My ex has a 1983 John Deere 111 riding mower. It worked fine last year,
but wouldn't start this spring. The battery has been replaced. I
checked the circuits, and found the problem to be the solenoid. But
after replacing it, the mower turned over once only, then was again
dead. I suspect something is burning out the solenoids, but that is
where I need help. What would cause that?
A solenoid is just a remote switch. It is made to handle the the full
starting amperage. I doubt the new one burned out unless it was
defective. There is nothing that I can think of that would cause a
new/good solenoid to burn out.
Start by checking the battery to be sure it is good. New does not equal
good. Compare the cca (cold cranking amps) of the new battery to the old
to be sure it is sized properly. A quick easy test is to turn the
headlights on and attempt to start the engine while someone is watching
the headlights (or you can point them at the garage wall so you can see
the brightness.) If the headlights dim down to just a dull orange glow
then you are not getting enough juice from the battery to the mower.
Suspect a bad battery or corroded/loose/bad connections. If the
headlights stay at full brightness then you are getting no voltage to
the starter and you should suspect a safety switch, bad starter switch,
bad solenoid, bad connection or bad starter. On a good working system
they should dim roughly 25-50% while the engine is turning over.
O.K. Problem solved. It was wierd because I tested resistance on the
whole ignition side of circuit with my VOM, and I could see it opening
and closing as it should have, but the starter wouldn't kick in. That's
why it looked like the solenoid to me.
Well, it turns out that the problem wasn't the solenoid, but a
connection to it. Apparently it was good enough to pass my resistance
test, but not good enough to get the voltage/amperage through that the
solenoid needed to activate the starter. Fortunately I was able to
slightly crimp the connector, and it kicked right over! I say
fortunately because a more significant problem in the wiring harness
would have required some hacking, as the JD people tell me it is an
obsolete part that is not made anymore. :(
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