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20 hp briggs won't turn over


wattsje's Avatar
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07-03-06, 06:40 AM   #1  
20 hp briggs won't turn over

I have a 20 HP Briggs and stratton on my yard machine that won't turn over. The motor (model 461707, type 0143E1) would move maybe a quarter or half turn then freeze. I can turn the motor by hand and it will turn over freely if the spark plugs are out. It is as if the starter motor doesn't have enough power to get it going. I was about to try cleaning the carb and using a rebuild kit but a friend had me check the coil first. We took it off and sanded some rust off and tested the fusable link. After I put it back on and reinstalled a freshly charged battery I got nothing! Now the starter motor won't even lift to engage the flywheel. I've tested the starter solinoid with a light tester (I hear it click when I turn the key), and also the fuse. I'm really new to engine repair. I read about testing valve clearance? but it sounded fairly complicated and didn't make much sense to me. Is it possible I just have the space wrong on the coil? How do I make sure the gap is correctly set? Thanks for any help anyone can provide!

 
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07-04-06, 08:49 AM   #2  
Wattsje:

Your coil gap works well at about the thickness of a business card. I usually put them at about .010 to .015. I would place the card between the coil pickup and the flywheel magnets, loosen the bolts on the coil to let the magnets draw the coil down to the card, tighten the bolts and remove the card.

If you were getting something before you reinstalled the battery I would make sure you have the right cables on the right battery posts and clean all connections. Also I would check both sides of the fuseable link you were working on with your tester. Another possiblity is a seat cutoff switch. This can be checked for continuity with your tester also.

If you find something that restores at least a weak response you should consider replacing the battery. You could either have yours checked or use jumper cables and jump start the mower from a known good battery from a car or another mower. Make sure you're dealing with like voltages on both batteries and connect the posts positive to positive and negative to negative. If it starts and runs well your battery would likely be the problem.

I think I would stay out of the more technical aspects of working on the engine until you have it running and have gotten a little more familiar with it.

Hope this helps

 
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07-04-06, 04:14 PM   #3  
wattsje,

This is not a valve adjustment issue. This engine is an L-head type and they do not have the higher compression of the OHV engines. Also, your ignition coil is not at fault either.

You may have a starter problem but first try using a jumper cable (red wire only) to jump from the positive temanal on the batt to the main lug on the stater. If your stater does not go to town you can assume that either batt or starter is your problem. The batt can be ruled out by using a fresh batt or your car batt however, if you use your car batt you will need to use both cables of the jumper pair from batt to batt.

The stater can be rebuilt cheaply. Let us know how it goes.

Gad Bless,
Dave237

 
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07-05-06, 05:47 AM   #4  
I took the starter off and had it tested at the repair shop and they said it worked fine. Is it possible, though, that the problem is a weak starter and only shows when it has the resistance of the flywheel on it? Also, I didn't mention it before because I was so upset about getting nothing after sanding the coil, but there must be a short somewhere; the battery drains when just sitting. I have three batteries and keep one on the charger so I can put a fresh one on when working on it. At the beginning of the season it would start if I put a fresh battery on, but now I get nothing. Where is the ground on my mower? The repair shop said to check that it is tight and clean but I can't find a ground wire. The starter solinoid has the two main lugs and one small wire with a spade connection going to the fuse. Also, the only safety switch I can find is the mower deck. I don't seem to have one on the seat. Are there any others hidden somewhere?
Posted By: dave237 wattsje,

You may have a starter problem but first try using a jumper cable (red wire only) to jump from the positive temanal on the batt to the main lug on the stater. If your stater does not go to town you can assume that either batt or starter is your problem. The batt can be ruled out by using a fresh batt or your car batt however, if you use your car batt you will need to use both cables of the jumper pair from batt to batt.

The stater can be rebuilt cheaply. Let us know how it goes.

Gad Bless,
Dave237

 
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07-05-06, 09:07 PM   #5  
Sounds like you need to clean/repair/tighten all connections from the battery cables to the frame and starter. Follow the negative calbe to the end, and there's your ground. The battery drain could be lots of things. Do you have a voltmeter/ohmmeter and/or test light?


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-05-06, 11:58 PM   #6  
Take your test light , ground the clamp,and hold the tester up to the small wire connected from the switch to the soleniod, when you turn the key the test light should light up, if not check the connection to the ignition switch. If it does light up but nothing else happens, like Cheese said, clean all of your cable connections including the starter.

 
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07-06-06, 02:14 PM   #7  
I have multitester and also a test light. Originally I tested everything with the test light, today I went back and tested the fusible links with the multitester. All showed resistance. I tried using the jumper cable to go from the positive terminal on the battery directly to the starter motor and got nothing. I tried it both with the normal connection still on and also with it off, still nothing. I'm about to head back to the repair shop for a new starter. I did take the starter off and opened it up to clean it out. Brushed off the bushings, and inspected the rest. I noticed the insulation had melted off a couple of wires on the armature and one wire was broken, also the retainer for the bushings had cracked clear through at the main lug. I had done all this before I messed with the coil and after putting the starter back on was when the engine spun without the sparkplugs in. It was only after I messed with the coil that I lost everything.

Posted By: cheese Sounds like you need to clean/repair/tighten all connections from the battery cables to the frame and starter. Follow the negative calbe to the end, and there's your ground. The battery drain could be lots of things. Do you have a voltmeter/ohmmeter and/or test light?

 
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07-06-06, 02:17 PM   #8  
Posted By: mikesmalleng Take your test light , ground the clamp,and hold the tester up to the small wire connected from the switch to the soleniod, when you turn the key the test light should light up, if not check the connection to the ignition switch. If it does light up but nothing else happens, like Cheese said, clean all of your cable connections including the starter.
The test light worked on all connections of the solinoid. Also, I do hear the solinoid click when I turn the key.

 
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07-06-06, 03:11 PM   #9  
I had the same problem with my race mower. It was a bad ignition switch and dirty connections

 
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07-06-06, 03:26 PM   #10  
I had the same problem with my race mower. It was a bad ignition switch and dirty connections Try cleaning the connections with WD40 and sand paper. If that dont work try to hot wire it by taking the connection off the swithch and put a pice of wire in there. Also make sure the blade is off.

 
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07-06-06, 04:40 PM   #11  
Wattsje:

Here's something you can check for your battery drain. Turn your switch to the off position. Have a charged battery, disconnect the negative (ground) cable, connect your tester ground clip to the ground cable and touch your tester probe to the negative post on the battery. If it lights up you have a component or short draining your battery. You can work with the switch and wiring to try to pinpoint the problem.


As far as the coil having a role in this, is there a chance you have the kill wire on the coil grounded? If you are showing a drain remove the coil wires and see if that helps.

Hope this helps


Last edited by marbobj; 07-06-06 at 07:27 PM.
 
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07-06-06, 06:16 PM   #12  
Posted By: dave237 wattsje,


You may have a starter problem but first try using a jumper cable (red wire only) to jump from the positive temanal on the batt to the main lug on the stater. If your stater does not go to town you can assume that either batt or starter is your problem.
The stater can be rebuilt cheaply. Let us know how it goes.

Gad Bless,
Dave237
I jumped the positive directly to the starter and got nothing. I tried it every way I could think of; starter connected, disconnected, even tried with the starter completely removed from the motor. I wasn't sure I was doing it right so I tried it on my noma tractor (18 hp twin briggs), it is my project tractor so I learn on it as I go, and it worked with no problems. I'm pretty sure at this point that at least the starter has a problem although there may still be other problems in line from the battery to the starter. How do I test the ignition switch and safety switches? Even if the starter is the whole problem on the yardmachines I still have similar problems on the noma. Thanks for all the suggestions, you guys are helping me learn a lot!

 
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07-06-06, 07:21 PM   #13  
When you jump to the starter with a single cable to the post, the assumption is you have an adequate ground from the battery providing the power, through its grounding cable to the frame and finally to the starter case.

If you aren't sure about the ground I would suggest jumping from the starter case directly to the negative side of the battery.

Hope this helps

 
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07-07-06, 12:44 AM   #14  
If you have melted armature windings and broken windings, the starter is shorted/burned. Do you get voltage on the starter wire with the key held to start (and the starter installed)? If so, you either have a bad ground or bad starter.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-07-06, 06:12 AM   #15  
Posted By: cheese If you have melted armature windings and broken windings, the starter is shorted/burned. Do you get voltage on the starter wire with the key held to start (and the starter installed)? If so, you either have a bad ground or bad starter.
Since there is only one wire coming to the starter I'm not sure where to touch the connections on multitester. Also which setting should I have the multi tester set on? Sorry if I sound dumb but like I said I'm pretty new to this. You guys have been a great help so far!

 
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07-07-06, 08:29 AM   #16  
wattsje,

I would say your starter is at fault here; replace it. The engine block and mower frame serves as the ground connection for the starter. If you must, set your volt meter to 12vdc or higher. Check for 12 volts at the starter lug; ground lead to the starter case/body bolt; with the key turned to start but I don't think this test is needed.

God Bless,
Dave237

 
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07-08-06, 10:25 AM   #17  
Posted By: dave237 wattsje,

I would say your starter is at fault here; replace it. The engine block and mower frame serves as the ground connection for the starter. If you must, set your volt meter to 12vdc or higher. Check for 12 volts at the starter lug; ground lead to the starter case/body bolt; with the key turned to start but I don't think this test is needed.

God Bless,
Dave237
The repair shop has to order a starter for me so I won't have it 'til next Friday. In the mean time I replaced the the brush retainer and brushes. Sometimes it will try to start now and sometimes it won't. When it was trying I removed the spark plugs and the motor turned freely. I tried holding the spark plug against the motor but didn't get a spark. Maybe I'm doing it wrong. I held the hex part of the plug against the motor a couple of inches from the spark plug hole. Also, with the spark plugs out my son put his thumb up to the spark plug holes and we turn the engine over. He said the hole would alternately push and pull on his thumb. That's what it is supposed to do right?

Also, I tried testing for a short as per Marbobj's suggestion. I disconnected the neg from the battery and connected the test light to the cable and touched the tip to the neg terminal while the key was in the off position. I didn't light up so that means it wasn't draining the battery, at least at that moment, right?

I'll keep on testing everything I can and cleaning connections until next Friday when I can put the new starter on. Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to give me all these tips and suggestions. I'm passing the info on to my sons as we work on our other project tractors. We have a noma (don't know the model) and a John Deere 110.

 
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07-09-06, 12:21 AM   #18  
Take the end of the starter where the gear is, and try to move it back and forth. If you get much play there, the end cap of the starter is worn (or the bushing in it actually). This happens often on these engines because of the compression of these engines and the effort required by the starter to turn them. When this bushing wears enough, the starter armature begins to rub the field magnets inside the starter case, and the starter drags badly. You might just need to replace the end cap, but the brned wires on the armature still makes me think you're better off with a new starter. Maybe they aren't burned enough to be shorted yet. No way to know without testing the armature.

If you have an ohmmeter, you can check for continuity between each segment of the commutator (the copper bars around the armature) and the starter shaft. If any of them show the least sign of continuity, then the armature is shorted. This will tell you if the starter is shorted to ground, but still will not tell you if one winding is shorted to itself further down the winding, or to another winding. You'd need to put it on a growler to tell that.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

God bless!

 
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07-09-06, 12:07 PM   #19  
Posted By: cheese Take the end of the starter where the gear is, and try to move it back and forth. If you get much play there, the end cap of the starter is worn (or the bushing in it actually). This happens often on these engines because of the compression of these engines and the effort required by the starter to turn them. When this bushing wears enough, the starter armature begins to rub the field magnets inside the starter case, and the starter drags badly. You might just need to replace the end cap, but the brned wires on the armature still makes me think you're better off with a new starter. Maybe they aren't burned enough to be shorted yet. No way to know without testing the armature.

If you have an ohmmeter, you can check for continuity between each segment of the commutator (the copper bars around the armature) and the starter shaft. If any of them show the least sign of continuity, then the armature is shorted. This will tell you if the starter is shorted to ground, but still will not tell you if one winding is shorted to itself further down the winding, or to another winding. You'd need to put it on a growler to tell that.
I've gone ahead and ordered the new starter, but I will test the old starter the way you described just for the experience. I'll keep the bad starter and rebuild it when I have money (LOL!) to replace the armature.

 
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07-14-06, 06:35 AM   #20  
Up and Running!!

Thanks everyone for your input. I put on the new starter and it started right up. I didn't need a new coil after all. I never got a spark before I put the new starter on so I must have been doing something wrong. In any case, it's working now and I wanted to give y'all a big Thank You!

 
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07-14-06, 01:19 PM   #21  
wattsje,

Great to hear.. Unless your old starter rotated the fly wheel more than 300 rpms you won't get a spark anyway. Glad we could be of help.

God Bless,
Dave237

 
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04-24-11, 04:08 PM   #22  
Wattsje. I have the exact mower and exact problem as you. Problem is I can not get my flywheel off to access the starter. Please how the %#^+% did you get it off? Please help. Thanks!

 
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04-24-11, 06:32 PM   #23  
You can use a 1/2" open end wrench to remove the bolts from under the flywheel without removing the flywheel. Take the sheet metal cover off from over the cylinder head to help gain access.


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