Top 5 Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch

Symptoms of Bad PTO Clutch

PTO (power transmission unit) clutch is commonly used for outdoor equipment that requires the start and/or implementation of a cutting blade. Turning off the clutch can help slow down the implementation.

In this article, we will talk about the various symptoms of a bad PTO clutch and how to prevent it from getting damaged. You will also learn the solution to these problems.

Let’s get started!

What are the Functions of a PTO Clutch?

The PTO clutch is located behind the transmission shaft and is powered by the engine. It provides a spring-loaded mechanism that allows you to move the equipment while operating it.

The primary function of this component is to prevent over-stress on other engine components while operating heavy equipment, such as cutting grass. If not maintained properly, this can lead to issues that can cause damage over time.

The power takeoff clutch is an important component of a small tractor that allows you to activate blades or tillers.

It's powered by electricity and produces a magnetic field to rotate the blade. Regular maintenance is required to maintain its performance.

Symptoms of a Bad PTO Clutch

If you notice that the clutch is not working properly, it could be because the switch is stuck in the socket.

Another sign of a worn-out clutch is when you hear noises coming from your lawn mower's engine. The following are symptoms of a bad PTO clutch:

1. Clutch Refuses to Engage

If the clutch doesn't engage, this could be a sign that the clutch is failing. It can be hard to notice, especially if your mower still runs fine. However, if you notice this issue, you might have to replace the clutch.

If the clutch is not engaging with ease or has other issues preventing it from working properly, it could be a sign that the gearbox is failing. This could also cause other problems, such as rough shifting.

If the blades aren't engaged and moving in reverse, they will eventually become damaged, which could lead to more issues with the engine and require expensive repairs.

2. Noise Coming from the Mower Engine

When you hear noises coming from your lawn mower's engine, it could be a sign that the clutch is worn out.

You may initially believe that the machine is running normally, but it might start making noise after a while.

If the noises continue, this could signal that something is not working properly within the engine. It could also mean that something is being abused or neglected.

If the noises continue, it could be the clutch or the engine. Sometimes, these components are at fault, and you'll have to replace them.

It's possible that the gears inside the switch are getting damaged, causing the noise while the machine is spinning at high speeds.

This type of noise can also signal that something needs to be fixed with the transmission system components.

For instance, if the pulleys or bearings are worn out, the vibrations could cause excessive wear.

3. The Mower Blades Stop Dead

If your lawn mower's blades stop moving when you remove the control lever, it could be a sign that the clutch is failing. It could be the reason why the clutch needs to be replaced.

4. No Response When Pressing the PTO Switch

If pressing the PTO switch of your lawn tractor does not produce a response, it could be a sign that something needs to be fixed with the switch. If it does not work, you might experience other symptoms, such as:

The engine will stall when you use the PTO switch, and the clutch won't engage either. The clutch light will remain on even if you press the clutch pedal without loading.

The issue could be with the axle shafts or the transmission of your lawn mower. These components are connected to the wheels.

When this happens, your transmission might need to be replaced.

5. If You Have Trouble Removing the PTO Clutch

The clutch might be bad if you need help removing the PTO switch from the dashboard. This could be caused by a plug or cover covering one of the socket's holes.

The cover or plug may be removed to access the socket. After that, you can use a screwdriver to remove the part from its socket.

How to Fix a Faulty PTO Clutch

There are no single solutions to the various issues with the PTO clutch system. For instance, if the issue is with the clutch solenoid, you need to replace it. But, if the switch is the issue, you need to replace it.

Adjusting the clutch, especially electric ones, is essential for getting the best possible performance.

If the contact plates are not working properly, then the weight of the load may cause the plates to slip, which could cause heat buildup.

Sometimes, adjusting the PTO clutch can help solve other common issues and provide the best possible performance.

The following are some common problems a PTO clutch and their solutions:

1. The PTO Clutch Will Not Engage or Disengage

This issue usually occurs due to overheating and excessive clutch slipping. Although this can be fixed relatively easily, it can still require replacing the components if not addressed.

After thoroughly inspecting the clutch, you must replace the components as needed. Doing so will allow you to prevent the issue from happening.

One of the most important steps that you can take to prevent this issue is to not slip the clutch for more than three seconds without allowing it to cool.

2. The PTO Clutch Will Not Remain Engaged

Improper adjustments are often the cause of this issue. The geared friction discs wear out over time, and the operators must regularly check the engagement torque.

The frequency of adjustments can vary depending on the type of machine, environment, and number of engagements.

3. The PTO Clutch is Running Hot

If the PTO clutch is not working properly, it could be caused by improper lubrication or a new installation.

They should also inspect the sideload and the grease levels. The PTO might overheat during the first couple of hours if it is new. In addition, it's important to take temperature readings at the bearing carrier.

How to Test a PTO Clutch?

To inspect the clutch drive assembly, use a floor jack to lift the vehicle. Then, use two jack stands in the front and rear frames to support the vehicle.

Check the volts using an engine source. If the output is below 12.4 volts, ensure the battery is charged.

Check the in-line fuse. If it's blown or black, replace it with the same rating as the original.

Make sure the blade operation is good, and check the noises from the engine. Then, remove the ignition key and plug in the battery cable.

Get rid of any branches jammed into the drive belt.

After removing the ignition key, plug the negative cable and the ignition key into a socket. Turn the clutch engagement lever on and off multiple times.

If the pulley is moving slowly and consistently, then the clutch and the contact plates may be getting jammed together, and you might need to remove the clutch to inspect the issue.

How to Remove a PTO Clutch?

Removing a PTO clutch requires no specialized equipment or tools. You only need a pair of gloves, a screwdriver, and a set of socket wrenches.

Now that you have all the necessary tools let's start removing the clutch.

To minimize the risk of damaging the belt, remove the spark plugs. The plastic covering that protects the belt and the pulley from harm must also be removed. After that, you can access the clutch by loosening the blade belt.

After you have removed the belt, you'll notice that two wires are connected to the clutch. Before releasing the clutch, make sure that the cables are disconnected.

It's important to have a helper during this phase. The top of the vehicles and the mower is connected to a bolt.

Hold the nut in place while loosening the bolt using a screwdriver to remove the flywheel cover.

After that, you can safely remove the PTO clutch.

Types of PTO Clutches

These are the three main types of PTO clutches commonly used in industrial equipment.

More standard and special variants are available, but these are typically used in service.

Type 1 PTO

These PTO clutches are ideal for heavy-duty applications due to their large roller bearings and sheave mounts. These make it easier to realize the full potential of the equipment.

Compared to Type 2 PTOs, Type 1 clutches have a sideload capacity that's four times greater.

Type 2 PTO

With a small footprint, Type 2 PTOs offer a high sideload capacity and are also ideal for heavy-duty applications.

Some features include remote engagement, self-adjusting clutch, and hydraulic or air movement.

Pilotless Mechanical PTO

These mechanical PTO clutch assemblies are commonly used in applications requiring a side or in-line load.

Unlike other types of clutches, the Pilotless Mechanical PTOs do not have direct loading to the engine's crankshaft, which helps reduce the wear on the main bearings.