Deere LX176 woes

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  #1  
Old 03-22-14, 06:21 PM
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Deere LX176 woes

Hello everyone! Hope all are still dwelling well here in the tunnels of DIY Pretty dark down this deep

Ok to the point, what brings me back around in priority is, I am now an owner of a JD LX176. I found it at a shop not far from me, actually the biz name and such was bought from a friend of mine and a guy I used to work with/for. Damn shame this new guy got to keep the name.

So in trouble shooting this thing, I have checked the seat switch, it is firm and mounted, I need to meter it though. The parking brake handle is broken and inop, but it still cranks...so...that switch should not be a factor??? Since it is not fuel (or seems not to be) fuel solenoid is out. Oil pressure switch? Just thought of that one but this mower has no light for it...only charge...??? It does have full level of nice clean oil in it. The high tension lead is a bit loose fitting to the new plug and it is a spring not a clamp ...still I don't think that is normally a dead in the water issue...more like a gremlin thing. The PTO dropping out and mower keep running had me thinking maybe charging, so possibly coil..However, in all my time I have never replaced a coil on a kawa of that vintage anyway...??? I am suspecting the Ignition module and at one time found a test for it but can't find it after being out of all this for a few years.
They still run about 60-70 bux for OEM?
Ok after an hour or mowing and dying in middle of yard, then about an hour fooling around with it and now another hour typing this novel lol, just went out and fired it right up and parked it....
So cheese, Tech...anyone...should I toss the 70 bux at it for an OEM Module? or do some testing on the mag?



So I go check this mower out first time and it is buried in his shop with 3 or 4 others he says are for sale. Still Feb. in the PNW so, maybe he a slow starter. Regardless, these older JD's are getting hard to find in one piece and for sale anymore so I wanted it if it checked out. So I go to have a look and open the hood...of course he is right there to be quick and catch it as it almost falls off...but typical POS plastic jd hood. With the hood up I notice the Kawa 14 right off and try to keep any glimmer in my eyes darkened. FC420V-AS10 OHV and not the ones I have more experience on, the L-Head and if I remember, those did not have a pressurized oil system...??? This one does either way so...possibly another plus. I start poking around a bit, engine itself looks somewhat clean like someone has at least been there recently. He starts talking about just having done 400$ worth of service to it, and he is selling it for a customer and has no gain or investment in it. As I am noticing dry old grass still laying in the steering column, on top of the deck and all the likely other places it gathers...I start fading a bit...but still giving it a benefit of a doubt considering parts possibly. However giving the service bill he claimed and him selling it for a customer, stated bottom dollar was $675. Hmmmmmm bit high considering I am looking at it and know what I am looking at, but not outlandish.
Something I did not really think of at the time was that he is in a smallish town, but no where to discard cleaned grass other than garbage or such...still all the grass left on the mower had not even been disturbed...I definitely know the hiding spots for grass clippings on riders. I could tell the deck had not been removed for any service, so no new belts, although what I could get to looked to be well serviceable. Said he sharpened the blades....yada yada...so when I asked when he could have it out for a test spin...he said just give him a day notice. K no worries...

Fast Fwd a month. My monthly swing shift week I stop in before work and see if he still has it, can I come look tomorrow etc. Fine ok. So I show up the next day at the agreed time...he finally has several mowers sitting out front, however the JD still same spot in shop. He fires it up in spot, engages blades quick back n forward idles, and turns it off. Hmmm ok! Well I want to test drive it so bit of shuffle and I back it out, take a spin, steering is a bit stiff but not loose, PTO takes right off no squeals or growls or major drop in engine RPM. Tranny worked quick and good and was ready to climb a 6" curb when I eazed up on it. Engine sounded right on no noise other than that kawa hmmmm and barely noticed the PTO or the curb.

So we seem to have Engine/Tranny/Frame all check. I can work with that and figure it will last me as long as I need. He is even going to deliver it for an additional 20 bux. SOLD!

After getting lost a couple times I meet him at a cross road and he drops off my new ride.
So he is barely out of the drive and I fire it up to chew some new virgin spring grass tops. After a bit the PTO drops out...hmmmm re engage and takes off continue on...happens again and I am thinking bumpy ground, I weight a buck n a quarter ok slow down. Seems better then it dies all together. Fires right back up and goes n mows. Few more times of each, even ran it out of gas then back in action after adding fuel. So I go out later to finish the almost 2 acres I mow and few more episodes and now it is dead atm. I have no spark.

Well this last bit was for the bored or interested I will go to the beginning and post about course of action
 
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  #2  
Old 03-23-14, 07:38 AM
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Sorting through this, you have a mower that mows for a while, then stops with no spark?

If this is the case, isolate the ignition from all the safety/ignition switches by going to the ignition module and disconnect the wire going back to the switch. From there, if it runs well the problem is switch/wiring related if not, check the ground and gap on the module and if good there, replace it.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 11:47 AM
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Since I am still able to crank the engine, I don't suspect switches or wiring, although not completely ruled out.
This is a Kawasaki engine on a John deere, it has a sealed electronic control unit that mounts on the shroud and is part of the ignition in addition to the coil/magneto you mention.
I did find tests for both the control unit and coil/mag


Two problems with these tests:
1. It needs to be in a no run state
2. The tests are not %100, it can test good and still be the source of the problem.

I was able to get the yard mowed and it is not urgent as of yet the grass is just waking up
I found a rotary #9334 (info on another forum from DIY's own 30yr tech ) aftermarket control unit for 12 bucks I think I will pick up and try. One small screw and one wire on the shroud and is worth having a spare if not the problem.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 02:27 PM
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The setup you are showing diagrams for has a coil and a CDI box. That would be similar to one you'd find on a number of atvs and motorcycles, etc. Essentially a module in a lot of small engines covers the same functions but in an integrated control package = ignition module.

Unless you have an advanced automotive type of control (ECM - and most aren't) the number of functions you can build into the control are limited to ignition. If the wiring goes directly to the switch from the control box, then what I described earlier should isolate the problem to either ignition or the safety/ignition switches. Since the coil function relies on the capacitor in the control box to operate in the same manner as a point/condenser/coil system, I doubt if the coil could be checked by simply disconnecting the coil from the box.

Unfortunately checking the resistance on a coil seems pointless since the resistance values change so much with operating temperature.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 05:03 PM
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marbobj, are you familiar with older Kawasaki powered John Deere's?
 
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Old 03-23-14, 05:57 PM
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What year range are you asking about - some more so than others. Kawasaki was an aircraft company that got into motorcycles sometime in the 1970s I believe. Then their motors showed up on mowers and other small engine applications. The motorcycle ignition was common as a separate coil and CDI box. The more current ones have more variations with advanced EMC type control boxes. Those more modern ones have gotten past me now.
 
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Old 03-23-14, 07:50 PM
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This model uses an igniter, not a CDI box. The tests should narrow down your problem. Usually I find that when the igniter is at fault, the engine still has spark, or intermittent spark at incorrect times as if the timing is off, causing backfiring and popping. Occasionally it will work fine, other times it pops and never starts. Usually when there is a complete lack of spark, it's the coil. Not always though.

That engine should be pressure lubed. They are tough. I still have an LX188 which is the same mower but with the 17hp water cooled twin cylinder kawi on it. Those LX series mowers from the 1990s were probably the peak of john deere quality.
 
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Old 03-24-14, 07:01 AM
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Thanks cheese,
The one time it did die and would not restart there was some popping and backfire.
Mowed with it again yesterday for about 15 minutes with no issues. Think I will start with the igniter

It does have the pressurized lube and OHV. Seems to run and mow fine (minus the one gremlin) just needs a bit of TLC.
I think I dun aight
 
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Old 03-24-14, 09:56 AM
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Yeah, if I had to guess, I'd say it was the igniter. I keep one in my tool box for testing purposes. I don't run into those mowers much anymore though.
 
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Old 03-24-14, 12:49 PM
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That Kaw igniter can be replaced with one from Rotary for about $15. Also I read somewhere that non resistor spark plugs can damage the igniter. Have a good one. Geo
 
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Old 03-24-14, 07:54 PM
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Others may have different results, but I never had any luck with the aftermarket igniters. I won't use them anymore. They might last a year, might last a month, might not even last an hour. Same with aftermarket coils. Have you been using them with success Geo? Just curious, if you have, I might try them again. It has been a few years since I last used one and they might have gotten better.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:06 AM
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I tried a Stens it lasted about a month, the Rotary has lasted several years of normal lawn use, I suspect the Stens failure may have been because of the non resistor plug. I'm just guessing, however for the price difference it was worth the try. Have a good one. Geo
 
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Old 04-08-14, 03:23 AM
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Hey geo and I will check and keep in mind about the plug.

New issue: Engine and all else doing fine but....

PTO drops out. Seems to want to re-engage with RPM drop briefly and slight squeal.

Battery static is 12.8 VDC, running I get 14.8 VDC. No load test on battery.

Clutch measures out at 3.4 ohms both ways.

Stubborn screw/bolt on steering wheel so could not access PTO switch yet.

So my thoughts:
Clutch likely ok.
Switch or battery, or connections....?
 
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Old 04-08-14, 10:59 PM
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Switch is likely, but connections are often a problem too, usually where the clutch connects to the harness.
 
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Old 04-09-14, 01:02 PM
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Idler spring for the deck belt broke
 
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Old 09-01-14, 09:10 PM
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Have you been using them with success Geo? Just curious, if you have, I might try them again. It has been a few years since I last used one and they might have gotten better.
I ordered a Rotary one just to have on hand for the next time it acted up. When it did, I changed it out, direct connect and it has lasted all summer and still going....FWIW

Az
 
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Old 09-02-14, 09:30 AM
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Success is a wonderful sound. Have a good one. Geo
 
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Old 09-02-14, 06:53 PM
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