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No start condition, P218 Onan

Posted by Chris0831 none (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 14, 13 at 19:35

Greetings all.....

I have a mid 80's vintage 8000 series gravely with. P218 Onan engine. Was using it this morning and cut it off, then when I when to cut it back on, the starter spun over a couple of times and the engine almost started so I let off the starter. Now it won't do anything at all...just like the battery not even connected. The appears to test good, I've got battery voltage at the starter selonoid on the high tension lead and I have battery voltage on the small terminal when I turn the key. Nothing happens............no click, nothing. I also noticed that the hour meter is not working when the key is on either and as I recall, it used to. Any ideas......bad selonoid, starter? Any help would be appreciated!

Chris


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Don't know anything about Gravely's, but I do know you should check the fuse.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

That was the first thing I did...sorry I forgot to mention that...it's good.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

I have a hunch you may have more than one fuse if the hour meter isn't working.
Is there one between the solenoid + terminal and the key switch?
Do you have a link to a schematic?


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

I appreciate you taking the time and effort to help Bill. There may indeed be more then one fuse...or maybe a fusible link? I do not have a schematic. This is not the original engine and the electrical system is fairly straight forward. If I've got battery voltage on the large terminal (cable directly from the battery) and then I get battery voltage on at the small terminal when I turn the key, shouldn't the starter engage if all is well with the solenoid? If I've got another fuse or link that is burned or blown, I wouldn't get voltage at the switched terminal on the solenoid when I turn the key.....would I?


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

After re reading your post I see that I didn't answer you question. The one and only fuse i found is between the ignition switch and the solenoid. I do not know for a fact the hour meter was working to begin with...as far as know it was and if it wasen't it was recently when it stopped, but I have no way of knowing for sure.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

If you have "battery voltage" at the small terminal on the starter solenoid when the key is turned to start........then yes, the starter should be engaging.
But are you really checking the voltage with a meter to use the term "battery voltage", or are you using a test lamp and calling it battery voltage?
You can jumper from the large battery post of the solenoid over to the small post on the solenoid and see if the starter engages like that. If the starter will not engage when you jumper as described, that pretty well says the solenoid may be defective.
Is the solenoid a "3 wire" or a "4 wire" type?
If it is a 3 wire type the solenoid grounds through the mounting case, and there could be a corroded mounting bolt that is not making a good ground.
If it is a 4 wire type, one small wire is a ground and that wire may not be grounded.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

When I say battery voltage, I mean battery voltage. 12.4 volts with a meter. No voltage drop between the battery and the selinoid. It must be the three wire type because there are only two terminals on the selinoid, one large (cable from the battery) and one small, switched voltage from the ignition key. I will check the mounting bolts tomorrow.....thanks for the help, I'll let you know what I find.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

OK, but you might still want to do the jumper test using a short piece of insulated wire.
And also you want to confirm that the connection that holds the small wire on the solenoid is making a good, sound attachment. If it is a screw type connection, loosen and re-tighten the nut holding it in place. If it is a spade terminal (slip on) pull the wire loose and re-attach it a few times to scrub it clean where it touches.
I have seen circumstances where it "seemed like" the small wire was getting energized but the solenoid still did not work.
Come to find out that there was corrosion between the eyelet terminal and the attaching screw. The wire was being energized but current was unable to make its way past the corroded nut. Touched the wire eyelet and it would show voltage...........touch the nut and it was no voltage. Cleaned corrosion away and problem went away with it.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Also check battery voltage with the key in the crank position.

IF it drops to 0, get the battery charged & load tested.

IF you are checking the battery with a volt meter, they only require a few micro amps of current to give a 12V reading.
You have to check the voltage under load to get a meaningful reading.

8 penlight batteries will generate 12V, but not come close to cranking the engine.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

If the above don't help try connecting a batt jumper cable from the starter housing to the neg post on the batt.
Mike


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Mownie... The connection on the solenoid is a spade lug. I sprayed it with a bit of WD 40 and worked the connector on and off several tiems. When I checked the voltage at the solenoid, both at the battery terminal on the solenoid and the switched terminal, I used the chassie for my ground....in retrospect I should. Have used the solenoid housing...that would have verified that I have a good connection from the solenoid to ground. I'll do that this morning

Bill.... I was checking the voltage while the key was being turned, I figured that if everything was in good order there SHOULD have been at least a slight voltage drop when I turned the key. The fact that there wasn't tells me that there there is a probably an open circuit condition inside the solenoid, or the solenoid is not seeing ground (open circuit) as mownie suggested.

Mike...that's up next.

Thanks guys!

Chris


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Gentlemen.....Problem solved. I jumped from the bat terminal on the solenoid to the switched terminal on the solenoid and got a very light "spark". Nothing...no activity at all from inside the solenoid. So then I jumped directly from the battery to the battery terminal on the solenoid to eliminate the possibility of that cable being bad. Nothing. Then directly from the battery to the battery terminal on the solenoid to eliminate that possibility of THAT wire and the/or the switch being bad....nothing. Then directly form the battery to the starter terminal on the solenoid which should have spun the starter...nothing. So I got to thinking what are the chances of BOTH the solenoid AND the starter going bad at the same time? Possible I suppose, but unlikely. Then since I was I was on a roll I furrowed my eyebrows and though a little harder.....12.4v. Hmmmm. On a fully charged batter under no load it's usually closer to 12.8 - 13v. Bad cell? Brought the truck up and jumped it and it started imeaditatly. I am assuming that the bad cell just didn't manifest itself completely until there was a load applied. Further though on my part (this is starting to hurt) and I realized the battery is about 4 years old and under this type of service, that is a perfectly reasonable lifetime.

So, a new battery and I'll be set. Thanks for all your help guys, I really appreciate it!!

Chris


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Once again... successful diagnostics always start at square one.

Until you KNOW you have a good battery everything else you do is a waste of time... physically bad or loose connectors, blown fuses, and broken wires not withstanding. Voltage will not tell you if a wet cell battery is good unless the voltage is so low it has to be a bad battery.

The ONLY definitive test for a wet cell battery is a LOAD test.

Good practice to NEVER buy a wet cell battery from a place that can not or will not load test the new battery right in front of you. Will save you some driving, gas, and frustration.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

  • Posted by mla2ofus z4b Caribou Co. Id (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 15:50

I have a HF load tester I've used for several yrs and it given good service. They're a lot cheaper than other brands. It has saved me some hair pullin'.
Mike


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Seems that most of the national chain auto parts stores will happily load test a customer battery in the hope of making a sale. Sears can but are reluctant and Walmart, Costco, and Sam's Club don't know what a load test is.

There's nothing like lugging a lead acid battery home and installing it only to find it is defective after a couple days. Then we get to lug it back for an exchange for another battery that might be defective.

NEVER buy a wet cell battery from a place that can not or will not load test the new battery right in front of you.


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

On a motor that I don't have any history with I would have verified the battery was good first thing, but it had started that morning with no problem at all and it had been running for about 30 minutes when I shut it down. Went to start it about 5 minutes later and nothing, Usually it will at least click or something, but in this case, given the events that led up to that failure, I just didn't think "battery". I will know better next time. : )


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Glad you figured it out.

This post was edited by justalurker on Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 21:57


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RE: No start condition, P218 Onan

Lurk.....I understand your position and I do know that a battery can die "RIGHT NOW", when loaded. That has not been typical for me however. The only time I mess with a small engine other then routine maintenance is when I have a problem so I have limited experience. As far as I am concerned, a successful diagnoses is archived when the problem is identified and the resulting fix is the correct fix (in this case a new battery) for the problem. Perhaps it took a little longer then it should have, but the end result is the same, so I'm happy. : )


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