JD - Servicing the Bendix Drive??

mbsl98March 4, 2008

I happened to be reading my JD service manual the other day (always good for light reading when it is snowing) and was surprised to see that "servicing the Bendix drive" was a recommended periodic maintenance step, and not only that, but it was recommended that it be only done by a Kohler/JD dealer. I must have missed this on earlier readings. The machine I am reading about is my JD LT160 with Kohler Command 16 HP motor (115 hours). My question is really whether this is something that most of you already knew and actually do on a regular basis? Also, is there something special about the procedure (nothing is spelled out in the manual) that suggests it is best left to the "Pro's" assuming you actually have access to one of those? Finally, is there anything more to be done than lubing the gear and the shaft that the gear slides up on? Apparently, they are not suggesting opening up the electric motor section of the starter for cleaning, just servicing the bendix.

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Mbs198, I have owned 2 Deeres a L-110 and my current X300,
I never read anything in my manuals on serivicing the Bendix portion of the starter, but I guess it would not hurt to clean & lube the shaft every once in a while. I would also check the condition of the drive gear because some are made out of a nylon type material and wear with age and can eventually slip. Also while your there blow out the windings with an air choke.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 8:20PM
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If you intend to use the machine in really cold weather--it is not advisable to oil the starter Bendix and its gear. The gear has to be free to spin out of mesh with the flywheel ring gear when the engine starts, and any thick cold grease in it will tend to congeal, making the gear stay in mesh with the flywheel, with the attendant problems of sticking and worn out gear!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 3:13PM
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Probably not a good idea to assume that "servicing" means greasing or oiling. I have not ever been aware of an OEM suggesting oiling or otherwise lubing a starter drive assembly. As rustyj14 points out, cold, sticky lube might lead to some problems in itself. I have been reading various kinds of service and owners manuals all my working life and I can tell you that even the best ones have some text that can be described as "cryptic", or "vague", or "scanty", or "downright erroneous". Another aspect is that words like "servicing" have no "industry standard definition". It can mean anything from "inspection" to "replacement" with any number of other "procedures" in between. I will opine that "service" in the case of this starter drive refers to inspect for condition of the gear teeth and overall integrity (nothing loose or worn out). Just my opinion here.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Thanks, Mownie, for clarifying what i said. I would think that since there is nothing in the owners manual telling one to grease the starter Bendix, it would not need to be done. seems simple enough, doesn't it?
As for any other maintenance on the starter, it either works or it doesn't. If not, then take it to be fixed. They are not owner fixable, unless the owner has an electrical "bent"! They're one of those things--when you take out the last bolt, and slide it apart---WOO-EEE!! Now where did that little thing go, that flew out of there!?!?
Way back in the early years, after the electric starter was invented, and the Bendix Company invented the "Bendix part", any time the rear crankshaft seal leaked engine oilo, it would eventually work its way onto the Bendix shaft, and the first cold spell would tell you what the problem was, with a high pitched whirring sound, and a no-start condition! That oil congealed on the Bendix shaft and wouldn't work, or it would stick in the flywheel teeth, necessitating replacement, because the spinning of the shaft would soon enough destroy the starter innards!
One reason the bendix would not work, is to have installed the battery cables incorrectly--Positive to Ground, Negative to starter post. This can be done--i did it once--had to really scratch my head at that one--found out the battery had been recharged backwards! OH!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 5:52PM
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Yeah rustyj, I too have seen my "share" of starters that got oiled from leaking rear main seals. When the oil runs onto the flywheel (and it will) it gets slung off and a portion of this gets slung directly into the nose of the starter and onto the armature shaft (or the output shaft on some). Add a steady supply of dust from the clutch facings (on manual trans. vehicles) and you end up with a very gummy mixture coating what should be shiny and "free".

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 7:43PM
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I agree with mownie,
I would think its a bendix inspection. If you've never seen the type of starter drive Koh/Deere uses on the Command engines? All it is, is a gear encased in a rubber cup, there is a steel disk under the cup, the cup grips the disc and spin's up the armature. If oiled or greased the cup will slip on the disc when the gear engages the flywheel. The inspection is to check for dirt/debris and rubber condition of the cup, after awhile pieces start to tear out. Most people don't do it. You can "hear" when the drive is starting to wear. It makes a different sound when it starts to go out, as does most starters.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 3:35PM
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