Old 1440 won’t crank

Coelacanth64

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Folks,
Back in about 1996 I inherited my father’s 1440 Cub rider with mower deck and blower.
This machine is built like a tank, and has been a real help as a mowing backup and driveway cleaner in the winter.
Over the years I’ve replaced the PTO, alternator and two years ago the starter. Last week it was running like new.
This am I went out to blow out the driveway and it wouldn’t crank. The PTO will engage, everything seems normal, the battery is new. The main fuse is fine.
But, the starter won’t kick in. I tried jumping the solenoid and all I got was sparks, so it would seem there is a short somewhere?
Any suggestions aren’t more than welcome. Could the “new” starter be bad??

Thanks,
Jack
 

Rivets

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Give this procedure a try to locate your problem, which to me sounds like a bad solenoid or starter. Let us know what you find.


Electrical* problems can be very easy or very difficult, depending on four things.
1. * How well you understand basic electricity.
2. *What tools you have and know how to use.
3. *How well you follow directions.
4. *You don't overlook or assume anything and verify everything.

Remember we cannot see what you are doing. *You are our eyes, ears and fingers in solving this problem. *You must be as accurate as you can when you report back. *The two basic tools we will ask you to use are a test light and a multi-meter. *If you have an assistant when going through these tests it would be very helpful. *These steps work the best when done in order, so please don't jump around. *Now let's solve this problem.

First, check the fuse(s), check battery connections for corrosion (clean if necessary) and *voltage - above 12.5 volts should be good.*

Second, check for power from the battery to one of the large terminals on the solenoid. *One of the wires is connected directly to the battery and has power all the time so one of the large terminals should light a test light or show 12 volts on a meter at all times.*

Third, *check for power at the small terminal of the solenoid while depressing the clutch/brake pedal and holding the key in the start position (you may need an assistant to sit in the seat to override the safety switch). If your solenoid is a four wire solenoid, check both small wire terminals as one is ground and the other is power from the ignition switch. *If your solenoid is a three wire solenoid, make sure the solenoid body is not corroded where it bolts to the chassis of the mower as this is your ground path back to the battery. *If in doubt, remove the solenoid and clean the mounting area down to bare metal. *If there is no power to the small terminal then your problem is most likely a safety switch, ignition switch or in the wiring.*

Fourth, check for power on the other large terminal of the solenoid while holding the key in the start position q(you may need an assistant to sit in the seat to override the safety switch).*

Fifth, check for power at the starter while holding the key in the start position (assistant again).*

Sixth, check your ground circuit back to the battery.

After you have gone through each of the above steps, let us know what happened when you did each step. *At that point we will have great info to tell you how to proceed. *Remember you are our eyes, ears, and fingers, so please be as accurate as possible.

Be as specific as possible with voltage readings as this will help diagnose your problem quicker. *If you do not know how to perform the above checks, just ask and I will try to guide you through it. *Youtube also has some videos and as you know a picture is worth a thousand words.
 

Hammermechanicman

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Good stuff from Rivets.
One of the first things i do when i have a no crank issue is check the battery and then if it has a separate atart relay i simply take a car jumper cable and jump the 2 large terminals on the relay. If engine cranks over there is a problem with either the relay or wiring associated with the low current start circuit. If it does not crank either high current cable connections or starter. If starter has solenoid on starter jump across the 2 large terminals on solenoid. Take less than a minute to figure out if you have a high current or low current problem. High current problem includes battery to engine ground and battery to relay and relay to starter connection and starter. Low current side includes ignition switch, start inhibit switches, possible inhibit relays, start relay and wiring.
 
Last edited:

Coelacanth64

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Folks,
The battery is excellent. It’s almost new and kept on a minder.
What concerns me is that I jumped the two main positive terminals on the solenoid with a screw driver, like we used to do on cars back in the day. It pr@ctically melted the screwdriver. Short somewhere?
I was going to isolate the starter and try attaching a separate battery to it, to see if it would turn. Thoughts?
 

Hammermechanicman

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Remove the starter and see if you can take a screwdriver and turn the starter gear and rotate the starter armature. If not locked up take a pair of jumper cables and battery neg to the frame and touch the battery pos cable to the starter terminal. If starter doesn't spin bad starter. Sparks and no spin bad starter. Spins good starter.
 

Coelacanth64

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Yeah, that’s what I thought. Thanks for the reply.
I’ll give it a shot and let you know.
 

PTmowerMech

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I sometimes take a starter (that's off the mower), attached the jumper cables to it. When it spins, I put the gear into a piece of soft wood with some force. Something like a 2X4 pine. That tells me if the starter is not only good or bad. But also if it's weak.
I'm thinking you have a bad starter, if you've jumped the solenoid and still not getting anything.
 

Coelacanth64

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I removed the starter yesterday and tried an external battery. Sparks everywhere.
So, I ordered an OEM replacement.
The current item was obtained from a local (and highly regarded) mower repair shop.
I never looked at the labeling when I installed it, but now I see that it probably should have included a fortune cookie.
Stay tuned?
 

PTmowerMech

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I removed the starter yesterday and tried an external battery. Sparks everywhere.
So, I ordered an OEM replacement.
The current item was obtained from a local (and highly regarded) mower repair shop.
I never looked at the labeling when I installed it, but now I see that it probably should have included a fortune cookie.
Stay tuned?
What do you mean by "sparks everywhere?
 

Coelacanth64

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Sorry. Work got in the way.
As of today, new starter and solenoid. If I jump the solenoid the starter will crank the engine.
But, the starter will not engage using the key. If I turn the key the oil light will come on, the headlights work, and the PTO will click on and off.
If I turn the key to the start position the dash light comes on indicating that the brake pedal needs to be depressed. If I depress the pedal the light goes off, but the starter does not engage If I turn the key to the start position.
Could the switch be the culprit? Should I try jumping the leads from the switch to the battery end of the solenoid?
 
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