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post #1 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

I own a John Deere 170 Tractor with a FC420v Kawasaki motor. It was given to me about 6 years ago.. The only problem was that it would not start using the ignition key!! It fires up just fine bypassing it and hot wiring it from starter solenoid to positive battery terminal.. VRoom VRoom.. fires right up and runs pretty good. After about 2 years a friend of mine said why don't you use the key??? I told him it never worked. So to humor him I unplugged the relay harness, plugged it back in, jiggled some wires, and hooked up post to solenoid and said turn the key and try.... to my surprise it worked. It worked intermittently for about a year and a half, but now it's back to not working. I have bought a new ignition switch, bought the starter improvement wiring relay kit from john deere. I have bought a brand new starter w/ solenoid and I cannot figure it out. I have disconnected the seat safety switch. I turn the key and the only thing I hear is the fuel solenoid clicking when putting it in run position. No other noises from anywhere.... I am stumped. I checked the fuses, I have changed the battery and the wires.... HELP
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 03:11 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Are you mashing the brake and have it in neutral when you try and crank it?

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post #3 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 04:02 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

I don't think the 170 has the brake safety switch like your 165, Deere332 (I know my 160 doesn't have one), but that's a good call on a 175... Some of those brake safety switches get pretty wonky.

MikeD, it looks like you've covered a lot of the bases, the only things I can think of outside of them would be:

1) corrosion on the battery cable(s) (sometimes that causes weird, not starting conditions on some tractors)
2) Going through your ignition wiring with a meter to check for shorts in it
3) Total off the wall guess, is there perhaps a PTO problem that might be affecting starting? That's a pretty outside chance, but do things behave better if you disconnect the PTO (there should be a PTO connector/wiring harness somewhere down near the bottom of the tractor, right-hand side of the engine).
4) Oh right, one more thing... possibly the safety switch wiring all the way to the neutral start switch.... The neutral start switch lives on the very top of the transaxle, its the one that ensures you're in neutral before you can start the tractor. I wonder if there's something happening there, because its REALLY hard to get to/test since you pretty much have to drop the transaxle to check the wiring or the switch. This would be the equivalent of the brake safety switch, Deere, I think.... Except at least the brake safety switch is easy to get at.
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 05:07 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by miked24 View Post
I So to humor him I unplugged the relay harness, plugged it back in, jiggled some wires, and hooked up post to solenoid and said turn the key and try.... to my surprise it worked. It worked intermittently for about a year and a half, but now it's back to not working.
You have corrosion problems (connection) in the harness, inspect the relay plug (board) both ends. Pull the board, blow both sides clean with compress air, inspect traces and component too.

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post #5 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 05:14 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by littletractorguy View Post
I don't think the 170 has the brake safety switch like your 165, Deere332 (I know my 160 doesn't have one), but that's a good call on a 175... Some of those brake safety switches get pretty wonky.

MikeD, it looks like you've covered a lot of the bases, the only things I can think of outside of them would be:

1) corrosion on the battery cable(s) (sometimes that causes weird, not starting conditions on some tractors)
2) Going through your ignition wiring with a meter to check for shorts in it
3) Total off the wall guess, is there perhaps a PTO problem that might be affecting starting? That's a pretty outside chance, but do things behave better if you disconnect the PTO (there should be a PTO connector/wiring harness somewhere down near the bottom of the tractor, right-hand side of the engine).
4) Oh right, one more thing... possibly the safety switch wiring all the way to the neutral start switch.... The neutral start switch lives on the very top of the transaxle, its the one that ensures you're in neutral before you can start the tractor. I wonder if there's something happening there, because its REALLY hard to get to/test since you pretty much have to drop the transaxle to check the wiring or the switch. This would be the equivalent of the brake safety switch, Deere, I think.... Except at least the brake safety switch is easy to get at.
You're right Tyson my 160 doesn't have a brake switch either but it does have the neutral safety switch which will prevent the tractor from starting in gear its saved my butt a few times.

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1987 John Deere 160 38" Mowing Deck aka "The Bush Hog"

1988 John Deere 318 aka "Old Smokey"

1957 Farmall 130 Fast Hitch 2 Bottom Plow, 1 Gang Disc, 2 Gang Disc, Sprayer,
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 06:53 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deere 332 View Post
You're right Tyson my 160 doesn't have a brake switch either but it does have the neutral safety switch which will prevent the tractor from starting in gear its saved my butt a few times.
Whoops, sorry Deere, I keep forgetting you've got the 160 too! So many tractors, so little time! (can I call you Deere? ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussKish View Post
You have corrosion problems (connection) in the harness, inspect the relay plug (board) both ends. Pull the board, blow both sides clean with compress air, inspect traces and component too.
Ooh yeah, corroded contacts too... Another good PITA to dig into! Particularly if the machine has been sitting outside in inclement weather. At least the 170 doesn't have a hugely complex electrical system to sort through... I spent an entire day on a friend's JD 125 a few years back trying to isolate a similar "no-start" situation, did the same replacement of key switch (which didn't fix the issue), then randomly pulled off and cleaned every single connector and tested starting afterward... Still no go, so pulled them all off _again_ put them all on and suddenly it started. Still don't know which one was the magical fixer, I metered out every wire I could in his wiring harness tho.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 07:11 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by littletractorguy View Post
Whoops, sorry Deere, I keep forgetting you've got the 160 too! So many tractors, so little time! (can I call you Deere? ).



Ooh yeah, corroded contacts too... Another good PITA to dig into! Particularly if the machine has been sitting outside in inclement weather. At least the 170 doesn't have a hugely complex electrical system to sort through... I spent an entire day on a friend's JD 125 a few years back trying to isolate a similar "no-start" situation, did the same replacement of key switch (which didn't fix the issue), then randomly pulled off and cleaned every single connector and tested starting afterward... Still no go, so pulled them all off _again_ put them all on and suddenly it started. Still don't know which one was the magical fixer, I metered out every wire I could in his wiring harness tho.
Tyson you can call me Carson if you want too thats my real name or you can call me Deere whatever you like. People mess up my forum all the time its really aggravating when people call me Deere 322 and not Deere 332 big difference people big difference! Ones diesel ones gas!

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1987 John Deere 160 38" Mowing Deck aka "The Bush Hog"

1988 John Deere 318 aka "Old Smokey"

1957 Farmall 130 Fast Hitch 2 Bottom Plow, 1 Gang Disc, 2 Gang Disc, Sprayer,
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 07:43 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Igniter ?

Current 09 " X520 with 48" Deck, #44 Snow Blower, Weather Enclosure, Wheel Weights, Chains, drift cutter, Brush Guard, #36 Tow Behind Spreader, Single bucket holder, #7 #80 and #50 Trailers,
"11" X540 54" Deck
Some LX 188's and a few 100 series
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"86' 318 #44 Front End Loader, #49 Snow Blower. TY15380 Hard Cab, Wheel weights Chains Weight box ( 6 suitcases ) "99"LX279 Liquid Cooled ."87"SX95 / Rear Bagger, 165 Hydro, STX38, LX188. Toy a 175 Hydro #38 snow blower #38 mower deck.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 07:46 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by KATT View Post
Igniter ?
Katt I'm don't think that the igniter being bad would keep the engine turning over, but I could be wrong.

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1987 John Deere 165 Hydro with snow plow, 38" mowing deck and AG tires Restored

1991 John Deere 332 Redland hill 3pt hitch, Carlisle Tru Power AG tires, and V61s, 30 Hydraulic Tiller, Restored


1975 John Deere 212 Electric Lift, Sleeve Hitch, 33 Tiller, Restored

1987 John Deere 160 38" Mowing Deck aka "The Bush Hog"

1988 John Deere 318 aka "Old Smokey"

1957 Farmall 130 Fast Hitch 2 Bottom Plow, 1 Gang Disc, 2 Gang Disc, Sprayer,
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 08:13 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

When mine went in Rusty, I turned the key and absolutely nothing. as if there wasn't even a battery in it.

Current 09 " X520 with 48" Deck, #44 Snow Blower, Weather Enclosure, Wheel Weights, Chains, drift cutter, Brush Guard, #36 Tow Behind Spreader, Single bucket holder, #7 #80 and #50 Trailers,
"11" X540 54" Deck
Some LX 188's and a few 100 series
Previous JD's
"86' 318 #44 Front End Loader, #49 Snow Blower. TY15380 Hard Cab, Wheel weights Chains Weight box ( 6 suitcases ) "99"LX279 Liquid Cooled ."87"SX95 / Rear Bagger, 165 Hydro, STX38, LX188. Toy a 175 Hydro #38 snow blower #38 mower deck.
Sold Rusty
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post #11 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 08:15 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by KATT View Post
When mine went in Rusty, I turned the key and absolutely nothing. as if there wasn't even a battery in it.
Thats odd when mine went it was crank crank crank crank crank crank but no vroom vroom. mine cranked over fine but no spark. Replaced the igniter and it ran perfect.

Current Collection

1987 John Deere 165 Hydro with snow plow, 38" mowing deck and AG tires Restored

1991 John Deere 332 Redland hill 3pt hitch, Carlisle Tru Power AG tires, and V61s, 30 Hydraulic Tiller, Restored


1975 John Deere 212 Electric Lift, Sleeve Hitch, 33 Tiller, Restored

1987 John Deere 160 38" Mowing Deck aka "The Bush Hog"

1988 John Deere 318 aka "Old Smokey"

1957 Farmall 130 Fast Hitch 2 Bottom Plow, 1 Gang Disc, 2 Gang Disc, Sprayer,
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post #12 of 17 Old 05-17-2017, 08:21 PM
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

$70 bucks to find out ( some cheaper on E bay) I just stole one out of the many 100's around here and fired right up too.

Current 09 " X520 with 48" Deck, #44 Snow Blower, Weather Enclosure, Wheel Weights, Chains, drift cutter, Brush Guard, #36 Tow Behind Spreader, Single bucket holder, #7 #80 and #50 Trailers,
"11" X540 54" Deck
Some LX 188's and a few 100 series
Previous JD's
"86' 318 #44 Front End Loader, #49 Snow Blower. TY15380 Hard Cab, Wheel weights Chains Weight box ( 6 suitcases ) "99"LX279 Liquid Cooled ."87"SX95 / Rear Bagger, 165 Hydro, STX38, LX188. Toy a 175 Hydro #38 snow blower #38 mower deck.
Sold Rusty
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post #13 of 17 Old 05-18-2017, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

yes, I have pushed down the brake, the clutch, disconnected seat switch
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post #14 of 17 Old 05-18-2017, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

thank you for your response. The thing is that when I got the mower the old owner had been starting it from the solenoid to the battery bypassing everything. this still works great. Then, like I said in original post, I tried it again a year later or so and whoala.... it worked. It worked for awhile, and then I replaced the positive batter cable because it was deteriorating and after that I believe is when it stopped working again... I will try those things you mentioned.. thanks again.
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post #15 of 17 Old 05-18-2017, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1990 John Deere 170 38 inch starting problems

would ignitor keep my engine from turning over?
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