How to diagnose starter problems


Old 06-17-01, 07:36 AM
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I have a Tecumseh with the following specs:
17.5 Overhead valve..Enduro XL/C
Engine Number OHV175...Engine Family WTPXS4902A
Displacement 490
DOM 88342....................................

I am new to this forum and I appreciate and respect the knowledge of those are willing to share what they Know. Having said that...I have a Murray 46" riding lawnmower with the engine as indicated above (I know....I made a mistake buying a Murray). I have replaced the battery, selonid and fuses. The starter does not turn over(or whatever the language is)I only hear what appears to be the solonoid clicking. I was able to manually turn the main pully and try to start and sometime it works. However now I am dead in the water. How can I determine if it is in fact the starter and If it is can I rebuild it (if its not too complicated) A new one cost about $115.00 and I just do not have that at the moment. I someone could PLEASE HELP I will appreciate it. If I can't get this grass cut soon I am going to have to hire someone to bushhog it. The house is on three acres in the country.

Thank you very very much and I look forward to hearing from someone as soon as possiblel. Please excuse my sense of urgency but I am up to my rear in grass and grass has never did anything for me but give me problems.


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Old 06-17-01, 08:05 AM
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Hello and Welcome Luggage to the Do It Yourself Web Site and thanks for posting a question in my Small Engine forum.

The most likely problem, based on the information posted is a weak or dam near dead battery. Reason said the engine starts when done by hand.

YES. I know you stated the battery is new. However, any HUGE battery power drain will cause a new or undercharged new battery to cause the problem your discribing. Therefore, be postive the new battery is FULL charged.

Additional points.
You'll need to check the ignition switch. It may have burned-up contacts, poor connections or bad grounding, etc.

Check for continuity at all electrical connects. Check for electrical shorts throughout the entire starter circuit. From the ignition switch to the starter. Take notes and Skip nothing!

If the actual starter motor is suspected of being the cause, remove it and either take it to any lawn mower shop or electric motor repair shop for testing. It may have a short within the windings.

Hope this info helps.

Two other BTW points:
You did not necessarily make an error buying a Murray.
You said grass urgency?
Depends on what type of GRASS you got...hahaha...

Good Luck,
Accurate Power Equipment Company.
Small Engine Service and Repair Technician.
Personal Quote:
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it until it is broken!"
Bare in mind my company no longer services nor repairs lawn and garden powered equipment. Rest assured and fully confident, the help I offer you is based upon my prior years in this industry, with this type of equipment and is specific and accurate...
Old 06-18-01, 06:05 AM
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If you suspect the starter itself, sometimes giving it a tap with a hammer on the body of it(not going ape on it) will bring it back if something is jammed inside. Happens on auto starters all the time.

Many times, if you take that unit to a starter/alternator rebuilder, even an automotive one, they can fix it quite reasonably.

If you are REALLY handy, you can probably service the starter yourself if you have a manual or something to guide you . I have rebuilt auto alternators on my own with the help of one of the guys at work in Engineering. On my old GM's, it's pretty easy once you have done one or two of them.

Good luck.

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