14.5 hp OHV Won't Turn Over Unless Plug Removed - Electric Start

I have a tractor (MTD 1998) with a 14.5 OHV Briggs & Stratton. The starter has been giving me fits over the last year or so. The starter would not turn the engine over. I tried to turn the engine by hand but could not.
Have brand new battery and some times I can jump start with the car battery and will turn over. Once I get it running, there is no problem. If I turn it off for an hour, it will start right up. Leave it off for a couple of days and the starter will not crank. Any ideas?
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Arnie,
Check and adjust your valves.
Dave M.
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On Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:07:58 -0400, Arnie Goetchius

A lot of these engines use the exhaust valve in a compression release scheme to allow the starter to turn the engine over. The exhaust valve clearance must be set at the prescribed point in the rotation of the camshaft to allow this function. Check the manual and verify if the exhaust valve is gapped correctly.
--
Mr.E

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Mr.E wrote:

responding with helpful ideas.
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I had the valve problem, adjusted both valves. Happened again, then I tightened a little better !
Greg
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On Friday, June 5, 2015 at 8:02:28 PM UTC-4, Mr. E wrote:

+1
A neighbor was having the same problem with his lawn tractor. We had it misdiagnosed as a bad starter. Even with a fully charged battery jumped to the starter, it would engage, but not turn over. He wound up calling for service and it was that it needed a valve adjustment. Which didn't seem to make sense at first, until I thought about the compression release part.....
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On Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:07:58 -0400, Arnie Goetchius

battery and at the engine/starter end. Do a complete voltage drop test of the system, and go from there.
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On Fri, 05 Jun 2015 23:15:13 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

This is my bet.
I had the same thing with my Craftsman rider and after I went over all of the fat wire connections, putting star washers under the screws, it worked great. I am not sure which one was bad but something was dropping a few volts. The other thing might be a bad starter solenoid.
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On 6/6/15 1:42 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

battery terminals under load. Then the voltage across the starter terminals. IIRC, it was 0.4V lower, but it was adequate.
Then I began to wonder where I was losing the 0.4V. It was across the solenoid contacts. In view of the current involved, that looked like a pending disaster. (Not really. I could have started it by bypassing the solenoid.)
There had been times when the engine would start to turn and stop. Turning the key again would work. I'd assumed it was too much compression. Burnt solenoid points could also account for it. Now I'm trying to remember if the problem has occurred since I replaced the solenoid.
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If this were a car, one could blow the horn while trying to start the engine. If the horn blows well, there is something wrong with the starter circuit. If it makes little or no sound, it's likely the battery is weak.

You'll think of it soon.
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On Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:07:58 -0400, Arnie Goetchius

What does this mean? You get no sound at all? You get a click only (does this have a solenoid that would click?)? You get rrrrgh while it turns a bit, but it doesn't turn enough to start?

What does that mean? You coudln't pull the rope at all? You could pull it a little? You could pull it the normal amount but it still didn't start?

Why only sometimes? It's inconvenient the other times and you don't do it for that reason? Or you can try that way but it doesn't start? If the latter, please answer the first four questions at the top.

When the starter will not crank, what happens next? It never starts again? That's probably not it, so what do you do to get it to start after a couple of days?
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