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Sears Craftsman Lawn Tractor Troubleshooting Help Please.

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by anvil, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. anvil

    anvil LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I have a 10 year old Sears Craftsman Lawn Tractor with the
    15.5 hp Kohler engine.

    The last couple of times that I have mowed the engine would
    start and run fine for quite a while, then it would miss
    briefly and then quit.

    It would however start back up for me when I jumped it off.

    I have always had trouble keeping the battery charged and
    have jumped it off using the car for years.

    The last time I attempted to mow, I jumped the mower off
    as usual. After it started, I disconnected the jumper
    cables and closed the hood of my car. The mower ran fine
    for about a minute then it started missing and quit running.

    At this point I would only get clicking from the solenoid
    when I turned the key. I was advised to replace the solenoid.
    After doing so, It started fine. However, the moment I removed
    the positive cable from the battery, the engine shut off.

    Now when I attempt to start it I don't get anything.

    I am sure that this is an electrical problem but do
    not think that it is isolated to one specific cause.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  2. pugs

    pugs LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,025

    Does it have a fuel shutoff solenoid on the carb? If it does, that needs probably at least 9 volts otherwise it will cut fuel to the main jet and the engine will probably die.

    If that is the case I would recommend a new battery and find out what the charging system problem is.
  3. anvil

    anvil LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Pugs - Thank you for your reply.

    I believe that it does have the fuel solenoid, but I am not
    getting any power to the starter.

    I don't get "anything" when I turn the key - even with
    jumper cables hooked up.

    I'm wondering if I may have zapped my new starter
    solenoid by trying to jump it off, adding another
    problem on top of the first.

    (The old one was the original and may be why it allowed
    years of jump starts., the new one was made in China).

    FIXDISS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    If you have a multimeter , check battery voltage at the battery terminals.(+,-) If you have 10 volts or less ,charge battery and try starting again.Once you get it started check voltage at battery with engine running at full throttle . You should get at least 13 volts and maybe up to 16.0. If you have a bad battery you may not be able to jump it . There is a way to go directly to starter to get it started , but we won't go there yet.Just hope you haven't blown out the charging system by repeated jump starts from automobile. Also make sure all your cable connections are clean and tight. If battery is suspect then you can replace it for about 15 bucks (low amp) to 24 bucks(high amp) at Wally World. If it was my machine I would start by replacing battery then checking voltages.

    FIXDISS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    Oh yeah. Welcome to LAWNSITE !
  6. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    [​IMG] Mark,

    Check the fuse, Install a new battery in the unit. If it still doesn't start check for voltage on the 'B" spade on the back of the ignition switch, Then the "S" spade while holding the key in the start position. If voltage is present on both these spades and it still will not do anything check the clutch pedal safety switch.

    Once you get it running check the charging system as FIXDISS outlined but you don't want over 15 VDC at the battery with full throttle.
  7. anvil

    anvil LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Fixdiss and Restrorob - Thank You kindly for your welcome and suggestions.

    I checked the fuse (didn't even know it had one) and it WAS blown.

    Ran over to the Lowe's HIC and picked up a battery and pack of fuses.

    Installed both and it fires right up! :eek:) Happy Camper (o:

    I don't have a multimeter (should have picked one up at Lowe's) but
    will try to pick one up later this evening.

    If the voltage reads low, do you have any suggestions on what to
    check as a possible cause?

    Thank You again for your help Gentlemen.

  8. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    If you care to post the spec. number off your engine I will be happy to post the proper charging system test procedure page for your engine.

    Glad to hear it's running....
  9. anvil

    anvil LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Ok Gentlemen, here is the latest.

    I went to Sears and picked up a Multimeter.

    When I turned the key to start the engine to take the reading, I noticed a
    small puff of smoke coming from the wiring cluster that goes to the stator.

    Upon closer inspection, I saw that there is a green, black and yellow wire leading up to the stator. The green is seprate from the yellow and black wires. The black wire had melted loose where the yellow and black wire tie into another black wire that leads to the stator.

    (I thought that I had smelled burning plastic when I got it running last but I shut it off right away and couldn't find anything).

    I pulled the flywheel off to take a look.

    I don't know if any of this is an issue or not, but the flywheel had quite a bit of dust built up on the magnets, one of the magnets had a very small chip (1/8 inch) out of it in the upper left corner and the stator had about 5 coils that were darker than the rest.

    Also - The spec # is 41567 if needed.

    Once again your insight will be greatly appreciated.

  10. Restrorob

    Restrorob LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,029

    OK Mark,

    Below is the wire diagram denoting which color wires operate what, Also the test procedure.

    Since you found burnt wires and have the flywheel off I would suggest starting with test #3. If the stator is shorted out that could have caused the wires to burn.

    If the stator test with-in specs. it's possible the wires shorted causing them to burn, If thats the case repair the wires then proceed to test #1 & #2 for final verification that the charging system is working properly.

    Just some food for thought;

    Jumping a small engine off with a vehicle engine running is putting 68 plus amps from the vehicle alternator through a 3 to 15 or so amp small engine electrical/charging system.
    If you must jump start a small engine always do it with the vehicle engine off.

    BTW, The small chip in the magnet shouldn't hurt.



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