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PTO on my 1512D cuts out (stays in upward position though) when mowing grass after 45 minutes to an hour.

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Well-known member
Jul 2, 2007
Stephen Galante
I apologize for making this a long question, and if I have the wrong name for a piece of the tractor. I just figured it would be best to tell you all the specifics.
Here is the situation that I hope the people on here can help me with. A few weeks ago, I had to jump-start (50AMP start option on my Sears Battery charger) the mower since the battery was low. Half-way through cutting my yard my deck stopped cutting (I only have a 1/2 acre, so it's not that big). After pulling it into my garage, I noticed that the nut and washer that hold the idler rachet (That is what it is called in one of the illustrations someone posted in the 60-inch Haban thread) had come off, so I had no real tension on the belt. I replaced the washer, lock washer, and nut on the threaded rod that holds the idler rachet on. When I asked the guy who does all the serious work on the 1512D for me, he told me that that should solve the issue but said that a low battery could also be a problem. I had to charge the battery again this morning before going to cut the grass at my mothers house. The PTO cut out again after about 45 - 60 minutes. If I let it sit for a minute or 2, I can turn the PTO on again, and it will cut for a minute or 2 again. It didn't appear that the engine was overheating based on the gauge and I did clean the dust screen a couple of times, but it wasn't that dirty. I know that on my mid-90s Cub Cadet (I don't have it here to get the exact model number) that has one the 28" Model 304 rear tillers, the tiller won't run if the battery is low. I was wondering if the PTO on my 1512D relies on the battery to work. My repair shop told me that the Kubota D600 engine doesn't have the best alternator either.
I am going to go get a new battery for the tractor, I have pretty much always used Interstate SP-40, 350CCA batteries, they tend to last me about 4-5 years.
Do you think just buying a new battery will solve my issue? In other words, does the having the PTO on, drain the battery more than the alternator is charging it when the tractor is running? If so, is there a better alternator that I can switch out similar to there being a better starter for the D600 engine? I noticed there are a few electric PTO's for the 1512D, if that is the issue, how do I know which one to get, and if that is the case, how difficult is it to replace on my unit?

One last quick question on a different issue.
In the past, I was always able to put a new belt on my deck without having to loosen the nut on the front of the tractor that we use to tighten the belt. I used to be able to just push the Idler rachet into the square notch and that gave me enough slack to put the belt on all the pulleys and then push the deck back so that the spring-loaded J shaped "thingy" can go into the holes on the mule drive so the deck could be lifted. The last time I had to put a belt on, (It is the correct CC belt) the dealer told me that I should be able to just work the belt on after the deck was linked up. To get the belt on, I actually had to loosen the nut on the front of the mule drive, almost all the way, to get enough slack in the belt. Is that the normal procedure for you guys and gals?

Thank you all in advance.
The simple answer on the PTO and battery is yes. A low battery can, and will cause the PTO to disengage. The PTO is an Electromagnet. They are very much like the clutch on the A/C Compressor in a vehicle. I don't have a diesel cub, but on my single cylinder Kohlers, I have gotten to the waning days of the battery and have had to jump start the tractor. Let it run for a bit to charge the battery, and then when trying to mow, the PTO either won't engage, or will for a short time and then disengage. Or, I've had a marginal battery, and been mowing late in the evening and everything is fine. Gets dark enough, reach down and turn on the lights, and the mower stops..... not enough power capacity to power the lights and the PTO. Replace the battery, or as a test borrow one from one of the other tractors. If everything works like it should with the "new" battery..... it's time to go shopping....

As for the alternator, I'll have to defer to someone that has the Kubota Diesel/Gas engine in the tractor. I only have starter/generator, or the "alternator" (flywheel magnets and stator) experience on the Kohlers.....
Snicklas - Thank you for such a quick answer. Hopefully, a new battery will fix the issue. It's hard to believe that if the battery has enough juice after running for a while (45-60 minutes) and being shut off and the tractor starts right up, the battery would cause an issue with the PTO. I guess that's why I'm an IT guy and not a mechanic :)
Since the PTO's are between $249-$499 on Diggers CC Specialties sales page, I hope for my sake, it isn't a need for a new PTO.
I thought I would add a few pictures to show what I meant when I used what may have been incorrect terms for the items I described in my original post.
I am positive, I have an incorrect name for the "Spring Loaded J shaped thingy", but they have changed the Cub Cadet parts lookup I used to use to find part numbers and names. On the newer version, I couldn't find any illustrations of the Mule Drive to get the correct part numbers or names.
This is the page I go to Cub Cadet Diagram Page when I put in my 1512 model, it shows me a bunch of illustrations for everything but the mule drive (I have expanded the list all the way to the bottom, it takes I believe 2 "Show More" to get all the assemblies they show. I can find the deck under the Attachments section, but even that has changed since in the past, it only listed the decks that were possible with the CC Model you entered. Does anyone have the link to the old one?
NOTE: Looking at the responses on the 60" Haban posting, it does appear that the nut on the mule drive may be on rather far, but this is where it has been for the last 20+ years I have had the 1512D. It IS the proper Cub Cadet belt also.
Thank you for your help.
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for the charging issue - I also do not have the diesel but I do have the 2182 with a kubota WG-600 which is very similar to the D600 engine you have. I had charge issues in the past that turned out to be poor electrical connections on the charging system harness. Check all your grounds and the connectors. use some dielectric grease after cleaning the connectors and the terminals inside the connectors. I still have a brand new alternator and regulator on my shelf that I purchased thinking they were they cause. I would think you would be having some stalling issues if the battery or charging is the only issue. your tractor is fuel injected and requires the electric fuel pump to deliver pressure to the fuel injection system. if you run the lights do they get dim as time passes? the kubota charging system is pretty robust. unless you have dead cells on the battery (easily checked at the autoparts store) the charge system should be able to run all your electrical systems.

for the Idler pulley nut. the outer nut needs to be a lock nut (not a nylock but a centerlock) they don't work as a lock nut if they have been on and off the bolt too many times. the lock nut is not tight against the idler ratchet so it can swivel and float. there is also a spring washer on there. The pulley has an additional nut and washer that hold it tightly to the bolt and the idler arm. that one needs to be torqued down to prevent the inner race from spinning on the Bolt (or axle if you prefer)
1518 mule.png
Thank you for the heads up about the center lock nuts. I had used a Nylock nut I had to replace #16 in your diagram. I will have to take a look at the nut #20 to see if that is the proper one. I'ven never replaced that particular one. Funny thing is, I found a nut in my driveway after returning from trying to cut my mother's lawn. I haven't figured out where it came from. At least, it isn't obvious yet!!!

I don't have a stalling issue with the tractor so that just throws another wrench in the predicament.

After seeing your diagram, I went back to the Cub Cadet Diagrams page and dug around and DID find that diagram, I liked the older page better, where I didn't have to dig around to find my 50C deck and mule drive. On the old page, once you put in the Model # (1512), it gave you all the attachments and possibilities for that model. One didn't have to search through 100+ decks to find the one that fit your particular model.
I also NOW know that what I referred to as that "Spring Loaded J Shaped Thingy" is a "Pin, Mower Support", Part #747-3013.

I am still open to anyone else that has an opinion on the PTO shutting off issue.
this link should work better
Lookup Parts Via Diagram | Cub Cadet US

as far as the pto. Scott is correct. the clutch is just an electromagnet - either works or it doesn't. no real electronics there. as long as it does not over heat that will work for 80 100 years. you could also check some of the safeties if they are still in place. the seat switch (flip the seat forward its in the bottom of the seat) should shut off the deck if you get up so if that is failing or shorting it may cause an issue.
the battery is easy to test for free at any car parts store. it should be at least 12.6 when the key is off if you want to test. if you want you could put a meter to the battery terminals when its running. should be in the 13 to 14.8 range same as a car. I am sure there is a real spec. I can check my service manual when I get home tomorrow night. I can send you those pages.
bpientka, Thank you for your suggestion. I usually have the dealer check the PTO air gap whenever I bring it in. I did have an issue with the air gap a few times. The dealer did check it last summer when I brought it in for other services. I know it's kind of a PITA to get to, so I'll see if I can check it if I continue to have issues after I put in a new battery. I just have to look at the manual again to see where it is located.

I wish I was a little more knowledgable about these things. I try to help out when I have an answer to people's questions, that doesn't happen too often though.

I'll try a new battery and hope that solves the issue.

Thank you, everyone, for your input so far. Any input is greatly appreciated. :)

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