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How to Troubleshoot the PTO System on a John Deere

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An electric PTO is standard on most John Deere lawn mowers (Power Take Off). The PTO is the device that turns on the blades located beneath the mower deck. The PTO is powered by a 12-volt system. The electric clutch is activated by a switch on the lawn mower's dashboard. When the lawn mower is turned on and the switch on the dashboard is set to "on," the blades begin to turn. If the blades wont engaged, you'll need to troubleshoot a component of the electrical system.

How to Troubleshoot the PTO System on a John Deere Lawn Mower

  1. Set the parking brake and park the lawn mower.
  2. Open the lawn mower's hood. The battery is behind the engine. Clip the positive lead (+) of your volt meter to the positive (+) battery post. Clip the volt meter's negative (-) lead to the negative (-) battery post.
  3. Set your volt meter to 12 volts. 11–12 volts on the meter. Replace the battery if it's under 11.
  4. Check the battery for 11–12 volts. Your battery is charged. Then start the lawnmower. While the lawn mower is running, your meter should register 13–14 volts. If it reads 15 or less, the voltage regulator (alternator) needs to be replaced.
  5. Verify that the voltmeter reads 13–14 volts. If it is, your alternator is fine. Disconnect the battery's voltmeter leads. Stop the lawn mower. The electric clutch is mounted on the engine's crankshaft. A connector is on the clutch's top. Remove the wire harness connector by lifting the connector's tab and pulling it free.
  6. You'll find two metal tabs inside the wire harness connector. Clip the voltmeter's positive (+) lead to one of the wire harness connector's metal tabs. Clip the volt meter's negative lead to the opposite tab. Start the lawn mower and engage the blades with the PTO switch on the dashboard. Replace the electric PTO if the voltmeter reads 12.