MTD lawn tractor won't start

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  #1  
Old 07-07-14, 08:18 PM
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MTD lawn tractor won't start

Hello! MTD lawn tractor, model 13AX605H730, suddenly stopped starting a couple of days ago. At the beginning of this spring I had to jump start it the first time to get it going, and then it's been fine since then with no starting issues until a couple of days ago. The engine is a Kohler SV590.

The tractor has a battery voltage display, and it is reading ~11-12 with the key in the ACC/ON positions. When I turn the key to the Start position, the voltage drops to ~7. I hear a click from the solenoid underneath the seat, and that's all that happens. I've tried jumping it again with no change in its behavior. The solenoid still clicks, and the voltage display still drops to ~7 with the key turned to Start and the jumper cables hooked up.

How do I go about determining if the problem is with the battery, cables, solenoid, starter, etc.?
 
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Old 07-14-14, 11:47 AM
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Anyone have a suggestion for me for troubleshooting this myself?
 
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Old 07-14-14, 11:18 PM
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Can you turn the engine by hand? Have you tapped on the side of the starter? (don't)
 
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Old 07-15-14, 05:25 AM
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I haven't tapped on the side of the starter. I don't know how to try to turn the engine by hand. Is that a process that's easy to explain? I assume it involves pushing or pulling on a certain part of the engine?
 
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Old 07-15-14, 12:03 PM
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Rotate the screen on top of the engine clockwise with your palm.
 
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Old 07-16-14, 06:43 AM
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I cannot rotate the engine by hand. This is what I tried to rotate.
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Old 07-16-14, 09:21 AM
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Is the engine out of oil? Does the screen move at all or is it frozen in place?
 
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Old 07-16-14, 03:20 PM
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The screen does not move at all. The engine is not out of oil. The oil level is in the middle of the hash mark section on the dipstick.
 
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Old 07-16-14, 03:33 PM
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I just took the blower housing off, and I think I discovered the problem. Not sure how to fix it though. See the pictures below. The two gears are not meshed together, but the smaller one is a bit slanted and is sitting underneath the larger one.

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Old 07-16-14, 03:44 PM
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I think the drive pinion and the ring gear only mesh during the cranking process; by design.
 
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Old 07-16-14, 04:05 PM
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I was wondering about that. I just broke the two gears free from each other, and the smaller one (I'm assuming that's the "ring gear"?) is now sitting noticeably lower than the larger one. I can lift the smaller one up so it meshes with the larger one, but when I let go it drops right back down to a lower level than the larger one. I was wondering if that meant it was defective, or if it was by design and the smaller one rises up to meet the larger one once the starter kicks on. I guess I'll go put it all back together and try starting it again to see what happens.
 
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Old 07-16-14, 05:04 PM
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The smaller gear (bendix gear/starter gear)is setup on a spiral on the starter shaft. The starter spins and the spiral drives the bendix up the shaft to engage the ring gear (flywheel ring gear).

When the engine starts the drive from the starter is cut off as you let off the start switch/button and the ring gear drives the bendix back down the spiral on the starter shaft.

The normal position of the two gears would be to be separated

Just about all electric starters are setup like that.
 
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Old 07-16-14, 06:34 PM
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Sweet! I just learned something new! Thanks for explaining how that works.

Good news - my mower is back in business! Thank you all for your assistance in getting this resolved.

One question - any ideas why the two got stuck in the first place? Just a random occurrence, or does it point to a greater issue that will eventually require replacement of one of the related parts?
 
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Old 07-16-14, 08:55 PM
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It just happened to engage wrong. It is made so that this doesn't happen, but sometimes with a little rust, the wrong angle, and the force that it kicks up with, it just happens. It might never happen again.
 
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