Re: LA115 Weird Starter Issue
Just put the new camshaft in. All in all, not a bad job. Most tedious was scraping off the old pan gasket. Everything else was pretty straightforward.
My compression release came off the camshaft and ended up in the pan. The part of the CR shaft that sits in the cam gear broke off right where the black spring steel retainer holds the CR on the camshaft and where the CR shaft is ground down to half round. Not sure what broke first, the shaft or the retainer. Luckily, it didn't jam up or break anything else.
I went with a genuine Briggs and Stratton replacement camshaft. I figured the original lasted for about 380 hours and 9 years so hopefully the new one will too. Before I readjusted the valves during assembly, i put my finger on the top of the intake push rod and turned the engine by hand. I could feel the "bump" from the CR. If you're trying to diagnose if the CR is working or broke before you tear into the engine, this is probably the most positive way to tell if there is a BUMP or not.
Speaking of pushrods, I noticed that the intake rod is aluminum and the exhaust is steel, so if you are performing this procedure take note and don't mix them up. Also, it's easier to line up the oil pump shaft on the camshaft if you take the pump cover off and pull the pump apart, then put it back together after putting the pan back on.
Thanks everyone for the great input.
1995 Kubota L2350 with loader.
1973 Ford LGT 145, 36" PTO tiller and 50" deck.
2010 John Deere LA115 (Wife's ride)
Plus a few other doo dads to go along with this stuff