80's Craftsman Lawn Tractor does not start

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  #1  
Old 05-20-11, 12:25 PM
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80's Craftsman Lawn Tractor does not start

I have read through several threads but not been able to figure out a solution, so I am hoping starting a thread and getting the community's help will enable me to fix the problem. And the problem is: The lawn tractor I inherited from the previous tenent will not start. When the key is turned, it may act for a second or two like it may go, but that doesn't last long. Any subsequent attempt results in a clicking (from the solonoid, I think). I have also observed now the headlight no longer works.

The lawn tractor is a Craftsman 12 HP overhead valve 4 cycle Electronic ignition. I have replaced the battery, the soloniod, the spark plug.

I appreciate any suggestions that get this beast back to working order. Thank you.
 
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Old 05-20-11, 01:07 PM
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check for good clean connections on battery , solenoid and starter. Try a jumper wire from the battery to the solenoid small connector and see if it cranks over ok.
 
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Old 05-20-11, 01:18 PM
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I'll re-check the connections. Please excuse my in-experience - are you saying a jumper wire from the Positive of the battery to the white wire (crimp connection) terminal of the solonoid?
______

Ok, tried the wire bypass, same result. Only the clicking noise. I checked and celaned all the connedtions, still just the clicking noise.
 

Last edited by spotspeaker; 05-20-11 at 02:29 PM.
  #4  
Old 05-20-11, 06:11 PM
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The clicking is caused by low voltage. Sounds like your battery is low/dead.
 
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Old 05-20-11, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by spotspeaker View Post
I'll re-check the connections. Please excuse my in-experience - are you saying a jumper wire from the Positive of the battery to the white wire (crimp connection) terminal of the solonoid?
______

Ok, tried the wire bypass, same result. Only the clicking noise. I checked and celaned all the connedtions, still just the clicking noise.
that should rule out the safety switches. Could be bad starter or bad connection from battery to solenoid or solenoid to starter or bad main grounding of battery to frame. Couple things I'd try. If you have a booster cable you could jump from battery positive directly to starter post. If it cranks then starter good , if not bad starter or still possibly bad main ground. If you can use an ohmmeter you could remove both large cables from the solenoid and check that you get 0 resistance when you hear the click. If not then solenoid is not closing it's internal switch.
 
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Old 05-21-11, 08:34 AM
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I have cleaned every connection I could find. From the switch to the cable ends, to grounds ... My battery is reading 12v, my test from frame and solonoid is reading 12v.
I tried to jump from the battery to the solenoid, just get clicking in solonoid. Tried to jump from battery to where the positive wire from solonoid connects in the engine (I assume that is the starter) and it just sparks. What I don't know is where the frame connection is for (what I assume is) the starter. That could be gunked up. I also tried to get a voltage reading from the spark plug wire and got nothing.

I appreciate the suggestions, please keep 'em coming.

3 hours later... I even tried to jump start it from the car. It still is just the solonoid clicking (I can feel it vibrate in my hand). This is the second replacement solonoid, by the way. Again, any advice is appreciated.
 

Last edited by spotspeaker; 05-21-11 at 11:01 AM.
  #7  
Old 05-21-11, 10:03 PM
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Try measuring the voltage at the starter with the negative lead on the engine itself, not the battery.
 
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Old 05-22-11, 04:59 AM
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Where would I find that negative lead?
 
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Old 05-22-11, 08:51 AM
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The negative lead of the voltmeter.
 
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Old 05-22-11, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cheese View Post
The negative lead of the voltmeter.
And that connects where on the tractor?
 
  #11  
Old 05-22-11, 01:37 PM
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The engine. Touch it to a bare metal part of the engine.
 
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Old 05-31-11, 02:12 PM
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UPDATE:
Still not working.
Here's the latest - took a week to get a new starter. Put that in, turn the key, and all I get is the (expletive deleted) clicking. Only this time the clicking only lasts a couple seconds, then there is nothing.
Not that I was a fountain of ideas to begin with, but I am stumped.

In summary: all connections cleaned, battery new, cables test OK, solenoid replaced, starte replaced. Grass, about 12 inches high.

Thanks for your ideas!
 
  #13  
Old 05-31-11, 06:15 PM
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can you turn the engine by hand? heard about someone with similar problem. Engine was seized so would not turn. I have one like that from my daughter's neighbour. Blew apart the starter magnets when he tried to start it.
 
  #14  
Old 06-01-11, 02:09 PM
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Yes, the flywheel turns by hand. The challenge appears to be getting power to the starter.
 
  #15  
Old 06-01-11, 05:44 PM
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Might try:
Lawn Mower and Small Engine Repair
Scroll down to part about Starters; there is a diagram there and trouble shooting steps to accompany. A bit easier than typing everything out.
Please post back with final solution so the board can learn.
 
  #16  
Old 06-01-11, 09:04 PM
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Still awaiting voltage readings...
 
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