No start issue, seems like no spark

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  #1  
Old 05-25-16, 07:57 PM
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No start issue, seems like no spark

Eager-1 (techumseh) motor on Craftsman push mower.
6.25hp, 185cc,
Model: 143.00620
Family: XTPXS.1851BA

I have a Craftsman push mower with a 6.25hp, 185cc motor. I believe it is a Techumseh Motor. It started right off the first couple times I used it this year. However, the last time I went to start it a couple days ago, it would not start. Not even an indication it wanted to.

In the past, it would only do this after it had been running a while and was hot. If I stopped it while hot, it would refuse to start until it cooled down. But now it won't start when cold whereas before it would almost always start first pull when cold.

So, I pulled the plug and there is gas in the cylinder and on the plug. I took some household electrical wire and grounded the plug to the block with the plug wire on the plug and I see no spark at all with the plug. I removed the kill switch wire from the magneto thinking it might be shorted as well and it still would not start. I installed a new spark plug and it still wont start and I still see no spark. I also removed the magneto, filed the mounting holes on the magneto and block to ensure a good connection and still nothing. So, I am thinking the Magneto is shot. I read somewhere that a motor that is hard to start or won't start when hot is a sign of a magneto going out as well.

Before I spring for a new magneto, is there anything else it could be? Is there any definitive way to test the magneto? Any suggestions on where to go from here?

And just to be sure everyone is on the same page, here is what I am calling the Magneto. It seems there are two or three common names (Coil for example) for this part and I didn't want any confusion.
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I pulled the flywheel tonight hoping to find some jacked up points but seems my mower doesn't have points so I am at a loss as to where to go from here. My thoughts are an issue with spark. I cannot see a spark when I turn it over and I even tried using myself as a spark meter. hahaha. It was hard to turn it over while holding the spark plug wire and touching the block at the same time but I did get a small jolt. Nothing like I expected however. Since there are no points, I am thinking it has to be a bad coil (magneto). But, I don't want to spring for a new one unless I know that is the problem. Does anyone have any further suggestions?

Here is a photo after I pulled the flywheel off expecting to find the points and condenser. So does this have electronic ignition? Or is that just a dumb question?
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  #2  
Old 05-25-16, 08:07 PM
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Even if you have spark, it won't start because the cylinder is gas washed & has no compression. Squirt a few drops of oil in the cylinder & spin the engine. Change the oil too. Then go back to the spark problem. I'm not quite sure that your grounding method was sufficient. It's better to lay the side of the plug on the block or the head. If you hold it with your hand, wear some rubber gloves. The spark should have a blue tint.
 
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Old 05-25-16, 09:21 PM
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It really isn't possible to "lay" the plug on the head or block due to the shroud. I will try putting a bit of oil in the cylinder and spinning it. I will have to put it back together and have some one pull the starter cord while I hold the plug to the block so I can check for spark a bit more reliably.
Oh, and does the lack of points and a condenser mean that I have "Solid State" ignition? If so, what does that tell me as far as trouble shooting goes.
Thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 05-25-16, 10:21 PM
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Yes you have Tech engine and no you don't have points on that newer engine.

Coils do go bad when they get hot. A good way to test that is when the mower dies is to hurry up and take the plug out and check for spark.

When you put the coil back on put a buisness card in between it and the flywheel magnets for the air gap. Is it possible that you have old gas in the tank or water in the bowl of the carb ??
 
  #5  
Old 05-26-16, 07:10 AM
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No, it was fresh gas. I am running my riding mower on the same batch and the mower did run fine the first time this spring. Then it started fine the second time but when I accidentally let it stop while mowing it would not restart, which was a common issue. I have not been able to restart it since, cold or hot.
Since I cannot even get it started any more, it is impossible to check for spark while hot and since I can't seem to get spark while cold, it doesn't really matter.
So, since I don't have points and a condenser, is there anything else the lack of spark could be from other than the coil? And with the engine cuttoff switch wire disconnected, it can't be that.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 11:07 AM
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Well, I ordered this coil from Ebay. I should have it in a week. I will post back to let you all know if it solves my issues. Thanks for all the replies.

Ignition Coil Tecumseh LEV100 LEV115 LEV120 LV148A LV195EZ OVRM105 OVRM120 Eng | eBay
 
  #7  
Old 05-26-16, 12:38 PM
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If you have an on/off thing with the spark it would be there when cold and not when hot. So if you know you don't have a spark when cold you probably have a bad coil if........

1. You have the kill wire disconnected when checking (those two little electrical connection male ends have a little wire hooked to them - disconnect there)

2. You have the spark plug grounded and the plug is good. It's best to check for spark in a dark area, like a garage and the doors shut. It makes it a lot easier to see the spark.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 01:01 PM
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Yes, as stated in my original post, I did disconnect the kill switch wire from the coil and still no love. I am going to commandeer my wife to pull the cord while I manually ground the plug to the block and watch for spark...it was really difficult to do alone. But, anyway, I have a new coil on the way. For $15, I don't mind throwing a part at the problem when I am relatively sure that is the problem.
Thanks,
Bruce
 
  #9  
Old 05-26-16, 01:29 PM
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Hopefully that will work for you, Bruce. There are a lot of posts about a new coil being bad so you never know.

If you can get it inside to check the spark, it makes a world of difference in seeing it.
 
  #10  
Old 05-26-16, 03:36 PM
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Yah, I have it in the garage now but just hard to check spark while holding the spark plug and pulling the starter cord...I think I will enlist the help of a family member tonight.
 
  #11  
Old 05-26-16, 03:48 PM
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You had the right idea with the electrical wire. My spark tester for well over 10 years now is a piece of lamp cord with two medium sized clamps (about the size you find on most battery chargers) Put one clamp on the threads of the plug, the other clamps inside the threads in the head, or a head bolt, plug in the high tension lead to the plug and pull. I can usually use the clamp and long enough high tension lead to get the plug around the side of the engine so I can see it while pulling the cord. As mentioned, doing it in a darkened area greatly helps.
 
  #12  
Old 06-02-16, 09:16 AM
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Problem Solved (Bad Ignition Coil replaced)

OK, just to followup this thread. I hate it when someone asks for possible solutions and then never returns with a followup if it worked or not.

OK folks, the mail man dropped if off this morning, right on schedule. After finishing up a couple of chores, I went out to the garage to put it on the mower. I used the business card trick to gap it, and reassembled the rest of the mower. I set it out in the driveway, pumped the primer and pulled.

BINGO! First pull start.

This thing hadn't run for almost a month and had been taken apart 5 or 6 times in that span. It even seems to run with a little higher RPM which is awesome because it always seemed to run a bit low and have less power than I thought it should. The old coil clearly was the problem and looking back, it started going out 2-3 years ago. The tell tale sign was the fact that it didn't want to restart after it had warmed up and then shut down. Eventually, it just got to a point that it wouldn't start at all any more. The lack of spark or weak spark were further signs of a bad coil.

Here is a link to the part (Ignition Coil) I bought off ebay: Ignition Coil Tecumseh LEV100 LEV115 LEV120 LV148A LV195EZ OVRM105 OVRM120 Eng | eBay

And here is a video of the first pull start.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFnPVFe1nTQ THanks to everyone who contributed their knowledge and ideas.
 
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