I picked up a GT242 with the house I just purchased. It had several things wrong with it that I've sorted out. However, my last problem is that the engine dies and won't crank enough to start without a booster battery when the 38" mower deck is attached but PTO not engaged. I replaced the belts and blades on the deck and greased the blade spindle assemblies.
One of the spindle assemblies has an internal scraping noise when I hand turn it, but not any real drag. However, I don't see how that would be any issue on the engine dying when the PTO isn't engaged. This was a problem before I started working on the tractor. I had thought the issue was due to the engine to rear wheel drive belt dragging on a frozen idler pulley which I had replaced along with the belt, but the issue remains. When I replaced the drive belt and pulleys, deck removed, the tractor started up great and ran perfect. I then replaced the belts/blades on the deck and attached. Engine started right up, engaged the deck and ran perfect for ~20 seconds but then died. Then back to the hard to crank and dies right away with deck belt attached but PTO not engaged. Pulled the deck drive belt back off and tractor starts and runs no issue.
Also, what is the torque spec for the blade bolt? The literature that came with the blade said 39 ft-lbs, but that seems low and one of the blades got out of position when I rechecked it.