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Old 07-29-2010, 10:53 AM   post #1 of 12
thesnowgod
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Default Starter problems with my 318

Hello everyone. I've been lurking in here and I thought I'd register. Really hoping someone here can help me.

On my JD 318 when I turn the key, sometimes I only get a *click* sound. I've already added the more powerful relay wiring (I forget the actual terminology for this device) years ago. The click I hear is definitely coming from that relay.

This has been an ongoing problem all season. Usually I turn the key several times *click, click, click* with each key turn and then it fires up all the sudden.

Last weekend I went to start it up and I got the same routine (*click*) then after several tries the starter began to spin but not engaging and spinning the motor, it simply spun. The odd part is when I turned the key off, it continued to spin.

The only way to get it to stop was to disconnect the battery. If I reconnect the battery, the starter spins (but not the motor) until I disconnect it again. The position of the key doesn't matter, it always does this.

I've spent a small fortune on it this season (the usual stuff, filters, oil, points, condensor, plugs, etc....) and it's frustrating that it won't run.

Really hope someone here has the answer. I've tried the dealer but without trailering it out to them (an hour each way) they can't really help.




Thanks in advance folks.

*edit* I've owned this tractor for so many years that I forget the year of it. I believe its an 88 or 89. The engine is an Onan with about 1400 hours. The items I listed above were done pre-season when it was running (sort of) fine. I simply did those items to ensure a good running machine for the season. *ugh*
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:19 AM   post #2 of 12
Bob421
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Hi,

You stated that you replaced the points and condensor, that would lead me to believe that your engine is a B43G (1986 and earlier), 1987 and later used ethe P218 with electronic ignition.

Where is your starter soleniod located? under battery tray or on the starter?

I would check the battery and charging system to be sure the battery is fully charged and the voltage regulator is doing its job. I would then remove and clean all connections from the battery to the starter including the engine ground. Also inspect the connection at the ignition switch. At this point you have not chased any money into the tractor and you will have a better idea what to look for in case none of the above helped (possible bad starter or solenoid or even bad ignition switch). You can also be having issues with the relay you installed.

Just my thoughts
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:28 AM   post #3 of 12
thesnowgod
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Sorry Bob. You're right on the year... it must be older than I thought! Opps.

The soleniod is on the starter. The battery is new and my voltmeter says its fully charged and I also replaced the ignition switch and made sure the wires were clean there too. The starter spins, it's simply not engaging the motor (I can hear it spin just fine) and it won't stop spinning until I disconnect the battery.

Could a bad connection be the culprit for any of this?
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:13 PM   post #4 of 12
chudoc
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Does it start spinning when you reconnect the battery? Or do you have to turn the key switch again? I see now that it spins by connecting battery.

Last edited by chudoc; 07-29-2010 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Didn't read close enough
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:22 PM   post #5 of 12
chudoc
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Try disconnecting the small wire going from the "add-on" relay to the starter solenoid (the one that pushes on). Connect battery: no starter spin, then possible prob with relay, starter still spinning, then solenoid stuck closed, may be able to tap with hammer handle to see if it will stop.......You've got the plug wires off, right?
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:29 PM   post #6 of 12
ZeroJunk
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

One easy way to narrow the problem down is to take a piece of wire, 14 ga should be fine, and run it directly from the plus side of your battery to the control plus side terminal of the selenoid relay. If the relay pulls in and the starter does it's job then the smaller low voltage relay mod could be bad. You can short it staright to the smaller relay postive side and narrow it down from there. If it still works then the problem is upstream. If it doens't work shorted directly to the selenoid then the selenoid could be bad or the starter itself could need rebuilding.

Since it keeps spinning until you take the battery loose it would seem to be a relay sticking, but not getting enough voltage through the selenoid to fully engage the starter. Even if the starter was bad once you turn the key off the relays should disengage with zero voltage to the starter.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:50 PM   post #7 of 12
thesnowgod
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

I didn't disconnect the plugs since the engine itself isn't turning over. The starter is spinning but its not engaged to the flywheel to spin the motor. Yes, it doesn't matter what position the key is in, it could be in my pocket, as soon as I reconnect the battery the starter spins.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:39 PM   post #8 of 12
PA318Guy
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Starter solenoid relay is sticking! Tap the relay and see if it stops! Likely have to replace it. The starter also sounds like it isn't pushing the gear forward to mesh with the flywheel or that gear is stripped. I've had them not engage before and put some graphite on the shaft and they will work again.
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Old 07-29-2010, 06:48 PM   post #9 of 12
thesnowgod
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

Would that would cause it to continue to spin with the key off? Hate to sound like a dummy here...but I was sure I tapped on everything I could.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:03 PM   post #10 of 12
PA318Guy
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

When you turn the ignition key to the start position it closes the circuit to to the relay (because the ignition cannot handle the current used by the starter), I deducted that the solenoid is sticking thereby keeping power from the battery going to the starter.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:16 PM   post #11 of 12
thesnowgod
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

That makes sense. Where exactly should I try tapping on this beast when I get home from work tonight?
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Old 07-29-2010, 10:35 PM   post #12 of 12
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Default Re: Starter problems with my 318

You said your solenoid was on the starter so that is where I'd do my tapping. That will be a pain because it's buried so I would just tap on the starter and hope enough vibration carries throug to the solenoid. The manual said for a starter that operates but does not engage to rebuild the starter. But I would try the graphite on the starter gear shaft first! Always worked for my 200 series tractors!
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