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Starter Mystery

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Guest
Well, the starter problems mentioned in one of my earlier posts turned into an outright mystery. Here's the skinny on what's now before me. Incidently, the tractor involved is a Pow'r Max. Replacing the starter to solve the previous problem apparently didn't work. I still have to turn the key a number of times to get the starter going. In other words, the solenoid seems to push the drive gear toward the flywheel but the starter won't turn the engine over. Now for the mystery. This morning, while trying to start the tractor with the usual many turns of the key, the starter began to crank the engine (good so far). The engine fired for a few seconds and then stopped but the starter motor didn't. It kept on going until I disconnected the battery at the negative terminal. If this wasn't weird enough, now I can't reconnect the terminal without the starter taking off, solenoid and all. My first thought was a bad ignition switch but after unplugging it, the same condition exists. Then I disconnected the wiring at the plug just forward of the starter and again, the same reconnect the battery terminal and the starter takes off condition exists. Should I seek help at church tomorrow morning through prayer (Actually, I don't go to church much. I just wanted you guys to think I'm a good person.), wait until Monday for real a mechanic or search around for an exorcist? Then again, you guys could pony up an answer for me here. Pleeeeeze!

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Simplicity314
If you disconnected the ignition switch and the statrter still goes when you touch the terminal to the battery then it sounds like a bad solenoid. The keyswitch closes a gate in the solenoid, connecting the battery power to the starter. It sounds like it's stuck shut. Whack it with a hammer or wrench. If that won't free it, replace it.

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D-17_Dave
Does sound like a bad sol. After all the trouble I'd swap it out. A bad sol. would also cause the starter to not let the bendix engauge as from the earlier problem. I'd also pay close attention to the bendix. If it's scared, or otherwise disfigured in any way it could bind up causing both conditions.

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Guest
OK, whack the solenoid it is. And replace the unit at the first opportunity.

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Guest
This tip has no bearing on your current problem but it will solve future starter problems on your PowerMax. Install a separate ground cable from one of your PTO engine bolts to the frame on left side (as viewed from tractor seat). There is a frame hole just rearward of your hood bolt, tap it and install.

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firefoxz1
Definitely sounds like a soleniod problem. Is the PowerMax soleniod on the starter or remote mounted? If remote was it checked before for voltage drop accross it? This may well have been your problem in the first place (scared contact surfaces in the soleniod that finally welded themselves together).

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Guest
quote:
Originally posted by Mikefox
This tip has no bearing on your current problem but it will solve future starter problems on your PowerMax. Install a separate ground cable from one of your PTO engine bolts to the frame on left side (as viewed from tractor seat). There is a frame hole just rearward of your hood bolt, tap it and install.
I don't understand. The engine is bolted to the frame already in 4 places. How does the extra cable provide a better conduit to ground? I can see the need for an extra cable on automotive applications where rubber motor mounts are used but all the mounts on a Pow'r Max are solid.

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Guest
quote:
Originally posted by firefoxz1
Definitely sounds like a soleniod problem. Is the PowerMax soleniod on the starter or remote mounted? If remote was it checked before for voltage drop accross it? This may well have been your problem in the first place (scared contact surfaces in the soleniod that finally welded themselves together).
The solenoid is part of the starter.

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Al
Hi, Would suspect the original problem is related to the solenoid. However a contributing factor may be the wiring and switch in the tractor. It is very common for this type of starter, solenoid actuated, to be intermitant. There is a previous post I did on these units and the need for a high current actuating source. If the wiring is, or the switche contacts are getting worn, the solenoid may not pull in properly and when it does, the contacts in the cap of the solenoid have inadequate pressure. This causes arcing and burning. This can be the reason the contacts have stuck. Another factor is is the brushes in the motor are intemittant, the pull in winding in the solenoid depends on the the motor for its ground path and badly worn brushes will keep the solenoid from pulling in. The problem can also be caused by the plunger in the solenoid being rusted or having dirt or gunk around it causing it to drag or bind. Never lubricate or grease the plunger with any petroleoum lube. Dry graphite or Dry Moly is all that should ever be used. Petro lubes attract dirt and become paste and cause failures. Standard procedure is to NOT lube the plungers. If someone can find the post I did on solenoid current and pull in problems great. I would rather not duplicate the effort of typing it again. However if it is not available, I will post an explanation of the problems of making these reliable. Al Eden

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firefoxz1
Then the bendix drive is most likely sticking. When they stick they can hold the contacts on even though the soleniod is de-energized. I know its a pain but I would say the removal and cleaning of the starter is in order and although they shouldn't require shimming I would double check the clearance of the drive to the ring gear once reinstalled to the engine.

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Guest
Al - Is this the thread you had in mind? http://www.simpletractors.com/club2/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=53824

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BigSix
Al: I just read the piece Besser linked up. That was beautiful. And very illuminating for me, re: my Wheel Horse problems. I hope to get a woodstove in the "garage" this winter, and apply some of that knowledge. I have to reiterate--you write extremely clearly, and well. Have you ever thought of writing a "How To" book? It's probably half-written already, on this site. Peter

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Tom Deutsch
My starter stopped working this summer. I installed a low-tech pulley on the front of the engine and pull-started it for a while. Apparently, my tractor was shamed and offended by this redneck contraption I had bolted to it. Starter is working dependably again. Just in case, I show the tractor the rope before I turn the key, just to remind it to behave.;)

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Guest
OK, here's the latest plan. Replace the starter with a NEW one Install Al's relay kit Install new ignition switch Inspect wiring one last time for any severed or broken connections Install additional ground wire from frame to engine - I would like to be convinced of the need for this one first though before actually doing it. Did I leave anything out?

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StanD
I will add this. I ordered & received the correct part number ignition switch for a replacement. Apparently the switch in the tractor had been previously replaced & wires rearranged in the plug to match the switch. Make sure you check the switch for an exact match. Who knows what might have been done on a 25-30 year old tractor. I use relays to carry the load of the clutches & lights so the ignition switch does not have to carry much amperage. One thing easily overlooked is checking the voltage at the solenoid lead with it disconnected. It may read 12 volts but when connected & activated you may have only 5-6 volts. This is what Al,s relay cures, it does not take much current to pull up that relay. Wiring on these tractors was sufficient when everthing was new & clean. Mother time & corrosion tend to reduce conductivity in interlock & safety switches as well as the ignition switch. The original wiring has to go through all these switches before it gets to the solenoid. That leaves a lot of places to loose voltage & amperage. Hope I don,t confuse anyone with my explanation buts thats the way it is with a 25-30 year old tractor in the real world. StanD

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Guest
quote:
Originally posted by UCD
Yes Have someone that knows what they are doing to repair it right. It will be cheaper in the long run and you won't be throwing parts at it that it don't need.
Maynard - You sure hold a grudge. Get over it. Oh, and thanks for the advice and words of encouragement.

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Guest
quote:
Originally posted by StanD
I will add this. I ordered & received the correct part number ignition switch for a replacement. Apparently the switch in the tractor had been previously replaced & wires rearranged in the plug to match the switch. Make sure you check the switch for an exact match. Who knows what might have been done on a 25-30 year old tractor....
Thanks for the suggestion Stan. I never thought about making sure the wiring wasn't tampered with by the PO. That sure would make it interesting if it were the case and replacing a switch with the correct one!

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