Six Steps to Replacing Your PTO Clutch

The average farm in the United States is 418 acres. The average American spends about four hours a week working on their lawn. That’s a lot of room and a lot of time, and that’s one reason for all the Bush Hog, John Deere, and Swisher lawn mowers out there. If you’ve got a riding lawn tractor, at some point you’re going to need lawnmower parts; and you may even have to replace the clutch at some point. If you find yourself having to do a PTO clutch replacement, here’s what you need to know to get it done.

  • Gather your supplies in advance. You’re going to need your PTO clutch replacement, a jack, jack stands, and two wrenches. The most common wrenches are the 35mm and the 5/8 inch wrenches, but you’ll need to check in advance exactly which ones you need for your particular model and PTO clutch replacement. You’ll also want some work gloves. If you got everything you need before you start, the whole process is going to go a lot more smoothly.
  • Prepare your mower. Make sure you got the mower up on a nice flat surface, out of the sun, with the engine off. If it’s a bright day, you might want to consider working on the mower indoors if you can. You’ll run out of patience and overheat if you’re in the sun, and if the shady spot is too narrow and defined you might actually have trouble seeing because of the contrast of the bright sun nearby.

    Once you’ve picked your spot, make sure the parking brake is engaged and the engine is completely cool down. Now you want to disconnect your spark plugs just to make sure the engine doesn’t accidentally come on while you’re trying to do your PTO clutch replacement. The deck height lever should be in the lowest position. Use the jack and the jack stands to get at the clutch area underneath.

  • Take off the clutch belt. You should find a spring pin near the front of the mower. This pin hooks from the draft arm onto the deck, and once you remove the pin you’ll be able to pull the draft rod out. Once the rod is out, you can slide the belt off the clutch. In some models, you might need to release the belt tension with the belt idler pulley and then roll the belt off.
  • Pull out the old clutch. You want to remove the connector from the old clutch, and this is where you will use the smaller ranch on the bolt that is holding your clutch in place. You’ll want to work on that bolt at the same time as you hold the bolt that connects the clutch to the crankshaft, or the flywheel nut, steady. If you try to remove the clutch and its bolt without holding the flywheel nut steady, it’ll try to turn the engine. Once that clutch connector is disconnected, the clutch will fall off without a problem.
  • Install your PTO clutch replacement. Put the new clutch on the crankshaft where the old clutch was and tighten the bolt to hold it back in place. Once again, you want to use that other wrench to keep the crankshaft bolt from turning the engine. Once your PTO clutch replacement is on, put the clutch belt back on by reversing the process you used to take it off. If you’re using an electric clutch, you want to make sure the tab on its bracket engages the mounting slot. In some models, there will be a flywheel cover to remove or re-attach, but this is a straightforward process.
  • Breaking in your new clutch. An electric clutch needs a break in period. Take your lawn mower off the jack, reattach the spark plug, and start it up. You want to move it to a flat surface, throttle it up, engage the clutch, and let it run for a few seconds. Then disengage the clutch, wait a few seconds, then engage again. You’ll repeat this process about 15 times, burnishing the clutch so it’s ready for regular use. Now your new clutch is in and you’re ready to go!