Craftsman 20HP Kohler Pro doesn't start

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  #1  
Old 04-21-08, 07:15 AM
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Craftsman 20HP Kohler Pro doesn't start

I try to turn it over and all I get is a click. I charged the battery overnight and replaced the solenoid, the kill switch under the seat seems OK. Any other suggestions? Are there any other kill switches? Could it be a bad starter? Fuse? Help!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-21-08, 07:35 AM
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This very likely could be a battery problem. It could be defective even though it appears charged. I strongly suggest you take the battery and have it tested before you go any further. DO NOT start throwing parts at a fix till you know what is defective. Do you have any basic electrical test equipment, multi-meter, test light, etc?

Here is a copy of a basic troubleshooting procedure you may want to read and apply:

From discussion assume problem is starter circuit, engine won't turn over, rather than engine won't "run" problem.

From experience your problem sounds like a "loose" wire or corrosion. Once had problem where starter circuit wouldn't work during rainy or high humidity conditions. Warm, sunny days ... no problem. Eventually found problem to be an electrical wire connector. This means of testing will find your problem. Look for it when its NOT working!

To begin, made sure your battery is good! Take 12" or so of #12 gauge or larger wire and jumper (touch to) both of large bolt terminals on the solenoid. Does the starter motor turn? If YES, problem is either ignition switch, solenoid or something in safety circuit. If NO, I'd again verify battery, check wiring leaving the battery, suspect something in the starter motor itself.

If you know/understand the mower's electrical starter circuit, and own a 12 volt test instrument (meter or light probe), troubleshooting is easy. For this type of testing I prefer the 12 volt light probe .... looks like ice pick with light bulb inside handle, one wire lead w/alligator clip extending from the handle's top. (To reach all circuit test points you may have to lengthen this lead).

Clip negative lead of meter or probe's wire to negative terminal of battery. Take meter's positive lead or tip of probe and touch battery's positive terminal .... should see meter reading or light on probe's handle.

While HOLDING ignition key in "start" position, test for voltage at the starter. If you HAVE voltage at starter cable terminal, suspect something in the starter motor itself. If NO, still holding key in ignition mode, test for voltage at both "large bolt" (large diameter wire) terminals of starter solenoid. If you find voltage ONLY on the "battery" lead or input terminal side, but not terminal/wire going to the starter motor, problem is either ignition switch not pulling solenoid in, a bad solenoid or something making up the safety circuit.

I've seen corrosion on internal contacts of ignition switches and solenoids act as you describe. Also a loose or corroded wire plug connector will act the same way.

Back of ignition switch has two or more terminals. One terminal is for incoming 12 volts to the switch, another is "out" to the starter solenoid. Trace wiring to find these terminals. With key "off", check for voltage at the incoming terminal. YES, than turn key to "ignition" and check for voltage out to solenoid. NO .... switch is bad or something in safety circuit is "open". YES, than cycle key "off" than "ignition" ... does solenoid "click" ? NO ..... check wiring from switch to solenoid ..... or suspect bad solenoid.

Once you know the function of each switch terminal it can be further checked using a meter. If you now suspect something in the safety circuit, don't ASSUME anything. You must check and recheck wiring, switches, jumpers you've installed around these switches, any wire connections and don't forget those plug connectors.
 
  #3  
Old 04-21-08, 07:42 AM
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Well, I would say it was the battery but the lights are as bright as can be. Does this even matter though if it's defective? Solenoid is clicking which means the ignition switch is getting juice to it, right?
 
  #4  
Old 04-21-08, 05:19 PM
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Post model number of your machine. It is located under the seat and begins with 917.

Get the battery tested. A bad cell will light the lights but will not turn a starter.

Remove the ground wire from the battery and frame. Clean the cable and each point of contact with sandpaper. Do the same thing with the positive cable from the battery to solenoid and the red cable from the solenoid to the starter.
 
  #5  
Old 04-21-08, 06:00 PM
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Got it!

The gear from the starter was stuck with the gear from the motor. Once I was able to free it (by hand) it turned right over! I had been dethatching so I probably got some dirt in there which made it stick. Thanks to all who tried.
 
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