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Cub Cadet 1330 PTO clutch switch won't stay engaged without holding the clutch switch on

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Active member
Oct 10, 2015
Fred Higgenbottom
I just purchased another Cub Cadet 1330. It' a rugged and well-built machine with a steel frame and this purchase marks my fourth Cub Cadet 1330. One of those cubs is set up permanently with a snow blower and the other two 1330s are for my wife and me. I originally purchased this mower for parts which are becoming scarce and expensive. But since it had good bones and looked to in good shape, I decided to resurrect it as a spare mower. I bought it knowing that it had two flat tires and a discharged battery but was unaware that it had a defective starting solenoid, no brakes and the transmission wouldn't move. Inspecting it after getting it home I discovered the lawn tractor had a broken transmission torque bracket and replaced it with a spare I had, (what a chore). I also repaired the brakes with two new pucks and replaced the shattered transmission cooling fan which had self-destructed during operation due to rotational interference caused by the broken torque bracket. I also replaced the steering bushing above the pinion gear which made the steering fan gear to not work without slippage when turning right. I also, replaced the battery and starting solenoid, replaced two tires and adjusted the carburetor and governor on the 12.5 hp Kohler engine.

The Cub Cadet 1330 is now alive and running strong and after priming the rust spots with Corroseal which converts them to magnetite the mower is awaiting some Cub Cadet yellow paint to make it look new. When new this mower sold in 1992 for approximately $3,300 and not counting my labor it has cost less than $300 (and a few spare parts) to get it running again.

So what is my problem you ask?

The machine moves as it should both forward and in reverse and the PTO and electric clutch seem to work fine if you hold the switch up but I'm having a problem with the PTO clutch switch. It engages the PTO but won't stay engaged unless I manually hold the clutch switch in the up (on) position. Checking continuity, the clutch switch appears to be OK, but it snaps the clutch off when you release it and won't stay engaged unless you hold the switch up. Load testing the battery registered 12.7 volts and 350 CCA and the charging voltage from the 15-amp engine alternator appeared to be around 15.4 v.

Any suggestions would be appreciated from someone who's had the same problem before I replace the clutch switch with a new one? I think the switch may be the problem but don't want to replace unnecessarily because I've overlooked something obvious to everyone but me during diag.
Typically, the seat safety switch, or the PTO relay or connections on both will cause what you are experiencing. Temporarily run a jumper wire from the seat switch connections and see if the PTO engages and stays engaged properly.
If not too much work, replace it with a switch from 1of your other tractors. If that cures it get a new switch & replace it on donor tractor..
I agree with 1811cub. Have experienced similar. If you look at a wiring diagram I believe there is a seperate circuit from engage and run postion of the switch. Something is different I know but can't recall without looking at a diagram. Try what 1811 suggests before changing anything out.
Typically, the seat safety switch, or the PTO relay or connections on both will cause what you are experiencing. Temporarily run a jumper wire from the seat switch connections and see if the PTO engages and stays engaged properly.
As a follow-up, your advice allowed me to find and resolve the problem! Thank you for taking the time to provide it. So, what happened?

Having successfully checked the seat safety switch with a multimeter for continuity I believed in error that this circuit wasn't the problem. The brake safety switch, the PTO switch, relay and key switch also checked good. I was totally stumped and near the end of my rope fully ready to take the mower to a Cub Cadet repair shop near me (4x4 Country) that now charges $100 an hour for labor to find and fix problems. A step that in all probability would have cost me more than the mower is worth on today's market.

But I really enjoy these sturdy mowers and after taking your advice, removing the seat safety interlock switch again and running jumper wires to both sides of the terminal connecting to the safety switch the PTO switch and mower worked as intended. I was elated with the sense of relief that this accomplishment produced! Upon further investigation I discovered the root problem. The grounding wire positioned in the connecting terminal could not be pushed deep enough into the wiring harness terminal to allow uninterrupted connection with the safety switch. The connecting terminal which held the grounding wire was found to be defective and needs replacement. Not wanting to use the garden tractor to use a jumper to bypass this safety switch, I found a replacement on a broken wire harness in my stash of replacement parts which had previously been replaced on another of my four 1330 garden tractors which would allow me to do restore the safety feature. I'll splice it in today. Thanks again for your helpful advice! It "jumped started" (pun intended) both my brain and the garden tractor which helped me to realize SUCCESS in diagnosing and repairing the problem!!!!
Glad you were able to figure it out. Anytime I have a PTO engagement issue, I start with the seat switch, then go on to the other probable culprits. As mentioned above, it is a good practice to check the PTO clutch gap. This is especially true if the PTO stops working after sustained operation.
I have the same problem. Starting with the seat switch..