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Thread: I think my zero turn mower is cursed!

  1. #1
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    I think my zero turn mower is cursed!

    I bought a used 2019 Grasshopper diesel zero turn mower with 189 hours on it last summer. I had all kinds of problems with it initially including a starter that didn't always turn over. I realized after I bought it that the mower had been buried pretty deep in mud or something as the dashboard was full of mud.

    I had the starter rebuilt this spring and the rebuilder said it was full of dirt. The mower had to be buried pretty deep to get dirt into the starter. I started it about ten times since the rebuild and the dang starter quit again! The volt meter was showing the voltage dropping quite a bit when turning the key so the solenoid seemed to be engaging. I rapped the starter very gently and it started right up after that. I think this mower is cursed. I am sure the shop will fix it for me, but I don't really want to be without a mower for nearly two weeks during peak mowing season.

  2. #2
    Having one recurring problem doesn't mean cursed neccessarily. But maybe that starter is beyond rebuilding? Have you cleaned up wiring connections, especially the grounds? If it was deep in mud I would be checking/cleaning any wiring connections that could have been in the mud. My 2 cents.

  3. #3
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    My mowers look like they have been in mud but the dirt is accumulated dust from mowing. It creeps into tiny places and accumulates as very fine silt. It is hard on all kinds of parts. The problem is worse if mowing is done near gravel roads.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Citerone View Post
    Having one recurring problem doesn't mean cursed neccessarily. But maybe that starter is beyond rebuilding? Have you cleaned up wiring connections, especially the grounds? If it was deep in mud I would be checking/cleaning any wiring connections that could have been in the mud. My 2 cents.
    I’ve been through the wiring and all looks great. I verified the wiring on the starter was tight when it wouldn’t start yesterday. The voltage dropped when I turned the key to the start position so I think the starter was getting power. I gave the starter a gentle rap with a hammer and it started right up after that.

    The starter may be beyond rebuilding, but the shop did rebuild it. He said he had to replace basically everything inside the starter. I really don’t want to spend $400+ on a new starter, especially after spending $140 on the rebuild.

  5. #5
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    Starter $400, what engine?
    Bill D

  6. #6
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    Kubota D902E. The OEM starter is a Mitsubishi 16824-63014 and costs between $400 and $450 online. You can buy the Chinese junk starters for around $100, but I don't want to be replacing the starter every year. Most people would tell you never to buy the cheap Chinese starters for your car so why would I buy one for my mower?

  7. #7
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    There are a lot of things that could cause a situation like this.

    My first check would be the brushes. A piece of loose dirt could lift them off of the commutator and keep the starter motor from turning.

    You mention a voltage drop, can you hear any sound coming from the starter or a relay?

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

  8. #8
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    If there is still dirt in the starter that would indicate it wasn't properly cleaned out when it was rebuilt. I am assuming the voltage drop is the starter drawing a ton of current, but not actually spinning. Once I gave the starter a gentle rap it started right up when I turned the key the next time. I didn't have a second person to turn the key while I checked to see if the starter was getting power.

    The mower is cursed because it spent as much time in the shop the first summer as it spent at my house. None of the fixes were expensive, but it was the two to three week backlog easch time that was the killer. Luckily, it never went to the shop for the starter.

  9. #9
    If starter works when you "tap it", sounds like a stuck brush set to me. Just my two cents worth and worth exactly what you paid for it.

  10. #10
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    I have two Kubotas that acted like that. The service tech put a relay between the battery and the starter solinoid
    To provide full power. Solved the problem.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Jenkins View Post
    I have two Kubotas that acted like that. The service tech put a relay between the battery and the starter solinoid
    To provide full power. Solved the problem.
    This sounds like a problem old (6 Volt) VWs had. The voltage drop from the battery to the key then to the starter was enough to prevent the starting solenoid to kick in. It would still cause the voltage across the battery to drop.

    VW actually had a small relay to install on the sheet metal near the starter/solenoid to correct the problem.

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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    If starter works when you "tap it", sounds like a stuck brush set to me. Just my two cents worth and worth exactly what you paid for it.
    That might be it, but I literally had this starter rebuilt by a local shop in April and it had ten starts on it before it acted up again. I'll probably take it back to them, but I really don't want my mower down for up to two weeks during the peak of mowing season.

    If voltage was an issue why would it start just fine after a light tap on the starter? The positive on the starter goes direct to the battery with less than a foot of cable.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Elfert View Post
    If voltage was an issue why would it start just fine after a light tap on the starter? The positive on the starter goes direct to the battery with less than a foot of cable.
    Most likely there is some grease in the brush holders and one of the brushes sticks and isn't making good contact with the commutator. When you tap it the brush moves and makes good electrical contact. Take it apart and clean the brushes and their holders
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(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

  14. #14
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    A rebuilt starter should be as good as a new one.

  15. #15
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    If voltage was an issue why would it start just fine after a light tap on the starter? The positive on the starter goes direct to the battery with less than a foot of cable.[/QUOTE]

    I don’t know but that is exactly what mine were doing
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

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