Forums Archive Index > Outdoor Power Equipment > Craftsman LT1000 Problem

Author: hemiram

Date: 17 Sep 2006 5:41 pm

Hello! New Guy here. I've been doing a lot of reading here the last two nights and I have a problem with my 4 year old Craftsman LT1000 20HP manual shift tractor.

A couple of weeks ago I was moving along, no mowing, in 4th gear at about 1/2 throttle. Suddenly it went BANG! and felt like it popped into neutral. I stopped and went to minimun throttle. I tried to let the clutch out and it felt like it was trying to move, but wouldn't, almost like the clutch was slipping. I tried every other gear, and it took off 100% normal. Then I went back to 4th and it also took off normal. I figured it was some fluke thing.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday. I have just begun to mow, moving steadily along in 3rd gear, and suddenly it stops. Just stops. The motor was still running and the drive belt started to smoke. I sat there with the clutch in/brake on and throttled it down. Any attempts to take off in ANY gear did nothing but smoke the drive belt whenever I let up on the clutch.

I shut it down and get off. It's locked up tight. It will rock back and forth a bit, but that's it. I had to jack up the rear end to roll it into the garage on the jack. When you move the shifter from gear to gear to neutral and reverse, it feels like it's actually moving the gears in the trans. In other words, the linkage seems fine. But it doesn't matter what gear you put it in, or neutral, or if you press in the clutch, it just stays locked up.

With the rear in the air, the rear wheels are free to spin. The go opposite directions due to the differential of course, but they spin freely with no noise or friction.

It's a pretty nice tractor for a Craftsman and I went with the big twin cyl. 20HP motor figuring I'd always be happy with it. I've never had any problems prior to this with hardly anything more than cleaning.

Thanks for any guidance or suggestions you may have.

Author: dave___in___ct

Date: 17 Sep 2006 7:03 pm


Not a technition... sounds lile a drive belt / drive-train power tranfer issue... maybe the engagement clutch mechinision... the PTO engagement clutch may be Siezed up tight... and not working... ??? :?


Author: Majorxlr8n

Date: 17 Sep 2006 7:50 pm

Simplist thing to check is a seized idler pulley. That would explain the smoke, but not the trans locking up. I have a feeling that the trans has some internal issues by your description... :cry:


Author: hemiram

Date: 17 Sep 2006 8:38 pm

:cry: Yes, I have the same feeling. If the motor runs fine, and the rear end is free to move when in the air, that pretty much only leaves the transmission itself. The clutch is still wouldn't be able to run without smoking the belt if it wasn't. The brake seems to be working also because as I mentioned above, you can rock it back and forth a bit, but if you are on the brake it will not. When you release the brake, it rocks again.

Anyone have any idea what $$$ I'd be looking at to replace that transmission?

Author: I/C

Date: 18 Sep 2006 12:14 am

Oh yah, it sounds like the trans blew for sure.... :(
Beleive they run about 100 bucks, give or take a few....

Author: hemiram

Date: 18 Sep 2006 1:08 am

$100???? WHEW!!!!! Even if it's a few hundred I will be thankful...I was picturing it costing ......well let's just say I figured it may almost be not worth fixing!

Author: hemiram

Date: 20 Sep 2006 2:39 pm

Slight update. I finally had time to look at it a little today. I was wrong when I said that it wouldn't rock back and forth with the brake on. With the brake on 100%, it still rocks back and forth, if that matters.

It's a Peerless Tecumseh transaxle, model # MST-206-545C. A friend of mine who used to do small engine repair for Sears told me that sometimes the brake, mounted to a shaft coming out of the transaxle, gets locked up. I yanked off the right rear tire to look at it, but I only have my 4 year old son home with me, and he's not strong enough to fully press the clutch to activate the brake while I watch to see if it's operating correctly.

Where are some good places to shop around for a new transaxle, in case it still turns out to be junk?

Author: robmints

Date: 20 Sep 2006 4:50 pm

Tecumseh Power Co. recalls over 20,000 Lawn Tractors
On July 6, 2005 Tecumseh Power Co. of Grafton, Wisconsin announced the recall of approximately 21,000 Lawn Tractors due to reports that the axle can break under extreme loads, which could result in loss of control and injury to the driver. Consumers are urged to stop using the affected units immediately and to contact the manufacturer for assistance in identify affected units and to make arrangements for repairs if required.

These lawn tractors have a 6-speed MST206-545C Peerless transaxle and a 17.5, 18, 18.5 or 19 horsepower engine. The recalled tractor and transaxle model number information is located below the tractor seat and on the transaxle housing. The recalled transaxles have a date of manufacture code (DOM) between 4275 and 5047 followed by the letter “G”, which can be found on the Transaxle ID Label.

Poulan Pro Black 18.5 96012000300 Poulan Black 17.5 96012001100 Poulan Pro Black 19 96012001700 Poulan Pro Black 18.5 96012002700 Southern States Red 17.5 96012002200 Poulan Pro Black 18 96016000200 Craftsman Grey 18 275390

Manufactured in Brazil, these Lawn Tractors were sold throughout the United States from December 2004, through May 2005 at various hardware stores and dealerships. Depending on the model, the sold for between $750 and $1300. Consumers are urged to stop using the recalled tractors immediately and to contact the manufacturer for assistance in identify affected units and to make arrangements for repairs if required.

Register your Case
If you had an incident with a Lawn Tractor that was the result of that Tractor’s structural or operational defect, and there was damage to property or someone was injured, please full out the form below and an attorney will review your complaint for consideration in a possible lawsuit.

Click here to submit your complaint through a secure form

Posted on Jul-11-05

Author: hemiram

Date: 20 Sep 2006 5:39 pm

Thanks for the info! However, my manufacture date is thousands of numbers and 2 years before the start of that date range given.

My brake was fine, with just a little "wiggle" to the rotor until the pedal was pushed. So, I dropped the transaxle out of it. No matter what gear you put it in, the pulley on top will not budge at all. It's frozen up solid. Luckily it was very easy to drop out and should be easy and quick to put a new one in. Looks like Farmer's Exchange sells new ones for $355. Anyone ever buy from them?

Author: hemiram

Date: 27 Sep 2006 8:28 pm

Well, crisis over. I was all set to order a brand new unit from Farmer's Exchange for about $340 shipped. Then a friend got back to me, who used to do some OPE repair. He had quite a few used transaxles and some brand new in the boxes. After a minute of digging, I found what I couldn't believe....a brand new 206-545C. Still wrapped in plastic within never-opened cardboard box, with a complete invoice/shipping label thing from Tecumseh stapled to it.

Price? All I had to do was "get it the hell out" of his garage! I had my broken one with me so we had a couple of beers at his workbench and swapped over the input shaft pulley and belt guide from mine, after draining the gear oil and replacing with brand new.

Free brand new beats $340 brand new every time!

Author: Majorxlr8n

Date: 27 Sep 2006 8:52 pm

Sean - great deal! Nothing like "helping out a friend"! Swap it out & you're back in business! Nice work!


Author: AJace

Date: 4 Oct 2006 2:29 pm

Another great fix gone good.

Author: hemiram

Date: 4 Oct 2006 5:37 pm

Of course, the problem now is that after joining here and looking more into better quality machines, I was almost thinking of using this breakage as an excuse to go buy something else!

Seriously though, I've neglected and abused the Craftsman since new, 4 years ago. I'm ashamed to admit that even changing the oil was only done ONCE by me since owning it. Every October it gets put out in the shed to endure the New England winter, and then in April or so gets dragged out and with the same (un-treated) gas from October, fires right up with a few seconds of cranking. Never needed a trickle charger on it or anything. The fact that this was my first ever problem with it is amazing. I will in fact be taking better care of it now though 8) .

Author: AJace

Date: 4 Oct 2006 5:47 pm

Craftsman's are good equipment, I have an LT1000 also.

Author: HGK

Date: 4 Oct 2006 5:50 pm

hemiram wrote:

I will in fact be taking better care of it now though 8) .

Its never to late to learn a lesson :wink: