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John Deere 318 Will Start But I Can't Lift My Foot Off The Brake

john deere garden tractor electrical problem

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#1 bbundy OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2014 - 04:05 PM

The electric PTO on my John Deere 318 was cutting out constantly.  After some good suggestions from this forum I checked the PTO plate gap, cleaned the plates, and checked voltage going to pto (measured 12 volts).   After this I tried testing and the engine started cutting out on me then it finally quit running.  I can start it with the brake on but a soon as I try to lift my foot of the brake it stops running.  So I thought it must be the safety switch under the seat so I by passed it with a piece of wire but that didn't help.  I checked to see if I'm getting voltage to the seat safety switch under the seat and I am.  So the only thing I can think of is that there is a loose wire or broken wire on the return that isn't allowing the seat safety system to complete the electrical loop.  

 

Does this sound like correct thinking?  If so, any thoughts on tracing the wire back to the mess of wires behind the dashboard?

 

Frustrated in WNY. 


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#2 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 10, 2014 - 04:18 PM

According to this schematic there is a brake switch as well as a neutral switch that could be causing you grief as well. 

 

318 electrical schematic image.jpg


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#3 bbundy OFFLINE  

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Posted July 13, 2014 - 11:51 AM

According to this schematic there is a brake switch as well as a neutral switch that could be causing you grief as well. 

 

attachicon.gif318 electrical schematic image.jpg

Thanks for suggesting this schematic - I dug out my manual on CD and printed this out.  The problem is to the best of my skills in checking the curcuit with my ohm/voltage meter, the seat portion of the safety system is working fine (I'm clueless how to test the Time Delay control Module).  Also, after some jury-rigging (see below) I was able to test the seat safety system directly - it works as advertized (shuts the engine down if you lift off the seat when the pto is engaged).

 

Here is the crazy thing, I defeated the neutral safety switch and was able to engage the front PTO and use the mower.  I say crazy because when I look at the schematic it seems like the only thing the neutral safety switch is supposed to prevent is starting the engine if the transmission is in gear (off neutral) - at least this is my read of the schematic.  However, prior to by passing the neutral safety switch I could start the engine when it was in neutral and not when it was off neutral -- in other words the neutral safety switch was working as I think it should.  However,  prior to by-passing the neutral switch and regardless of the pto being on or off, I could not put it into gear when I was seated on the tractor. 

 

So, do you have any other thoughts or ideas what would explain why the seat safety curcuit is working in some respects, that is, allowing me to engage the pto while seated on the tractor but not allow me to take the transmission out of neutral?



#4 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted July 13, 2014 - 04:49 PM

The addition of that delay module to the 318 makes it harder then the older tractors to troubleshoot using only a schematic. Your initial post mentioned that as soon as you released the brake it would stall. If you notice the schematic the brake and neutral switches are in series. With bad connections you cannot take anything for granted. I would check the wiring between the ignition switch through to the other side of the neutral switch. Check for continuity with an ohm meter. I don't have the manual here with me. If you read the description of the circuitry it should tell you how the safety interlocks should behave. Dirty, corroded or burnt connections are a common problem in older tractors. 







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