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post #1 of 15 Old 07-29-2008, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Gravely L8 won't fire up

I have a Gravely model L8 that won't start. I'm not getting a spark. I've replaced the the plug because it was fouled and rusted. I was going to start by replacing the magneto wire because it is hard and has fine cracks in it. But I'm not sure how to remove it from the magneto cover. any advise? Also can I replace the wire with a auto spark plug lead?

next step was to replace the guts of the magneto it self. Any step by step instructions on this part.

If the cover is of the magneto and you spin the flywheel should one see a spark come of the points inside?

Any help or advice would be helpful.

Regards

Mugwamp
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post #2 of 15 Old 07-29-2008, 08:54 PM
jrd
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

I'm no expert, but recently bought an LI that needed a bit of fiddling. Perhaps some of these ideas will be useful.

I have a Wico mag. The wire just pushes into a socket on the mag cover, though it took me a bit of fooling around to discover that it was just stuck and needed an extra pull to get it out. If you have a Wico, I expect yours is the same way.

If the insulation is cracked, definitely replace it. I bought a spare from Richard's (www.gravelyparts.com). I would think you could use a car part. I'd recommend non-resistive.

My mag was working intermittently, replacing the points and condenser made it work perfectly. Changing them out was easy, just a screwdriver. Note that the points go in in pieces, ie you put the fixed part in first, then install the rocker.

I wouldn't expect to see sparks from the points, if you do, I'd say definitely change them!

When you take the mag out, note the position of the driveshaft, so you can put it back the way it was. There's a timing mark on the rotor where it enters the body of the mag, when in doubt, line that up and then set it back there when you reinstall the mag. If you don't trust the timing, you can check it by pulling the engine around to almost tdc, then lining up the mark when the piston is 3/8" below the top of the cylinder. (That's from memory, but I think it's right, see the manuals at www.oldgravelys.net for more info)

You can check the mag by pulling out the plug and laying it on the top of the head with the wire connected. Pull it through, and you should see a nice hot blue spark. I've also tested it by blocking up the end of the wire about 3/8" off the head; if it will put a spark across that gap, you're fine.

If things were crudded up as you describe, you might also want to open the carb and clean it out. I pulled mine all apart and made fresh gaskets for it. Works perfectly now.

It's a pretty simple engine. If the compression's ok, you have a spark, and you're getting mixture, it will run.

have fun...
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post #3 of 15 Old 07-29-2008, 09:19 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Hello Mugwamp, Replace the spark plug with a Autolite 3076 gapped at .030, Definetly replace the spark plug wire if it is brittle or hard or cracking has started. To remove it from the magneto cover just grab the wire close to the mag cover and pull straight up, that's all. Next take off the mag cover (4 screws) and inspect the cover, look at the metal where the wire goes into and look at the spring on the inside of the cover see if those areas are tarnished and worn, if so replace. Next I would replace the coil, condensor, and points. I would take the mag off of the tractor in order to replace the points etc. 2 screws hold it on, it's easier that way. But before you take the mag off turn the engine over til you here the mag snap then take off the mag so you don't have time the engine when you put it back on. Take a look at www.oldgravelys.net for illustrated parts lists and manuals and service manuals. For parts there is Mark Bricker 603-838-6025 Lv mess mention my name. Dave Antram 814-443-6468 Lv mess. You have to identfy which mag your tractor has. Is it the Wico or Fairbanks Morse ?

Wico
cover 13997 $20
cover gasket 5618 $3
coil 13995 $50
condensor 13998 $8
points 13996 gapped at .015 $15
spark plug wire 1731 $4

Fairbanks Morse

points 12979 gap at .015 $18
condensor 13909 $8
coil 13884 $80
cover 19096 $25
cover gasket 19097 $6
These prices are approximate. They are from an old price list of Bricker/ antram catalog.

Any questions just ask.

- Kris
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post #4 of 15 Old 07-30-2008, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Thanks guys, I'm going out to my property this weekend, so I'll pull the magneto (Wilco model) to take it home instead of trying to rebuild it in the field.
The new plug that I got for it was an Autolite 3076, the old one was a Champion W-18.
Is there a way of bench testing the magneto to see if I put it back together properly or will I have to wait till I reinstall it and crank it over?

On a separate note, My model L8 is a pull start and I'm using a rope to start it. Do you know if there is a place one could get a pull ribbon like the original?

Regards

Mugwamp

Last edited by mugwamp; 07-30-2008 at 06:25 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 07-30-2008, 08:40 PM
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Smile Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mugwamp View Post
Is there a way of bench testing the magneto to see if I put it back together properly or will I have to wait till I reinstall it and crank it over?
Mugwamp
Using a cresent wrench on the magneto drive shaft nubs snap (turn) it over and look at the spark. Put the mag in a vice first.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mugwamp View Post
My model L8 is a pull start and I'm using a rope to start it. Do you know if there is a place one could get a pull ribbon like the original?
Mugwamp

Mark Bricker 603-838-6025. P/n- 13452 (starter strap) $ 11.

- Kris

Last edited by krislu; 07-30-2008 at 09:20 PM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-01-2019, 04:57 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

So I am having start-up issues too... Was running fine let it sit for 4 months and I am dead in the water...


SO - if I pull the plug, hold it close to the engine, and give it a pull, should I see a nice spark as I would with a car?

Also, that ground wire with the little "stop" tab. What is the stop tab, how does it work, and could that contribute to non-starting issues?

Also - How can I differentiate between the WILCO XH-2049 vs XH-2533?
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:30 PM
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-01-2019, 07:40 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Quote:
Originally Posted by sad_story View Post
So I am having start-up issues too... Was running fine let it sit for 4 months and I am dead in the water...


SO - if I pull the plug, hold it close to the engine, and give it a pull, should I see a nice spark as I would with a car?

Also, that ground wire with the little "stop" tab. What is the stop tab, how does it work, and could that contribute to non-starting issues?

Also - How can I differentiate between the WILCO XH-2049 vs XH-2533?
You should be able to pull the plug, reconnect the wire, lay the plug on the head, and turn it by hand. You should hear a sort of snap from the mag at TDC, accompanied by a nice spark.

The snap is the impulse coupling releasing. If you don't hear it, that's the first thing to investigate. It'll be nearly impossible to get the mag spinning fast enough to fire without the impulse.

If you do hear the snap, but no spark, I recommend pulling the mag (after noting where the timing is set). Take the cover off the mag, and check or replace the points and condensor. Given that it was running not too long ago, it may be a little cleaning of the points will do it.

I'm not sure what you mean about the stop tab. Are you talking about the kill tab on the side of the mag?

I recommend you dig around in gravelymanuals.com. There are lots of manuals there, including for the mag.

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post #8 of 15 Old 09-01-2019, 09:00 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

You can do a simple check of the coil if you have an ohmmeter. Pull the plug wire off the spark plug and stick one lead inside the wire, take the other ohmmeter lead and stab in into the side of the magneto case. You should read about 4500 to 6500 ohms for a black coil, about 3500 to 4000 for an older brown coil.

If a black coil reads open, the coil windings are open. If it reads less than 4500 ohms then maybe some internal winding have shorted.

New or cleaned points with a new condenser work wonders.

And yes, you better hear the impulse snap while hand cranking. They can stick 'out' due to dirt or they can stick 'out' due to magnetism.


Roger

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post #9 of 15 Old 09-02-2019, 04:17 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Thank you @jrd & @beaner2u (Roger).

I do hear a snap when hand cranking and I do see a spark. However, the snap and spark are inconsistent (i.e. I don't always see it).

Is it best to advance the hand crank to top-dead-center, then give it the tug?



Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd View Post
I'm not sure what you mean about the stop tab. Are you talking about the kill tab on the side of the mag?
Yes I am referring to the kill tab on the side. Could there be some sort of short on the kill button, and does disconnecting the wire from the button to the side of the Mag "turn on" or "turn off" the engine kill?


With regards to removing the Mag & timing. What is the best way to "keep" the timing (e.g Hand crank till top dead center, then remove, etc...)?
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-02-2019, 05:17 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd View Post
My mag was working intermittently, replacing the points and condenser made it work perfectly. Changing them out was easy, just a screwdriver. Note that the points go in in pieces, ie you put the fixed part in first, then install the rocker

"Was easy" - do I need to take the wheel off?

SO - Everytime there is the snap I get a beautiful blue arc.... Air/Spark/Gas... should be so hard, eh?
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-02-2019, 06:00 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Quote:
Originally Posted by sad_story View Post
Thank you @jrd & @beaner2u (Roger).

I do hear a snap when hand cranking and I do see a spark. However, the snap and spark are inconsistent (i.e. I don't always see it).

Is it best to advance the hand crank to top-dead-center, then give it the tug?
If you're not always hearing the snap while turning it over by hand, your impulse coupling is sticking. Either from dirt or magnetism. It's encouraging that it works sometimes, if it's just dirty, odds are it will free up with use.

For starting technique you'll hear all sorts of opinions. I generally turn backwards to the compression stroke, then wrap the strap and give it a hefty pull. Try it different ways and see what works for you.
Quote:



Yes I am referring to the kill tab on the side. Could there be some sort of short on the kill button, and does disconnecting the wire from the button to the side of the Mag "turn on" or "turn off" the engine kill?
Nope. If you're getting a spark at all, there's no short there.
Quote:
With regards to removing the Mag & timing. What is the best way to "keep" the timing (e.g Hand crank till top dead center, then remove, etc...)?
The mag will only connect the coupler in two orientations. Turn it to someplace you can find again, like TDC. You'll see the timing marks on the mag line up. Take the mag off, do whatever to it. Don't turn the engine over. When you put the mag back on, line up the marks again.

Re changing points and condensor: By "wheel" I suspect you mean the mag drive. You don't take that off unless you're doing a really thorough mag overhaul. Just take the four screws off the back cover, and the cover pops off, revealing the points etc.

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post #12 of 15 Old 09-03-2019, 09:53 AM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Thank you for all the information to this point.

Pulled the mag cover and gave everything a cleaning/inspection. I pulled off the carb, and without taking it apart gave it a cursory cleaning.

I am getting spark every time it snaps when I hand crank it.

Tried a little engine starter spray through the air filter housing... tried some directly in the engine (pulled plug and sprayed)...

there's always a little wisp of smoke/exhaust when I crank it... but I cannot get it to fire up beyond the crank

I am at a loss...
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-03-2019, 10:41 AM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

Does it have good compression? If you remove the spark plug and crank it through the compression stroke do you get a big whoosh back out the spark plug hole?
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-03-2019, 10:45 AM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

The gravely T head engine is super simple. All the basics apply. You need fuel mixture, compression, and a spark at the right time.

Sounds like you've got spark. Check your timing. When cranking by hand, the impulse coupling should fire the spark right at TDC, or a few degrees after. Pull the plug, watch through the hole as you turn the crank. You should see and hear the mag fire right at TDC. If the timing is off, loosen the coupler on the camshaft extension which drives the mag, set the mag to the point where it fires (which should also be where the timing marks line up), turn the crank to TDC, then retighten.

Compression is easy. With the plug in, turn by hand. It should take real effort to push it over a compression stroke. If it doesn't, most likely cause is the exhaust valve stuck or crudded up. At TDC, dump some MMO in the plug hole, then turn it through slowly. You're trying to get the oil to run down the exhaust valve stem. Usually with a stuck valve a few tries like that will get it freed up. If not, you may need to pull the head, open the exhaust side lifter cover, and pull the valve out and clean it.

Mixture is also easy. Squirting a little carb cleaner in the intake will give you enough to fire on. If it tries to run like that, but quits even when there's fuel in it, first check that the line is free, then check that fuel's entering the bowl (you can remove the small plug on the bottom of the carb), and if none of that gets you anywhere, you may need to overhaul the carb.

If you haven't already, see the manuals on gravelymanuals.com. There's a wealth of service information in there.

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post #15 of 15 Old 09-03-2019, 08:49 PM
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Re: Gravely L8 won't fire up

SO took the mag off, took it apart, cleaned it all again...

took the carb apart and soaked the parts in seafoam....

Before replacing the spark plug, dropped a teaspoon of gas into the engine.. Cranked... nice long sputter!

Encouraged, I gave it about 10-15 more cranks each time it ran a little longer... then boom! it was running!!!

now my lawn is finally mowed!!!


You have all been so fantastic, love this forum.

Thank you all


-Andre




PS cracked the magneto cover (well broke off a corner). Its A WICO XH-2049... Can they be glued/fixed?

Last edited by sad_story; 09-03-2019 at 09:00 PM.
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