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Discussion Starter #1
Pulled the lever in the rear so I could push the mower around and when I released the lever, started it up, it wouldn't move in either direction.

I'm not sure how to troubleshoot this.
 

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Check the motion (drive) belt. It may have slipped off a pulley or just broke.

Did the engage lever "feel" normal?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've only ever used the engage lever a couple of times and it seemed normal.

The drive belt looks really lose and saggy. It doesn't look right to me. But I really don't know how the routing is supposed to look on it. If I look at it from the rear, is the drive belt supposed to go to the left side of the idle pulley? It doesn't currently.
 

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Hi, I have an old Craftsman Garden Tractor that did the same thing. The problem went away when I just let it warm up for a few minutes. I have no idea what "cured it" other than that it worked.
 

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If it's a Hydro-Gear transaxle then they have an occasional problem with the spring that attaches the bypass (free wheel) rod to the trans. The spring can stretch too much and not return to normal or could be damaged. The only way to determine this is to jack up the rear and take a look. It'll be easier if you remove the right rear wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Appreciate the feedback. Seems a bit overwhelming with all the possibilities.

I don't have an OM for this machine so if anyone has a copy of the drive belt diagram, I'd appreciate it. I'm assuming with all belt changes or repairs, the deck has to come off?

Checking the spring first as that seems the easiest to rule out. What's the possibilities that the problem exists inside the trans?
 

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Most Craftsmans I've seen had a diagram sticker on the underside of the running board-
 
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