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Craftsman Rider Won't Start


Rattletech's Avatar
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06-16-09, 03:59 AM   #1  
Craftsman Rider Won't Start

1999 Craftsman 16hp Koeler engine, serial# 917.271070

I've read through many of the posts here looking for help on my problem. I have seen many similar things, especially about bad solenoids. I haven't gotten my mower to start again so I'm starting a new thread with where I stand. Thanks in advance for any help.

I was mowing and turned the lawn tractor off for a minute. When I went to restart it, it sounded like it was turning over for just a second then nothing. Turning the key after that gave nothing, no sound at all.

I verified the blades are not engaged when the handle is down and do engage when I set the blade handle up which is proper. The kill switch under the seat was removed years ago when it went bad and a repair place sold me a new one that did not work properly so the 2 wires were simply wired together by and that safety permanently bypassed. There was never a problem with this over the years and I verified that that connection was not broken.

I checked the white wire to the solenoid and got 3.4 volts. I then tried to jumper the 2 posts on the solenoid and got a quiet humming noise, but it did not try to turn over. I checked the battery and got 10.4v coming off of the battery.

I replaced the 5 amp fuse although it did not look bad. I then trickle charged the battery and replaced the solenoid. I cleaned the battery terminals. Putting the battery back in and hooking up the new solenoid the same way the old one was set up, I now get a louder grinding type buzzing noise. The noise is coming from the new solenoid, not the starter.

I did forget to check the volts coming out of the battery after I charged it though. Just now thought about that. I also need to check for 12 volts at the white wire on the new solenoid when I get home today. Any ideas on what to do next?

 
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06-16-09, 07:41 AM   #2  
Take your battery out & have it tested with a load tester.. A volt meter will show you a surface charge, but you need to put a load on the battery to check it under operating conditions.... Sounds like the battery has came to the end of it's life... Load test it to be sure....Roger

 
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06-16-09, 07:44 AM   #3  
Make sure you are getting 12v at the solenoid on the white wire. Check the starter drive gear and see if it is engaged with the flywheel. If so you may be able to spin the engine by hand enough for it to drop out. Could also check the connection at the starter make sure its clean and tight.
Make sure your battery also charged and is holding, you should have around 12.5to 13v.
If none of that gets you going, post back with your findings and someone will help you continue.

 
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06-16-09, 08:18 AM   #4  
I've never had the least trouble with the battery or normal starting. I guess I was used to the normal weak or hard to start battery is dieing type problem. Could a battery just go from starting, then 30 minutes later nothing? And also, can a bad battery give me the starter type grinding noise that seems to be coming from the solenoid now? I'll try the things listed as soon as I get off work. I just didn't know a battery could cause those types of conditions, but it was definitely on my list of things that might be wrong.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I'll post back later.

 
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06-16-09, 08:33 AM   #5  
If your starter is in a bind and can not spin when voltage is applied then you have a lot of amps trying to do some work with no place to go, kinda like you trying to push a brick wall...you would likely grunt and groan a bit too
If your battery is not charging or will not hold a charge, then running it for 30 minutes could drain it to the point where it will not spin the engine especially on compression stroke. If your starter is free, even with a low battery it will usually engage the flywheel and try to turn the engine.
It could still be the starter as well but they usually do not go out that often.

 
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06-16-09, 08:47 AM   #6  
Outstanding. Thank you very much for the quick reply and clarification. I'm very glad I found this forum. I've already found a ton of good information I can most likely use later. It's just nice to know there's so many good folks out there still...

 
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06-16-09, 09:07 AM   #7  
How old is the battery? If it is more than 2 years old, you are running on borrowed time. A good fully charged battery wil show 14.5 volts.
And yes, a low battery can cause the grinding noise coming from the soleniod. The battery does not have enough power to fully engage the solenoid. the noise is the soleniod trying to engage, but is getting stuck half way there.

 
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06-16-09, 09:27 AM   #8  
If it is simply a battery problem it can be confirmed by jumping from a known good static battery,or try leaving the charger on while attempting to start only to check for operation.

If your buzzing is more of a continuous clicking than a hmmm then your new solenoid could be chattering and indy stated. If you hear it click in then buzz or hmmmm, that sounds to me like it is latching and the problem is down line...

please let us know either way

 
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06-16-09, 04:57 PM   #9  
Yay

Thanks guys. Everything is gold now. I bought a new battery and dropped it in and it started right up. I was curious and put the old solenoid back on and nothing again. No sounds even. So I learned a few things about solenoids and batterys from this. I really can't complain though, that 16hp Koeler Craftsman has been an awesome mower for me through the years. Thanks again! Kam

 
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06-16-09, 05:01 PM   #10  
Oh yeah, the battery turned out to be 5 years old. It's the only battery I bought after the original in the 10.5 years I've had the mower. I didn't realize it had been that long. It was the gold heavy duty one Sears sells though. It's funny, I came home with the new one and they are the exact same battery. Guess I'm consistant.

 
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06-16-09, 06:22 PM   #11  
Posted By: Rattletech Oh yeah, the battery turned out to be 5 years old. It's the only battery I bought after the original in the 10.5 years I've had the mower. I didn't realize it had been that long. It was the gold heavy duty one Sears sells though. It's funny, I came home with the new one and they are the exact same battery. Guess I'm consistant.
Glad you got it and it was just routine maintenance however I would wonder about your charger and or connections and here is why:
I maintain three riding mowers to mow the 3 acres of my property that I do mow. My newest battery is 5 years old, my oldest is 14 years old. They do run down severely during the winter and even during the summer if not used once or more a week. However none of them, not one, fail to start the mower after charging a sufficient amount of time and leaving the charger turned on until it fires. Not all battery chargers will stay on during this but my lil trickle charger does. It is possible for batteries to short out between the plates which will render it basically dead, however I have rarely ran accross this. I know some of the cheap 25$ batteries from NAPA are junk and have only got one season out of them from some mowers but that was a few years back and have not seen that so much if at all since.
You do get what you pay for in batteries, my 14 yr old battery is an Interstate, I have a Die Hard that is 8 yrs old and a cheap walmart 3 1/2 x 6" walmart battery for a walk behind that is 5 yrs old and starts a 15.5 OHV briggs

Sorry for my long winded commentary however if you simply replace batteries because of their due date, not only are you spending money needlessly, you are also creating landfill that does not go away.

 
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06-16-09, 08:39 PM   #12  
This type of battery usually comes with a 1 season warranty. This is due to being used for the summer, put up for the winter and the "typical" consumer does not do this correctly.
These batteries, when properly maintained, can last for years.
My last tractor used the same battery that my snowmobile used. I just swapped between the 2 (I only used the tractor for mowing) and got 12 years out of the battery just by using it all the time.

 
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06-16-09, 08:51 PM   #13  
Posted By: indypower1 How old is the battery? If it is more than 2 years old, you are running on borrowed time. A good fully charged battery wil show 14.5 volts.
Borrowed time and 14.5V on a static battery...just has me going

No absolutes bro and 14.5V on a 12V battery...??? how is it supposed to receive a charge if the charging system is only meant to deliver 13.5 to 15V?

No absolutes specially when them pesky electrons/gremlins are involved.
Beer 4U2

 
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06-17-09, 11:29 PM   #14  
A 'proper' fully charged battery reads 12.6v. Most chargers apply an over charge, and this pushes the voltage up. YOu should never let abttery up beyond 14.4, and this should be impossible anyway since all regulators are 14.4v.

 
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