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Old 12-20-2009, 02:48 PM   post #1 of 8
tjaltz
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Default John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

Hello All:
I have a 1989 John Deere 318 with an Onan P218G engine and a John Deere AM107421 voltage boost relay installed. The tractor has been starting fine for years. Today when I turned the key, nothing. No starter response at all. Have geed battery voltage, even tried a booster, no difference. Two lights on dashboard are lit, shift is firmly in neutral, parking brake is set, I'm sitting on the seat, turn the key and nothing. Possible the hard starting relay failed? Bad safety switch on the seat or shift? Is there a way to bypass the safety circuit to test it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:07 PM   post #2 of 8
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

To test the seat safety switch, take a short length of insulated wire. Strip each end. Unplug the lead from the switch and stick one end of the wire into each side of the plug. If she starts, get a new seat switch. If she does not start, put things back and look elsewhere.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:14 PM   post #3 of 8
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

check to make sure the ignition wires behind the dash are as they should be
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:30 PM   post #4 of 8
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Thumbs up Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

You might be sitting on a dead spot on your starter. I would check all the wiring between the ignition switch and the starter and make sure everything is good and tight. Then lightly tap on the starter. the ignition switch can go bad just on the internals of the switch such that it will kill the power to the starter. So a new switch might be in order as well.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:50 PM   post #5 of 8
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

I dont know about your model but many wont start with the PTO engaged so make sure your PTO is off.

I usually try jumping the solenoid with a wire to make sure starter is functioning. This way you can eliminate the elaborate JD safety system as an issue.

Beyond the PTO lockout some models have a neutral safety switch on transaxle to make sure the tractor is not in "gear" when you crank it.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:10 PM   post #6 of 8
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

My 22 year old 318 had a flat spot on the starter it would just clunk and whir the I just turned the key a few times till it found a spot it liked and started fine. I put up with this for 3 years ( obviously the colder the more clicks).
If no whir when you hold the key on start then it's the other things they have said.
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Old 12-20-2009, 09:17 PM   post #7 of 8
tjaltz
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

Thanks for all the suggestions. I will check them all and let you know what I find.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:10 AM   post #8 of 8
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Default Re: John Deere 318 Starter Won't Engage

Hi Tjaltz,
Beyond the recomendations above, you might want to check a few other items. As an aid in doing this, you can find a schematic/wiring diagram for your 318 at this link: http://www.trfun.com/sc2.html
If you need it, there is also a troubleshooting procedure in the service manual for your anomaly. Too lengthy to put here but you can contact me at the referenced link above & I'll send you a PDF.
Good Luck with your troubleshooting
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