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george116

DA 916H electrical gremlins - lights/engine die, intermittent no start

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george116

My Deutz-Allis 916H seems to have acquired electrical gremlins over the winter.  Last season I started having trouble with the lights flickering on/off and then no longer working at all, but I ignored it for the most part as I don't use them much.  This season after I got my transmission input shaft seal replaced, I am now having additional electrical problems.  Sometimes when I turn the key to start, I get nothing at all - no solenoid clicking, starter motor does nothing.  Last time I tried to mow, I was eventually able to start it up, but after one pass in the yard, the engine died and wouldn't start again.  I eventually jumpered the battery to the ignition coil and temporarily to the starter to get the engine running enough to move the tractor out of the middle of the yard.  Because of this and the light problem, I decided the ignition switch was probably bad.  I got a replacement from NAPA, but the only one they had in stock had already been opened, so it's a little suspect.  I did make sure to research and get a switch that matches what was already on the tractor -- marked SRBAI (not in order).

So even with the (supposedly) new ignition switch I have similar issues.  The tractor ran for about 30 minutes yesterday while I was mowing, then the engine died on me.  Attempting a restart I got nothing from the starter motor as before.  Eventually it decide to work but quit a couple more times.  By this point it was dark, so I used the lights while it was actually running.  But then the lights died and so I mowed on in the dark for a little while, then the engine died again.

I'm very confused.  The ignition switch is suspect, as best I can tell, if there is no voltage at the I terminal (to the ignition coil), then the engine will die.  I am not sure of this, however -- I don't have a good wiring diagram for this exact tractor so I don't know if the voltage regulator is wired in such a way that it would provide 12V at the ignition coil even if the ignition switch went out.  The headlights going out while the engine kept running also seems to indicate a switch problem -- like the A terminal suddenly no longer had 12V on it.  Same thing for the no start condition after the engine dies -- if no power on the S terminal of the switch, then I wouldn't get solenoid clicking or the starter attempting to crank the engine over.

Best I can tell from the parts & service manuals for Simplicities of this type/age range (and what I know from practical experience with this tractor), there are no "while engine running" safety switches that could otherwise be causing problems.  There is no seat switch or anything else that could kill the engine while running.  All that it appears to have is interlocks for the PTO and transmission; my understanding is that those should only prevent attempts to start the engine.

A few more details -- while I had it running, I checked voltages at various points.  With the engine at high throttle, the meter was reading generally 12-17V at the positive terminal of the ignition coil.  It was changing all the time, not sure if that's expected or not.  Voltage at the battery was jumping around a lot, as low as 6V.  The ammeter was also bouncing around constantly, generally looking to be 3-8A.

I have ordered another ignition switch just to eliminate that as a possibility.  If that doesn't fix my issues, what else could this be?  Does anyone have a parts manual or wiring diagram for the DA 916H specifically?  I have looked around online and cannot find one, just some Simplicity manuals that I know are similar but not exact matches for my machine.

Any input is appreciated, I am not highly knowledgeable about small engine systems (obviously!).

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Horvik

Hello;

 

What I would do if no schematic is available, is to trace back from the coil wire with the key on and see if it is hot. there have been times when a wire may look good, but check bad, especially if you move it and it tests bad.

Funny about the napa box being open, they always made such a big deal to me about NO electrical returns. That part may or may not be good. Did you test it pin to pin to verify it is operational? Did you check the original one? Without seeing the tractor my guess is that you have a intermittent open, that goes bad  I had one of those problems on a Jacobson tractor also.Got to have patience, patience, patience!

Hope I helped you. .  

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george116

Yeah, I checked the new part for continuity between terminals in the various switch positions, and it seemed good.  But with intermittent failure I could have gotten unlucky when checking it.

I was thinking the same thing about electrical returns -- a lot of places won't take them.  If the new switch ends up working I'm going to be upset they sold me that part that someone probably had returned; then when I take it back I'll tell them to throw it away and stop reselling it to people.

Next step after the second new switch will be to jiggle wires around and see if I can make something stop working, I guess.

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lugnard

Sounds like a bad or corroded ground to me. Can't hurt to take them off and clean up the surface that it mounts to real good and examine the wire terminals at the ground.....Electric problems....hate 'em!!!

 

Harry

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dhoadley
12 hours ago, lugnard said:

Sounds like a bad or corroded ground to me. Can't hurt to take them off and clean up the surface that it mounts to real good and examine the wire terminals at the ground.....Electric problems....hate 'em!!!

 

Harry

That's what I was thinking. Start with making a good ground first.

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BLT

If your terminals have a powdery milky white substance on them, that insulates and  blocks the flow  of current and causes intermittent problems. If shows up a lot on spade terminals.

 

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PhanDad

I agree with above.  First I'd make sure all the grounds were good.

I'd also consider running a new +12v ignition wire from the ignition switch to the coil just in case there's a problem with the existing wire. 

And consider using the tractor while having a meter connected to the +12v feed to the ignition switch (at the switch end), to monitor voltage to ensure there's not intermittent failure of the wiring or circuit breaker from the battery to the ignition switch.

 

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george116
9 hours ago, Mike said:

Check the ammeter connections

This looks like it's probably going to be the winner (though it may not explain the lights going out and the engine continuing to run).  Wiggled some wires and it appears to be the input connector to the ammeter.  I have never seen these type of slip-on connectors before.  They're female connectors that slip over the ammeter terminals, which are basically long threaded rods.  Tried searching online but I'm not coming up with anything.  Anyone know what these are called?

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BLT

Your light circuit is grounded to the hood and the hood is attached with two bolts that get rusty. Run a bonding wire from the hood to the tractor frame and see if that cures flickering head light problem.

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george116
13 hours ago, Ronald Hribar said:

you can switch to eyelets and bolt connection on

Yeah, that's what I ended up doing.  Conveniently there was a nut there holding the ammeter in, so I snipped the old connector, crimped an eyelet on the wire, and hooked it up.  So far so good.  Ran the tractor for about 10 minutes cutting a bit of grass I hadn't gotten to with the problems earlier in the week.  Started right up the first time and ran until I shut it down.  And the lights worked.

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