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Thread: Don't you love intermittent problems?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Don't you love intermittent problems?

    Lawnmower didn't crank about a month ago. I left it for about an hour and decided to try again and it cranked just fine and started right up. Fast forward to Monday evening and it was dead again. I tested interlocks and they were good so started pulling fuses to check them. I didn't see any issues with fuses, but when I went to test for voltage at the solenoid it started right up when key was turned. Wiggled all kinds of wires and it still started a number of times. I was prepared to trace through the wiring diagram to figure it out.

    Don't you just love intermittent problems like these? I don't know if reseating the fuses fixed it, or just coincidence. (Fuses were nice and clean with no corrosion on fuses or holders.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Is this where we are supposed to answer......' Of course I have intermittent problems, I'm married'.

    Just thought I would be the first .
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  3. #3
    But you won't be the last Rick.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    Brian, ironically, I've been having a similar issue with my SCAG ZTR...it's back in the shop waiting on a voltage regulator to arrive from Briggs and Stratton "as we speak". New battery about three weeks ago and some other parts and adjustments, but still no joy in maintaining a charge. They dug deeper this time and determined that additional parts needed replaced. Not great timing for me as our other property is for sale and I've been trying to keep things really neat and tidy. I may have to mow it twice this coming week when the machine is fixed to get it back to the normal 4" height! I've learned to keep an emergency battery pack with me in recent months for this!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
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    It is probably one of the interlock switches with a dirty contact. Next time it won't start try actuating one switch at a time then attempt to start the lawn mower. The last switch you touched will be the problem.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USNR(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  6. #6
    A few years ago I had the exact same intermittent problem with starting our Chaparral. It turned out to be the solenoid
    -It was a bit obvious what was wrong once the starter was removed-
    chapsolenoid.JPG

    BUT I've had several solenoid issues over the years, pretty much to the point where IF a solenoid is any part of an intermittent or general electrical failure, I just change it.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    ...
    Don't you just love intermittent problems like these? I don't know if reseating the fuses fixed it, or just coincidence. (Fuses were nice and clean with no corrosion on fuses or holders.)
    For electrical problems on things that are exposed to humidity (cars, farm equipment, trailers, light sockets, extension cords, circuit breakers in outdoor or sheds/barn/garage, etc) I clean and put a smear of dielectric on all contacts. This helps to keep the air and moisture away. It really works.

    Clean with electrical contact cleaner and fine scotchbrite or 800 grit sandpaper if needed. Dielectric grease is available at auto parts and electrical supply stores, most hardware stores. Rather than the tiny squeeze tubes I buy in dispensers similar to this one: https://smile.amazon.com/CRC-6113-Ma.../dp/B0788Y4SN8

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    It is probably one of the interlock switches with a dirty contact. Next time it won't start try actuating one switch at a time then attempt to start the lawn mower. The last switch you touched will be the problem.
    I thought an interlock switch might be bad, but the switches were all showing continuity and it still wasn't starting. The problem went away after removing and reinserting three fuses in the back near the starter. The fuses were fine with no corrosion and they fit very tight in the holders. It may have just been coincidence with the fuses.

    I talked to the support line at the manufacturer and the tech said the neutral safety switches are usually what go bad in the interlock system. I will probably spend the $25 to replace both switches if the issue comes back. (Support line is supposed to be dealer only, but they still helped me. I actually called initially because I had it to the dealer twice for a different issue.)

  9. #9
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    It turns out that this mower was used pretty hard by the previous owner. I had to pull the fenders off to get at the interlock switches. There was all kinds of mud and grass under the fenders. I opened up the dash panel and it was full of mud and grass inside. I washed everything and let it dry for half a day before putting it back together.

    The selling dealer cleaned the outside up so it looked real nice, but obviously they were not going to pull parts off to deep clean.

  10. #10
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    I thought an interlock switch might be bad, but the switches were all showing continuity and it still wasn't starting.
    In my experience switches can show continuity with a meter but not under load. Clip the meter, reading voltage, across the switch and try starting. A good switch will show close to zero volts. A switch with burnt or dirty contacts may read up to full system voltage.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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