Lawn tractor starter: how to determine if it's weak?

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  #1  
Old 04-24-16, 08:31 AM
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Lawn tractor starter: how to determine if it's weak?

I have a 14-year-old MTD lawn tractor with a B&S 16.5 engine using SAE 30 oil.

The starter often cranks slowly in certain situations - like when the engine temperature is below 55F or if I try to re-start it while the engine is at operating temperature.

For instance, when I try a warm or hot start, the starter will turn the engine a partial revolution, then halt for 1/2 to 1 second, turn a partial again, halt again, then finally the engine will start.

I want to know if there's a way to tell if it is a weak starter before I spend $90 on a new one.

Thank you!
 
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Old 04-24-16, 08:41 AM
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I'd start by ruling out other common causes for those symptoms like a weak battery (especially one with a bad cell), corroded, dirty or loose connection between battery and solenoid, solenoid and starter, battery and ground, and engine and ground. Even a bad solenoid can cause this.

You could clean and tighten all the cables, inspecting them for damage. They try another battery or jump from a car. Finally you can use a jumper cable to jump across the solenoid to rule that out.

It's also possible that an engine problem is responsible, but start with the easy stuff.
 
  #3  
Old 04-24-16, 09:00 AM
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Make sure any belts being driven from engine have sufficient slack when the starter is trying to spin the engine on starting, so the engine isn't driving any loads .
 
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Old 04-24-16, 10:00 AM
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CarbideTipped and beelzebob, thank you for your replies - good answers from you both.

The battery and its connections are known to be good, but the other things I hadn't thought about.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 10:51 AM
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16.5 HP Briggs..??? Is this any chance OHV? Model #?
 
  #6  
Old 04-24-16, 11:45 AM
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16.5 HP Briggs..??? Is this any chance OHV? Model #?
Yes, it's a Briggs.

I don't think it's OHV. The manual says nothing about OHV and the mower is at my other home so I can't go and look at it. I guess I don't know how exactly an OHV 2-cylinder engine is configured.

Model 463707 Type 2238E1 Code 0202045A

Are you asking because of a possible (too high) compression issue?
 
  #7  
Old 04-24-16, 01:09 PM
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Adjust the valves. The clearance is too much and it's not letting the compression release work properly. It's required periodic maintainence that I'm betting hasn't been done in several years if at all.
 
  #8  
Old 04-24-16, 01:48 PM
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I don't think this is an OHV engine. If that's true, the valves are not adjustable, right?
 
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Old 04-24-16, 05:18 PM
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You will need to post the model number of the engine for us to know... we still are guessing at what you have, which makes it hard to diagnose.

If it's a twin opposed engine, then it is not OHV and the problem is very likely the starter because these engines are tough on starters, but I'm not going to keep guessing until we know what engine you have, there are too many possibilities depending on what you have.
 
  #10  
Old 04-24-16, 05:25 PM
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OP posted model no a few posts ago....it's a twin opposed.
 
  #11  
Old 04-24-16, 05:29 PM
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Hi cheese, thank you for your help. The model number is in post #6 and again here:

Model 463707 Type 2238E1 Code 0202045A - I think it's a twin opposed engine...
 
  #12  
Old 04-24-16, 09:50 PM
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??? did you edit it in there... I remember reading that post but I didn't see the model numbers... am I losing it? Sorry if it was already there and I missed it.

Anyway, you are correct... that engine doesn't have OHV. If you have your connections clean and tight and the battery is good, then the starter likely has a worn bushing in the drive end. It's a common problem and what happens is the gear pushes the end of the starter away from the flywheel and the armature starts rubbing the field magnets in the starter case, causing a drag and loss of power. You can replace the end cap itself or take it to a starter shop and have a new bushing put in. There are other possibilities but this is the most likely.
 
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