Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/ACE riding mower


QUESTION: I have an old ACE 42" riding mower that does not disengage the blades when the lever is in the "off" position.  It makes the mower very hard to start - I have to jump the battery to give it enough juice to start as it has to turn the blades as well as the engine.  Or I put a charger on it for a half hour before trying to start.  I also have to make sure the blades are "free" when I try to start it.  In some positions the blades are stuck and I need to manually rotate them to free them or the battery won't turn anything at all.  I should add that the belt seems really loose to me.  When the mower is running it runs and cuts fine.  I just don't turn it off until I'm done.  Thanks for the help.

ANSWER: What is the mower model number?  You will find a sticker, about the size of a business card, usually under the rear fenders or seat.

To isolate the battery as a possible fault, I would slip the belt off the front pulley so the blades can turn when you try and start the mower.

When was the last time the belt was replaced?

How are the cutting deck pulley brakes?  Are they wore out?

Let me know.

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

QUESTION: Sorry for the delay - the mower is put away for the winter and out of sight, out of mind but I finally remembered to get back to you.  All that can be read on the sticker is 1183AMW and a phone # .  I hope this means something.  I have not had the chance to isolate the battery as suggested.  I do not know if the belt has ever been replaced - I have not done it - and I suspect it has been a long time.  I don't know anything about the brakes.  I don't know where to find them or how to inspect them but am willing to try with some guidance.  Do the pulley brakes normally need to be applied when starting the engine?  Doesn't this create load on the engine when starting, just as the blades turning creates load on the engine when starting?  Or do I not understand how it all works?  Thanks.

Most likely the mower was manufactured by MTD...very large company and own many brand names.

The brakes just hold the blade pulleys from turning...not loading the engine but not unloading per se.  They do assist in allowing the engine stack pulley to spin a little easier by preventing the belt from turning when not is use so there is less load on the engine.

When I searched the number it does not come up with any model numbers.  If it is an MTD, there will be a sticker with the model number.

You can Google Ace 42 inch mower and search for pictures that might be your mower.  Sometimes the model number will be associated with the picture.

The model number is essential for finding the manuals for your mower.


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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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