I promised when I got this fixed I would post the results.
Last fall, I was having trouble with my lawn tractor and posted about
it. The tractor would run for about a half hour and then just stop. It
would have to sit for two or three hours before it would start again.
This machine has a 15 hp Kohler engine in it.
I got through the last few mowings last year without ever getting it
fixed but when I went to mow for the first time this year it didn't
want to start but finally did. It ran for about 20 minutes and quit. I
let it sit all night and tried to start it the next day and it would
not start at all.
But this year when I pulled the cover off of the engine I noticed the
likely problem right away. It was the magneto or what we used to call
the coil. I don't know how I over looked that last year. It has been a
while since I have had to work on an engine. I replaced the spark plug
but completely ignored the thing the spark plug wire ran to.
Oh well, it's fixed now at least.
The ignition on this thing is simple. Key switch, magneto and spark
plug. There are some safety switches in the mix such as on the seat
and the hydrostatic lever has to be in neutral but the thing won't
even turn over if those aren't working.
Since I didn't have any tool with which to test the magneto and I
already had replaced the spark plug, I figured the magneto was the
next logical culprit and took a chance and replaced it and it worked.
Actually, that's a good way to test the lmagneto. however, I remove
wire from the plug terminal and hold the wire, in case the plug is
shorted. By pulling the cord slowly, I'll get a small ljolt. It isn't
or a big deal. Then I put the wire on the plug and touch the tip and
the cord, slowly. I should get the same level of jolt if the plug
shorted of fouled.
There's nothing dangerous about this, and it isn't very unpleasant,
unless one has a phobia about small shocks. It's also very very
quick, and can be done in full daylight. It's also good to make
sure your hands aren't wet or sweaty :>))))
Andy in Eureka, Texas
PS Don't do this with an electric start machine unless you are well
prepared to shout "Eureka "....
I don't know for sure but the wire that goes to spark plug was a lot
stiffer than on the new one so the insulation might have degraded. But
I recon it was not able to stand the heat for more than a half hour
for some reason.
I've also seen cheap motor oil, that doesn't run properly in
air cooled engines. Please also do an oil change, and put in
name brand oil. Castrol is my favorite, because on my last
truck, it was the only brand that quieted the rod knock.
Most people usually replace the magneto after a process of elimination
especially if it is an intermittent problem like yours, "Ive tried
everything else that the only thing left". Unfortunately intermittent
problem are a bear to find if it is not obvious whether its an air ,
fuel or spark problem.
When I was a kid I had a go-cart that I couldn't get going again after
tearing it down and putting it back together. I had done this
successfully a number of times. I finally gave up and took it to the
local small engine repairman. He looked at it pulled the screw out
that held the ground wire for the magneto and replaced it, pulled the
cord twice and it fired up. I had put a painted screw there. I bought
him a coke.
The first thing I did last year was to mess around with the fuel
system. I replaced the fuel filter and when that didn't help, I was
suspicious that the fuel fill cap might be plugged up so the tank
would not ventilate.
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