die

By far, the most common issue that causes a stalled motor is a dirty carburetor. The carburetor on your engine is the thing that draws in air and mixes it with the fuel. Contrary to what the movies might make you think, gasoline itself is not very flammable.

Loose, Dirty or Disconnected Spark Plug in Your Lawn Mower: Check it out, clean off debris, re-connect and tighten. Dirty Air Filter: Clean or replace. Fuel Not Reaching the Engine: Tap the side of the carburetor to help the flow of gas. If this doesn`t work, you might need a new fuel filter.
Belt-the number one cause for your blades not to engage is that your belt is either stretched or loose causing it to slip or fall off completely. Belt could have snapped also. When you are trying to process too much grass/leaves they could pack up under your deck and push off your belt.
If your lawn mower starts, runs for a while, then dies, check the ignition coil, gas cap, and spark plug. One or more of these parts could be causing your problem. Follow our repair and symptom guide to help you fix this.
A full gas tank and oil reservoir are the essential first steps when checking why the lawn mower won`t stay running, but the problem could also be a dirty filter, clogged carburetor, improper fuel mixture, or a dirty spark plug.
The most common cause of a mower that runs for thirty minutes and then dies is a faulty armature. A faulty gas cap is the second most likely cause.
If you find that your lawnmower keeps dying, or keeps stalling while cutting grass, then inspect the spark plugs. Look for signs of damage or wear. Something as simple as a cracked porcelain insulator can mean an electrode has been damaged or burned away.
Being Overworked. One of the most common reasons that a lawn mower might stall while it is cutting grass is that it is being overworked. This is a mechanism that is intentionally incorporated into the mower to prevent the motor from being blown.
A dirty carburetor is the most common cause of a lawn mower that starts and then dies. Other possible causes include: Stale/Dirty Gas. Faulty Choke.

Discover Relevant Questions and Answers for Your Specific Issue

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Gearshift is stuck,cant change gears what do i do
ANSWER : Is it hydrostatic or manual ?

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Craftsman riding mower stuck in 3rd gear – Craftsman 17.5 hp 42 in. Deck Lawn Tractor – CA Model
ANSWER : You have a broken shifting fork in the transaxle, i know this, i just replaced one on a mower that was stuck in third gear…

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Depress clutch, start mower, let out on clutch mower dies. Will run if parking brake is set. Turn blade on dies, put in gear dies. Could it be the switch on the seat?
ANSWER : Almost certainly it is the park break switch,i would start there.

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My 1999 Ariens EZR 1742 will not move. Cranks and
ANSWER : If both belts are present are they both moving? Could be tensioner froze up and it is not applying tension. mine had and i had to remove and free it up.

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How do i reset my ezr 1742 42” zero turn’s blades? they hit each other.
ANSWER : Major service probable

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Garden tractor engine shuts off
ANSWER : Sounds like the operator present seat switch is not working. You can run the motor out of the seat, but not with the blades engaged. You didn’t list what model, but usually hte seat switch is connected to the negative side of the battery, and grounds out the magneto, so you can’t test it to ground. Put your tester on 12+ battery, and then to both sides of the seat switch. There is usually 4 terminals on seat switch. Some moodels have grey wires for the mageneto circuit, you can tell by whatever color also goes to the clutch switch too.

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Poulan Riding Mower will run in neutral, not in forward or revers
ANSWER : You have safty switch on the mower one or more are bad there are three of them
win you put in reverse some mower will cut off this is a safty device on some mower

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Mower cranks and runs smooth until i try to engage blades or put mower in gear. it then stalls out
ANSWER : The seat switch is not making. You can start the mower but if you try to move it or cut, the switch is acting as if there is no operator present. Find it under the seat.

Gary

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