Kawasaki FC540V ignition problems

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by JRL, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. JRL

    JRL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    My John Deere lawn tractors with the Kawasaki FC540V 17hp single cylinder engines are always having problems with weak ignition spark. I like the engines but am tired of paying for $140 coils and $70 ignitor moduals.
    Is there a way to convert the engine to use an external mounted automotive type of ignition coil?
    Any info would be appreciated.
  2. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    First of all, which one is going bad? Generally they do not both go bad... You may be replacing parts you do not need to replace.

    Also, where are you getting them from? John Deere? Kawasaki Dealer?

    The coil lists for 70 and the igniter is 55 from Kawasaki. There is also another coil that might work...it lists for like 44.

    There is also an aftermarket igniter available that might work.
  3. JRL

    JRL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I have 3 of the John Deere 265 mowers. They are old but have been very dependable except for the ignition problems with weak spark. I try to keep an ignitor and a coil on hand. I get parts from the Deere dealer and they say there is no bench test for the ignitor and can only check ohms for the coil.
    The people at the local auto parts store told me that these engines can be converted to use a standard automotive coil but they did'nt know the particulars in wiring it up. I was hoping that this might solve an on going problem with the factory set up.
    Thank You for your follow up on my posting, any info is appreciated------JRL
  4. DaughtryLC

    DaughtryLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    I had the same problem, bought a relay kit for the starter at the jd dealer and never had anymore problems
  5. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Well JRL,

    Your people at the auto parts store don't know what there talking about. To install a 12V auto coil you must have points to break the spark and a condenser. This engine has no provision for either.

    Your Deere dealer doesn't either, They had rather sell you both coil and igniter and scrape that money in.

    I would suggest the relay kit as DaughtryLC stated if you only have weak spark at start-ups. Or you could try a higher cold cranking amp battery to get more power (spin starter faster) for start-up.

    Print this test procedure out and next time you stop into your Deere dealer hand it to them.

  6. JRL

    JRL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the info. I will check into the relay kits and make sure the batteries are up to specs. Sounds like a much cheaper fix than what I've been doing.
    It looks like my Deere dealer does'nt have all the tech. info that he should have or ??
    Thanks again to everyone for the advise.-----John
  7. rln7411

    rln7411 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have a Gravely Walk behind with Kawasaki FC540V-AS03 17 HP engine that I bought it used last week.
    Only doing the test cut for 5 minutes and engine die out on me.
    There was no spark at all so I checked the coil resistance.
    The reading between plus lead and core is 13.89 k ohm, terminal and core is .8 ohm.
    I can't find the specs value for this type of engine anywhere online.
    Also I 've notice that the ignition module mount out side of the engine with 1 terminal was not connect to any where?.
    Its seem to me that the white wire that connect the coil terminal to the ignition key switch must also connect to that module but not sure?
    Any one have the ignition schematic for this machine or any idea what I should check on. Please help
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  8. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Well, For some reason I can't find a spec AS03 engine so I can't tell which ignition system you have.

    But here's the proper coil test;


    Where does your ignition switch kill wire hook up ?

    If a ignitor is required there should be a lead going from it to the coil then the ignition switch would hook to the igniter as well.
  9. Dirty Dawg

    Dirty Dawg LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Wow, older thread, but seems to be my issue. FC540V, weak spark while cranking. Runs great if I can get it started.

    This relay kit mentioned, is it an update to cure an issue such as too much voltage drop to the starter resulting in slow cranking and thus weak spark? Or is it just replaced to freshen the contacts?

    Even with a new battery, this engine sure seems to crank hard. Even with perfect valve lash for the auto-decomp to work correctly.
  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    Yep, Also make SURE your choke butterfly is closing FULLY.....

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