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Hard Start solved, Now no stop, Hunh?

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I have a 5215.5 hydro with Briggs and Stratton v-twin.  It all started with a hard-to-start issue.  It was hard to start at times due to no spark.  I would grind and grind and grind.  Then fiddle with spark connections.  Eventually, she would roar to life.  At times, while mowing, she would die, unexpectedly, then start right back up.  Some times not so readily.  A year ago, the hard-to-start became harder-to-start.  Then no-start.  I surmised that a new armature was in order.  Not real expensive and since the existent one was likely OEM, off to the Lawn and Garden shop I went. 

As I was writing the check for the new armature, complete with new plug wires, the parts guy said something along the lines, "did you remove the ground wire?"  I said, well no, but then he kind of mummed up. 

Back in the yard barn, I installed the new armature, being sure to keep a sufficient air gap, but not too much.  Hit the Ignition switch,... not dice... grrrrr.  "Okay where is the spark going?  Then I remembered the ground wire comment by the parts guy.  Ahhhh that little black wire on the armature with a ring terminal fastened to the right side, just outside the air  deflectors, above the spark plug.  1/4" socket in hand, to remove the nut that held the little black wire.. 22 ga, I suspect.  But, what to my wondering eyes.. it's a female spade terminal on the wire, mated to a male spade which is part and parcel with the aforementioned ring terminal.  Easy quick disconnect... sweet.  I pulled the spade terminal loose and bent it back out of the way. Back to the IGN switch... "IT'S ALIVE!"  Yup, this is how B/S shuts down a motor, just ground the spark before it gets to the plug.  SUCCESS!  Now the problem must with the IGN switch.  But... to get at it, I need to remove the dash, which means removing the steering wheel.  Steering wheel bolt rusted permanently in place. Grrr. again.  But, I can mow, without a problem.  I'll tackle that next week.  Next week became next season.  Turning the key off simultaneously closes the gas valve (anti back-fire) and kills the spark.  But without spark being killed I just let it run out of gas.. 20 seconds, tops.  Go to wide open throttle and it dies quicker.  Problem mostly solved.

Removing the steering wheel seemed a daunting task, but I knew I would tackle it ... this season.  At some point I lost the key ring with acorn shaped IGN key... Off to Farm and Fleet.. The L&G place was closed..  No keys, but an IGN switch, packaged with 2 acorn keys... 5 terminals.  The sales lady and I asked the F&F lawn mower tech, he was reluctantly helpful, but said there were 5 terminal and 6 terminal switches... Well, I was needing to replace that switch, and not having seen the terminal side of the switch I gambled and spent $15.00.

I finally figured out how to get the steering wheel off, as well as the dash box.  (that's another tale).  5 terminals that mate up perfectly with the wire harness plug 'SWEET!'  Now my daddy didn't raise no machine shed mechanic fool, I noticed letters on the terminals.  Only a couple were the same on the old switch as the new.  "RATS!"  Next weekend, back to the L&G place, they were just about to close.  I brought the old switch with me.  They had the correct 6 terminal switch.  "6 terminal?"  All the lettered terminals were a match letter-for-letter and fit the plug.  Plus an extra terminal.  The 6th terminal had a plastic cover on it.  The 6th terminal was not needed in my application. It's a dual application switch.  Gotta love those B/S guys!

Installed the new switch, buttoned up the dash box, aka mouse hotel, replaced the steering wheel.  Runs like a champ.  Now to re-install the little ground wire... NO START, Grrrr. again I say.  Unplug the little ground wire, she fires up and runs like a champ, but have to shut down in the aforementioned Rube Goldberg way.  While she was running, and ground wire folded back, I used a screw driver to ground the ground wire.... Blue flame and a faltering engine.  Remove the screw driver and she purrs like a kitten.

So.... What the heck do I do now?????

Now, me and Mr. Goldberg have been long time friends, but after spending hard earned cash, and my time, I would like the thing to work correctly.

Any ideas why the ground wire is energized when in the IGN is in the run position? 

TommyK1 (FKA TommyK)


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Using an ohmmeter, check the resistance of the unplugged wire on the switch side to ground. It should read very high if not infinite resistance. Sounds like the wire is rubbed through or pinched. Don't worry about the resistance on the armature side (other than to know what the resistance should be).  It's new and works.

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Or, you could carry a screwdriver with you, or attach it to the machine to keep from losing it, and use the screwdriver to ground the plug...better yet, get a universal plug grounding clip and install on the plug. Ready to stop, ground the plug.

You have a bare spot somewhere along that ground wire that is grounding to the engine or frame before it gets to the plug. Likely, the mice, while residing in their comfy mouse hotel chewed through the insulation for you, and is where I would look for the bare spot. Me and my grandson decided this year to be nice to the mice! we went to the local Co-Op farm store, and found some green pelleted mouse food. We are feeding them so they will stay in my shop. I even keep water for them. Apparently, the food makes them thirsty, so they drink. They must get awfully sleepy after eating and drinking, because I find them resting close to the water bowl. Sleeping mice are sound sleepers, they do not wake up when picked up!

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