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post #1 of 15 Old 06-24-2019, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Hi All. So I picked up this poor old 160 with hopes of breathing new life in to her. I'll share what I know, what I've done, and we'll see what we got.

I bought it non running, and the guy I bought it from said he never had the key, he would short the solenoid to get it running. He felt that over the course of messing with it in such a fashion that the solenoid or starter burned up. I have no reason to believe him, or disbelieve him - but I dont trust anyone at their word.

Picked up a brand new battery from menards, and I ordered a new key switch first. Gotta start there, as I'm not going to be jumping this thing every use. That's some duct tape and twine nonsense, and the switch is 13 dollars. That came in, I replaced it, and got nothing really. What I did happen to notice was the low fuel light came on. Ok, so maybe we have a sign of life? It's weird though, it's not instant. It's like if the tractor is in the RUN position, maybe a minute or two after, the low fuel light will glow.

Ok, so still no crank. Seeing as how the guy told me the starter was burned up, I whacked it with a hammer. What do I have to lose? Well, after doing so, I got the motor to crank just a fraction of a turn. OK, well that's something. Order for a new starter goes in.

I get the new starter in and hooked up yesterday and still nothing. Here's where I have a variety of details to add, so I will do so in list form.
-Lots of connectors were unhooked at some point
-Key switch was corroded/melted not sure if that just happens over time, but again I bought a new switch
-I just noticed today, that there was no 20A fuse in the holder - I put one in, but no change...the holder itself is pretty melted
-The 3 prong plug had been removed from the PTO switch
-The yellow wire coming out of the switch to the headlights had a glass fuse holder that had dissolved. I replaced it with a rubber one and a fuse - still no lights

I've got the plug pulled right now, and the motor spins freely, first thing I checked before I picked it up from the guy. I get that this thing is 30 years old, but it seems like a lot of the connectors have been heat compromised. I dont know....I'm not opposed to buying a brand new wiring harness, but I gotta see if I can get this thing going first.

Ok, so today I did some more troubleshooting on the starting system. The new starter is in, but not so much as a click. Again, I'll list what I've done troubleshooting/discovery-wise rather than put it in story form.
-12V from battery to the control spade on the solenoid gives me a positive THUNK
-12V from the battery to the small starter terminal gives a good spark and a WHRRRNNNN
-I swear that I tested voltage from the control spade of the solenoid at 12+V when the brake was in and the key turned - but I can't seem to replicate it again
-I can't seem to get a good 12V from the terminal post on the battery connection of the solenoid - its chrome plated, I wonder if that is interfering with the conductivity?

Anyhow, I've racked my brain enough on this today...and assistance or words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-24-2019, 10:23 PM
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1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Seat safety switch disconnected/messed with? That’d be my first thought in a no-crank situation if it spins when you go right to the starter with juice.


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post #3 of 15 Old 06-24-2019, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

That's where the voltage check at the control wire to the solenoid was tested. I know it gave me a good 12+V value at one point when I had the brake pedal all the way down. Been having trouble replicating it in the later hours of the day.
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-24-2019, 11:43 PM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

What is the full model/serial number of the tractor? Not familiar with the 160, but is there a safety interlock board/module tied to the key? With all of the melted connections, fuse blocks, I would start checking the harness for damage going (wire by wire) which could be a major part of the problem. But there could be something shorting out everything (why it is in the condition it is in now).

Do you have TM1351 which covers that tractor; not sure of the serial number range.

Russ

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post #5 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 02:34 AM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussKish View Post
What is the full model/serial number of the tractor? Not familiar with the 160, but is there a safety interlock board/module tied to the key? With all of the melted connections, fuse blocks, I would start checking the harness for damage going (wire by wire) which could be a major part of the problem. But there could be something shorting out everything (why it is in the condition it is in now).

Do you have TM1351 which covers that tractor; not sure of the serial number range.
No safety interlock boards on the 160, just the standard neutral safety switch, seat safety switch... Because its not a hydrostatic transmission there's no brake safety switch. But yeah, I'd be tracing out all the wiring and checking for shorts, that's for sure... and the technical manual would be a big help...
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 09:07 AM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Once a tractor has emotional problems, professional help is usually required.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

and by professional help, you must mean 'bigger hammer' right?
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 11:04 AM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Quote:
Originally Posted by littletractorguy View Post
No safety interlock boards on the 160, just the standard neutral safety switch, seat safety switch... Because its not a hydrostatic transmission there's no brake safety switch. But yeah, I'd be tracing out all the wiring and checking for shorts, that's for sure... and the technical manual would be a big help...
PM your email to me, we will see if that emotional help can be cured.

Russ

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post #9 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 11:31 AM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

1st, was that new battery fully charged when you tried it or had it been languishing emotionally on the shelf for many months?

Now,"for testing purposed only".... even have the deck belt removed as PTO could be stuck on, and make sure there is oil in the crankcase.

2nd, Battery booster cable from BATT NEG clamped on to starter mounting bolt, scratching for a good connection.

3rd, with fingers, toes, etc clear...... second booster cable from BATT POS to momentarily touch starter terminal..... Did the engine crank over or not?

4th, if it cranked over..... 16ga jumper wire from BATT POS to COIL POS and try cranking again...... did it fire or try too with a little quick start spray in the carb.

5th, immediately remove that 16ga jumper wire as the coil can get very hot while you are thinking about whether this tractor is worth investing more money into.

Again, this is for short term test firing purposes only....... I can almost hear it trying to start from here.

Larry ( in Southern Ontario )

"Jake Built" 1976 Ford LGT 165 / Johnson 10TC Loader / 54" Snowpusher.

"Jake Built" 1973 White Town & Country / 42" Two Stage Snow Blower.

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post #10 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 01:38 PM
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When you turn key to start is there power at the purple wire at starter?

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post #11 of 15 Old 06-25-2019, 07:23 PM
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Someone mentioned that this being a non-hydro static tractor, it does not have a BRAKE safety switch. My only gear tractor has a NEUTRAL safety switch. I am not familiar with a 160, but may be worth checking out.

Sometimes It's better to keep your mouth shut, and have the world think you a fool, than to speak, and remove all doubt.
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-26-2019, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

I found some JD troubleshooting steps along the way, including checking the purple wire at the key switch. I will move forward on those and report back.

yes, I did have the battery charged.
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post #13 of 15 Old 06-26-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1987 JD 160 with emotional problems/No crank

Few followups;
Serial is M00160T424843

I do have power from the puple wire (labeled S1 - I think its purple, I'm color blind) at the key switch while in the start position.

Looks like the next step is to check the neutral safety under the gas tank.
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post #14 of 15 Old 06-27-2019, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD-285 View Post
When you turn key to start is there power at the purple wire at starter?
This will answer your neutral safety question without crawling under or taking pan off mower unless it is open.

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post #15 of 15 Old 07-08-2019, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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She lives. Sorta.

It was the primary positive 4ga cable from the battery to the starter. I had a feeling it was wonky but when I disconnected it, it just fell apart and that affirmed my next troubleshooting step of replacing the battery cables.

She starts and runs on starter fluid and/or a bottle to the carb. Looks like the fuel pump is no bueno, so 11 dollars later and new one is en route from Amazon. I'll put new fuel lines in end to end when that arrives and we'll see what problem is next.

I tried to star the pto and it didn't seem to do much so when the motor is running right we'll try again.
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