Starter clicks but won't turn

william07October 30, 2009

How's everyone doing, I have a Craftsman tractor Model #917.258523. When I turn the key I here the starter solenoid click but the starter will not turn. I used a multi-meter, I am getting voltage to the solenoid but not to the starter. Does this mean the solenoid is defective? Thanks for all your help.

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Recheck your model number for a typo error. That number doesn't show up in search.
***"I used a multi-meter, I am getting voltage to the solenoid but not to the starter."***
That statement still does not give enough detail for an answer.
WHICH terminals of the solenoid are you checking and when?
If you are just touching the meter + lead to the Battery positive cable at the solenoid and/or to the cable that leads from the solenoid to the starter, you are missing a key step. To test whether the solenoid is working, you must check the cable that connects the solenoid to the starter WHILE THE KEY SWITCH IS IN THE START POSITION. What is the voltage level of the battery? If you hold the meter + lead to the Battery positive post and turn the key switch to start, what does the voltage reading of the meter do? Does it remain nearly unchanged, or does it drop to something between zero and 3 volts or so?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:57PM
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That's a good model number, here's the electrical system:

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 6:18AM
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First thing I would do would be remove the battery and have it load tested or load test it yourself if you have cheap HF load tester. If not take it to AUTOZONE and they will do it for free. Now that you know you got a good battery and you have cleaned the cables at both ends you can begain troubleshooting.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:14AM
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Do the easy things first: Test and charge the battery; Clean the battery cables, ensure good connections on both ends. These steps will frequently correct the problem.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:22AM
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"Craftsman tractor Model #917.258523. "

The model number of the engine might help. IF this happens to be a Kohler with the starter solenoid mounted on the starter, after completing the other tests above and before replacing the solenoid, I MIGHT have a suggestion.

Walt Conner

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 11:58AM
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My "usual site" for Craftsman Owner's Manuals (disruptit) does not list 917.258523 in the queue.
The Sears site admits that the tractor actually has an engine and electrical system, but fails to reveal the make of engine, or give an actual wiring schematic. The electrical components layout diagram shows the solenoid to be a separate component (not piggybacked to the starter).
If anyone knows of another site where the comprehensive Owner's Manual might be found, please post a link. While the disruptit site has been helpful in most instances, I have found a few models missing before.

Here is a link that might be useful: disruptive

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 12:43PM
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I have a good Battery it is brand new. I am checking voltage on the battery side of the solenoid. When I turn the key to start I get 12 volts. When I let the key go voltage drops. On the Starter side of the solenoid when I turn the key I get nothing. I checked continuity of the wire that goes from the solenoid to the starter and it is good also. The schamatic that bushleage posted is the tractor I have.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 8:44PM
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Again is the battery good (full charge and load tested? )new means nothing to me if it's dead (no amps but it will still have 12V). Getting 12V is not the same as enough AMPs to actuate the solenoid up into the teeth of the flywheel and have enough ampree to the starter motor to spin the engine. IMO if the solonid is clicking I would suspect a low voltage problem (AMPS NOT Volts) to the starter. Check you connections at the battery (including cables hooked up right) at the frame grounding point and at the starter solonid. the engine is free to turn right?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:06PM
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According to the Sears site-it is a 28n707 0173. A good 1st step is to check if you can turn the engine screen on top by hand. An easy way to confirm if cables, grounds, connections and battery is good is to jump across the 2 large terminals of the solenoid. It will spark. You can also use a known good disconnected battery and jumper cables direct to the starter. Brake set, switch off, + to the lug and momentarily ground the ground to a safe spot(it will spark) like the starter side. Let us know what you find. Has the machine been run all along? Any earlier issues cranking? Didn't quit while running on its own?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:08PM
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I was checking to see if the wires were secure to the solenoid. The wrench I was using touched both the terminals on the solenoid and the starter kicked over. I can turn the screen on the top. I know the motor runs. I bought this mower from another guy and it was running. After using it a couple times it started doing this. I have no idea what stuff the guy before me did but I know he lied about replacing the blades. No telling what he rigged to get it to work.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:25PM
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Find the two small wire posts on the solenoid (should be two but might be just one small one). If there are two posts, one of them is a ground wire. You can determine which is the ground by connecting one volt meter lead to the battery positive cable and touching the other lead to each small post, the post that causes the meter to show voltage is the ground. For the next test, you need to use the non-grounded wire, probably going to be white in color. Here's the test. Put the + lead of the volt meter to the small wire end and have a helper sit in the seat and turn the key switch to START. With the key in START, you should read battery voltage at this wire. If you do read battery voltage on the meter, but the solenoid does not click (or it does click without the starter activating) the solenoid is defective. If you do not read battery voltage on the small wire with key in START, you will need to check the circuitry at the clutch/brake switch and possibly back to the key switch itself. Or, you can just do this.....if you can hear, or feel, the solenoid click or operate when the key switch is turned to start, and there is no voltage in the cable that leads up to the starter......replace the solenoid. These solenoids are very generic, you can find a suitable replacement just about everywhere/anywhere. Lowe's or other box store or any small engine shop can hook you right up.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 9:47PM
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mownie, where'd you come up with the disruptive list? Seems pretty handy. Only bad part is that I can't zoom in on the small parts.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:33AM
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baymee, I honestly can't recall when or how I landed on that site, but it's safe to say I was probably in the middle of a web search for something when I clicked an available link.....bang, when I saw the incredible length of the list, I immediately saved it (bookmarked) to favorites.
Regarding your comment about ZOOMING IN: I can only speak for my own computer and its aging software package (like the aging, key pecking user). My computer uses Adobe reader to open PDF files. I am posting a screen shot of how I can control and manipulate the images on MY computer. Your computer might use a different software and toolbar, so what works for me might not work for you. Even if your computer is configured differently than mine, I'll still bet that you CAN enlarge or reduce the images at will, you just gotta find the right buttons to click to enable those functions. You might have to click the "HELP!" button in your toolbar to learn how, but it's worth the effort to find out how cause our eyes aren't getting any sharper.
Anyhow, here's how it works for me and my computer. The buttons I labeled A & B control enlarging, or reducing the entire page being viewed. Each time you rest your cursor on one or the other of these two buttons and execute a "left mouse click", the entire page will enlarge, or reduce (depending on which button you click on) by one level of magnification. If you enlarge the page until the entire page can't be seen at once, the "Hand move tool" (labeled D & D1) can be helpful in navigating the page while you view it. To enable the "Hand move tool", rest your cursor on the button labeled D and left mouse click. This will turn your cursor into the "hand move tool". How all you have to do to accurately scroll or move the page is to left mouse click and hold the click while you move your mouse in the desired direction you want the view to move. You will notice that when the left click is held down, the open hand icon on your screen becomes a "clinched fist" indicating you have "grabbed hold of" the page and can now move it. Depending on how the PDF was formatted by its creator, you might only be able to use the "hand move tool" within the confines of a single page, meaning that when the page is moved to its top or bottom "margin", the hand tool can't be used to go to the next page. This format will require you to use one of the other means to change pages.
Another tool I find useful at times is the "Point magnifier" tool I have labeled C. To enable this tool, rest your cursor on the "Down arrow" just to the right of the magnifying glass icon and left click the arrow. A drop down options list will appear. Select one of the options to enlarge, or reduce. Now, when you want to enlarge a specific portion of the page being viewed (say you want to zoom in on that needle valve or solenoid), just rest your cursor directly on the part you want enlarged, and left mouse click. The area where you click will enlarge in steps of magnification with each additional mouse click. I hope this (or similar functions) will work for you. The controls and features are built into the PDF software, they just might be different in layout and appearance on your computer.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:14AM
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The engine in this puppy is a B&S 28N707, type 0173-01. Most information is available free, just gotta know where to look. Found free Carfax with all the info, bookmarked that one.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Go below the tractor picture where they have the blue links for frame, electrical, etc and click on one of them. The Adobe screen goes away and the images can't be controlled.

See if it's the same for you mownie.

Where would I see the free Carfax?

Two years ago I bought a Civic from the Honda dealer. The carfax showed all it's service. A few months ago, I went for some parts and the dealer's computer showed that the Civic was in for some rocker panel repairs which weren't on the carfax. And I bet the repairs were made just before it was sold and purposely left off the carfax. I'd like to check it again to see if the new information is on there.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 6:18AM
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baymee, I see now what you are referring to, but that IS NOT how I use the site. I use the site by clicking on "View manual", I DO NOT skip down to the itemized links you are referring to. Apparently, clicking the itemized links you have been using "redirects" you to a sears parts online site, where a different format is used. I have posted some screenshots to give you the "step by step" on how I use the site AND the available online manual. After you get the PDF manual up on your screen, you can then refer back to my previous post and screenshot for navigation of the page (I now have the feeling you knew how to do that already, but I guess you and I were singing from different pages in the song book :^)
You can then browse through the Owner's Manual for any parts lists or diagrams that might be available. Using the manual this way makes it much easier to view things, but it DOES NOT allow you to order parts directly from the site, you have to write down the numbers and go to a different site for that.
I have found that some of the OMs you find at disruptit don't have comprehensive parts lists or diagrams but instead have traded the parts and diagram space off to include the ultra PC Spanish language text.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 11:44AM
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I had the same machine in yesterday with the same symptom. It had been raining, cool and damp here on the Cape and was outside for a couple of days for lack of inside storage. Following a right front flat repair I set the parking brake and went to start it and 'click'. The starter solenoid was closing okay and a quick check with a test light showed 12V on both sides of the solenoid and at the starter. I took the screwdriver in my right hand and tapped lightly on the starter case three times with the handle thinking a stuck brush and the starter spun to life. Low tech solution to a high tech problem. I couldn't duplicate the problem however will bring it up with the customer.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:19AM
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No matter how you cut it, it's a very useful site.

Wonder what happened to your pictures.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 6:09AM
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***"Wonder what happened to your pictures."***
baymee, Old dog learning few tricks. I'll tell you what happened to the pictures (I found out the hard way).
Like "they" say, "Things may not be what they seem."
This is true for pictures posted into a web page (at least in THIS case) from a "host site" (like Photobucket, Flickr and others) using an "HTML link" to the image. Dummy me did not know the workings of this stuff until this morning (and I still don't know much). Apparently, when we insert an image into a post, all that is really being done is "pasting" a URL to automatically "link up" to the image which exists only in the "photo host" computer at another website. The image is not planted permanently into the post in the tractor forum (the HTML URL is permanent to the forum, but not the image). Yesterday, I decided that my photobucket account was getting a bit "full" so I decided to delete a bunch of images. Well, when I did that, the web page of each deleted image also disappeared. Now, every image I deleted from my account, no longer has a web page for the URL link to hook up to, and any of those that were posted to the forum, will no longer appear where they once did. So, having realized that much, I wondered what would happen if I uploaded the images again (just the four in the above post) into my photobucket account. Well, still not fully appreciating every minute detail of how this www stuff functions (can anyone ever learn it all?), I "renamed" one of the images (it's a file by definition) because I saw that I had made a typo in the file name, the other three images kept their original name. So, I uploaded the four images again and "Voila", the three that kept their name once again had a web page to link up with and those three pictures "came back" to the post. The one that I renamed will not relink (and I tried to go back and change the name again a couple of times) so it's gone for good (for what good it was to begin with?).
My apologies to everybody for sending this thread on such a detour, but I thank you all for the serendipitous and impromptu lesson I learned (and I hope you send many more my way). :^)

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 9:47AM
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