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Craftsman lawn tractor won't start

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Aug 16, 2020 - 6:58:58 AM
2426 posts since 10/9/2011

I have a 4 yr old Craftsman T1000 series lawn tractor that I don't use often since I got a 25" Greenworks battery powered walk behind. I had decided I really could use the exercise, and this thing cuts better than anything I've ever owned.Really.
I went to start the tractor the other day just to give it some run time but it was totally dead. I figured dead battery, but my meter said the battery had more than 12v in it.
I tried again and this time I got a click and a weird buzzing/grating sound. It did not turn over. That suggests starter motor and/or solenoid,right? Thing is, the sound is NOT coming from the starter motor. I've listened closely, and put my hand on the starter while trying to start it.No vibration,nothing. In fact,the click isn't consistent.
Now for the weird part; that buzzing/grating sounds like it's coming from below the seat! All that's down there is belts and pulleys and parts of the drive train,none of which should be making any sound unless the engine is running. I'm flummoxed. Any ideas?

Aug 16, 2020 - 7:11:40 AM
Players Union Member

Nels

USA

5939 posts since 12/10/2012

safety switch problem..??

Aug 16, 2020 - 7:12:26 AM

5782 posts since 9/5/2006

if its a craftsman T1000 the starter solenoid may be located on the frame back there under the battery box.  take the cables off and clean everything first,, if that don't work,,,,,,,,,,,the selenoid may be bad 

i would still unhook the battery cables and try a jump cable from a car battery to make sure ,,, it may be a load issue in the battery..  

here is a little diagnose video that may help 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmXEbJDXRPY

Edited by - 1935tb-11 on 08/16/2020 07:18:05

Aug 16, 2020 - 7:28:45 AM

DRH

USA

547 posts since 5/29/2018

I have an LT1000. 12V at the posts does not necessarily mean 12V at the starter. Corroded battery terminals will cause the behavior you describe. An internally sulfated battery will do the same.

Check the terminal voltage under load, such as turning the headlights on. If the voltage drops at the battery terminals you may have a bad battery. If the voltage drops more at the starter than the battery terminals you probably have corroded battery terminals.

Starters do go out sometimes on mower engines though I've never had to replace one myself. The solenoid is mounted to the frame, not the starter. The clicking you hear is being amplified by the frame. If it chatters or clicks repeatedly then you need to check voltage drop. A chattering solenoid is caused by having enough voltage to engage the solenoid, but which voltage drops as soon as the starter engages.

Aug 16, 2020 - 8:52:05 AM

341 posts since 11/17/2015

Have you charged the battery or tried to jump? With a meter should check 12.3 to 12.5 with no load, a bad battery may show 12v but when loaded drops to well below what is needed to start.

Aug 16, 2020 - 9:07:39 AM

John_J

USA

888 posts since 12/23/2007

Terry Martin is right....

Bet you a beer that jumper cables from your car will start it right up.....

If it starts your temporary fix is charge the battery and the permanent fix will be to replace the battery before you start to use it next year....

Aug 16, 2020 - 10:19:08 AM

2426 posts since 10/9/2011

Thanks for the info so far. I tried starting the engine while holding the leads on the battery terminals (which are shiny clean,BTW) and sure enough the voltage did drop to about 9v. First turn of the key,no click or anything but a second try gave the results as before. The battery voltage did not immediately rebound when I stopped trying the starter. I located the solenoid, and sure enough that's where the buzzing is coming from. It's not easily located though,so I'd rather not try to get it out if I don't have to.
So, it looks like a battery problem. I can't easily get the tractor in range of my car and jumper cables. I'm thinking of just getting a charger and charging the battery that way. Hopefully this was just a discharge due to long idleness and it will hold a charge. I'd rather not replace the battery unless I have to.

Edited by - brewerpaul on 08/16/2020 10:20:29

Aug 29, 2020 - 5:16:10 AM
like this

2426 posts since 10/9/2011

In case anyone's interested, I finally got this figured out. Turned out that there was a blown fuse AND the battery was toast and wouldn't hold a charge.
I took the solenoid out and it tested OK. Whoever decided where to put the solenoid where it was is a sadistic person. On the diagrams I found it looked pretty simple to get at, but my setup was different and it was a b*****d. The fuse wasn't easy either, but much simpler than the solenoid.
I did buy a charger which diagnosed the nonchargeable battery. This fall, when I'm done with the mower I plan to bring the battery indoors (garage) and leave it on trickle.

Aug 29, 2020 - 5:41:55 AM

73335 posts since 5/9/2007

Those little battery maintainers are great.I always have a spare battery at 100% with one.

Aug 29, 2020 - 6:55:57 AM

5782 posts since 9/5/2006

glad you got it fixed,,,, most of the time on these later model mowers its electrical ,, usually the battery,, they are not built to last forever like car batteries. but the trickle chargers do help them alot,,,

Aug 29, 2020 - 3:58:59 PM

10948 posts since 6/17/2003

Mine wouldn't start. I saw a mouse tail hanging out from until the shroud. The little bugger was trying to live under the shroud in grass clipping and was restricting the airflow through the cooling fins. I had to remove the shroud and clean it all out. When the motor turned over, the little guy got smooshed int the starter gear which jammed. It probably would have caught the grass nest on fire had it heated up to temperature.

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