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2003 Craftsman riding mower won't start

daronson's Avatar

Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 394

05-04-15, 11:39 AM   #1  
2003 Craftsman riding mower won't start

When I turn the key, nothing happens at all. Well, when I turn the key 1 notch (lights), the lights come on and I hear a click. Turning to On, nothing, and turning to crank, nothing.

Since last batter was replaced in 2006, my first ASSumption was dead battery. Wrong. SO I now have a new battery! Second guess would be solenoid. I was going to test the solenoid with my multimeter, but had to pull the battery out to get to the solenoid, as it's under the battery mounting plate on the inside of the frame. Is there a way to test the solenoid with battery disconnected? Based upon age of mower, would solenoid be the probable cause?

Other causes, in my limited mind, would be fuse, ignition switch, or operator safety sensor.

Please advise, as I don't want to order the solenoid unless it is the most probable, or definite cause.


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aka pedro's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,338

05-04-15, 12:56 PM   #2  
I'm guessing the click is just a light relay. After the battery, personally, the solenoid would probably be about the last thing I would consider. More likely a loose ground or other connector or interlock, in my opinion. I like to have the wiring diagram handy, and would expect to find interlocks for the seat, blade or pto lever, and drivetrain, whether brake or clutch pedal or transmission. Sometimes it's a sticky or defective switch, and sometimes it's something like a bent or worn or bent bracket. And I usually start with a 12 volt test light as opposed to a meter, just because it's easier to get a "go" or "no go" in a tight space. With all body parts clear of belts, pulleys, blades, or anything else that could hurt you if it decides to start, have someone in the seat turn the key to start and see if you have voltage at the smaller terminal on the starter. If so, the problem is in the starter; otherwise work your way back toward the switch, and see where the power stops.

cheese's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 16,570

05-04-15, 04:32 PM   #3  
The click is the fuel solenoid onthe carb. If you turn the key to start with the park brake on, there should be power to the solenoid trigger wire. If not, you have another problem. If there is power there and it doesn't engage, the solenoid is bad. Check that and post results.

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