I have a JD LX188 that's been running fine except that after a while the PTO shuts off. The engine would still run fine, but the PTO would shut down then come back on after a few minutes and run fine for the rest of my mowing. This would happen about once a mow.
Today, I was mowing and after finishing the front, the PTO shut down and would not re-engage at all. I opened the hood to see if I could find any wires loose, but I couldn't see anything wrong. I slightly rotated the belt that is attached to the deck, and it started working again. However, now the tractor will start and run for about a minute then shut down completely. When I turn the key the dash lights don't even come on. If I wait a couple of minutes, it will start again then shut off after a minute. This continues in this exact cycle.
Any ideas about what's going on? I've done a few mechanical repairs on the tractor (mowing deck spindle & steerage assembly replacement), but I've never done any electrical work. Is this something that is going to require a visit to my local JD mechanic? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Welcome to GTT!
If you have a volt/ohm meter, a service manual for the LX188, and already know how to use it, you could probably find the problem yourself, with a lot of patience. If not, the dealer might be your better choice, but be prepared to fork over some $$$$.
From the information in the first paragraph, my first suggestion would be to check the PTO clutch coil resistance, the clutch plate air gap, and its electrical connector for corrosion. The seat safety switch should also be checked. If the air gap gets too wide, or the electrical connection is not clean and tight, the clutch can occasionally disengage while in use. As you probably already know raising up from the seat will disconnect the PTO but it will not re-engage by its self. IIRC the seat switch is pressed by a thin metal tab that can get bent and not work the switch properly.
Then there's a possibility of a bad connection somewhere else in the wiring harness. Also low voltage from the battery or charging system.
As it is now, do the dash lights light up when it does restart? Does the battery light come on then go off when the engine runs? Does the engine die on its own or are you engaging the PTO at the 1 minute mark?
The key switch on this model has a printed circuit board with 2 fuses, I believe. Maybe a problem there, but I have no experience with that animal. I do not have a service manual but I think it would be necessary to have the wiring diagrams from it for us to walk you through this step by step. I suspect we could get you through the clutch checks, the seat switch, and voltage checks without it. That's first on the list anyway. Let us know.
Thanks, tommyhawk. To answer your questions: Yes, the dash lights do come on when I am able to get the tractor restarted. When the tractor dies on me, all lights go off and they won't even come on if I turn the key, but they will once I let it sit there a couple of minutes (battery light is not going off and on). The engine itself was running fine; it was just the PTO that would shut down, but after I fiddled with it to try and get the PTO to re-engage, I started having the engine problems. The engine now dies on its own after one minute regardless of the PTO being on or off.
It's sounding like this may be beyond my mechanical skills... Any ideas of how much to repair?
I haven't a clue for repair cost. The shops usually have an hourly rate, so the longer it takes to find the problem, the higher the cost. Dealers have the advantage of swapping some parts for test. You and I have to pay for them first. If this should be a common problem, or one the tech. has tracked down on another unit, it might be a quick fix. I have done maintenance and repairs on my sister's LX188 for twenty years now. This particular problem has not occurred on it, yet.
Just for kicks, could you clean the battery terminals and reinstall them? Also check and clean the negative cable where it grounds to the engine or frame. Check the big connector with several wires that is located near the starter. Any melted plastic or signs of corrosion there could do it. This latest problem mimics a circuit breaker overloading then resetting after cooling. I don't know if it even has one, but it might be built into that board on the key switch. Have you checked the seat safety switch? How about the connection at the PTO switch? A bad connection or bad switch could lead to problems through the safety circuits.
Yeah, I'm stumped on this one, but maybe have added a clue for one of our electrical gurus to chime in with the rescue.