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Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the tim

Posted by JoeZZ none (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 13:32

Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the time)

I have a Craftman lawn tractor model number 917.287360, engine model number SV610-0021 (kohler 21 HP)
Tractor won’t turn over when try to start 99% of the time.
I have bypassed the safety switches in the seat, brake and blade engager. Replaced solenoid, starter, seat switch, and starter.
When I turn the key to start or just the on position, voltage on battery side of solenoid drops from 14 V to about 1.5 V. The same thing happens on the small positive wire to solenoid when I try to start tractor.
Sometimes, the next day, I get 14 volts on starter side of solenoid (wire to starter disconnected) when I try to start tractor. When I connect the wire from the starter to the solenoid and try to start the tractor, I hear a click and nothing happens. I test voltage on the small wire to solenoid with the key is in the start position and it is back to 1.5 V. The voltage on the battery side of the solenoid also drops to 1.5 V when I just turn the key to the on position. One time the tractor did turn over three times in a row when I tried to start it, but on the fourth time it was dead again with the same symptoms that I just described. Seems when I get 12 volts to the starter something gets grounded and it takes a while to dissipate. I check wires and did not see any problems. One time when I was getting 12 V to the solenoid side of the starter (starter disconnected)(key in the start position), I jiggled all the wires and the voltage stayed at 12 V.
I'm at my wits. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

First thing is to get the battery charged and LOAD TESTED.
Many auto parts stores will test the battery for free, in hopes of making a sale.


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

Thanks, that seems to be it.

I jumped tractor from my car and it cranked over.

I charging tractor battery and checking voltage, but I see now it was not under load. The battery is less than 2 years old.

thanks again


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

batteries can fail at 2 stages in their life.
When they are new and when they aren't.


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

Amen, Bill.... :)


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

I replaced the battery, the tractor now starts (with the help of the forum) but I must of created another. The tractor will now start and run until I remove my foot from the brake, then it will stall. I unplugged the brake safety switch, jumped the white wires (to solenoid) and left the black wires (ground I believe ) open. The tractor now starts and runs fine, however, when I try to engage the blade, it stalls. Also the seat safety switch no longer shuts the engine off when I get off the seat. I tested the seat safety switch with a new switch and it still does not shut off the engine. My guess is I can unplug to blade switch and jump it, but I want to get the safety switches working.

Somehow a wire must be crosseed someplace, what is happening does not seem to make sense from the wiring diagram.
Anyone have any ideas where to look next?


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

The brake switch is "2 switches in one body".
The white wires are for the starter circuit and are "white in, white out" for the starter solenoid.
The black wires indeed are "ground wires" but they ground the magneto to kill the engine, not to provide a ground for something to operate with. They are also "black in, black out".
You need to put the wires back like they were OEM.
The fact the the engine was being killed when you let off the brake indicates a defective, or "unplugged" seat switch.
The seat switch connector has a "shorting jumper" built into it.
If the seat is unplugged, the shorting jumper cause the engine to die.
Get the seat switch back right and your wiring on the brake switch restored to OEM and you will be good to go.
The PTO function (blades) also has a double switch in it, white wires are starter solenoid control and black wires are to kill engine.


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RE: Intermittent starting problem on Craftman Tractor (99% of the

Thanks . The tractor is working . The wiring is OEM, The problem might of been that I had purchased a new seat switch and plugged it into the plug but was operating it by hand(depressing it).When I plugged in the old seat switch that was still in the seat and operated it like it was designed , everything worked correctly. So, I'm not sure if the new switch is bad or if it only works correctly if it is in the seat vs operated by just depressing it. Does anyone know? That's for the help


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