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I know nothing.
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello Friends,

I'm trying to help out the neighborhood kid. Just when this young lad (16 years old) got around to advertising his lawn mowing services, his old Noma lost its steering.

So I invested a few bucks into his future (because hey, most kids his age just sit in front of an XBox, he's actually trying to make a small living..)

So a local guy was selling a ride on.

Craftsman II LT4000 6 speed 14HP OHV 42" Deck
Sears Model # 917254851
Serial # 110393D-001006
Kohler Engine Model # CV14S
Spec # 1452
Serial # 2326709014

Pics...













This little tractor runs BEAUTIFUL, but has some minor issues. Ok, Some questions (because I've never owned a mower before either, so this is a learning experience for both of us..)

1.) From the riders point of view, the deck mows just about down to the dirt on the right hand side. It only has 2 notches, full up, and full down (though upon further investigation, the inside of the chassis has several more notches inbetween which are covered with sheet metal.... HHmmm..). How do I go about leveling the deck out between left and right side so that this kid can mow a lawn properly?

2.) The previous owner said that Craftsman Lawn Tractors have no brakes, but yet looking at the tractor itself, if you depress the clutch pedal on the left, it should engage a brake as well? How do I go about adjusting this?

3.) I'm wondering if the engine itself was replaced with a newer model because the hood doesn't close all the way down to the dash. Upon further investigation, I determined that the headlight housing on the inside was resting against the engine itself. This shouldn't be however, so am I right in my assumption that the engine was swapped out with a newer one at one point?

Thats pretty much it for now. A manual for this mower in PDF would also be helpfull. I'll keep posting pics as we make progress. I have the utmost respect for this young man, and want to see him succeed.

Joe.
 

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Sears/Craftsman Owner
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803 Posts
It should have adjustable linkages from the frame to the deck and lift linkages to the deck.It will take some adjusting and alot of measuring.The front of the deck should be slightly lower than the rear by about one quarter of an inch.Hope this info helps!
 

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I know nothing.
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Downloaded and saved the OM. Thank you very much.

Noticed today that the wheels on the mower deck itself were WRONG. Robbed a set off the old Noma for the time being and "made it work".

Any suggestions on those front links? I took the one out completely, and just shy of putting it in a bench vise, I tried like all kinds of **** to break those nuts loose, but no avail. Got'em soaking in pb blaster at the moment.

I'll be taking more pics to show progress as we move along.

Have to admit, I'm having a bit of fun with this, though its definitely new territory for me,

Joe.
 

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224 Posts
Just to make sure you did check the blades right.I bought a craftsman and the owner said it didn't cut even.I pulled the deck off and checked the blades and one of them was so bent it looked like it belonged on a rototiller!
 

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I know nothing.
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Discussion Starter #6
I will double check the blades as well. The deck is clearly out of alignment so I just assumed that was the sole problem, but since we're going to be under there............

thank you,

Joe.
 

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68 Posts
You may have found it already but your deck should have two lift arms, one on each side that pin to the deck. those arms have a threaded stud that runs perpendicular through it about half way up the arm. you can raise and lower each side with a 9/16" wrench. That will adjust side to side. the two rods on front will adjust the front to back height. There are a couple debatable ways to adjust a deck. I always lower the deck to where the wheels are just off the ground before I adjust them. The round knob on the front panel below the dash is how you adjust the height of the deck. IMO it is a terrible design but Craftsman has used it for many years.

As far as a repower, that is possible but both mower and engine have a 1993 build date
 

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I know nothing.
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, While I was at work today, the kid apparently either "figured it out himself" OR he pursued the gentleman whom we bought the mower from.

Either way, it seems to be "fixed" because my yard is mowed level.

Of course, being after 10pm, its late for me to call and ask, so I'll run into him tomorrow to see how it was "fixed".

(I showed him the way its suggested in the owners manual, first adjusting side-side, and then adjusting front-back.)

Just curious if it was done right, or if it was somehow half-arsed. Some neighbors had suggested that I'm taking this a bit seriously, as they look at it as just a neighborhood kid with a junk mower, but I don't see it that way. I see a young, industrious man whose actually trying to make something of himself while still in high school, and the mower (regardless of age) is an investment into that kids future, however short term it may be. (He's going to school to become a diesel technician, perhaps an Onan is in his future?).

Might be another day or two before I get the details, as I'm in the middle of my work week (I work Fri-Mon).

The SMV signs are on order from Pocono Tractor (I should have them at the end of next week) and the light bulb looks like a standard 1156 automobile bulb, so that should be a easy fix. (one of the headlights is broken at the base)

Pics will be forthcoming as we make progress. You guys don't know how much it means to this young man that there's actually a website with many great people who are willing to share their knowledge about this. You definitely have put a smile on this kids face.

I can't thank you guys enough,

Joe.
 

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Looks like the parking brake rod is MIA, it should be poking through that lil slot under the dash on the right. When the brake pedal is pushed all the way down, it pushes the rod out further than normal and you move it up to the top of the slot to put it in park.

The clutch/brake pedal also activates a lever to push on the brake. Over time the friction pad wears down and then it doesn't stop so well. On the right side of the mower on the rear axle there should be a spring on a rod that activates a little lever on a U shaped housing over a tiny brake rotor (the lil brake rotor lookin thing is about 3" in diameter). If you pull the two bolts that hold the U shaped bracket over the rotor, there should be a little friction pad. On my one tractor I had to cut a couple shims to put under the friction pad so it would grab the disk again. Sometimes you can adjust the spring tension on the rod that attaches to the U shaped piece for the brake and get them to work again, depends on how abused the brake was. Your owners manual should have a section about that too.


And as far as trashed blades... yea, I've had two Craftsman tractors now that I got with blades that looked like they belonged on a rototiller. One of the first things I do when I get a newly used tractor is to get a set of Oregon Gator blades and sharpen 'em up good with a grinder. They'll mow anything you can get under the tractor - including a wood 2x2 stake (ask me how I know..... first time I used them I attacked a clump of tall weeds and found the wood stake when it went BRRRRRRRRRRR and shot wood chips out, lol).

Oh, and one of the things that I did with my plow tractor since it does venture out on the road when I'm clearing the driveway in the winter and it's still dark out was to outfit the tractor with a couple LED marker lights since they draw almost no power to speak of, but allow people to see me easily.
 

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I know nothing.
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Looks like the parking brake rod is MIA, it should be poking through that lil slot under the dash on the right. When the brake pedal is pushed all the way down, it pushes the rod out further than normal and you move it up to the top of the slot to put it in park.
Yes it is MIA. We do have it, and plan on re-installing it once we get the cutting deck squared away.

The clutch/brake pedal also activates a lever to push on the brake. Over time the friction pad wears down and then it doesn't stop so well. On the right side of the mower on the rear axle there should be a spring on a rod that activates a little lever on a U shaped housing over a tiny brake rotor (the lil brake rotor lookin thing is about 3" in diameter). If you pull the two bolts that hold the U shaped bracket over the rotor, there should be a little friction pad. On my one tractor I had to cut a couple shims to put under the friction pad so it would grab the disk again. Sometimes you can adjust the spring tension on the rod that attaches to the U shaped piece for the brake and get them to work again, depends on how abused the brake was. Your owners manual should have a section about that too.
Yes I did thoroughly read through the manual, it does speak about adjustments. On the "Clutch/Brake" pedal it only partially returns to normal, and has to manually be pulled up the rest of the way. Previous owner said it was missing a spring, honestly, I haven't gotten that far yet. Been focused on squaring the deck up first.

Front deck tie-rods are coming with me to work tomorrow so I can clean them up, chuck them into a vise, and loosen everything up so I can adjust the deck.


And as far as trashed blades... yea, I've had two Craftsman tractors now that I got with blades that looked like they belonged on a rototiller. One of the first things I do when I get a newly used tractor is to get a set of Oregon Gator blades and sharpen 'em up good with a grinder. They'll mow anything you can get under the tractor - including a wood 2x2 stake (ask me how I know..... first time I used them I attacked a clump of tall weeds and found the wood stake when it went BRRRRRRRRRRR and shot wood chips out, lol).
I checked today while the girlfriend and the neighborhood kid were working on the trailer. The blades seem straight so there's no issue there. The "half-arsed" adjustment to the deck was raising the wheel on the drivers side. I advised the young man to refrain from making ill-informed "Field Repairs" since we do have access to a owners manual, and can "Do it right" if he would be patient. Still, I can't blame him for trying. The blades sound like an "upgrade" to me, and will heavily consider them once we get the basics all squared away. Thanks for the heads up....

Oh, and one of the things that I did with my plow tractor since it does venture out on the road when I'm clearing the driveway in the winter and it's still dark out was to outfit the tractor with a couple LED marker lights since they draw almost no power to speak of, but allow people to see me easily.
That's also in the works, as it seems the LT had stick on reflectors on the rear fenders at some point, and they're about the same size as oval marker lights on tractor trailers. Young man also wants trailer lights, but I'm not quite convinced that's a good idea. That trailer is in its 3 rebuild now since it was initially built (he did the second rebuild with some planks a year ago, but he does really use the **** out of it, mostly hauling scrap metal from the neighborhood to his house). Thinking more along the lines of Hi-Vis Conspicuity Tape instead for the trailer.

I know I sound like a broken record, but thank you guys again for all your help, advice, and encouragement.

Heres a quick pick of them installing the floor. Side panels went on afterwards.

 

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Man w/skills
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Good to see you taking the kid under your wing!
 

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I know nothing.
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Discussion Starter #12
Refurbished Front Links (courtesy of a resourceful "old school" body shop that I happen to work at..)

They should be re-installed Wednesday? (hoping.....)

 

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Premium Member
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605 Posts
JDouglasFisher, you are doing a helluva job. I would like to help. A few years ago, I bought a semi-derelict Craftsman lawn tractor, model 917.257752, which is similar to what you have. I have collected some parts for it over the years.

Well, I have shifted directions, and am into larger Craftsman garden tractors now.

I had intended on scrapping this tractor. However, seeing your thread, I would like to offer you any parts you can use. No money, just pay shipping.

I have two good, useable(not trashed) spindle assemblies with good bearings and pulleys, two crusty, but useable Gator blades, just need sharpening, numerous good used electrical parts: ignition switch, solenoid, interlock switches, etc..., various good used idler pulleys, a new drive belt which will crossover, according to the part numbers. I have a new deck belt that might crossover, I have to double check those numbers.

I might have a new set of brake pads for the transaxle, a set of good tie rod plastic bushings(the ones that go into the steering arms on the front wheel spindles), a set of deck idler pulleys, one good, one not so good, a good used plastic left side deck spindle pulley cover.

The tractor is complete, though rough. So, if there is anything you need, let me know.

If you are interested, give me your ZIP code, and I will start seeing about shipping. Again, I want no money for this, just cover shipping costs. I think it is a good thing what you are doing, and would like to help.


Seth K. Pyle
 

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This is a great story. Once you get that kid all squared away it'll just be general maintenance from here on out. You can learn a lot about mowing lawns and maintaining your own equipment.

I do something similar to what this young man is doing, however I am in graduate school, and I mow approximately five lawns every 10 days. I have a pickup truck, and I bought a new tractor last summer (0% interest credit card). If I could go back 15 years I would do exactly what this kid is doing now. It would have been great to have someone there to invest in me (both personally and financially).

One thing that most people don't think about is fuel consumption. Make sure the kid tracks his fuel consumption by keeping receipts and logging times for mowing. This way he can learn about revenue and spending!
 

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I know nothing.
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Discussion Starter #17
Just wish it would stop raining for a couple days so I could install those front end links.

Thanks for the support.

Joe......
 

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wow joe thats a great thing you are doing. keep up the good work with him. good luck to both of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Further down the rabbit hole I go. :banghead3

Ok, so the first good day of weather, and out on the ground I'm laying in the dirt. The front links went on fine, and now I can phsyically "see" how they affect the deck by adjustment.

but....

Before I got to that point, I had to first move said mower from its parked position into the workspace.

PROBLEM!

Damned clutch won't return at all without extreme upward force pulling the pedal up...

so,

underneath I go, and I notice a few things.
  1. Drivebelt is worn and should be replaced
  2. clutch assembly already had the pulley replaced with some chincy plastic part, and oh yeah, that arm is bent
  3. no point in adjusting the brake till I get the clutch squared away first.
So, I get this brilliant idea to drop the deck from under the tractor because its gonna be **** trying to work around it with it still attached.

1.) Am I Nuts? According to the owners manual, its just a few steps, and should be easy. (I thought adjusting deck level was going to be hard, but it seems easy enough, though haven't finished that yet due to these problems.)

2.) Looking at the exploded diagrams, do I have to buy all the clutch assembly pieces individually, or does sears (or someone) had a replacement part number for the whole assembly (seems easier to order or get something using one part number, vs. 15 different individual part numbers.)

3.) Is this a relatively easy task, or am I going to have to do some major deconstruction of the tractor just to remove the clutch arm/pulley assembly from underneath it?

Any tips/advise from those who've been there before would be very much appreciated. I'd rather do this right the first time, then have to come back in a month and redo the job a second time because it was done wrong in the first place.

Joe.

P.S. Thanks for all the continued support and encouragement.
 

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I know nothing.
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Discussion Starter #20
UPDATE

Sprayed the pivot/bushing of the idler arm pulley assembly with some WD-40 and it has loosened up to the point that the young man can use his toes under the pedal to pull it back up. Its not "fixed" per say, but the rust that came out while spraying and working the pedal back and forth loosened up the arm enough to be usable.

So do I replace just the bushing/bearing?

I bent back the arm to normal since sears parts direct no longer has the part in stock, and I'm comfortable with that. Just very surprised at using a 1/4 can of lubricant, and the rust is still dripping out of the bushing... Is this a common problem?

Starting to wonder if the guy I bought it from wasn't completely forthcoming from where he got the tractor as its clearly evident that some parts have rusted pretty heavily underneath and may need some TLC to get working right again..

Thoughts, suggestions, and comments are encouraged..

Joe.
 
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