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Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Working with a Craftsman GT, model 917.251522. One of the older green square hood models.

Switch was getting to a point where there one small location towards the bottom of the pedal travel that would let the tractor start. And would not start with parking brake lock on. But locking parking brake did allow me to get off the tractor seat if PTO was off.

Ordered a new switch this past spring. I think I paid $7.00 or $8.00 for it in the door.
Finally got around to installing it yesterday. Did not want to have to worry about it giving out this winter while snow blowing.
Bought an Oregon branded switch. Oregon P/N 33-028.
Found it has many sub numbers and fits a lot of different tractors. Craftsman, AYP, Poulan, Poulan Pro, Roper, MTD, Weed Eater etc.
Oregon Safety Switch part number 33-028 replaces: Ariens 88281, AYP 109553X, Bobcat 108208, Bush Hog 99073, Dixon 4242, Encore 523034, Exmark 633111, Ferris 22095, High Sierra 1848H, High Sierra 934027, High Sierra 2248H,
Howard Price 02-0425, John Deere AM1288925, AM128925, TCA20554,
Kubota K3211-62251, MTD 925-3169A.

In my GT it sits on left side, on the frame, where frame widens and is the base of the tower.
Right above where the clutch/brake pedal shaft goes through the frame.

First I jacked up the front end pretty high and put jack stands under front axle.
Smelled gas and realized I had just filled the tank yesterday. With the front end raised so high, fuel was dripping out the gas cap and on to the floor.
Furnace was not running, but walked over and turned off the thermostat.
Took the jack stands out. Lowered the tractor down a bit and set the jack stands lower.
Opened the big door and aired out the shop. Cleaned up the spill. Maybe a teaspoon or so. Turned thermostat back on, and went back to work.
Was thinking it was nice the furnace sits up on a stand I built, 18” off the ground.

Looking at it from under the tractor I thought the 2 small nuts had to come off to get the switch loose.
Can get a 1/4” drive socket wrench and extension maneuvered around stuff. But nuts and hex heads were too close together to get a socket on either one.
The nuts were also too close to 90° bends on switch. Even thin wall deep sockets did not work. (Nut is 3/8” and Hex head on bolt is 5/16”)

Thought to myself there has to be a better way to get this switch out.
After a bit of fooling with it, and still laying on the floor, I reached up and around foot rest. Found 2 hex head bolts. Climbed out from under the tractor and checked. They went through the frame and held a bracket on. Switch was mounted to the bracket.
Duh! Slap the forehead.
Too bad the parts diagram does not show the 2 parts on the same page.

Bolts have 7/16” hex head nyloc nuts in back. Box end wrench for the nuts, 7/16” socket on the bolt heads. Can access the nuts with a wrench through the opening and under the fuel line.

After the nuts are off, can pull bolts out. The bracket, switch, and wires will pull up and out the opening.

After getting switch and bracket out, and unplugging wires it, I was able to push a 5/16” deep socket over the hex bolt heads.
But a 3/8” socket would still not go over the nuts. Held nuts from turning with a needle nose pliers. Much easier to work with it when out of the tractor.

4 prong cable connector just pulled out of switch. Nothing to unlatch.
Only goes back in one way. A raised plastic bar on connector has to go in a slot on the switch.

Compared old to new.

Notice witness marks from the old nuts on the bracket. Aligned new switch and nuts in same places.

Switch and bracket ready to go back in place.

Cable connector was packed with old grass. Blew it out with air compressor. Washed with contact cleaner. Blew it out again. Dabbed a little dielectric grease on contacts before pushing it back in place.

Ready to go back in. Sits like this in the tractor.

Bracket goes back in place, through the opening and under the fuel line.
Had to fiddle with it to get bolt holes to line up. Have a few things in the way.

Had to use the finger tips to hold nuts while I turned the bolt by hand from outside to get it started.

Back in place.

Spring tab attached to clutch pedal pushes on button as it should.

Held the key at start position and slowly pushed the clutch pedal in to see where it now made contact.
Now as I push the clutch pedal in just enough to disengage the belt, the tractor will start. Or hold pedal any where from that point to end of travel. Also works now to start it with parking brake lock on.

Before there was just one certain place I had to have the pedal before the starter would engage. Had to play with it to get starter to turn.

Old switch was rough and noisy when pushing the button. New switch pushes in smoothly.

Wanted new switch installed before I mounted the snow blower. Was sure I would have to remove snow blower in order to change the switch if it failed completely. Figured the frame would be in the way. Was sure you had to change it from under the tractor.
Knowing what I know now, can easily change it with the snow blower on. And not have to get under the tractor at all.

Although one good thing about having the tractor up in the air was that I did grease and oil all the places that needed it. And used air compressor to blow off the top of the Hydro transaxle. That really needed it after bagging the leaves.

Took me about 4 hours all told. But now that I know how it works, I think less than an hour to get it off, changed, or just adjusted, and back on.

Hope this helps some one not waste time to figure out that the switch does not come off the bracket until the bracket and switch are out of the tractor.

766 Posts
If ther was only a "Weather-Tight" Switch avaiable...

Wonder if there is a way to prevent "US" from having this problem...

Dialectic Grease only helps us "So Much"!


Thanks for sharing your troubles!

As a community, I'm sure that we can Fabricate, or come up with an Universal Solution!

It's on "Us" Shade-Tree Mechanics to "Rub our heads together" to come up with a simple solution for this prominent problem!

Thanks for haring this problem, that WE ALL know about.

Take care,
-Thomas (12)
Western Washington State

Sent from my SM-J337V using Tapatalk

772 Posts
Great post!! I chuckled all the way through it remembering all the similar torturous paths I've taken replacing "simple" things.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Update. Well that was not the whole problem. Worked very good for awhile, but there was another problem. Last weekend during a snow storm I found I had to wiggle my rear end around to get the starter to turn over.
Ordered a new seat switch P/N 121305x today. $10.00. Tired of fixing it with epoxy, cable ties, and tape to hold it in place. With all the Christmas shipping I doubt it will be here anytime soon.

P/N 121305x
121305x seat switch s-l225.jpg

not quins. but sextuplets
15,235 Posts
U got the wrong replicant. should look like the old one.. u replaced it with a seat switch

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
U got the wrong replicant. should look like the old one.. u replaced it with a seat switch
Hey Whirly! Glad to see you made it through the big change.
First part of the thread was about replacing the clutch/brake interlock switch. Which I did and it solved the problem I was having with that not always working.

Now the seat switch is giving me grief, so I am going to replace that next.

Working the old interlock switch, with it out of the tractor, with my meter hooked up, there was only one small position where it worked. So it did need to be replaced.

Hope the new seat switch will let me start the tractor easier w/o having to wiggle around. Old seat switch seems to work, but keeps sliding down and gets a little out of place in the bracket that holds it in place.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Got the seat switch P/N 121305x and got it in.
But then the snowblower needed repair. Finally fixed that so just getting back to this problem now.

Seat switch sits under the seat in a spring loaded plate.
Seat switch DSC6324.JPG

I removed the seat to make it easier to work on.

Need to remove the bar the switch mounts into. Switch has to push up through it.
1581731944861.jpeg 1581732055943.jpeg

1581731979698.jpeg 1581732009936.jpeg

Got it installed. But did not fix problem. Needed replacing anyway, clips that hold it in place were broken off.

Still not spinning the starter when it sits over night in the cold.

Next time out I had to wiggle my butt and turn key to start position 6 or 8 times. Working clutch pedal in and out. Finally solenoid clicked, starter spun and turned the engine over.

In the winter I have a tarp under the seat, on top of a 2" thick piece of foam.
Foam and tarp seal the bottom of the cab. Keeps cold and wind out.

Seat switch rests on top of that. Gets pushed down into it when I sit in the seat.
So I cut out a circle in the tarp and cut out the foam under the seat switch. Thinking maybe that was interfering with seat switch. Did not help.
Starter still will not spin when it has sat over night in the cold. Starts fine when warm.

Next will clean the battery cable connections. Especially the negative to frame.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Went out today and cleaned off the negative battery connection to frame.
Connects at battery box. ??? Very strange.


Cleaned it up. Contact point is painted. Must make connection through the bolt threads. Brushed the bolt off well. Added some dielectric grease to terminal and the bolt threads, and bolted back in place.

Checked the solenoid. Looked OK.

Decided to remove it anyway. And clean all connections.


I know this style does not ground through the mounting bolts, but removed it to make it easier to clean it. Then brushed off the rust.


Glad I did. May have found a problem. Looks like something got hot and melted on the back side.
1581740524552.jpeg 1581740553107.jpeg
Possible PO may have removed cable to pos of battery off of the solenoid, and dropped it. Made contact with the rivet and arced and sparked.

But would this make it not work right when cold?

Hooked jumper wires to battery and it will close every time I connect to the positive spade. But of course it is warm.

Dang, just thought of this. Should have sat the solenoid out side over night and checked it in the morning using a battery. I think I'll try that tomorrow. Not much work taking it off again.

Now on to checking the ignition switch.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Figured other thing that could be affecting solenoid not working when cold could be the ignition switch.

Took it out, noticed flat spot in hole for switch orientation did not match flat spot on key housing. Flat spot in hole towards the bottom 5:00, flat spot on key housing towards the top 11:00.

PO must have changed it at some point. Had 2 star washers on it, and bits of metal taped to it with scotch tape.

1581773326318.jpeg 1581773358885.jpeg

No idea why hole the key goes into is so chewed up. I don't think I have removed the key more than a couple times since I have had it. PO had kids, so probably removed it after each use.

Found the ignition switch would come apart. Had locking tabs on the rear of the switch. Push them out with small screw driver, and pull the back, with connector spades off the switch.
1581773715872.jpeg 1581773743036.jpeg


Switch contacts, and brass parts, covered in dielectric grease.
One contact was not shiny so used a small file to clean the tips of all contact points. Moved the grease around a little with a Q-tip to be sure all slide points were covered.
I could see grooves in the brass where contact points had been rubbing. One groove was quite deep. Switch may need replacing soon any way.

Reassembled the switch. The back had different sized tabs on it so it would have to go back together only one way.

Cleaned up the 5 tabs on the back with contact cleaner and sandpaper.

Cleaned the female connectors on the plug with contact cleaner and compressed air.

Battery tray was a mess so I removed it. Had a spring clip holding the drain tube to the tray. Removed it with a pliers.

Took it onto the kitchen sink and washed it.

Put a little water in it and some baking soda. Stirred it up and there was no fizzing. Must not have been any acid residue.

Drain hole for tray was plugged with grass and crud. Found the drain tube was also plugged, so blew it out with compressed air before I put it back in place.

Wired in a temporary push button switch to jump the wire for start on the ignition switch.
1581775148836.jpeg 1581775189115.jpeg

That will by pass the ignition switch start wire to see if solenoid will fire and turn the starter over when cold.
Engine will not start though unless ignition switch is in run position, PTO switch is pushed in, clutch is pushed in, and I am in the seat.

This should help diagnosis if ignition switch or solenoid is the problem when cold.
If the solenoid will not fire with the ignition switch turned to start, but will fire with the push button, then it is the switch. If it will not fire with switch and push button, then it is the solenoid. Can just push it back into the garage and order which ever part I need to replace.
Just going to let wires hang over dash, and not put the hood back on.
Park it outside for a few hours today and see if it fires this evening.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Too warm out today to cool it down enough. Sunny and snow is melting. Going to put tractor in the barn and let it sit a couple days then try to start it next cold morning.

Made a holder for the temp push button switch. Just pinched end of metal onto the top of the cowling and the hood being closed holds it in place.
Did not like the idea of it being loose and flopping around should I need to go out and blow snow with it before I get any new parts installed.

1581813100816.jpeg 1581813132860.jpeg 1581813195734.jpeg

Other wire coming out from under the hood is for the battery charger/maintainer.

Blue tape is a guide for me to know where to put hood edge on the cowling when putting the hood back on. Going to put a line of white paint there instead.
I found if I line up the edge of the hood in right place I can drop the front hinge pins right into place. Makes it much easier to get the hood on right.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Cold enough this morning to give it a try, 23° F.
Went out and tried it. Turned key to start position 3 times and no solenoid action.
Tried the push button. Pushed it 3 times before solenoid kicked in. Assume the cold is affecting the solenoid.

Got a Stens brand sub for Craftsman P/N 145673 off Ebay tonight for $13.00, including freight.
Local NAPA in town was asking $31.00. I can wait for it to get here for that much difference. Coming out of Indiana. USPS should be 3 days.

Will see if that fixes the cold start problem.

Hoosier Daddy
778 Posts
Those particular plastic ignition switches are terrible, and don't tend to hold up well. They really like to strip out and rotate in the dash hole...
I've actually resorted to attaching an L-bracket to the dash so that I could wrap a radiator clamp around it and the switch body to keep it from spinning. :cautious:

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Got the new starter solenoid in last week. Rotary brand P/N 31-10772, sub for Craftsman P/N 145673.

Seems to be a universal mount 4 prong solenoid. 2 sets of mounting holes so can be mounted in different orientations. Up and down or on it's back side.

New Solenoid DSCF6614.JPG

Used a spare 12V battery and jumper cables to put power to the small spade connectors. Had meter hooked to battery cable studs to see if solenoid clicked and the switch closed. Tested good.

Also measured ohm across the 2 spade connectors. 2.60 ohm when new.

Disconnected cables from battery. Negative first, then positive.

Removed old solenoid and my jumper wire and push button set up.
Bolted the solenoid in place.

Went to put the cables on and ran into a little snag.

It had larger battery studs on it. And a copper collar to use with 5/16" connector rings.

Nut for battery studs DSCF6628.JPG

Worked OK with the battery connectors, but wire that runs to ignition switch had a 1/4" hole ring connector. Would not fit over the bare stud. Hole in ring just a hair too small. Had to remove it from tractor and drill it out to 5/16", then it fit on the stud.
ring drilled 5 16 DSCF6631.JPG

That wire has a quick disconnect on it, so easy to remove from tractor.
wire to ignition DSCF6632.JPG

Placed it back in tractor. Ring goes on same stud as the cable from the battery.
Fit OK. Put every thing back in place.
New solenoid DSCF6633.JPG

Gave it a go and tractor started. Now will move tractor back out to the barn and wait for a cold morning to test it. See if I finally fixed my problem of not turning over engine when cold.

When I have been out snow blowing I've been having a small problem with light powdery snow filtering into the cab where plexiglass windows meet the metal frame. Keep forgetting to try and fix that when I have it in the warm garage. So took a little time and ran a bead of clear silicone along each seam on the inside. That should solve that. Left it inside over night to cure the the silicone.

Moved the tractor out to the barn yesterday. Should be cold enough in the morning later this week to give it a good test.

Minding my P's & Q's
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Meanwhile drill out the rivets on the old solenoid. Wanted to see if I could clean it up and keep it as a spare.

While drilling on the rivet in the burnt corner, the plastic housing crumbled apart.
Still not sure where the heat on that corner came from. That rivet did not show any signs of arcing and sparking as I thought it would.


Under metal cover was the spring that pushes internal copper contacts apart after key is turned away from start position.



Found the wires going to the 2 spade connectors were just fine copper wire. Does not need much amperage to work the solenoid part.
Did not want to desolder the wires to go any farther.

Needed to stop and get to work on my Hunny Bunny's vacuum cleaner. She has this strange idea that having a working vacuum cleaner is more important that having a working tractor. It's always something.


Put it back together using 6-32 bolts and nuts.
Wanted to use pop rivets through the top so rivet expansion would be in the metal cover.
Nose on Pop rivet gun would not fit in place so I could use pop rivets. Did not want to put them in through the bottom. Expansion of pop rivet would probably crack the plastic.


Hooked up spare battery and the meter and it worked each time I put power to the spade connectors. So will keep it as an emergency spare.
(If I can remember where I stashed it when I need it)
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