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cantfix
08-13-2007, 01:02 AM
Hello all,

New poster to the forum but always enjoy the great information I find here, very consistent. I have a question regarding a mower that I purchased from family recently that needs to be driven out of location due to inability to bring in something to haul it and almost 2 miles to push. Service will not visit until Fall, too busy.

I have a Cub Cadet, RZT 44 I believe, zero turn mower that will not start. The mower was little used and then held in storage for almost two years. It worked well to that point and had only been owned for about 6-8 months with no problems but then parked. It is an 18HP Briggs Twin (Vanguard?).

Since trying to revive here are the symptoms and what has been done, unfortunately it is in a hard location to get it to a shop and I’m hoping to get some direction. Remember it sat for the last 2 years.

Our first step was to blow and brush the machine clean and replace fluids, barn housed. We then spun the flywheel to ensure it was not seized, it wasn’t, and that we felt resistance from compression, we did.

Handles were in “Neutral” position, choked, pto off, braked, etc. Upon turning the key we can/could hear the starter spin but saw that the “bidex” did not engage the flywheel gear to turn the engine, then upon immediate release of the key the fuse blows.

We can however hold the key in the start position and see the starter spin the bindex indefinitely, but it won’t engage and fuse always blows. The fuse was a 20a and a 30a was tried for good measure.

Our local Cub dealer (a real dealer not chain), who sold the mower to my father originally, said replace the bindex and the inability to turn the mower over shorted the fuse. Bindex is now replaced and same exact symptoms as before.

I have searched the Internet and can’t find my exact situation described. What really confuses me is even if a short occurs upon key release why won’t the starter bindex engage the flywheel anyway.

From reading I am thinking shorts and bad switches but seemingly it should start regardless since the starter is spinning the bindex gear but gears never meet to attempt to turn the engine.

Could the ignition switch be faulty and a voltage drop be preventing the starter from reaching a rpm fast enough to engage? Is solenoid an issue here? Ants in contacts or faulty safety switch somewhere but why the blown fuse and half working bidex/starter?

Any takers and if it is obvious educate me, please!

Thanks

newz7151
08-13-2007, 01:28 AM
Did you do a thorough check of the electrical system to make sure mice have not made a mess of wire insulation and now you are shorting somewhere?

fixer67
08-13-2007, 01:54 AM
OK. this may be a dumb question but recheck the battery and make sure you do not have the wires hooked up wrong. If you hook up the battery wires backwards the starter will spin backwards on a Briggs and the starter gear will not engage the flywheel and when you let go of the key the backfeed from the charging system will blow the fuse. Remember the BLACK wire from the frame goes to the NEG(-) post and the red wire from the solenoid goes to the POS(+).
I know this may sound like a dumb thing but I have seen it happen more times than I can remember. Batteries come either with the POS(+) on the right or left so you have to look real good at the battery. There are very easy to get hook up backwards.

cantfix
08-13-2007, 02:22 AM
Thanks for the suggestion newz7151 but except for a light coating of dust the mower is clean, contacts/relays seem strong and clean, all wiring is in its original outer casing, no rusted/corroded parts or evidence that any damage has occurred.

Truly the harness and all wiring looks like it just rolled out of the factory. My first thought was bugs in a contact so I traced every wire/junction and checked for a good tight contact. Battery is new and I was told by the Cub dealer that that if the starter motor spins the bindex, it wasn't the solenoid.

I, like you, am still thinking something simple like a bad wire/ground that I missed but hoping to gather a few suggestions before I act again.

I do wonder in regards to the solenoid but not sure how to tell if one is really good, read a few different "methods", and if a solenoid could cause the behavior.

It would help to know the possibilities I should consider so I can recheck, at this point if it is not a bad ignition switch, relay, safety switch or solenoid I am guessing broken wire but why the symptoms.

I plan to put a meter on the wires to check for an internal break but really feel it is something other than a broken wire unless it is internal and all grounds seem fine. If it is a wire break I can't see it and will test for continuity.

Thanks again however, I will add "recheck wiring for damage" a second time.

cantfix
08-13-2007, 02:31 AM
I'll check the battery again, no offense taken fixer67. I appreciate all your input. I would love to laugh at myself and bow my head in shame. That is interesting and might explain what I at least feel is odd behavior.

I am more familiar with AC power systems than DC and a reverse spin is just crazy enough to make me spin and double check.

Thanks to all in advance who suggest a solution.

Bill Kapaun
08-13-2007, 03:44 PM
Probably not much help, but I would disconnect anything electrical that doesn't have to be connected to start the engine. Things like electric PTO, lights etc. MAYBE you could eliminate the short.
You could also disconnect a couple other things like the Voltage Regulator (it won't charge), the fuel cutoff solenoid (it won't run) to also, at least, try to eliminate/track down the short. That would at least, narrow things down.

Eric D
08-13-2007, 04:34 PM
Can'tfix,

My first thought a while reading your post was battery hooked up wrong as fixer67 pointed out.

Keep us posted on what you find.

Regards,

Eric D

John Stiles
08-13-2007, 07:35 PM
Is it solid state? Is there an ignition module? That's what it "sounds" like to me....I'm not familiar with your machine. Do you have a wiring diagram?~j>>>>I have seen batteries charged backwards!

fixer67
08-14-2007, 12:02 AM
Is it solid state? Is there an ignition module? That's what it "sounds" like to me....I'm not familiar with your machine. Do you have a wiring diagram?~j>>>>I have seen batteries charged backwards!

On a little side note here. Both types of batteries , the POS on the left and POS on the right are really the SAME battery. What makes them different is how they are charged after they are made. Lead acid batteries are unlike any other battery. In them both plates are the same. If a lead acid battery is 100% dead it will take reverse charge and hold it. My neighbor up on the hill hooked up his battery charge wrong once and the truck battery took and held a reverse charge. When he understood what had happen he just relabeled the battery. The batery lasted for two more years after that.

eaglejrl
08-14-2007, 12:32 AM
Was the dealer you checked with Lasters?

rockytopp
08-14-2007, 01:31 AM
One thing I have run into is that the bendix is stuck I have give them a shot of something, (WD=40 or such) perhaps a sight assist with a flat screw driver, (don't do this if you trying to crank it,) and turn the bendix by hand.
As to the feed back and blowing fuse. should be able to isolate that easy with tester, and visual instpection. Hope this helps. Let us know.

cantfix
08-14-2007, 01:49 AM
We have had some success finally. As predicted the battery must have its poles reversed thus the equivalent of wired backwards, I didn’t know that was possible. Thanks to those who suggested the mis-wire, I reasoned that if it was wired correctly I would reverse and viola.

Upon turning the key, we finally heard/saw the engine turn but never fire. Nice thing was no blown fuse and the bindex engaged and we heard the sweet sound of an engine try to start … and robustly considering.

Checked the plug leads for spark against the housing on crank, good. Watched the fuel filter fill, fuel pass through the fuel pump fine but leaked on the other side leading to the carb. Replaced the line, brittle, tried again, still no firing up. Pulled and replaced the plugs but on our last attempt the battery was obviously losing charge and we stopped.

At this point we know we have no problem with safety switches, we assume. We have spark and no obvious short. When the key is used it doesn’t short/blow fuse and the engine itself seems mechanically wanting to give a thumbs up. Since we know we have spark, fuel is what now comes to mind, and air.

The replaced tubing was between the fuel pump and carb inlet so the plan now is to replace all the fuel system tubing in case the interior is breaking apart pieces and throwing them into the carb. Clean the carb and carb to head path to ensure fuel is getting to the camber.

We have yet to smell fuel burning or see smoke when trying to turn the engine and thinking fuel blockage because there seems to be no sign of firing in the chamber such as sputtering. We are also checking the air system which was filtered and has a clean filter.

Thanks for all the help folks, much appreciated, any other suggestions on why it won’t fire knowing it has spark or suggestions regarding the fuel system is dirty theory?

Of most importance, is there anything other than fuel delivery, knowing the fuel pump works, that would prevent fire such as a relay or such, or at least is this the best assumption to make for now until the fuel system is verified clean since we have spark?

Regarding the later question, I assume it is solid state. There are three relays hidden in the same panel as the key start switch, the manuals and such are being acquired and should arrive shortly.

Thanks All

cantfix
08-14-2007, 02:03 AM
eaglejrl, yes and no.

The machine is right in the middle between Carthage, where it was purchased, and Nacogdoches. The Carthage dealer has been helpful but really a busy operation in a town of 7k, they gave me the bindex advice originally and are willing to help more and come to me but overwhelmed since the temperature was 102deg F and people need to get their hay up in case there is time for one more cut.

I went to the location you mentioned and they seemed absolutely clueless, disorganized and unable to think without the owner in house. I waited on a "special" $30 socket for 6 weeks to remove the bindex that never arrived, went to a large Sears and they had it for $8.

A friend has also had his new rider in the shop there for 5 weeks to replace two pulleys, they are still waiting. I ordered them on-line last week and they arrived today. They would not even assist trouble shooting my problem even though I offered to pay or bring it in once it could be moved.

I have spent a few thousand there over the years but haven't been in for a while, looks like more time may pass again.

fixer67
08-14-2007, 02:48 AM
Try a little gas in the carb. It may need a little help after sitting for so long.

DO NOT USE STARTING FLUID. IT CAN DAMAGE YOUR ENGINE

John Stiles
08-14-2007, 03:20 AM
Clean the needle and seat....and blow the jets out with carb spray then air and you should have ignition. I wouldn't worry about the module anymore, the fire in the plugs will be your sign.~j

eaglejrl
08-14-2007, 11:37 AM
eaglejrl, yes and no.

I went to the location you mentioned and they seemed absolutely clueless, disorganized and unable to think without the owner in house. I waited on a "special" $30 socket for 6 weeks to remove the bindex that never arrived, went to a large Sears and they had it for $8.

A friend has also had his new rider in the shop there for 5 weeks to replace two pulleys, they are still waiting. I ordered them on-line last week and they arrived today. They would not even assist trouble shooting my problem even though I offered to pay or bring it in once it could be moved.

I have spent a few thousand there over the years but haven't been in for a while, looks like more time may pass again.

I've encountered some of the same problems there, but I knew he was a cub man. I bought the z-force 44 there and had all kinds of problems with it. I sold it early this summer and went commercial.

Bill Kapaun
08-14-2007, 01:50 PM
Agree about priming the carb with a couple teaspoons worth of gas. You should at least get an attempt to run. You might even repeat 2-3 times.
Beware of backfire!
IF this has a fuel solenoid, make sure it clicks when you turn the ignition on.