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Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Murray Riding Mower Stalls in Gears 3 Thru 5


QUESTION: I have a 1991 Murray riding mower with a 5 speed transaxle and 18hp B&S v-twin. It runs normally and cuts normally in first or second gear. When running with or without the PTO engaged, if I shift to any gear above second, the engine stalls.

ANSWER: Do you have reverse?  Do you know what model of transaxle you have?  There will be a model number on the transaxle but you will need a flashlight and some patients to find it.

Did you check the belt pulley system and make sure all the transaxle mounting bolts are tight?

Let me know what tranaxle you have.  Probably a Peerless, Foote or Dana transaxle.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: It is a Peerless transaxle. I found the problem already. It occurred due to an improbable combination of events. First, a prior owner had unfastened the seat safety switch wires from a clip (now missing) that keeps them retained along the inside of the frame, so they were handing free in the path of the gear shift lever. Secondly, on one of these wires, the insulation was frayed and bare wire was exposed. In reverse, neutral, first, or second, the gear shift lever was not touching the wire. Anything from third gear over caused the shift lever to touch the bare spot in the wire, thus shutting down the engine. The wire was nearly worn through so I cut out the frayed spot, trimmed back to new wire on both ends, twisted the ends together, soldered, covered with shrink wrap and electrical tape, and secured the seat safety switch wires along the side of the frame with a zip tie. Eeez all good now.

Wow!  It's a good thing you find the could have spent many hours thinking it was a transaxle problem.  I always ask customers if they messed with the mower before they brought it in.  Most tell you know but sometimes we know they did.  It's better to tell us anything they may have messed with, like the safety switch, so we don't spend hours working on the wrong problem.


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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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