blown starter switch fuse; bad solenoid?

kssue(6)July 1, 2009

I have an old Huskee B3912-230 (TSC 4420105) with a 12hp B&S 280707 type 0411-02 ... Had some problems with starting it last summer that turned out to be a bad ignition switch, after replacing the solenoid (no go) and then the switch. Then had to replace the top part of the starter (the head and gear on top of the pinion shaft that engages the flywheel) when IT cracked cranking the engine after the switch was replaced. Finally got it running, hallelujah.

Then this spring, after replacing the battery and charging it up, started fine and was mowing, all of a sudden ran into fuel feed problems; would start and run for about 5-10 seconds then die. Suspected fuel line or carb probs so changed the filter, checked the cap, took off the carb bowl and cleaned it out, poked the orifices I could see, etc etc and got it running again. Yay again. Got the yard mowed once.

THEN, after turning it off then trying to restart, the starter started acting erratic, balking when you turned the key, ie would crank the engine half a turn or two then quit, or the gear would spin but the shaft would not pop up and engage the gear with the flywheel, and generally seemed like the engine was hard to turn at a certain point when you tried to turn it by hand. Compression was fine when trying to turn the opposite direction, I think. Shot some WD-40 down the starter shaft and this seemed to take care of the sticking symptoms so that the starter wasonce again engaging the flywheel. BUT....still seemed hard to turn over, so figured ok, maybe I drained the battery trying to crank the starter over and over (in short tries) and it is not getting enough juice. So I charged up the battery and tried it again... and NOW all I got was a click at the turn of the key; headlight position on the switch showed headlights were getting current.

SO, my first thought was bad solenoid, and since the starting trouble last year ended up being the starter switch and not the solenoid, or so I thought, and I still had the old solenoid, I thought ok, let's just try swapping out the solenoids. The "new" (last year's replacement) solenoid I was taking off looked like it got fried at one of the large posts (I THINK it was the battery post); the plastic housing had melted up around the bottom of the post a bit so i figured that had to be part of the problem...maybe I burned it up trying to crank the sticky starter. BUT the mower is old enough that the replacement solenoid as identified in the manual was no longer available and had been replaced by a new one that looked slightly different. So when putting back the original solenoid I found myself not entirely sure which large cable went to which post but thought the small starter terminal was closest to the battery post so hooked it up that way...

So got it all hooked up and checked all the other connections (safety switches etc.) as best I could, then got on and turned the key...NOTHING, not even a click. Current to the headlights briefly then nothing. Checked the fuse between ig. switch and solenoid; it had blown. So I thought hmmm maybe I hooked it up backwards at the solenoid and that made the fuse blow so switched the cables, got a new fuse and tried it again, same thing, blew the fuse. So now I really have no idea which cables go on which solenoid post, although I DO have a schematic and drawing of the wiring for the tractor in the manual...should have looked at that for the re-installing old solenoid...duh...I am afraid I may have shorted out the ignition switch by hooking it up backwards or messed up the charging module or something when the fuse what.

SO...did actually find a solenoid that is said to be equivalent to the original solenoid (NOMA 53716) and looks like the one in the manual, and while I am waiting for that to arrive, wondering if there is anything else that could have caused the replacement solenoid to melt down, other than repeated short cranking intervals and a hard-to-turn engine, or could it be the battery? The wiring harness looks ok from what I can see and inspect, no bad wires visible, no corroded connectors, all tight. I WAS able to jump the starter from the battery (+) and it responded (attempted to engage the flywheel) but I don't like sparks and did not hold it long enough to crank it to start, heh. So figured likely not the starter. Same reason I did not want to jump the solenoid, but figured if the starter cranks bypassing the solenoid and current is getting thru the ignition switch to the headlights plus the original click problem from the replacement solenoid before swapping back to the old original solenoid, then it must be the maybe BOTH solenoids are bad, which I am hoping is the case.

I know this is a very long post and apologize for that but am also aware thru reading a lot of other posts trying to find a solution that any number of things could be a part of the problem...mainly just want to get the electrical circuit fixed to see if indeed the starter does need replacing, or if it is an engine valve or crankshaft problem....or battery! I have devoted far too much of my time to fiddling with this machine every season trying to maintain it and keep it running...since we have a lot of lawn and can't afford a new one, but now I know just about all there is to know about it too, LOL.

Any thoughts on the blown fuse? It has never done this and not sure of the direction of the current or other possible factors that would cause it to blow... thanks for any help anyone can offer!!

Sue in KS

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"The "new" (last year's replacement) solenoid I was taking off looked like it got fried at one of the large posts (I THINK it was the battery post); the plastic housing had melted up around the bottom of the post"

Burned terminal posts is a pretty good indication that the connection was loose.

" I found myself not entirely sure which large cable went to which post but thought the small starter terminal was closest to the battery post so hooked it up that way..."

All starter solenoids have two large posts, side by side or on opposite sides of the solenoid and it makes absolutely no difference which large cable is connected to which post as it is simply a straight thru connection. One side goes to the battery the other side goes to the starter and there is nothing special about starter solenoids, you do not have to have the exact same one that came on the mower, they are generic.

The SMALL terminal is connected to a small wire coming from the ignition switch, IF there are two small posts, one comes from the ignition switch, the other is a ground. On solenoids with only one wire, the ground is thru the mounting bracket of the solenoid.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 8:23AM
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***"Current to the headlights briefly then nothing. Checked the fuse between ig. switch and solenoid; it had blown."***
I wish I could see your solenoid and ignition switch configuration, just to be sure. The FUSE BETWEEN IGNITION SWITCH and SOLENOID is most likely the MAIN FUSE for the tractor electrical system. You may have been interpreting the fuse as being part of the "cranking circuit" only. It's not exactly like that. The wire that features the fuse, is actually providing "battery voltage" TO the ignition switch.......not FROM it. Here is a rough description of how this is usually configured: (and see "schematic" below) A large cable connects the positive post (+) of the battery to one of the large posts on the solenoid (a.k.a.starter relay). Attached to the same post is a smaller wire. This small wire is the ignition switch FEEDER, it carries power TO the ignition switch. This wire is the wire that features the fuse. Another small wire connects to a separate "small post" or "blade terminal" (one type or the other, depending on the machine OEM) on the body of the solenoid. This wire is the "Solenoid control wire". As the name implies, this wire activates the solenoid to pass current to the starter, ONLY when the ignition switch is turned to the "start" or "crank" position. This circuit (wire) originates at the "start" terminal on the ignition switch, but it might travel through one or more safety interlock switches (or other device) before actually reaching the solenoid. These interlocks will only allow current to reach the solenoid if they are in the "Safe to start" position. The second large post on the solenoid is where the starter cable connects. This cable delivers current to the starter when the solenoid is "activated", or, "engaged", by the solenoid control circuit. The solenoid is nothing more than a "very heavy duty switch" that is operated by electricity instead of having a manual button or toggle for the machine operator (that's you) to push or throw. There are a number of reasons why the automotive industry (and boy is that a broad area) adopted the use of "electromagnetic switches" instead of manual switches. Economics and convenience are at the top of the list, with efficiency and durability coming in next.
A thorough explanation of all that would not help in understanding the circuitry here, so I'll skip that.
Anyhow, if your tractor continues to "blow" the fuse, check the wiring for the headlights as well. If your headlights went out when the fuse blew, the actual "short" (fuse killer) might be in that circuit. Keep us posted on how you are doing with this issue.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:32AM
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Thank you!! I knew about the small post (there is one on mine) and the ground wire-to-bracket connection. But was unsure about the large posts. This is the info I have been searching long and hard for, as far as which post is which. I do remember discovering that the large post connections were loose when I began getting the click and tightened them and tried it again before switiching solenoids, but did not make any difference, so guess it was already fried.

So is it possible that one of the cables became damaged due to that also? they both look okay...

But what would cause the fuse to blow after I switched solenoids, other than the possibility that it was a bad solenoid after all? Do you think I might have fried something else?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Thanks also, Mownie, did not get your post before the last one that I sent to Walt. That is exactly the explanation of the path of the current that I was unsure of. Your schematic sounds right on, this mower is old enough that I'm sure that is about right. The 15 amp spade fuse IS between the starter switch and the solenoid; the switch is a blade type. Just did not know which way the current was going through it and what it was protecting.

I will look at the headlight connections and re-inspect all the wiring and see if there is anything amiss there. Would a loose connection somewhere cause it to blow? Would it make sense to disconnect the headlights and try it again? Guess I had better stock up on fuses for the long haul, lol.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 12:24PM
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BEFORE I go any further, let me state a general safety rule again. ANY time you are working on a vehicle, where you will be "fiddling" with, or working near, the electrical components of the vehicle electrical system...............DISCONNECT THE "GROUND" CABLE FROM THE BATTERY FIRST. Never work around electrical components without first disconnecting the GROUND CABLE. WHENEVER you are going to REMOVE a battery, disconnect THE GROUND CABLE FIRST, disconnect the "hot" cable last. When installing a battery, connect the hot cable first, connect the ground cable last. Most all vehicles worldwide now have NEGATIVE GROUND electrical systems. Use the above rules when connecting and disconnecting batteries to help prevent damage to the electrical system, and possible personal injury. Extremely important that batteries be connected and disconnected using the proper "sequence" of which cable "first"!! I can't stress that enough!! (well, I could, but I'd probably get kicked off the forum for consuming too much "band width". I'm pushing my luck already :^)
***"is it possible that one of the cables became damaged due to that also?"***
It's "possible", but doubtful in this case. The worst thing that might have happened to YOUR cables (from being loose) would be some "burning" to the surfaces on the "lugs" (cable "eye terminals") on the end of each cable.
Any time you are replacing (or even "re-connecting") this type of cable, you should inspect the surfaces of the lugs for burnt or corroded surfaces. If you see anything other than "bright, clean metal", clean the surfaces until you get as much of the "ugly" off the lug as possible. Sandpaper, emery, wire brush, or a good scraping with an old knife or file will work to clean them up. If you see that the lugs have become thin or brittle, replace the lug or the enire cable.
***"But what would cause the fuse to blow after I switched solenoids, other than the possibility that it was a bad solenoid after all?"***
That is going to be difficult to answer from "afar", and because I'm not sure "WHICH" solenoid you are referring to.
If you are referring to "the solenoid you replaced last year and decided to try it again yesterday" solenoid. If that's the solenoid..........yes, it's possible that THAT solenoid had incurred a "short to ground" internally (inside case of solenoid). The only way to determine that is through the use of an Ohmeter or, some type of continuity tester. That procedure could be explained if you want to (or end up needing to) pursue that tack.
I said "possible", but I have some doubts. In your activities of checking and trying and such, you may have somehow accidently "shorted" a wire that is fed from the ignition switch and "blew" the fuse that way.
***"Do you think I might have fried something else?"***
UNlikely, but time will tell. I have no idea exactly what you have poked or touched, and so can't form much of an opinion there (other than what I already said). One thing is for sure, even if you DID manage to "fry something else", you will not get a prize for being the "First Ever" person to do it. The fact that the fuse "blew" pretty well says that whatever you did was "forbidden"......but the fuse blew and "saved your.....uh, day".

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 12:42PM
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ok, lots to digest.

1)Thanks for the safety info. Assume the ground cable = negative/black, right? Since it is grounded to frame? I always disconnect BOTH cables before messing with ANYTHING electrical, until I am ready to fire it up. I have a bit of an electrical phobia, ahem. So in that respect probably unlikely that i shorted something out during the process of checking things out since I don't even like to touch connections when they are hooked up to a battery.

2)I will definitely look at the lugs and sand them clean as they may certainly be darkened if not corroded; have been focusing my inspection on the plastic wire casing thinking melted plastic.

3)To clarify the solenoid references...the original solenoid was replaced with a new one last year, and the new solenoid was the one that started clicking at key turn to start THIS year. The new one had the melted plastic on the post which Walt suggested might have been from a loose connection, which WAS observed when checking it after it began to give me a click. That fact I forgot to mention in my original post.

So, after tightening the connectors/lugs on the NEW solenoid thinking that was the problem (w/ battery disconnected then reconnected) still got no current to the starter. I THINK it still clicked, but can't recall for sure; by then I was thinking ok maybe the OLD solenoid from last year was ok, lets try it and see.

So, after unhooking the battery and putting the OLD solenoid back on, hooking up the battery and starter cables, ground and ignition wires, hooking battery back up, then turning the key, NOTHING, although the headlights did come on while moving the key switch thru the "headlight/run" position to "run" (no lights) then "start". I am not sure at what point the fuse blew but assumed it happened as I was turning the key thru some position (headlights...?). So was assuming from that that I hooked something up wrong. FYI do know the battery terminals ARE hooked to the correct polarity. but I have been disconnecting the red pos. cable first (ooo)... maybe THAT is relevant? As you stressed first off? At any rate only replaced the fuse and turned the key again and I think I saw a flash from behind the key switch but might not have (inspection showed no sign of anything burnt at the connector THERE). So was probly the fuse blowing?

I just have this vision of hooking something up wrong (really the battery and solenoid were the only things I messed with connectors on...) and then blowing the fuse when I turned the key to start because the circuit was not right. I did not have a chance to look at anything tonight since I was out buying fuses after work, heh, but have a couple of things to check now, THANK YOU...maybe will do that before switching solenoids (have another brand new one now) since that was kind of a pain to do...

One other thing that I noticed in my inspection of the wiring. I am not sure what the wire is, maybe part of the charging system since it goes into the engine near the carburetor, but there is a wire attached to the bottom of the body of the little metal box that covers the throttle-carb linkage on the back left side of the engine, that also had was also very loose; is that some sort of ground maybe? Current to the spark plug wire? Or maybe even an "AHA"? At any rate assume it should be tightened up...

Ok I will shoot this back out there; give me another day to haul the dinosaur out of its den and look it in the eye again...I promise to follow up because if and when I get it going again i will be a happy camper...thanks to the sage advice being sent my way. It has had a bad case of "one thing after another" this summer so this might not be the end of it! Still warily eyeing the starter and the flywheel...will cross that bridge when we come back to it... :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:47AM
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***"I always disconnect BOTH cables before messing with ANYTHING electrical"***
That's fine.......just be sure to disconnect ground (black) first, and positive (red) last. When connecting, reverse the order (red first, black last). The devil is always in the "details". When you put a "metallic tool" onto the ground terminal, it will not "short" or "arc" if you accidently touch an adjacint metal part of the machine (because the machine chassis is also "negative" or ground). But if you take off the positive (hot) terminal first (while the negative is still connected to battery), and accidently touch a metallic part of the machine, you WILL short to ground, creating a "violent arc", possibly even resulting in the battery exploding. For this reason THE EXACT SEQUENCE OF CONNECTING AND DISCONNECTING BATTERIES MUST BE FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER (can you hear me now?). I'm out of time for today, Will return later. are going to be "getting involved" with electrical devices, you must use a volt/ohm multimeter, and know how to use it. It is "teachable". A 12 volt test light is also recommended. Some things can be tested using either, but some things are better tested using one or the other as the situation calls for. Get both.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Ok, ummm, to pose a hypothetical...if you DID short to ground by accidentally touching the frame with the wrench when incorrectly unhooking the pos. cable first, and you got a spark but the battery did not explode...would the battery be irreparably damaged??? Don't even ask...

I wish I still had my dad around because he was a nuclear physicist (whew) and dabbled in all things electronic (as in 1950's-60's electronics), so would have been a good consultant for the electrical probs; he always had all the essential electrical testing equipment handy...if this goes beyond the obvious connections and wire/lug condition issues, might have to have my mom send me his volt/ohm multimeter, which I am sure he has and SHE does not use, lol (she's a girl, ref to another thread...;) ). But hopefully will not need to resort to that...back to you later. Thanks for your generous allotment of time to my long-winded posts.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:03PM
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OK, I checked all the connections, examined the wires (no visible damage to any of them), cleaned the lugs etc on battery cables (pos and neg), cleaned battery posts and negative ground lug, solenoid connections, and starter connection. Tightened the loose wire I mentioned earlier (off the shroud over the throttle linkage); hooked it all back up, popped in a new fuse and turned the key; paused at the lights/run position with lights on before hitting start. Lights remained on, so then turned to start and lights went out then nothing. Fuse had blown. Unplugged the headlights and popped in another fuse, repeated key switch, same result, nothing and blown fuse.

Did all this with the OLD solenoid still in see if any wiring/connection probs might have been to blame. Since I have a new solenoid i suppose the next logical step will be to replace that, I guess, unless you have any other ideas...I should probably have just changed it when I had all the connectors off but wanted to be sure it would not work after minor adjustment.

Any comments? I am wondering now if it is likely to be either the battery or the solenoid? If the battery was dead would the fuse still blow? I did charge the battery prior to all of the latest stuff, when the NEW solenoid started giving me a click. But could take it to someone to have it checked if you think it ought to be; it was new last summer and started up fine this spring; seemed to be charging ok.

Thanks again for your time and patience.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 1:13AM
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Pull the "little wire" (would correspond to the "blue wire" in my illustration above) off the solenoid. Tape over the loose end of wire, or other method of keeping the wire end from shorting on the frame of tractor. Repeat your steps as before to replace the fuse and operate the ignition switch as if to start. If the fuse does not "blow" with the wire disconnected from the solenoid, then the solenoid is shorted to ground internally. OR, you have been connecting the solenoid control wire to a grounded post/blade instead of the correct one??? How many BIG terminals or posts on the solenoid? How many little post on the solenoid?. And to answer your "hypothetical question" about the hypothetical shorting of a hot post to ground with a hypothetical tool when hypothetically disconnecting a battery using the wrong sequence of steps........if it was just a small "pop", you probably did no harm, just don't do it again.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 2:05AM
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LOL, ur a nite owl too I see....

Ok, first the "hypothetical", bad girl, UH-UH-UH! battery was just a little spark and pop. Now I know better. :) And uh, feel better too. See, this is why we mechanic wannbes need you mower gurus! Actually I don't really wannabe a mechanic, just like being practical and trying to fix it myself if I can since money is tight...

I will try the solenoid check tomorrow. Been reading thru some older "fuse keeps blowing" posts on this forum and the short to ground somewhere sounds convincing since it is pretty obviously triggered by the switch. I THINK I checked all of the wires and did not see any damage but won't hurt to go over them again.

One other thing I did not really stop to check was to look at the fuse after turning the switch to the position past headlights but before start/crank; the switch goes to ON/RUN after the HEADLIGHT-ON/RUN, then START. So will look at that too.

Ok, so as far as testing the solenoid for short to ground, I need to remove the wire to the small start terminal at the base, correct? will electric tape work to cover it?

I have the ignition wire (has a blade-type connector that wraps around the post) connected to the only small post on the solenoid; battery cable goes to one large terminal and starter cable to the other. The ground wire is black and connects to the screw holding the solenoid bracket to the frame; no post for it per se. It is a 3-terminal solenoid; two big and one small. So that sounds ok, right? That ground wire and the ignition wire (the blue one in your lovely pic) I am sure are correct since they have different connector types that can only go on those respective posts/screws.

I would strongly suspect that the old solenoid is the culprit since it started blowing fuses only after I put it back in service, so hope that test confirms it. Only wonder that the problem I had last summer was with the switch itself in the end, after replacing the solenoid to no avail; how likely is it that both would go bad at the same time? Just kind of assumed that since the switch solved the problem (and was the last part replaced in the circuit), that maybe the old solenoid was ok after all.

Stay tuned!!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 3:29AM
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"The ground wire is black and connects to the screw holding the solenoid bracket to the frame;"

?? (black, what ground)

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:50AM
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***"will electric tape work to cover it? "***
Yes. Actually, if the terminal connector on the wire is covered with plastic, you could "skip" the taping, just so long as the metal of the terminal connector does not touch anything else made of metal. The tape was just to prevent accidental shorting, which would produce false results when the fuse blew again.
***"I have the IGNITION WIRE (has a blade-type connector that wraps around the post) connected to the only small post on the solenoid That ground wire and the IGNITION WIRE (the blue one in your pic)........."***
Details, details, details! One must be very careful to "reference" things by the specific and correct "nomenclature" (whenever possible). Even though that wire (blue in pic) travels FROM the "ignition switch", it is NOT, "an ignition wire". The wire is the "Solenoid Control Wire", and that is all it does. It carries current to engage the solenoid when the ignition switch is operated in the START position. As I prefaced a few details about things sometimes reaching "technical levels", technicalities lurk in many places. Though I can infer which wire you were refering to, this presented an opportunity to emphasize how important it is to call things by the correct name. Wiring and circuitry can be especially confusing to the average person, and even defies comprehension to some people, so it is very important to get in the habit of calling a wire (or circuit) by its proper given name. If you think I am chiding you (gender-ly), you should hear me explaining things to "the new kids" at my job (well, maybe you shouldn't hear THAT). If I misled you by not naming the wires in the picture (I named it in the text), I will take that as something I need to include in future similar images. I should have called it by name (myself) instead of saying "little blue wire".
Let's go back a step or two. Since you reminded us of how the Huskee ignition switch is configured (the sequence of positions in the rotary pattern of function), it will be neccessary to re-state the test procedure to eliminate (or maybe, "to implicate") the headlights circuit. Leave the solenoid control wire unplugged from the solenoid for this. First, turn the ignition switch to the ON/RUN position and leave it in that position for 15 or 20 seconds. Check the fuse to see if it has "blown". If fuse is still good, turn the ignition switch to the HEADLIGHT-ON/RUN position and leave the switch in that position for a period of 15 or 20 seconds. Check the fuse. If the fuse has blown, you likely have a wire in the headlights circuitry that has become shorted to ground, or the ignition switch itself has an internal short. If the fuse remains "unblown" through this step of testing, turn the ignition switch to the START position. If the fuse blows now, there is a short in the solenoid control CIRCUIT........somewhere between the ignition switch.......and the solenoid, and now the "fun" begins. I don't know how old YOUR Huskee is, but it is newer than one I own, and mine is circa 1987. Both of these Huskees were built with safety interlock switches to prevent starter engagement unless the brake/clutch pedal is depressed. Because of this, the short that blows the fuse could be associated with the safety interlock switch wiring. So, you'll need to test using the revised instructions and then report your results.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:16AM
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OK, Walt first: the wire I was referring to is a grounding wire for the solenoid circuit (uh, mownie, walt, what is the proper name for it?? It is not shown in the picture above...) It is connected to one of the bolts that holds the solenoid to the tractor frame; there is no grounding terminal on this particular solenoid. That is how it was originally connected before I took the old solenoid off last year. This is also how it is shown in the owner's manual electrical configuration diagrams.

Re- terminology: I stand corrected; no offense taken whatsoever. YOU know what I am talking about, I hope, and please do correct me so that we are not misleading someone else out there. I would just as soon be calling things by their Proper Names, so I don't sound so amateurish, lol. Just trying to describe its approximate position/perceived function so you know what I am referring to; I can always clarify if needed.

Ok, very good, as far as switch testing procedure; did wonder if the switch was suspect, myself, so will do as you have described. So to repeat back in the spirit of being sure I understand: 1) disconnect Solenoid Control Wire and make sure it is not touching metal. 2) move ign. switch to on/run, wait 15-20 sec, check fuse,then to on/run/headlight (NOTE:this position is actually BEFORE on/run, so would have to move the key thru headlight/on/run to test on/run first, is that ok?) and check fuse at each stop after waiting.

Is it ok to pull the fuse when it the key is in each position, or should i turn it off before checking it? Likely a stupid question but...

Then if switch does not blow the fuse in first two positions, give it to Start.

Hopefully one of these steps will reveal the culprit so we don't have to move on to the safety switches, or God forbid, hidden damage to the wiring; I do know where each of those safeties is located, so no problem if it comes to that.

You have an 87 HUSKEE???? LOL No wonder you know this one... We inherited ours from my husband's grandma; I forget exactly when, she kept the sales receipt for it from TSC; I think it was 1989 but I am not sure; I'll look at it when I get home. We've been told by a mower mechanic (who got it running after an unsuccessful round of diagnosis and repair several years ago) that this particular B&S engine is one of the best they make or have made...hope I can keep it maintained to last. There may be another thread coming once we get this problem resolved since there have been a few vexing issues over the last couple seasons...won't go there now, lol. Gotta get it running first!

I will post back later. Thanks for following this, both of you; Walt, do welcome any other comments/questions you might have.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 7:17PM
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Don't think I have anything else to say. Black is not a typical color for a ground wire in this portion of a wiring harness.

"OK, Walt first: the wire I was referring to is a grounding wire for the solenoid circuit"

"there is no grounding terminal on this particular solenoid."

"That is how it was originally connected before I took the old solenoid off last year. This is also how it is shown in the owner's manual electrical configuration diagrams."

So that should settle it. The reason I questioned was because of the color and I recently had a similar problem where the two wires had been switched causing a direct short when the key was turned.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 8:02PM
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As a follow up and a long shot, IF all else fails, I would disconnect that black wire from the solenoid mounting bolt and leave it off, not touching anything, and see what happens.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:45PM
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Ok, did the switch test thru all three positions,solenoid control wire disconnected, fuse held up fine. So, not the switch; likely the solenoid, right? I think I will go ahead and change that next; might connect the sol. control wire and see that it blows another fuse to be sure.

Walt, there are actually TWO wires on that solenoid ground connector; there is a blue w/ 1 yellow pinstripe one that goes to/from the seat (OPR?) safety switch to/from the ignition switch (and I think into the connector between ig switch and PTO switch so part of the safety switch circuit? term?) and a black one that goes to/from the ignitions switch only, as far as I can see.

Mownie, my hubby's grandma bought this mower new in 1991. The manual has an 11/05/90 revision date on the parts dealership listing on the back cover. So that oughta date it for ya. Not quite the relic you have, but close...googled that Huskee model number and got exactly 2 results for it, one a 2008 forum listing and the other not a mower. heh. It is a 12/39 (12hp/39"?)so i guess not very common.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Nightfall, will change the solenoid sometime this weekend unless you have any other suggestions before I do that.

Walt, the black wire and blue wire have the same connector lug at the solenoid, I think. hmmm. Will double check that. But looking at the electrical wiring harness drawing in the manual it is only showing one wire branching off the solenoid control wire and going to the solenoid ground connection? But will keep that in mind if the new solenoid does not do the trick.

If you would like to see that wiring diagram...might look into seeing if I can find the manual online but I think it is too old. Could also scan it and email it.

Thanks for the tips.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:59PM
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I will try to place 2 photos in here of the configuration of wiring on my Huskee. The Black/Blue pair of wires in the same eyelet terminal are ground wires for something other than the solenoid. The Black/Blue pair are just using the solenoid mounting bolt as a convenient place to secure a ground for some other function/device. This solenoid has an "internal ground" and gets that ground through the mounting bolts in the mounting bracket provision of the solenoid. The yellow pair of wires that terminate in a round "push-on" barrel terminal, are the solenoid control wires. The threaded post that the barrel trminal is pushed onto, is the solenoid control post. This post connects to the internal wiring of the solenoid and is completely insulated from the frame of the tractor. If you, by chance, have pushed this barrel terminal onto one of the mounting bolts instead of the insulated control post, that would create a short to ground when the ignition switch was turn to the start position.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 1:50AM
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Ok, this is exactly the configuration on my Huskee as well, with the exception of the fuse, which is 15 amps on my machine...right down to the leaves and dust, lol; good photos. I had thought about taking pix for you too but this is exactly how I have it. The barrel connector on the solenoid control wire (thanks for the right term) is connected properly to the solenoid control post. It wouldn't fit the mounting posts anyway, let alone the posts on top.

So those wires grounded at the mounting bracket have nothing to do with the solenoid, then. On my mower, as mentioned in my post to Walt, the black wire goes to the ignition switch and the blue one goes to the seat safety switch and elsewhere around the tractor.

Don't know how accessible the solenoid is on newer tractors but the location of this one inside the frame of the tractor under the seat is kind of vexing because it is hard to get to, to manuever a wrench in that space, whether it is the connections or the bolts holding it to the frame. But suppose it is protected from the elements somewhat there too.

Backing up just a bit to the battery safety basics, wanted to make sure I have it right that is not necessary to disconnect both cables when working on electrical, just the negative/black? One less connector to hassle with is a little more time efficient...

will get back after i have had another solenoid-switching session (no pun intended. :)).

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 2:03PM
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***"not necessary to disconnect both cables when working on electrical, just the negative/black?"***
That is correct.....So long as the negative/black cable is in fact, the GROUND cable for the vehicle electrical system. And in most machines built in the last 40 years or so, the negative/black is the ground conductor. But you must "cling to" every word of the description. "Negative", "Black", "Ground"! Each word must be considered as a separate and individual criterion when you are preparing to "put a tool" to the battery terminals. (this is a lesson, listen up) There are currently (no pun) no laws governing the colors of wires and cables used in AUTOMOTIVE applications. There are "generally accepted and recognized practices", but no REGULATIONS. Black is nearly universally used as the color (by OEMs) of the negative battery cable, Red for positive cable, but some OEMs might decide to use black cables for BOTH positive and negative conductors leading from the battery posts. And, additionally, you must always consider that the original RED positive cable.....might have been replaced with a BLACK cable. Furthermore, the OEM, BLACK negative cable, might have been replaced with a RED one (you see all kinds of things in "used equipment". The odds of finding a BLACK cable for the positive conductor are actually pretty good, while the odds for finding a RED cable for the negative conductor are slim (but I have found them more than once). Nonetheless, since it only requires that you "look at" the markings on the battery (positive+, negative-), that is what you MUST DO,.... each and every time you prepare to "put a tool" on a battery terminal. ALSO, when you identify the negative post/cable of the battery......trace the cable to where it connects next. If the negative cable connects to the vehicle frame, chassis, or engine is the GROUND conductor. This configuration is what you will find on just about every machine/vehicle of recent manufacture. But, it makes sense to understand the relationship of "color vs. polarity vs. function" in a vehicle electrical system. IF the black cable is connected to the negative battery post at one end, and to the "vehicle ground" at the other end.........that is the only cable you need to remove from the battery in order to render the electrical system "inert" and safe to work on. Even that statement will have "limitations" if the vehicle has advanced electronics and engine/cab controls, but for MOST L&G tractors, it is the best, safest, practice.
Getting back to your Huskee. Before doing the next test, disconnect the GROUND cable from the battery. Leave all wires connected to the solenoid "posts",.... connected for the test. The black/blue pair will be removed but reconnected in this procedure. To further test whether the solenoid is defective (shorting inside the solenoid), if the first series of tests point in that direction, remove the mounting bolts of the solenoid (where solenoid mtg bracket fastens to chassis/frame. Reconnect the black/blue pair of wires to their same chassis/frame bolt and secure with nut. Use some kind of non-metallic, electrically insulating material (suitable piece of cardboard, carpet, even an old sneaker will do) to set the solenoid on so it can't touch a grounded surface (chassis). Once you have the solenoid resting on the non-metallic material, reconnect the ground cable to the battery negative post. Now, operate the ignition switch to the start position. If the fuse does not "blow" now, it indicates the solenoid has an internal short to ground (fuse DID NOT blow because no ground was provided for the "short" to use). Don't expect the solenoid to operate during the test.
Access to the solenoid on my Huskee is somewhat "difficult at best", but I find I can get a better view of it by going in from the right side floorboard/step area (front end of center console and backside of engine). I have to lock the brake/clutch pedal down to get more room for my head. In taking the photos, I went through the battery access under seat AND from the other end I described above.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 3:57PM
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Yes, that is exactly the angle you have to go at it, from the right front of seat. The solenoid on my machine is on the right side of that space, too. The hardest part is holding the bolt on the underside of the frame while you tighten or loosen the mounting bolts from above; kind of like being into the mower up to your armpits, lol. Well elbows anyway.

Thanks for the battery cable lesson; is very informative and good to know what to look for...the neg mark on the battery and the cable to ground on frame or engine block being most critical vs color. Will take that info to heart.

Did not get your last post before I had gone ahead and replaced the old solenoid with the new one (which I had ordered before even posting this thread); GOOD NEWS! It works! VICTORY DANCE! Starter kicked in and turned over the engine and started right up, fuse good. So guess that would be another test, lol, try another solenoid... But good to know that procedure also for future reference.

BUT...unfortunately back to square one, of sorts... The fuel supply problem I mentioned at the beginning of my post has returned, and once I had it running it ran for about 15 seconds then quit. Assuming the starter is fine, the engine is getting spark since it DID start and run, so guessing the fuel supply or carburetor problem I had before is now back.

Shall I start a new thread? I may as well since I have already performed a number of steps to resolve this and did get it running before this most recent solenoid/starter issue but guessing it would be best to clean the carb... let me move to a different thread then I can expostulate on what I have done you have more lessons up your sleeve for me and value these highly. The do's and don'ts are so critical and I'm anxious to be armed with any I am unaware of so I don't blow up the mower...or myself!

THANKS for the awesome input and patient explanations for the novice mechanic on this issue, mownie, and walt too. Will probably print it all up and put it in my mower folder for future reference since I am always leery of losing data on computers... I always say you can't have too much documentation!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 2:39AM
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