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John Deere L120 won't start

Posted by perachim CT (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 8, 08 at 13:49

My John Deere L120 won't start. It isn't the battery...I bought a brand-new one and that didn't fix the problem. The engine won't even crank. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

Bad starter?


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

Pull the spark plugs out and ground them. Then see if the engine will spin without the spark plugs in them. Be careful as gas may come squirting out the spark plug holes.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

I'm thinking it's a bad starter. I'm going to see if I can jump the starter when I get home if I can figure it out. As far as pulling the spark plugs out, grounding them, and seeing if the engine will spin, I am not mechanically inlclined and have no idea how to do that.

Thanks for the suggestions.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

i don't mean to sound rude, but honestly if you do not know enough about an engine to pull teh plugs and ground them, then you REALLY need to get someone over to show you how/do it for you.

what EXACTLY does it do when you turn teh key? does it try to turn over and then stop, or does it just keep turning over but never actually fire up and run?

also, post the model number of the ENGINE.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

PTO switch pushed in? There is a fuse between the solenoid and the ignition you could check. If that isn't it, can you turn the engine by hand via the screen on the top of the flywheel? If so, then jump across the 2 big terminals on the solenoid (the relay where the + bat terminal attaches) If it then turns, you will need to determine if you have a ground at 1 small terminal of the solenoid and 12V to the other small terminal when turning the key. More to come if you need it...


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

It just clicks and doesn't turn over when I turn the key. And you are correct, I DO need to get someone to show me what to do! Thanks for the suggestions.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

So many things could cause that:
- bad battery cable
- bad solenoid
- compression release not working due to incorrectly adjusted valves (very common on that engine)
- or, yes, a bad starter (rare)

Don't buy any parts until you or someone can diagnose what you've got going on. Never "throw parts" at something. It's likely something very simple.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

I am having the same issue with my L120. My father-in-law was cutting the grass last week and said he saw smoke coming from the belt where it engages the PTO pulley. He turned it off immediately. I disengaged the PTO and tried to restart but just got a little 'clunk' as the flywheel moved about 1/4" and then returned to its original position. It was late so I let it go till the next morning. When I tried then, I wasn't even able to get the flywheel to move. Battery reads 12.75v on the multimeter and the headlights work just fine. Even using both hands, I am only able to move the flywheel about an inch or so. Any suggestions?


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

I had the same problem with my L120. A wire for the stator had chaffed off which causes the battery to not charge. Dealer found problem pretty quick and replaced the stator. Tech used cable ties to make sure problem does not happen again. Hope this helps.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

By the way, even if the battery reads a good voltage and the headlights work doesn't mean that the engine will turn over. I had this situation on my L102, checked the connections, all the cut out switches, & scratched my head. Jumped between the battery (+) and the starter ... only got a grunt. Jumped it from the truck ... fired up.

I then topped the water level in the battery and re-charged it 24 hours with a 10-amp trickle charge. Works fine.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

I also have a JD L120 that won't start from the key. No action whatsoever. However, it starts right up jumping across the solenoid. Strange thing is that it quit charging same time this problem started but the key start is not from weak battery - with fully charged battery - nothing. Screwdriver across solenoid fires right up. Is there a safety device that would cause both symptoms?


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

this thread is nearly a year old - and a copy of sll this will sent to the original poster.
Best to start your own fresh thread - you'll be apt to get more good answers.

Here is a link that might be useful: new posts


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

I have a John Deer L120 and the engine will not crank when using the key ignition. I have visited my local JD dealer and have thrown money at the problem, I have replaced the battery, the starter selinoid, the ignition switch and the brake safety switch and still have the same results. I can jump the starter seninoid and the engine fires right up and runs great. I have also tested the safety switch in the seat and the PTO and both are working as designed. Please help.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

***"I have a John Deer L120 and the engine will not crank when using the key ignition.***"
Tell us more please. Engine brand, engine model number and type number are needed. Also, please describe your method of "testing" the safety switches. Also, could you do all this in a fresh new thread of your own creation? Members presenting a new problem, should make a new thread to cover that. It just makes for a better process than trying to piggyback onto an old thread. Thank you.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

This has a brake switch too. Try engaging it by hand - with a touch of a wiggle see if the switch is intermittent.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

mtonino1020 ...

Try this ... Jump between the hot side of the battery and the starter. If it starts, then the battery is not the issue. It's someplace between the battery and the starter.

Check the connection between the battery and the starter. Mine was just loose enough to cause intermittent probelms.


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

If you try stocktongal's test and the engine turns over...purchase a new solenoid ....it's most likely the problem...Had to replace mine last year too. 7 bucks


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RE: John Deere L120 won't run

So my lawn mower starts fine then dies like five min later! Oil just changed the gas is perfect! Battery charged spark plug brand new new air filter! But runs hot and dies help me out


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

L120 also won't start easily. Recently I gave it a short breath of starter fluid and it back fired like mad and won't start at all. I know how "NOT" to use that starter fluid and I used it very sparingly. It only wants to back fire now and has been that way for weeks. Could it have jumped timing?


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RE: John Deere L120 won't start

If it were me , I would remove the valve covers and do an inspection. You will want to know that all 4 pushrods are in place, rocker studs tight etc. Start a new thread so we can better help you if you need a way to go. Lots of info on checking valve guides, setting valve lash etc. on the forum.


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