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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Neighbor has a John Deere, probably 20 plus years old, stuck in gear. It will not start. Is there a safety switch keeping it from starting when it is in gear? If so, where is this safety switch and could the shifter linkage be jammed. I will get the manual soon and provide more information.
 

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Welcome to the group Woodpecker50. Right off the top of my head I would guess that you are right about it not starting because it is stuck in gear. I'm sure it has to be in neutral allow it to start.

What model John Deere does your neighbor have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LX176 is model Question is: how do you put it in neutral? I have a spark tester and will start there. If it has no spark then it is not in neutral or someone heavy enough is not sitting on the seat or what else? I do not suspect an ignition system problem as the machine was running well. This should be simple. The best I can see is neutral is had by pushing brake pedal (top right pedal). This puts pedals A forward and B reverse into neutral? Then it should have a spark when in neutral (with someone sitting on the seat). Is there a PTO to engage the blades and where should it be to start? When starting the park brake must be on or the brake pedal must be depressed? I see a fuse that can cause a starting problem, does anyone know where this is located?
Thanks for the help Woodpecker50
 

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Welcome Woodpecker! :)

The LX176 is shown to have a hydro drive transmission.

TractorData.com John Deere LX176 tractor information

So technically it is not possible for it to be "stuck" in gear in the same respect as the actual old style gear drive transmissions. But if you try and push it without opening the free wheeling valve it will act like it is stuck in gear. Worse case would be a problem that has the internal gear box locked up. Either way with the brake depressed, someone on the seat, PTO off position, it should still try and crank the engine. Here's an electrical diagram I found on the internet. Kind of blurry but better then nothing. ;)

 

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Some good advice given already, but let me ask, is the engine turning over when you turn the key? You say not starting and looking for spark, but if there is a problem with one of the safeties the engine will not even turn over.

Please expand a bit on the symptoms, then we should be able to help you with options to get this machine running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We looked it over today. The lever at the rear does allow us to push the mower. The engine is not turning over. The starter is not spinning with the key ignition. We found the safety switches for the clutch/PTO to turn the blades on and off. It is making a noise when the PTO lever is pulled out and is located in the center of the crankshaft pulley. We checked the two 15 amp fuses and the fuse link - all checked good with an ohmmeter. We also bypassed the seat safety switch - still no cranking. We jumped the starter directly and it spins, the starter relay is suspect. How can I test the starter relay? There is a red battery wire and a smaller purple wire connected to it.

So the starter does not attempt to work even though the PTO is off, the brake is engaged, and there is someone sitting on the seat.

Is there a safety switch I am missing? It has to be a safety switch or the starter relay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I will go out on a limb here and say that there is a problem with one of the safety switches since the starter isn't working. I think I know where the pto safety is located and it is activated by a relay. There is a pulley with two belts one for the deck and one for the drive. Can I check this switch on the mower or must I remove it? With the ignition on, the yellow PTO knob on the dash causes a clicking sound. I assume this is the relay switching sound? I also know where the seat safety switch is and can easily check it with an ohmmeter. If I unplug the wire going to the seat switch and short the switch that should bypass it? The safety switch I do not know about is the brake safety switch. Where is this and how can it be tested? Thanks for the help. Dave
 

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... We jumped the starter directly and it spins, the starter relay is suspect. How can I test the starter relay? There is a red battery wire and a smaller purple wire connected to it...
The small purple/white wire should have 12Vdc on it when the key is in the start position, person on the seat, pto off, and brake depressed. That is what energizes the solenoid to connect the larger red battery wire to the starter motor windings. If no 12Vdc present to trigger the solenoid then that leaves the safety switches, start relay, or maybe the ignition key switch itself.

All the safetys can be checked with the ohm meter as they are either shorting two wires or opening the connection between two wires as the plunger is depressed or released.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am embarrassed to say what the problem was. He tried to start the mower with a portable battery pack and it wasn't enough to move the starter. A new battery solved the problem. The LX176 takes a lot of battery power to move the starter. I want to thank you guys for your input. This was a process that ended in a solution and you guys were part of the solution. We took the starter/solenoid to a auto parts store and the guy tested them for us and noted that we would need a strong battery to get the starter to work. Thats when the lightbulb came on :). Thanks again, Dave
 

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Speaking as a guy that has disassemble a carb for cleaning more then once when a clogged vent in the gas cap was the culprit there is no need for embarrassment. We've all been there as sometimes the simple problems can be the hardest to find. ;)

Just glad to hear you have it up and running and thanks for letting us know what you found! :)
 
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