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Tom Deutsch

bad starter?

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Tom Deutsch
Let me say first that I'm not a mechanic, so please excuse my poor terminology. Last time I started my D/A 917 (Series II), at first the starter didn't engage, just got a "fan" kind of sound. Bumped the key again and it kicked over and ran fine. Last night, no such luck; just kept whirring as if the starter wasn't attached to anything.:(! I tried moving the position of the engine crank (by grabbing and turning the shaft that protrudes from the front of the engine) but I couldn't find a position where the starter would "grab". ? Do I simply have a dead starter? Anybody encountered this before with the KT17 II? I also notice that my headlights want to flicker on and off, which I can make happen just by banging the hood. Seemed to crop up at the same time as the starting problem -- related or just coincidence? ? In the short term, can I fit a pulley to that front shaft and rope start it? Any advice as to size and where to buy such a pulley? I need advice quick -- a bunch of kids coming over Sunday and my wife has promised them a hayride:o) Thanks!

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HubbardRA
Tom, Yes, you can start it with a rope on a pulley. I started a 16 Hp Kohler K341 quite a few times before I finally fixed the starter. I would put a 5 or 6 inch pulley on the shaft, then grind a notch in one side to hold the end rope as you wind it. The rope should have a knot on the end that drops in this notch. I bought the pulley that I have on the shaft of my 716H (that drives the belt for my snowblower) at a local hardware store. They carry a selection of pulleys and idlers. As for the starter, I would remove it and check to see why it isn't engaging. It may just need a little cleaning and lubrication on the spiral cut shaft that spins the gear out. Also you may have half the teeth worn off the gear, if it is a plastic gear. A common problem with some starters. Also try jump starting the engine from a car battery. Some starters will not fully engage unless the battery is fully charged. They need the full voltage to spin the starter fast enough to make the gear engage. A partially charged battery won't make them engage. There may be a spring on the starter to prevent engagement at slower speeds. You could also try removing the spring if it has one. Hope this helps.

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Ronald Hribar
I would check out battery connections first. Both the connections on the battery and the ends of the cables. . One the ground is on the motor, the other the positive cable is on the solenoid behind the battery. If you have a battery charger, put the charger on the battery, preferably on a low charge. Watch how long it takes to charge battery. Could be indication that charging system is/was not working. This is the easiest and cheapest option. It is also a basic check.

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Tom Deutsch
Thanks, all! I'm going to try the pulley and rope start method until I get time to pull the engine and fix the starter. I'll also throw the charger on first to rule out a low-power problem. :I:IImportant but embarrassing question -- which way do I pull? If I'm looking at the front of the tractor and I mount the pulley on the front shaft, do I want to make it rotate clockwise or counter?:I:I

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HubbardRA
Tom, I'm not totally sure, but I think it is counter-clockwise when looking at the front. I do know for sure that the pulley on the BGB that drives the belt to the tranny rotates clockwise when looking at it from the right side of the tractor. You can rotate this pulley clockwise and see which direction the driveshaft turns.

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HubbardRA
Just go with what Bob said. Clockwise from the driver's seat (looking at the fan), counterclockwise looking at the engine from in front of the tractor. It shouldn't hurt the engine if you turn it the wrong way. It could fire and pop backward and hurt your arm or pull the rope out of your hands. I used to start a Gravely walk behind with a strap. It was common for them to pop backward and jerk me over onto the tractor or pull the strap handle out of my hands. Had many a sore finger from starting that one. It was so nice when my Grandpa finally put an electric starter on it. I had a bad starter on a Sears Suburban and started it for several years by wrapping a rope around the flywheel pulley for the starter-generator. My 61 wards has an extra piece that bolts to the tranny drive pulley on the BGB that lets you wrap a rope on that shaft and start it from the BGB.

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Brent_Baumer
DON'T WRAP THE ROPE AROUND YOUR HAND FOR GRIP WHEN DOING THIS. I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Thank God the engine did not QUITE start due to resistance of my arm being yanked toward it very quickly!!! Very stupid move on my part.

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ambler
Just for yuks. Pull the shield down. Take screwdriver and wind out the gear exposing the spring throw. Take some penetrating oil and spray the shaft. My magnum does this in the winter. its dirt on th shaft.

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Roy
Ambler's suggestion is a good one but I would use "lock-Eze" instead of penetrating oil. The Lock-Eze liquid carrier will evaporate and leave dry graphite lube on the spiral starter drive. Dry lube keeps it "slick" without attracting dust/dirt to gum it up. My 2 cents,

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a-cman
Could also be an electrical connection problem. My Agco-Aliis 918H would do a similar thing, but if you wiggled the key switch or pushed inward hard on the key it would start. I found that the original key switch was a cheap plastic-bodied one a the plug on the back was no longer making good contact(plug was melting). I replaced the key switch with the new metal switch from Simplicity(actually the same Intak switch used in older units), and repaired the wiring and it has been fine since then.

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Al
Hi, We see a lot of thesse. You need to raise the left side of the engine up to get the starter off. 98% of them the minimum we would have to do is remove the nut on the end of the shaft and take the drive off. Then we wire wheel the helix (spiral on the shaft) to clean it, and spray the shaft with powdered graphite and reassemble. If yours has the plastic cap over the nut and spring and the plastic has shrunk, it might be rubbing on the collar on the end of the shaft. This will aggravate the situation and when the weather gets cold and the plastic cover shrinks it will be worse. These caps are available from kohler in a starter "Drive parts kit". This does not include the drive gear. Becaus of the labor cost to remove and replace the starter, we usually tear the starter apart and check and lube or replace the bearings, check the brushes and turn the comutator. One other thing often there is a little sharp edge on shoulder of the armature right ahead of the bushing where the drive gear kicks back against. While we have the armature in the lathe, we take a flat file and radius the shoulder to eliminate that edge that can kind of cause the drive to want to stick also. Warning: When you remove the starter keep the bolts in and keep it together or if the end cap comes loose, the brushes will pop out and you will have to make a flat fork like tool to hold the brushes down to get it back together. I'll bet if you remove the drive gear and clean and lube the helix with dry graphite, you will be in business. One other note, These drive gears have a rubber friction ring inside them. The gear and shell are make, a rubber donut installed and the drive femal helix inserted and the assembly crimped together. When the gear is on the starter shaft, you can hold the end nut with a wrench and run the gear out. Taking a pliers you should be able to slip the gear on the shaft. If it slips quite easily, it will slip when cranking and the engine may crank slow or not at all. The starter motor will sound like it has some load on it, instead of the free spinning sound you hear when the gear is not coming out. If the slip clutch is bad, the only fix is to replace the gear. I probably haven't had over 10 or 15 in 28 years in this business. The purpose of the slip clutch is to protect the starter shaft if the engine kicks back, or the engine fires and kicks the gear out and the engine dies and kicks back against compression. It the starter again tries to engage, the clutch will slip or the shaft will break off. Al Eden

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Tom Deutsch
Thanks for all the input. I'm going to try a few of the things suggested above. Funny thing is, I thought putting a rope-start pulley on here would be a "shortcut." Apparently there isn't a 1.125" shaft size pulley to be had in southwest Ohio. I've visited auto parts stores, Sears, Tractor Supply, Home Despot. I've called my nearest Simp dealer (Doebler Bros. in Middletown) and they were rude and unhelpful. When he found out my tractor was 20 years old (gasp) he said "look bud this is 2005". I was stunned. He couldn't even find a reference to my tractor (1691123) on his computer. Thanks for listening to me whine! Any further advice other than carving a pulley out of a block of wood?

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