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Super Z Starter Puzzle

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by puppypaws, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    My Super Z was cranking perfectly when I had my dealer put a pan gasket on my 28 efi. I also had them go through everything for a 500 hr. service, when I say everything, I do mean everything. I sent him an email with everything listed in detail I wanted done.

    My dealer called me and said, "the mower is starting fine but there is considerable wear and play in the starter." I said, "well you know what I do in a situation like that." He then said, "I know you too well, that is why a new starter has already been installed."

    This gets to be the interesting part, I also brought in a special ordered, completely sealed, 350 cold cranking amp (50 higher than other batteries) AC Delco battery. I wanted this battery, just because I wanted it, mine had been excellent but was over three years old, it may have been OK for another year or even two, then again it may not.

    They did an excellent job on everything, the mower came back looking like new. I had started the mower 3 or 4 times when all of a sudden with this super strong battery and new starter I turned the key and heard a slight starter drag. I thought to myself, that had to be some type of freak happening and want take place again. This happened a couple of more times before I called my dealer and told him what was taking place.

    I told Chad (my dealer) this would blow the average persons mind, you have a three year old starter, a 3 1/2 year old battery and the mower is cranking perfectly. We put in a new starter, stronger battery, new improved relays and now it attempts to drag. I said, "I spent all that money so when I touch the key; the starter spins as fast as possible, and the engine starts before your eyes can blink." He said, "I know it has to be right, or you want have it, I'll come pick it up and see what is going on." I said, "there is not but a couple of things it could be, the battery is not getting full voltage to the starter, or the starter has a slight defect."

    My dealer called Kohler and they did not have a clue, he then called Hustler and they said; we have what is called a "hard start kit." He called me and said Hustler had a "hard start kit" on the way and he had no clue as to what it was, he had never heard of one.

    When something like this happens; I am going to find out what brought a "hard start kit" into existence. I called and talked with a very nice young man at Hustler, I asked him if he was knowledgeable of the "hard start kit", and he told me he was. I said, "what is a hard start kit and why was it brought into existence." He said, "we have some engines that once they become hot and you switch them off it is much harder for the starter to crank them once again." I said, "I can totally understand this because once an engine is hot and switched off on a compression stroke it is much more difficult to turn the engine over." I had a new truck that did this because the starter was too light, I remedied the problem by having a high torque direct drive starter installed (same as used on race cars).

    I told him this was not a hot mower starting problem, and explained the entire situation. He said, "this does not really make sense and I will need to do some investigating to see if there is something I'm not aware of."

    I forgot to mention, when Chad took the mower back they had the starter drag about one out of 10 cranking attempts, he had them install another starter and it did the very exact same thing. The mower has not repeated the problem since it was returned with the "hard start kit" installed. I am not going to say anything about the problem being totally remedied until I have used the mower for a period of time.

    I am actually confused over this entire situation and would like to have an answer if there is one to be humanly found. I always believe there is a logical explanation for any problem produced, but sometimes answers are hard to come by.

    Anyone experienced anything like this before?
  2. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    So what I was waiting for is the explanation of what a hard start kit consists of, what is it?
  3. albhb3

    albhb3 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Ask for the old one back lol Im not sure but could it be a lower gear ratio or something down that line so it can crank easier when first starting out but still able to get to a starting point. I dont know just a shot in the dark. keep us informed
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Exactly...and how is this condition a Hustler thing, but not a Kohler thing. Has anyone else with this Kohler 28 EFI experienced this? We are going in the morning to purchase a new lazer (last year's model, hopefully). this is for a young man who I have been mentoring into the lawn business, and he seems to be doing ok. He is actually a customer of mine's son (fert.) and his 2 year old Cub Cadet Tank is needing some repair work to the tune of nearly 1500 to 2000 dollars (Hydro pump and motor along with some other deck work that we already did). Anyway, he's hoping to get into the 28 with the 60" Ultra-cut deck, but that's all anothe story. I would like to know if this condition has occured in any other 28 efi.
  5. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    I'm sorry, I got so long winded I forgot that part. The explanation I was given by Hustler was it is a device that takes more direct current to the starter giving it a harder jolt; enabling it to engage the starter faster. This in return gives the starter more strength to turn the engine.

    This is the problem; I have a hard time understanding, my engine has always cranked perfectly, whether it is 15 degrees or 100 degrees. It has never once in 490 hrs. missed cranking instantly, this is the reason I love efi engines. Now all of a sudden, two new starters want to drag with a 350 CCAbattery that load test to be excellent. I have something not making good sense.

    It is not exclusive to a 28 efi Kohler. This has been the best engine I've had on a Super Z, bar none.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  6. TimsLawnCareVA

    TimsLawnCareVA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 361

    By chance have you had someone test the battery for cranking amps or a bad cell? I have seen cases where a battery load test fine, but has a bad cell or low cranking amps. I had a Nissan Altima drive me crazy once, then I tried a Snap-On tester and found it had a bad cell in the battery, but it load tested fine with my old tester. Might want to give it as try if you haven't yet. Most auto shops should have one of the newer testers.
  7. djagusch

    djagusch LawnSite Platinum Member
    from MN
    Messages: 4,345

    I had something similar with my Turf Tiger it ended up being the battery, not enough voltage after going through the harness to the solenoid. The battery would charge and look ok but when it was cranked it would go too low. New battery problem solved for a year and half so far.

    My dealer back then did mention a kit to solve it also not by Hustler though (maybe snapper or country clipper). It basically sent the signal wire (voltage from switch to starter solenoid) a direct wire from the switch to the starter. The theory was less resistance in the wiring which meaned a better signal to the solenoid.

    This was on a Kawi 27HP.
  8. puppypaws

    puppypaws LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,148

    I feel assured this is what the "hard start kit" does, and you have experienced some of what I've seen. What is confusing is there never had been a problem of this type before, the engine always cranked perfectly, never once turned over more than a couple of times until it was running. This is one reason I like the efi so much, no choke, and not temperamental in any temperature weather.

    Now with a new starter, new stronger battery, and new upgraded relays, I all of a sudden need a "hard start kit" throwing more direct current to the starter solenoid to assist the cranking. This makes no sense at all.

    That was my first thought, I load tested the battery and it checked to be excellent, my dealer checked the battery also and said it was not the problem. This really has me puzzled, if you have a good power source (I do),
    a good starter (new and tried two), and do not lose starting power through the wiring circuits, there should be no way for this to happen.

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