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Thread: Lawn Tractor won't start

  1. #1
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    Mar 2010
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    Default Lawn Tractor won't start

    I have a Troy Bilt lawn tractor with a 18.5 hp Briggs engine.
    Getting it out to get ready to mow.

    It was deader than a doornail. Put the charger on but no good. Battery is a few years old so I bought a new one.
    Installed and still won't crank or turn over.
    Put the charger on again-nothing.

    I have a multi-meter but don't know a lot about what to do with it.
    I couldn't get a reading on DC volts or amps at the starter.
    Not 100% sure I was doing it right.
    Tried with the key off and on.
    Can I test the ignition?
    If so, how?

    Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot this are appreciated.
    Plato once said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools, because they have to say something.”

    "Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." "Men willingly believe what they wish to believe."
    Julius Caesar

  2. #2
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    Apr 2009
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    Illinois
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Davy Crockett View Post
    I have a Troy Bilt lawn tractor with a 18.5 hp Briggs engine.
    Getting it out to get ready to mow.

    It was deader than a doornail. Put the charger on but no good. Battery is a few years old so I bought a new one.
    Installed and still won't crank or turn over.
    Put the charger on again-nothing.

    I have a multi-meter but don't know a lot about what to do with it.
    I couldn't get a reading on DC volts or amps at the starter.
    Not 100% sure I was doing it right.
    Tried with the key off and on.
    Can I test the ignition?
    If so, how?

    Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot this are appreciated.
    Don't worry about the ignition just yet. First things first, will the engine roll over by hand? With the key out or battery disconnected, try to turn the crankshaft by hand. Assuming it turns, next CAREFULLY with a heavy gauge wire ( say 10-12 AWG solid, house wire ) touch very briefly between the positive terminal of the battery, and the LARGE post directly on the starter, this may create quite a spark, so don't freak out. You don't want to start it, you are more concerned that the starter is good, etc. Assuming it bumps the engine over, next for grins, make SURE everything is in the proper position to let it start. ( Gear shift in neutral, clutch or brake engaged, PTO disengaged, setting on the seat, etc....... ) You might want to run all the switches through a couple of times to make sure they didn't get a bit of corrosion over the winter.

    Try all of that, and if it still doesn't start with the key, get back to us. With all the safeties built in today, it can be an exercise in frustration to get the stupid thing turning over to start.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    24

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    Check the fuse. Most newer mowers have a 20 amp fuse in a holder near the battery.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the suggestions.
    Will get out in the morning.
    Might have to look for that fuse,though
    Plato once said, “Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools, because they have to say something.”

    "Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." "Men willingly believe what they wish to believe."
    Julius Caesar

  5. #5
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    Nov 2007
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    Northern Il
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    Probably in the fuel system. Fresh gas, clean carb etc, new ethanol/gas does not age well.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
    Probably in the fuel system. Fresh gas, clean carb etc, new ethanol/gas does not age well.
    LOL, better re-read the OP.

    If it won't turn over, fresh gas won't help........

  7. #7
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    Me, I'd start cleaning all termals/wires and check starter for corrosion
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
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  8. #8
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    On certain Troy Bilts, there is a relay under the seat, that if the mower is engaged, you can't start it. It cuts the power to the starter. Check that the mower isn't slipped into gear, and follow the good advice of PatDaley.

  9. #9
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    Nov 2007
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    Northern Il
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    Yep scanned it. Seat saftey relay is a good bet, then clean all terminals, especially the push together connections.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Every tractor has safety switches for gear and mower deck/power takeoff (safety circuits). Chances are it's an open in one of these. Use a test light or volt meter at the solenoid. This is the device were the big red cables and small wires come together. The small wires are usually 12 volts from the key switch, powering the solenoid coil and grounded through the safety switches. This switches the high current (big wires) between the battery and starter. The big cables are one from battery and one to the starter. Inspect these safety switches first for poor connections and corrosion. The first check is to listen or feel for the solenoid clicking. If you hear the click its likely cables connections or a starter. If you do hear a click cycle the switch a whole bunch of times because it could just be the solenoid contacts need some exercise to clean themselves. Make sure its out of gear with the mower deck/PTO disengaged and use a fused jumper connected to ground to bypass these circuits to diagnose. If it works with a ground jumper you can then start tracing down what is most likely to be a lack of ground to the solenoid caused by a safety switch or circuit. It’s important to look at wires. Any small wire that gets its insulation damaged, even a pin prick can go open and people tend to overlook this. Grasp both ends and pull on any suspect wires. Wires with corroded conducters will stretch and break. Good wires won’t.

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