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First mow / no PTO

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   I recently acquired a 520xi. She's a pretty sweet machine and I took a liking to her before she landed in my garage. I've used her a few times this spring to haul some brush around in her trailer. 

   As the grass grew taller, however, I knew it was time to put the deck on her and start mowing. Note: this is my first wheelhorse, and also this was the first time I'd mown with her. Anyway, I did about half an hour of mowing (about half of my lawn), having turned her pto on and off a few times for various reasons, when at some point I turned the pto off to back out from between the dead-end swath between 2 trees I had just mown. I backed out, turned around, lined myself up to get back on track with the mowing, pulled the pto knob, and....nothing. Or so I thought at first.

   There is a quiet, though definitely present sound whenever I pull the pto knob on. At first I thought the blades might be stuck or something and the drive belt was sliding on the pto pulley. After some inspection, I found it wasnt. I prooved it wasn't by taking the drive belt off the pto and trying to turn the pto on. I still hear that same sound and the engine acts slightly stressed when I turn the pto on.

   One last thing. I turned the engine off, took the front grill off the tractor and tried to turn the pto pulley. It moves but is stopped by some kind of what looks like a safety stop (a bar on the pulley hitting a bar in the way). 

   Anyway, this is where I'm at. If anyone knows or has any idea why what's happening is happening and/or how to fix it Id appreciate it very much.


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Sometimes the illustrated parts lists can help with how things work.

Post the model number and serial number from under the left side on the seat and will post some links to the correct info.

Here is the 5xi service manual for a start. Click on the photo in the link to see what is where.


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  Started her up today to have another go at her and everythings working fine....my friend and I think it may have been that the seat safety wires, which were jimmied when I bought it, may have a poor connection

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Well, well, well...

I took it out to finish my mowing today and the same exact thing happened. I was mowing along no problem. I backed up once and the pto automatically shut off...all is as it should be. I turned around turned the pto on, started right up no problem. A little bit later the same situation occurred where I had to back up. I shut the pto off myself this time ( as I did the last time this happened)-not using the machines safety to turn it off- I turned around and turned the pto on, and all I got was that same whirring sound like its trying to turn on but nothing  happens. I checked the safety on the seat, and Im letting it cool off to see if that will do anything. 

    If anyone knows why it keeps doing this Id like to find out. Thanks!

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I assume that this is an electric pto? Is your battery fully charged/system charging ok? Solenoids / electromagnets generally need more current to engage than to hold once engaged. If your battery is not charging properly whilst mowing, there could be enough current to hold it “on” but not enough to re-engage after switching off, until the battery has sat and “recovered” or recharged slightly, when it may work again. I would be inclined to check all cables / connections, for corrosion etc, and measure for charge and voltage drop.

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The 5xi-series tractors for some reason have a troublesome seat safety switch. I had to replace it on one of my 5xi one time and I know other owners have had the same problem. Try putting a jumper in (short length of wire and two spade male terminals) to test it and see if the problem still occurs.  If that doesn't work, check the wiring then the PTO switch or the PTO itself. 

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Genius my dear Watson!


Thanks very much! I do believe you may have struck the heart of the problem. My battery is shot. I have had to jump start it every time today. I am going to get another one before I run her again, and I do hope that we shall see a change for the better. I am not super mechanically able, mostly from not knowing mechanics (not the people, but the way in which machines work) and had no idea that the battery was required to start and maintain the ptos motion. Thanks again. I do believe we've done it!

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I am not super mechanically able, mostly from not knowing mechanics (not the people, but the way in which machines work)

* although I suppose one could lead to the other

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