John Deere L120 won't turn over

longlosttooAugust 18, 2013

I have a JD L120 that will not turn over. I initially diagnosed the problem as a faulty starter solenoid, replaced same and the mower cranked perfectly. Shut it off briefly now will not start again. Battery is new and I have replaced the safety switches under the seat and at the brake. No clicking (other than fuel solenoid) when I try to crank. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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There are intermittent failures and these can be difficult to diagnose and repair. It is much easier when a part fails completely, and stays dead. You could have a loose connection somewhere. Another possibility is a dead spot on the starter motor commutator. Think of a roulette wheel in a Las Vegas casino. The wheel is spun up, and stops at a random location. Much the same happens when the starter motor is energized. If there is a defect in the commutator, and/or worn brushes, the starter might work OK, the next time it is needed. Or, it might not. It just depends on where the commutator came to rest, the last time the starter was used.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Try jumping 12V directly to the small terminal of the starter solenoid.
IF it cranks, you have a bad or mis adjusted- (or bad connection to)
Key switch
PTO switch
Brake/clutch switch

Seat switch is not involved in the crank circuit.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Grounds, grounds!! Please check all ground connections.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 12:07AM
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On your solenoid there are 2 small terminals . 1 will have a ground presents if all the safety switches are online and the other 12V when the key switch is activated purple I think. If you have both- maybe you have a bad solenoid. This is old enough to where corrosion at the ignition, fuse block and brake switch connectors could be present. If you can safely jump across the 2 large terminals and it cranks, that would satisfy that side of the starting system- that the engine is crankable and the starter, battery and main grounds are good.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 1:13AM
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Jumped from my truck to the starter and it fired right up. Possibly bad ignition switch?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Possibly a bad PTO/attachment switch.
Possibly a bad brake/clutch switch.
Possibly a bad connection.
Possibly a bad battery.
Possibly a bad key switch.

All you've tested is the starter motor.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:11PM
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have you been washing that machine with a garden hose, power washer or the like.. or leaving it out in the weather?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 7:04AM
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@ rcbe: hosed it off due to mud from recent rain. It does not stay out in the weather. It started after being washed off but now that you mention it, the problems did start soon after.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:14AM
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longlosttoo - just one recent hose washing prolly won't have caused your current problems - takes a while for serious electrical connection corrosion to build up to where circuits begin to fail. but - if you've washed down the tractor in the past - then all bets are off.
Just bear in mind L&G powered eqpt are not designed/built to withstand nature's elements, particularly moisture. Better off with compressed air or a leaf blower and mebbe a lite sponge bath on exterior just before waxing..

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 7:03AM
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