Engine Starting Problem


Old 04-24-03, 05:53 AM
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Angry 17hp Craftsman mower won't start

I've got a 17hp Craftsman lawn tractor that won't start. It'll roll over very slowly. I first thought it was the battery but it still will only roll over very slowly and not start. Any suggestions? Could it be the starter?
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Old 04-24-03, 07:14 AM
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How are the connections? Clean and tight?
Old 04-24-03, 07:18 AM
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Thanks for the reply. Yes, everything seems tight and clean. I've replaced the battery but it still rolls over very slowly. I did get it started once and it ran fine but once I shut it off and tried again it would barely roll over.
Old 04-24-03, 08:18 PM
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Hello Jimmy!

Check the voltage at the starter when cranking. If it is around 11 volts or so, then you most likely have a starter problem. If it is much less than 11v, you may have a bad connection somewhere.

Editing note:
Note: I am adding this after re-reading your post. See my next reply before condemning the starter. I am fairly sure you have valve adjustment problems.

Last edited by cheese; 04-25-03 at 02:26 PM.
Old 04-24-03, 08:30 PM
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I have had this problem on a murray before. Dust from the brushes in the starter get deposited on the commutator (the part that the brushes rub against). This dust acts as an insulator and slows down the current flow and makes the starter barely turn over under load. This is why old people used to take a hammer and bang on starters, it would knock this dust loose and make the starter act like new and start the engine. If all the connections are good and you have voltage, then this could be your problem. The only way to fix this is to take apart the starter (which is very easy) and clean all the internals.
Old 04-24-03, 10:59 PM
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I just realized, after re-reading your post, what your problem is. You need to adjust your valves. The valves are too loose and not letting the compression release work properly. Set both valves at .004" with the engine at TDC. I don't know why this didn't dawn on me the first time I read it.

Do not strike on the starter! There are fragile field magnets inside, and they will break, ruining the starter, with even light impact.

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