Kohler Starter on the Blinks

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  #1  
Old 04-12-08, 12:34 PM
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Kohler Starter on the Blinks

I know little about small engine repair but here is the situation. I own a Craftsman Lawn Tractor (mower) model 917.273481, which has a Kohler Pro 20HP V-Twin OHV engine (CV20S). It has run like a champ these past 5 years. When I brought it out of storage I noticed the starter was whining while running. I took it off and apart and realized the solenoid lever had partially melted. Replaced it with a new starter today and she fired right up.

I get the blades spinning and its cutting fine. I then hear a whining/spinning noise so I turned the tractor off and checked. Nothing noticable. I started up again and the whining/spinning started. It didn't seem to slow the engine or affect the cutting so I kept mowing for about 5 minutes. Now it won't start. I hear absolutely nothing when I turn the key, not even the ammeter needle moves.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 04-12-08, 12:42 PM
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Sounds like the "start" and "on" somehow got bridged, and when you released key to "on", the starter stayed engaged in "start", and stayed that way till something either melted again or if luckier this time, burned a fuse or fusable link.

Could also be that starter angle or teeth size is not right and is binding starter drive teeth in flywheel and not letting go. This may then keep the battery circuit to starter engaged, even if those contacts are not bridged as I earlier stated.
 
  #3  
Old 04-12-08, 01:23 PM
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Is it better to replace the ignition switch before moving on with any other troubleshooting?
 
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Old 04-12-08, 09:28 PM
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Don't put anything on it until you troubleshoot it. Load test the battery & check the level in it with a hydrometer. Do you have voltage to the selonoid?? Is there voltage @ the "S" terminal of the solenoid with the key in the start position & none in the run position??? Have you checked the fuses??? There are also several safety switches in the start circuit. Make sure all of them are O.K. (Seat Switch, Clutch, etc) Do a voltage drop of the starter & ground circits & I'm sure we can get you going if you post the results,, Thanks, Roger
 
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Old 04-13-08, 06:04 AM
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My buddy is the electrical one--I am the carpenter type but I'll give it a shot.

--'S' Terminal. With the starter off the mower I ran one wire from the 'S' terminal and one from the lower post of the solenoid. I touched the lower post wire to the negative terminal of the battery simultaneously touching the 'S' terminal wire to the positive, just long enough to see the bendix get thrown back. I did this a few times and it worked each time.

--Ignition switch. My buddy checked this with his multi-meter (volt meter, etc.) and just scratched his head. His take was that the switch indicated it was operating in reverse (no voltage in the start position but voltage in the run position). We also took this apart and needless to say didn't get it back together correctly. New one ordered and on the way.

--Fuse. Can only find on 20A and its good. Put a new one in anyway.

--Safety switches. I know of three; one under the seat, one for the mower deck, and one for the brake. Any others? None have been checked yet.

--Wiring Diagram. Called Sears to get a wiring diagram. They say none are available. I wonder how their technicians repair similar problems for their customers. $2500 for a new mower five years ago and can't get a simple wiring diagram. Anyone know where they can be had. Model number in original post.

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Old 04-13-08, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 5Vigs View Post
--Safety switches. I know of three; one under the seat, one for the mower deck, and one for the brake. Any others? None have been checked yet.
Is there one for requiring you to put the thing in neutral?
 
  #7  
Old 04-13-08, 04:03 PM
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No neutral switch. This mower requires the brake to be depressed all the way before the engine will turn over.
 
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Old 04-13-08, 06:25 PM
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Did you check page 33 of owners manual-shows wiring
 
  #9  
Old 04-14-08, 06:54 PM
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Haven't checked page 33 yet. Working on that soon.
 
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Old 04-25-08, 03:43 PM
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Still no luck figuring anything out on this yet. I have come to realize the battery will not charge. This is a new battery, just my luck these days, so the adventure continues. I am trying to figure if this problem, 1 of many, could be due to the Rectifier-Regulator. Any thoughts on how to test this component with a non-digital volt meter?
 

Last edited by 5Vigs; 04-25-08 at 04:13 PM.
  #11  
Old 04-26-08, 12:28 AM
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To check the rectifier, there should be continuity from the two outer terminals to the one middle terminal, but not the other way around. (reverse the polarity of the test leads on the terminals). There are diodes that create this electrical check valve, and if you get continuity both directions, then the rectifier is bad.

To check the charging stator, disconnect the rectifier and connect the voltmeter to one of the outer terminals on the connector from the engine while the engine is running. Put the meter in AC mode. If you have power, that leg of the rectifier is good. Check the other leg (the other outer terminal on the connector). The reading will vary, but at full throttle it should be more than a few volts, and less than 35.
 

Last edited by cheese; 05-10-08 at 11:49 PM.
  #12  
Old 05-03-08, 08:06 AM
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I believe I forgot a significant point in my initial description of the situation. In addition to the starter problem described the mower starts in the 'Auxilliary/On' position (for this mower ithe ignition switch settings are headlight/'On'/Run, then 'On/Run' position, then 'Start').
--What I've been doing is jumping the starter from the battery to get it running.
--I replaced the ingnition switch, no change.
--My friend swapped two wire connections (not sure which two), which allowed the mower to start but then couldn't be shut off using the ignition switch. He put the wires back to original.
--The battery does not seem to be keeping charge. In fact, with a battery charger on the battery and jumping it to start, if it doesn't start it seems to drain the battery by about 4 volts and then I have to wait and let it recharge.

There are also three (3) safety switches that all seem to be bypassed at this time (brake switch, seat switch, and mowing deck switch). I've checks the seat and mowiing deck switches, the brake switch is too difficult to get at let alone test.
--Mowing deck safety switch has four connection points (two white, two black). Using my analog multimeter the two white connections showed an open circuit, I think (needle moved to right of screen as when testing probles) and showed a closed circuit when push button depressed. BLACK connections showed opposite.
--Seat safety switch has only two black connections and showed the circuit as closed when the probes were connected. Upon depressing the switch button the circuit changed to open on the ohms meter (needle moved from the right side of screen to the left)

Wish you all were here!
 

Last edited by 5Vigs; 05-03-08 at 10:02 AM.
  #13  
Old 05-03-08, 12:44 PM
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I believe I checked the continuity of the rectifier. I have an analog multimeter and zero'd the ohms (my needle flew to the right zero line). I have continuity from the right outer terminal to the one middle terminal, but not from the left. I have no idea how to reverse the polarity of the test leads on the terminals to check the other way around.
 
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Old 05-03-08, 12:47 PM
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Reversing the polarity simply means putting the red one where the black one was & the black one where the red one was.
 
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Old 05-03-08, 04:49 PM
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Easy enough, did that without knowing it. Polarity runs both ways between the right outer and center terminal. No polarity between the left outer and center terminal in either direction. I take it this means the rectifier is bad and needs to be replaced?
 

Last edited by 5Vigs; 05-03-08 at 05:13 PM.
  #16  
Old 05-03-08, 09:06 PM
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Sounds like the rectifier is bad, but don't replace it just yet. You have other problems that could be the reason your rectifier is bad, and installing a new one could fry it too.


If the ignition switch is starting the engine in the wrong position, then the switch is wrong, or the wiring to the switch is wrong. I'm pretty sure you'll find the switch is not the right one for the mower. There are tons of different switches out there, and most of them have the same terminal plug, but they are not the same. Using the wrong one can burn up multiple components. Use the switch called for by the model number of your mower.
 
  #17  
Old 05-04-08, 06:26 AM
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Update - The ignitition switch is direct from Sears and for my mower so it could be the wiring was switched. We have teens in the area but I really can't see any of them messing with the wiring.

Last night I pulled the mowing deck off and battery tray out so I could get to the brake safety switch which I'll check later today. I started the mower by jumping it and noticed the wiring harness was resting against the engine so I pulled them back. When I did this the engine started to cut out but kept running. I moved them again and once more the engine started to cut out. I shut it down and looked for short but none of the wires appear exposed or broken, unless they are broken and the plastic coating is still in tact.

The cutting out only happened when I grabbed/moved the portion of the wiring harness that runs from the ignition switch to the first coupling(?) of wires (wire connection).

After inspecting this I tried starting it with the key/ignition and I got nothing. I have voltage at the fuse and solenoid (at the positive cable mount - red wire running from the ignition switch to the solenoid). I also have power at the 'S' Terminal in the 'on' position with no change in the 'start' position. Same measurement when I check the 'S' Terminal wire at the wire bundle connection....I am going to trace all wires from ignition and post later this morning.
 
  #18  
Old 05-04-08, 11:25 PM
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If you have power on the S wire when the switch is in the run position, and the switch is correct for the mower and working properly, then you either have incorrect wiring at the switch connector, or wiring problems on the mower that is allowing voltage to backfeed to the switch and solenoid. Look for a place where wires are pinched/clamped, or melted together. The solenoid wire shouldn't be next to any positive wires except in the main part of the harness under the dash, between the switch and solenoid or the split where the harness extends toward the engine. This is where I would start looking for problems.
 
  #19  
Old 05-10-08, 07:39 AM
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New Harness

[Look for a place where wires are pinched/clamped, or melted together...This is where I would start looking for problems.]

I know there is a short in the harness between the ignition and the connection near the engine but none of the wires are exposed and there doesn't appear to be any pinched/clamped/melted wires. Tired and frustrated is the best way to describe this. I'm ordering a new harness from Sears for $64.00 and starting there. I also bought a replacement rectifier but the tech told me not to install it if I believe there is a short in the system as it would kill the new rectifier immediately.

It should take about a week to get the harness. Once installed I'm going to see how it starts and provide an update. More to follow...and thanks all for the assistance thus far.
 
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