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jsarro

Troubleshooting starter?

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jsarro
The past few uses over the past month, my 3112V dragged to start on start up. It really strained to barely turn the engine over. I figured maybe the battery had been weak from sitting, but it kept doing it, even after only sitting 1 week. Today it would not start at all. I am getting a solid click at the solenoid. I tried to jump the tractor off my car, nothing but the click. I have nearly 13V tested at the battery, at both sides of the solenoid, and at the starter terminal on turning the key. The strange thing is, no sparks produced when jumping across the solenoid with 2 screwdrivers. No starting while jumping over the solenoid either. Does this sound like it has to be the starter generator? I have a spare, but do not want to pull it until I get some feedback, if I am heading in the wrong direction. Thanks for the help!

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GLPointon
If your "jumping" across the 2 big lugs on the solenoid and it doesn't crank the starter then either the starter is bad or the battery is low/weak (you need to see at least 12V while engaged,You must ck battery voltage with a load on it to tell if you have a good battery) or the starter is not getting a good ground back to the battery OR you have a bad cable(s) To eliminate alot of the above just hook a set of jumper cables to the starter lug and touch the other end to the battery + , and the black cable to the battery - and the starter mounting bolt(ground)...then if it doesnt crank its the starter or weak/bad battery Good luck sm01

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jsarro
Thanks Greg, I just did the following as a secondary test in addition to my prior diagnostics. I ran car jumper cables from my SUV battery to the ground plate under the starter, and put the positive jumper to the input terminal on the starter. Not a peep out of the starter. A low pitched click is heard back at the voltage regulator. So how long should it take to pull the starter generator off of a parts tractor, and replace the one on the 3112? Anything else I need to check? Thanks

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PhanDad
It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to remove a S/G from one tractor and install it in another - provided you don't run into rusted stuck bolts or an issue with the nuts on the wiring to the S/G. Be careful when removing the wires that only the top nut turns, not the whole stud/nut assembly. If the whole assembly turns, you'll rip the connecting wires off inside the S/G. Before swapping, I'd check and see if the "parts" S/G was good (starter part) by jumping power to it as described above.

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jsarro
I pulled off both SG's and tested them on the floor. They both spun on the floor with direct power and ground from the battery. The one off the parts tractor seemed to have a little more torque but they both spun good. I installed the replacement S&G, hooked it all up. It did not start,just a click, and worse yet sparks shot off the positive side of the battery. I am thinking there is a short somewhere or a bad ground, but I have no idea where to start looking. I need some help tracking this down. I am also confused as to why when I jumped across the starter earlier with 2 screwdrivers, I got no spark. Could the solenoid be bad effecting this? I tried direct power to the starter while it is installed, and it will not spin. Thanks

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jsarro
I just disconnected the solenoid and the positive battery cable to the solenoid. Then I ran direct power to the starter. It worked the starter spun the engine. Now to narrow a little further, and probably swap the solenoid. First I will test live power while the battery is connected.

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jsarro
I think I have some type of wiring harness or ground issue. If the solenoid is disconnected I can run direct 12V to the starter and it will turn the engine. If I reconnect the solenoid,and then run direct power to the starter, it will not turn. I tried the solenoid off my parts tractor and the same thing happens. I can not jump across the solenoid to start it. Like I said though, disconnect the solenoid completely, and direct power from the battery starts the S&G. If it was merely a bad solenoid, I should be able to jump across it. Any advice on what I should do next would be appreciated. Thanks

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PhanDad
Jack, To see if it's a wiring harness issue vs a solenoid issue, remove the small "start" wire from the solenoid. Then directly apply +12v from the battery to the "start" terminal of the solenoid. If the solenoid is good, the solenoid should engage and the S/G should spin. The thing that doesn't make sense is your statement "If I reconnect the solenoid,and then run direct power to the starter, it will not turn". If you apply power directly to the "unwired" S/G terminal and the S/G spins and then connect the S/G to the to the solenoid and apply power to the S/G terminal, the S/G should spin unless there is a ground fault in both of your solenoids. This would be very unusual. Do you have a multimeter? One test to do would be to measure the voltage at the solenoid "start" terminal when you use the ignition switch to start the tractor. It should show full voltage. If it doesn't, then there is resistance somewhere in the wiring harness/safety swtiches. Disconnecting and cleaning all the terminals might remove the resisitance.

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rokon2813
Check all your ground points. Recently had a customer with a similar problem on a freshly painted engine. Too much paint on all the mount points between the generator and battery so essentially no ground. Remember ground must travel through the generator housing, mount brackets, engine block and wire to get to the battery. Even if your engine is not freshly painted, rust and corrosion can do the same. Otherwise, to trouble shoot, disconnect everything like you have to make it work, then reconnect 1 thing at a time backward and check each item as you go. IE, test with jumper directly to starter, then hook wire to starter and jumper to solenoid end of the wire and so on. Tedious but fairly easy.

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jsarro
Thank You Bill and Dan, When I get home tonight I will try your suggestions to work this out. It is weird because I tested direct power to the starter as I was reconnecting the solenoid last night in this order. First I just bolted down the solenoid, and the starter would turn with direct power. Next, I reconnected the small wire only on top of the solenoid, the starter still worked. Then I did both the large input and output sides of the solenoid, at this point the battery was connected to the solenoid. Now direct power will not turn the starter, and ignition key will not either. So I will disconnect the output side of the solenoid to the starter and then run direct power to the starter, and see if that works. I will also try just disconnecting the battery to the input side, and see if it will start with one or the other large wires disconnected, or see if they both have to be disconnected to get the starter to turn. My hunch is that if I disconnect power to the solenoid, the starter will probably turn. I imagine it is normal to see sparks fly a bit when I have done direct power to the starter contacts when it has started. When it wont start, I get no sparks. Thanks

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jsarro
Here is my update. Today I back tracked one step to try to narrow down my starting issue. So if I merely remove power from the positive side of the battery, and then direct connect power with jumper cables to the output side of the solenoid, I can start the tractor. If I connect the positive side of the battery back up, then direct connect jumper cables, the tractor will not start. In fact I hear some shock happen back at the positive side of the battery as if something shorts out. My theory is that I have some wiring or ignition issue that is somehow causing a problem with a perfectly good starter and solenoid. Can anyone tell me what my findings are suggesting? There are two small wires going to the solenoid from the ignition or harness. Is that possibly my problem? I just can't fathom why having everything hooked up is blocking or shorting, a direct power via jumper cables. Thank You

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BLT
On the solenoid, the two small wires are one for the start signal and the other goes to ground. Wires can be reversed and it still works. It is possible that ground wire on solenoid is broken and that should be easy to find. And, that crackling you hear can be from large dirty terminal ends.

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jsarro
I am stumped. This is what is confirmed. My S/G is good. My solenoid is good. My tractor will not start with the key. It will start with direct power to the starter, but only if the positive cable to the solenoid is disconnected from the battery. I have 13V at the input of the solenoid, and 13V at the starter when I turn the key, but it will not start. My ground is good as I can directly connect positive only and get a start as long as the red cable is disconnected from the solenoid. I pulled the battery out and the gas tank. Any ideas on what to do next? I don't want to start cutting harnesses and wiring unless I can reason how this is happening. Should I try my ignition switch? Does this sound like a short somewhere? What are the possible causes left to try? Thanks

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jsarro
OK I solved it. This is crazy, but it has to be my battery. I kept everything hooked up, and then ran jumper cables from my car to the tractor. First I did a direct connect to the starter and got it to fire. Then I connected my car battery to the tractor battery and it still fired, ruling out a bad hot wire cable and pointing to the battery. It must be weak amps as it measures 13V. What is also strange is the first thing I tried 2 days ago was jumping the tractor off of my car. I have no idea why that did not work the first time. I will buy a new battery tomorrow to finalize this. Weird how you seem to rule out the obvious, and then end up back at the obvious. I guess I'm not the first. The other strange thing is how my jumper cables can start the tractor when directly connected to the battery, but my hot wire connected will not. I guess there is more resistance in the hot wire cable, than my jumpers.

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MysTiK
Hi, Jack, Maybe you did it; but I don't see it in print here. Did you clean all contacts through the entire starting system? Battery posts, cute little solenoid connectors, connectors and terminals on the starter, any and all grounds you can find. You want to see clean shiny metal, I would use fine sandpaper for this - fresh metal. You probably already did this - it's just that several people are saying it, and you haven't said it yet. Maybe I missed it. Sorry to be so tedious. Just say Yup. that will be fine. :D Graham .

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jsarro
Graham, Yes I cleaned all the contacts through out the system. Strange how I could not jump the tractor 2 days ago, but now I can. Maybe from cleaning all the contacts up over the past few days, it will jump now. This battery seems to be a dead cause though. BTW none of contacts looked bad at all. Thanks

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BLT
quote:
Originally posted by jsarro
OK I solved it. It must be weak amps as it measures 13V. I guess there is more resistance in the hot wire cable, than my jumpers.
13V indicates good battery still. Low voltage and low amcapcity go hand in hand. Cable terminals create resistance over the years not the cable it self. Don't buy a battery yet. If you put everything back together as it was. Connect your meter to the battery and observe steady state voltage, they try to start it and observe voltage. If it remains the same you have terminal problems. If voltage really drops you have bad battery, but solenoid should attempt to growl even on low voltage.

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MysTiK
Good to hear. Contacts can look good but still be oxidized - so even the clean ones can be cleaned to SHINY new metal. I suppose it's about efficiency. If your battery has plates in a water acid bath, then either the plates are gone, worn out, collapsed into a pile of plate crud in the bottom of the box OR - it may just be sulfated. That's about sulfur (from sulphuric acid) building up on the plates - kinda like causing insulation. I'm not an expert on the best terminology. But I did resurrect a 2-years-really-dead car battery on my 10-amp charger. The charger usually starts out at maybe 10 amps on the METER - it has a meter. But quickly immediately drops usually to about 5 amps. Then after a few minutes - 5 minutes to 30 minutes - it typically drops to 1 amp, maybe 2, but soon it just sits at 1 amp on the meter. I guess that's the "trickle" idea, as in "trickle charger". Anyway with this total dud battery, I let it trickle for several days. I then threw it in the 2 years dead car, and it cranked the beast for about 5 minutes, on and off, until the car started - I was quite amazed. But if the guts of the battery are toast, collapsed, disintegrated, then this is a bad idea - possible explosion and other scary stories. But if the fluid levels are good, and you can actually see the plates when you look in the top, then the anti-sulfation trick might work. I learned this at some site on the internet - it was a hard search to find it - and i don't know where it was now. If you do this, set the battery up where it won't burn down the house or garage - keep immediate space clear. Usual battery scares are all about this stuff - so be careful. Or, go read the entire internet - that's always fun anytime. :D I tend to use this trick every spring, my batteries each get their turn for a least an overnighter. I just use little 300 rating batteries. But the first attempt with this was on a Ford CRown Victoria with power everything - and the interior lights would not even come on. totally dead. not even a click. Play safe. Polarity is important - connect properly. My charger has a polarity light to indicate. Keeping the little charger jumpers clean is also good. but you might not need all this if you have fixed it. Hope ya did. Graham .

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MysTiK
Note - I am out of sync in this thread, people are chatting away while I am typing - note the times of postings. (just so you know). With all the abuse, and the gradual deterioration that preceded it, I would try a simple charge, and see if it reads any better. Also another little story - went to start my truck, nothing - my friend pops the hood, loosens batt terminals, tightens batt terminals, and says, "try it now". Truck started like there was no problem at all. My friend told me to clean terminals. There was no noticeable indicator prior to this - weird. {}

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jsarro
I do not know the HX of this battery, it came with my tractor, but it looks like it has some years on it. I don't own a charger right now, and I am leaning to just go for the new battery from Advanced Auto that John U recommended. This battery has been dragging to start the tractor for some time now. I am going to pop a new one in and hope for the best. Hopefully there are no other issues. If the battery holds up for 2-4 weeks I will assume I am good. Thanks for all the input. I did learn a whole lot about the electrical system on this adventure! :D:D:D

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jsarro
Just an update. I installed the new battery. Installed the gas tank. Cleaned and adjusted the points and condenser. Installed a new spark plug. The Tractor started right up beautifully. It has been going strong all day cutting the grass. I also adjusted the carb. The battery seemed to be the issue all along. Now I have a better understanding of the ignition, wiring, S/G, Solenoid, etc. I feel able now to test and get the parts tractor going I inherited. Thanks for the help and pointers! :D:D:D

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