lawn tractor w/ bad starter?

I have a Murray 12hp, when I turn the key it clicks. I did the troubleshooting suggested in other threads, but the solenoid is hidden so it was difficult to short the posts. So instead, I used a heavy cable, attached one end with a spade terminal to the positive post on the battery, and touched the other end to the large post with the red wire on the starter. Current was definately flowing thru the cable, which got warm. I could see a little sparking when the wire initially touched, and the point of contact would glow if I left it on there for more than a quick touch. The starter didn't move or make a sound.
Electrically, that's the same as shorting the solenoid posts right? Or is there anything else inline betw. the solenoid and starter? I dont think so, therefore I beleive the starter is fried. Correct? I just want to verify my results before I spend the $ on a new starter..
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Its 12v? Battery reads about 12.8v so its fully charged? try jumping it with your car battery, You could hit the starter while trying to start it if nothing remove it and see if it works before buying a new one.
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It is 12v, a multimeter shows 12.5 or so. When I turn the key it drops to about 7v. I have a new battery already, the guy at the shop was all-too-eager to sell me anything he could, my battery was getting old anyway so I bought a new one just to rule it out. Same results with the new battery.
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Dropping to 7v is concerning, maybe pull the starter and see what it does off the tractor.
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Let me clarify - The OLD battery dropped to 7v when turning the key. I replaced the battery with a brand new one, I didn't check it to see if the voltage drops under load.
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re: I didn't check it to see if the voltage drops under load.
Just throwing in a standard troubleshooting technique...
If you perform a test that leads you to suspect a component is bad and you then replace that component, you should *immediately* perform the same test again.
If you make any other changes before performing the test, you'll never know which changes had what impact. Slow and steady wins the race.
Good luck!
(P.S. I've got a rider wthat won't start either, so I'm feeling your pain!)
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Did the same thing. Failed to turn the starter. Still, it would help with the diagnosis.
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Takes more like 10.5 volts to turn a starter on a 1974 Chrysler / Dodge. This from my old foggy memory. So, it sounds like your starter is a bit rusty. The internal friction may be causing it to over amp, and heat up without starting your mower. 7 volts will not turn a starter on a 12 volt system.
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Oh, and I did try to jump it with the car as well, same results. as everything else.
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See if the starter comes out of the mower. Hook your jumper cables to the car. Black (minus) to the frame of the starter, and then touch red (plus) to the big wire post on the starter. That should tell if the starter is rotted and corroded to useless.
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mfreak,
Certainly sounds like you did the correct test. The way I do this is with the "jumper cables" from my car. I know that those cables are thick enough to handle the current. I also connect the battery's negative terminal to the engine block with the cables since a bad ground can also cause these symptoms.
Dave M.
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If the starter is easy to get to try jumping the starter with cables from your car battery
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is OP CERTAIN new battery is fully charged? Some new batteries sit on the shelf a long time and might be run down, batteries discharge by just sitting.
is OP certain jumper cables are good? some today are poor quality too thin etc to be much good for anything.
any clue if the engine is somehow locked up?
thats another possiblity
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sounds like you need to pull the starter and possibly replace or repair it.
s

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on 5/13/2008 9:07 AM mfreak said the following:

If it is like my Murray 1846 Garden Tractor (18 hp 46" mower deck), the starter and generator are the same unit. I had to replace mine a few years ago.
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Bill
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They're STILL doing that?? I remember an old cub cadet lawn tractor that had such a setup.
s

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on 5/13/2008 6:21 PM S. Barker said the following:

I don't know if they are still doing it. My Murray tractor is about 10 years old.
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Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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I pulled the starter and connected it directly to a new battery. It crackled and sparked but nothing else, deader than a doornail...... At least it has a part# sticker right on it! This tractor is 14 years old, but ive only had it for 3 so idk if thats the orig. starter.. Whatever, ez fix, wont break the bank.
Thanks all!
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You da man!
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