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Exmark w/ Kohler CV15 won't start, please help

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by cook90, Oct 22, 2006.

  1. cook90

    cook90 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I purchased a used Exmark Metro 36" (2003 model) in February 2006. It has a Kohler Command 15hp engine, pull start. The local Exmark dealer gave it a complete annual inspection (new gas, carb cleaning, new fuel lines, air/oil filters changed, etc.) and said it was in great condition. Even though I found this mower difficult to start, it ran fine all summer. Well, on Oct 1st, while mowing, the mower ran out of fuel. I refilled the tank and was unable to get the mower restarted. The fuel filter, which had previously been perfectly clean, had debris in it so I thought maybe I'd gummed up the fuel system. I replaced the fuel, fuel filter, checked fuel lines, checked float system in the carb. Engine still wouldn't start. I tried starter fluid in the carb--no start. Replaced spark plug. Still no start.

    Fuel is getting through to the spark plug so I think I have an ignition problem. I bypassed (jumped) the PTO and OPC safety switches and it still won't start. Now things get strange. One individual I spoke with suggested that the ignition coil might be the culprit. So before I dive into investigating the "magnets on the flywheel" I decide to check the spark plug one more time. I remove and replace the plug. The engine starts like a champ. I mow with it for two days and it works great. However, now it won't start again. Back to square one. Any ideas?

    I'm just a homeowner, not too technical. Could someone explain to me the numerous safety devices on this mower (Transmission, PTO switch, OPC switch, Engine Kill Terminal). Are the safeties to blame? Is it the Ignition Coil? How do I check these items? Could the gap on the plug be wrong? How important is the correct torque on the plug? Please help. Thank you!
  2. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    First of all, On the side of the engine is a harness connector, Unplug this connector and remove the white wire then plug the connector back up.
    Doing this is eliminating ALL safety and kill switches in the system, Then check for spark. If you have spark each switch will need to be checked with a multimeter to locate the bad one.

    If you still have no spark with the white wire disconnected I would venture to say the coil is bad or possibly the white wire to the coil is shorted.
    You can further test the coil as listed below.

    Spark plug torque is not critical and the gap is .040".

    CV 15 Coil Test.jpg
  3. cook90

    cook90 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks Restrobob for the information. The sparkplug was firing normally with the white wire unattached. However, before checking the continuity of each individual safety wire, I decided to recheck the choke butterfly valve. (I read about this on a different thread.) Sure enough the valve was not fully closing in the choke position. I wedged a pair of pliers in the linkage leading to the valve to fully close the valve and when I pulled the starter cable she fired right up. Did the same thing again today and the mower started again. Hopefully, the problem is solved.

    This leads to my next question-- what's the best way to adjust the choke linkage to ensure full closure of the choke butterfly valve?

    Thanks for the troubleshooting tips! Your assistance is invaluable.
  4. khouse

    khouse LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,465

    usually just loosening the cable mount at the engine and push or pull the cable assembly and there you have it.
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    As khouse mentioned is one way if you have separate throttle and choke controls, If they are integrated to one cable there is a adjustment screw on the control plate to adjust the choke setting.
  6. cook90

    cook90 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the help!!
  7. khutch

    khutch LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 495

    Restrorob Rocks!

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