Faq – About Ride On Mower Batteries

Mandy asks…

troy bilt 17.5 hp riding mower not starting?

I changed the spark plug, put in a new starter solenoid and replaced the battery. All that’s left is the starter. Does that sound like the problem to you? also, whenever I replace the starter, do I line the gear on top of the starter with the gear on the engine?

Customer Service answers:

I’m guessing the engine has not been turning over when the key is turned: Is that what you are telling us? Your engine will not turn over, but you hear a click. This click is a sign of an electrical problem. I’ll get to the starter motor in a moment.
The gear on the startor motor is self aligning, so just bolt it on; it knows what to do.

Obviously, you need to find out if the problem is from the battery being dead from old age or under charged from lack of use. If the battery voltage is too low to operate the starter motor, but just enough current is available to operate the solenoid then click you hear is from the solenoid coil. Okay, so you have done all this…. What next?

If all is well with the battery, you next need to clean the battery terminals and smear some petroleum jelly on both battery terminals. Make sure the ground cable from the battery is clean and secure. Remove the bolt that is from the –ve side of the battery (the thick black cable) to ground terminal. Clean around the hole, the bolt, ground cable lug terminal, then smear a little petroleum jelly on all the above.

Follow the +ve (thick red cable) cable to the place where it spits off to their various terminals (usually at the ignition switch) and see if they are rusted or making poor contact.

Clean these terminals, and again, use petroleum jelly on the terminals. This protects the terminal from acids in the atmosphere and keeps moisture out.

If you have cleaned the battery cable connections and the earth terminals are good, you might need to see if the solenoid is working okay. Have a heavy cable ready for these tests. Put 12 volts directly from the battery (the +ve or hot side) to the solenoid +ve terminal to see if the engine turns over. If the engine does turn over then suspect the ignition switch or the feed wire to or from the ignition switch: the wires are open circuit.

If the engine does not turn over then put the 12 volts directly to the starter motor. If the engine turns over then the solenoid is none-functioning and needs replacing. If, when you put the cable directly to the starter motor the engine does not turn over, then a replacement starter motor is in order.
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Robert asks…

Murray 38″ cut riding mower?

Having trouble with my riding mower. The darn thing won’t spin the starter. I have tested the starter solenoid and its good, checked the cable coming from the battery to the solenoid and the cable from the solenoid to the starter motor All are good. I have bypassed the safety switches first one at a time and then all of them and still no go. I can spin the starter if I hook a remote starter button up to the solenoid, but within seconds the wires on the remote become VERY Burning hot. I am thinking maybe bad ground but yet see no wires on the solenoid to ground it and have looked at other mowers and there is no ground cable. Battery is new and tests fine.
swapped out ignition switches to one that was off a working mower. Also swapped out solenoid units from a working mower. Guess I will take a deeper look at the starter, but the darn thing is doing the same with a working starter. Have measured resistance along the length of wire to the starter and it seems good, so no breaks and no go either

Customer Service answers:

There will not be a ground wire on the solenoid. The frame of the mower is the ground. The ground wire from the battery goes to a mounting bolt on the engine, usually from the under side. Check this out first. Another way to check the ground is resistance from the negative post of the battery, to the mounting bolts on the engine. If this checks out then I’m sad to report its the starter.

Susan asks…

What’s wrong with my riding mower????

I had to replace a sparkplug on my riding mower to even get it to turn over, but now, it cranks in the “choke” position and stays cranked. However, when I put it in gear, it slowly dies. The only way it will stay cranked is in the choke position.
History: I replaced the battery and the sparkplug this week to get it to crank. This is all I have done besides clean the air filter.

Customer Service answers:

So if it won’t run with the choke off with the engine HOT, that means it’s not getting enough good fuel through the carburetor. Of course if you didn’t run the old gas out of the tank when you stored the mower, then you’ve got a lot of old gas in the tank that could strangle the carburetor and fuel filter etc. Change the fuel filter and drain the fuel tank. Add some fresh fuel.
My terminology is the engine is “cranking” when the starter motor is running but the engine won’t fire and “start”. So your engine cranks ok (with the new battery) meaning it turns the engine over ok. Then with the choke on, your engine starts and runs but won’t run with the choke off after the engine is HOT.
Spraying starter fluid into the air cleaner air intake would probably keep the engine running with the choke off proving it’s a fuel starvation problem.

Courtesy of Y!Answers