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Old 04-04-2010, 08:25 PM   post #1 of 9
jerry_nj
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Default New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

My neighbor has a Simplicity Lawn tractor with a B&S Vanguard 16 HP twin. She says the hour meter reads 300 hours, I say the meter is broken... another issue. The tractor is about 15 years old and must have at least 800 hours with many starts per use on it. She mows about 2 acres, with a 42" deck (guessing on the size of the deck), and uses a trailer for yard clean-up and the like. I can recall hearing her stopping and re-starting many times in a work session, where I would have just left the engine run during the short stops she shut down on. So, you say the starter is worn out?

Today she bought a new battery for it because of starting problems. She was in the process of putting the new battery in in her front yard when I drove by and stopped to help. When we got it all connected she hit the starter and all we got was the "click-click" so characteristic of the dead battery. I said the battery was most likely good (Walmart) but had sat on the shelf so long it discharged. I put a charger on it and a couple of hours later I came back and she hit the starter and there was what sounded to me to be a starter running up to high RPM and not engaging the flywheel (or whatever it drives). She said that's what it was doing on the old battery and I said well it was an old battery so no harm in replacing it (guess the battery was 5 years old).

I said I think she needs a new starter (not sure if there is some sub-assembly, say an engagement solenoid, that would repair it for less - any advice on this point?). Looking at the starter it looks like there is one electrical connections (large gauge wire) and two long bolts that go from the lower end of the vertical oriented starter motor, to the top. Recalling changing a starter on a Sears 12 HP as not being a big or difficult job I am toying with the idea of changing it for her-no charge. She did lament she doesn't have the money to have the Simplicity dealer come by and haul the mower in for repairs. I think that operation is $300 plus parts, perhaps $500. I assume a starter is available for under $200.

Seeking any advice on the trouble shooting story and on how hard it is to change the starter. If it were my mower there would be no question, but I hate to break into a neighbor's mower and end up screwing it up.
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2005 Craftsman DYT4000 42" 2-blade deck - B&S 18.5 Intek - new head gasket twice in 500 hr. Was hit by a Pine tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy Oct.2012. But I now have the PYT9000 and a real mowing machine
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:36 PM   post #2 of 9
jwcva
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

If it comes to it, changing out the starter is fairly easy... the 2 bolts and single cable you observed should be all that need to be removed... once you have the shrouds and shields off.

But, before deciding to change out the starter, a little more investigation may be in order. If the starter is spinning up but not engaging the flywheel, the starter might be fine with something else gone bad... the starter gear, for instance, which may be worn or even broke off, and could be replaced without replacing the whole starter. Shouldn't take more than a few small bolts to remove engine shroud and shielding around starter to inspect further.

Also, since the starter is specific to the engine and not the tractor, you can get more info and troubleshooting ideas by looking up the engine model & type numbers on briggs web site. Last, I wouldn't recommend buying the starter from the dealer... again since it's not specific to the tractor, shop around and save some $$.

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Old 04-04-2010, 08:50 PM   post #3 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Thanks, I assume I have to pull the starter in any case, and a careful inspection of the "head" gear would be a good idea before buying a whole new starter.

I think the sound could be described as a scrapping or gear slipping sound. It was not the sound of just a motor spinning, something was clashing, but not real hard. She hit the starter a second time for me (and must have done so several times before buying the new battery) and it sounded about the same each time. So I don't think it is tearing itself apart.
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1989 Craftsman LT 12 HP 38" 2-blade deck - Retired

1993 Craftsman GT6000 18 HP B&S twin L-head 44" 3-blade deck, - Avatar and duty GT
2005 Craftsman DYT4000 42" 2-blade deck - B&S 18.5 Intek - new head gasket twice in 500 hr. Was hit by a Pine tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy Oct.2012. But I now have the PYT9000 and a real mowing machine
2011 Craftsman PYT9000 B&S 26 HP Professional and 46" 2-blade deck. Wife said "ANOTHER TRACTOR?"
I replied "Yep"
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:19 PM   post #4 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Hello Jerry
It very well could be the starter gear which engages the flywheel. I had to replace mine a few years ago. The gear is not metal,but some sort of fiber, which over time and many engagements will eventually wear the teeth completely away.
It wasn't an easy repair either. I do remember making a sort of cradle from a piece of 2x4. It took the shock from hammering the pin that holds the gear on the shaft.
If the starter is bad,that would be alot easier to change than the gear,but cost a heck of alot more,I'm sure.

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Old 04-04-2010, 10:57 PM   post #5 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Greg,

Thanks, that could be it, a fiber gear that still partially engaging, but not enough to turn the engine over.

The starter has had a lot of grinding, I charged the old battery up once after she cranked it hard and it would start following a winter storage in the shed.
That alone could have caused too much heat given the gear isn't metal. But, the engine did start and I heard her start it several times that day (Saturday). In fact the started rather well after being run for a few minutes. That Vanguard is a good engine, I believe. I've never owned one myself, I have several B&S engines, but none top-of-the-line.
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1989 Craftsman LT 12 HP 38" 2-blade deck - Retired

1993 Craftsman GT6000 18 HP B&S twin L-head 44" 3-blade deck, - Avatar and duty GT
2005 Craftsman DYT4000 42" 2-blade deck - B&S 18.5 Intek - new head gasket twice in 500 hr. Was hit by a Pine tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy Oct.2012. But I now have the PYT9000 and a real mowing machine
2011 Craftsman PYT9000 B&S 26 HP Professional and 46" 2-blade deck. Wife said "ANOTHER TRACTOR?"
I replied "Yep"
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:02 PM   post #6 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Looking for more removal advice.

I removed, with a lot of difficulty due to no space, the two long light bolts (5/16th head and about 6" long running from the bottom of the starter to top), and the starter back and case dropped a couple of inches to the tractor engine "frame". This exposed the armature which seems to be stuck, I give a soft pry with a large screw driver and it wouldn't drop. Does this suggest anything, e.g., the gear is locked into the flywheel?

I started to pull the head shroud which covers the flywheel and the cooling fan, I believe. I stopped when this simple operation became a little uncooperative. The shroud seems stuck, or I am missing a hold down bolt or two. I have removed engine shrouds on other B&S engines, so I know I should be able to do it. But as it wasn't coming off with a simple effort I decided to check in here and ask if I should be trying to take it off, or did I miss something important in trying to disconnect the starter.
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1989 Craftsman LT 12 HP 38" 2-blade deck - Retired

1993 Craftsman GT6000 18 HP B&S twin L-head 44" 3-blade deck, - Avatar and duty GT
2005 Craftsman DYT4000 42" 2-blade deck - B&S 18.5 Intek - new head gasket twice in 500 hr. Was hit by a Pine tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy Oct.2012. But I now have the PYT9000 and a real mowing machine
2011 Craftsman PYT9000 B&S 26 HP Professional and 46" 2-blade deck. Wife said "ANOTHER TRACTOR?"
I replied "Yep"
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:20 PM   post #7 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry_nj View Post
Looking for more removal advice.

I removed, with a lot of difficulty due to no space, the two long light bolts (5/16th head and about 6" long running from the bottom of the starter to top), and the starter back and case dropped a couple of inches to the tractor engine "frame". This exposed the armature which seems to be stuck, I give a soft pry with a large screw driver and it wouldn't drop. Does this suggest anything, e.g., the gear is locked into the flywheel?

I started to pull the head shroud which covers the flywheel and the cooling fan, I believe. I stopped when this simple operation became a little uncooperative. The shroud seems stuck, or I am missing a hold down bolt or two. I have removed engine shrouds on other B&S engines, so I know I should be able to do it. But as it wasn't coming off with a simple effort I decided to check in here and ask if I should be trying to take it off, or did I miss something important in trying to disconnect the starter.
Assuming the starter on that is the same as Briggs has been making for the last 20 years I have the following advice.

Removing those two longs bolts takes the starter apart, but not away from the machine. The starter is held on by bigger (probably 1/2") bolts, which you probably have to remove the top shroud to get to them.

As said, I think the problem lies in the engagement mechanism on the starter. It has a "screw" that the starter gear rides on, and when the starter spins the gear flies up and grips the flywheel. The gear is plastic and will wear out eventually. It is not very hard to replace once the starter is off. As far as the shroud goes, there's not much to really get stuck. You must have missed a bolt somewhere. The armature will not drop down because the bendix assembly is holding it down on top. There are two types that I know of, one has a pin to drive out, the other a split ring that has to be removed before the drive gear can be removed.

Also, if this starter is the same that I've worked one once you get the bottom plate with the brushes on it off, it's a real bugger to get back on because you have to hold all 4 brushes while sliding in the commutator. While you have the starter apart it wouldn't be a bad idea to sand down the commutator till it shines and refresh the brush contacts the same way.

Good luck.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:22 PM   post #8 of 9
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry_nj View Post
Looking for more removal advice.

I removed, with a lot of difficulty due to no space, the two long light bolts (5/16th head and about 6" long running from the bottom of the starter to top), and the starter back and case dropped a couple of inches to the tractor engine "frame". This exposed the armature which seems to be stuck, I give a soft pry with a large screw driver and it wouldn't drop. Does this suggest anything, e.g., the gear is locked into the flywheel?

I started to pull the head shroud which covers the flywheel and the cooling fan, I believe. I stopped when this simple operation became a little uncooperative. The shroud seems stuck, or I am missing a hold down bolt or two. I have removed engine shrouds on other B&S engines, so I know I should be able to do it. But as it wasn't coming off with a simple effort I decided to check in here and ask if I should be trying to take it off, or did I miss something important in trying to disconnect the starter.
Unfortunately it appears you removed the starter housing bolts rather than bolts attaching it to engine. You have now partially disassembled the starter and I would guess that you have let the brushes pop loose. The armature will seem stuck as it's probably moving now and locking on the magnets. You now need to find the correct mounting bolts and remove the starter from the engine. It will take some technique and special holders to keep the brushes in place to get the housing back on the starter top.

Sorry, I'll leave my post but looks like the one ahead went in while I was typing.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:12 AM   post #9 of 9
jerry_nj
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Default Re: New Starter B&S Vanguard 16 HP Twin

Thanks, my main problem is I remember the starter I changed on a Sears mower several years ago was a easy. I replaced the whole starter so I didn't screw up the brushes by taking the case off. Maybe I can slip the case back up and snug the long bolts back to hold it all together while I find the real attachment bolts.

Thanks for putting me on the right track. It seems the worst that can happen is we have to buy a new starter, about $100, so no real big deal and well have new brushes installed correctly.

I believe the shroud has holding bolts only around the perimeter, none in the vertical direction. The bolts I see on the fan assembly I think are to hold that screen on, not to hold the shroud on the block. I took out about 4 medium bolts, maybe 7/16" (actually they were metric - guess that's 11 mm) and one holding the fuel (whatever) with a 12 mm bolt seemed to also go through the shroud.

It was late and I was tired, especially after wasting my time taking out the two long bolts that should have been left in. I can now take back all the bad words I muttered about Simplicity for making the bolts (that didn't need to be removed) so hard to remove.
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1989 Craftsman LT 12 HP 38" 2-blade deck - Retired

1993 Craftsman GT6000 18 HP B&S twin L-head 44" 3-blade deck, - Avatar and duty GT
2005 Craftsman DYT4000 42" 2-blade deck - B&S 18.5 Intek - new head gasket twice in 500 hr. Was hit by a Pine tree blown down by Hurricane Sandy Oct.2012. But I now have the PYT9000 and a real mowing machine
2011 Craftsman PYT9000 B&S 26 HP Professional and 46" 2-blade deck. Wife said "ANOTHER TRACTOR?"
I replied "Yep"
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