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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I did read this thread first (https://www.mytractorforum.com/38-ford-ns-9n-2n-8n/1325561-1947-ford-8n-won%92t-turnover-start.html) and I believe this problem is different. The starter never turns, I don't get a click out of the solenoid.

This Jubilee has been converted to 12 v and electronic ignition by the PO and every time I needed to fire it up and move it, over the past year it always started. I've not needed to use it other than to pull a few vehicles around but now it's spring and the back 8 acres needs to be bush hogged badly.

So what happened? My wife and I both needed to park indoors this winter so the tractor ended up in the horse barn over the winter versus the garage. It's damp and cold in there but my Cummins truck sat in the same bay and started just fine (block heater only) so I didn't expect huge issues from the tractor. Storage in the damp environment is the only change between dead reliable and this no start.

First thing I did was to trickle charge the battery because it was around 10v. It charged back up to 12.89v and holds 12.6v.

I turned the key, the ammeter jumped to 12v (normal), I pressed the starter button and heard what seemed to be a sizzle. I immediately opened the hood and looked around, there was no smoke and no smell, I know what burning electronics smell like (work related experience, haha). I checked voltage to the + terminal coil with the key on and it was getting 8 volts so I stopped right there, knowing I needed to fix that before doing anything else. Also, the ammeter no longer read 12v, it was down in the red area indicating low voltage.

I assumed contacts somewhere in the ignition circuit were corroded from dampness and the contacts on the key switch, terminal block, and ignition resistor didn't look good. I removed wires one at a time from the key switch, terminal block, and ignition resistor, cleaned them up with sandpaper till they had a good shine, and reinstalled them. In the process of tightening the nut on the terminal block, I broke one of the ears off so I bought a new OEM (New Holland) block and replaced it. The ignition resistor internals were loose allowing the terminals to move around so I got one of those at TSC (wasn't in stock at New Holland). I also cleaned the contacts at the coil, and replaced the connector on the end of the + wire since it appeared to be a little loose on the wire. I inspected all of the wires to be sure the insulation hadn't worn off or been victim to a mouse.

While I had the battery out, I used sandpaper on the posts and a circular file on the inside of the cable to post connections.

I put it all back together last friday, turned the key, I had 12v on the ammeter and at the coil so I assumed I was good to go. I did NOT start it since I had other stuff to do and and it had started to rain again, so I waited for everything to dry out, and that was today. I left the trickle charger attached and today, I turned the key, ammeter went to 12v as usual, I got sort of a buzz when activating the starter button, but nothing else. Not the same sizzle I had before, this was more of a buzz.

Turned the key off, and back on, ammeter was in the low area again. Voltage at coil is back to 8v, so I'm right back where I started.

For fun, I cleaned the contact at the starter button and on the starter solenoid and that got me a short buzz at the solenoid (might have been the same buzz as first start attempt, I can't say for sure), but the ammeter dropped to 0 and it did not buzz again when I pressed the starter button.

Battery still checked 12.6v so it's not drawing down. I'm working by myself so it's hard to operate the starter and meter the battery at the same time but I should have test leads with alligator clips somewhere I may be able to rig up (positive lead has an inline 5 amp fuse). I don't know why that would reduce the ignition circuit to 8v, though.

So, something I did above in the cleaning and part replacement got me 12v on the ammeter and the coil but it's "gone" now, and I'm back to 8v.

In the other 8N post, I think the statement was made that the ignition resistor was removed on a 12v upgrade? This resistor is noted as being required for a 12v upgrade on the web sites I looked at and is supposed to have 0.6 ohm resistance? I checked the old one as best I could, my meter's lowest reading is 200 ohms and I got 3.1 on the meter. It's a royal pain to get to the new one back behind the dashboard, I THINK I got the leads on both terminals and the meter never changed from the default reading of 1. I assume I'll be taking everything apart again so I can do a better job of checking it but something else must be wrong.

That's where I am and I can hear the grass growing in the back 8 acres now that the rain stopped and the sun's out. This extra acreage is exactly why I bought the old girl and spent extra to have one already upgraded so it was reliable so it's just my luck it's chosen this moment to misbehave.

Sorry for the length but I wanted to be sure I covered anything that might be helpful. What should I look at?

Thanks!

EDIT, added photo of new block and resistor, sorry it's upside down.
 

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Have you tried jumping the solenoid ?...if not I would put a jumper cable from the battery positive to the starter's heavy cable ,if the starter motor spins then,its likely the solenoid is corroded inside--they have a disc that has to carry all the amps from the battery to the starter motor when you activate the solenoid,they can get all gangrene or "arced" so much they cant make a decent connection to activate the starter..
Poor connections or corroded wiring from the ignition switch to the solenoid can do the same thing too..

The resistor in-line to the coil's power wire is intended to reduce the voltage and amperage down to a level the coil can handle --it may let 12V pass for a short time,once the resistance element heats up,it'll drop the voltage down some..
I don't know about your particular setup--depending on what was used for a 12V coil,it might not need a resistor,some had it built into the coil primary windings..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you tried jumping the solenoid ?...if not I would put a jumper cable from the battery positive to the starter's heavy cable ,if the starter motor spins then,its likely the solenoid is corroded inside--they have a disc that has to carry all the amps from the battery to the starter motor when you activate the solenoid,they can get all gangrene or "arced" so much they cant make a decent connection to activate the starter..
Poor connections or corroded wiring from the ignition switch to the solenoid can do the same thing too..

The resistor in-line to the coil's power wire is intended to reduce the voltage and amperage down to a level the coil can handle --it may let 12V pass for a short time,once the resistance element heats up,it'll drop the voltage down some..
I don't know about your particular setup--depending on what was used for a 12V coil,it might not need a resistor,some had it built into the coil primary windings..
Thanks for the reply.

I haven't done any jumpering yet on the starter because I'm not sure the key switch to coil parts ignition circuit isn't failing somehow.

I'm pushing 60 and owned a number of 60's era Fords (Fairlanes, Mustang, trucks) that had the solenoid on the fenderwall and I think I replaced it on every single Ford I owned so I was thinking about replacing this one on general principles. They generally chattered or let me know they were bad which is why I was hesitating to do it this time. I will go check the solenoid post for voltage when the starter button is engaged to see what I get there. If I have 12v there, it must be the solenoid?

I believe I've cleaned every wire involved in that circuit so those *should* be good.

So the point of the inline resistor is to drop the 12v from the battery via the keyswitch down for a 6v coil? I have 12v at the coil initially because the resistor is allowing it and it will drop over time as the element heats up and that may be why I see 8v at the coil? This tractor has (I believe) a Petronix electronic ignition that has been fine as long as I owned it and I thought it would need 12v at the coil but never looked into it because it never gave me trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Okay, I metered from the small diameter wire on the starter solenoid to the battery ground post.

Battery has roughly 12.7v and there is 12.7 to the small diameter wire on the solenoid.

When I turn on the key switch, the ammeter still reads low and I get around 6v at the solenoid.

Engaging the starter button with the key switch on drops the voltage at the solenoid down to 0, no sounds from the solenoid at this point.

I cleaned the cable and post at the starter post and then checked for voltage there. 0v at the starter regardless of what goes on at the solenoid.

So it appears that the solenoid has full battery power, reacts to the keyswitch and starter button, but nothing happens at the starter.

Not sure how this causes the issues with the ammeter reading but it seems that changing out the solenoid is the next move.

Not that I'm a huge fan of TSC but there is one 15 minutes away (the New Holland dealer is an hour away) so I'm going to go get a solenoid.

I'll check all of the dash wiring from the solenoid side while swapping that out to see if it shows me anything more than I saw from the top with the battery out.
 

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Sounds like your losing all voltage to the solenoid somehow..it wont activate unless it gets full 12V and a good amount of amps..as I described before,the innards of the solenoid can corrode or get arced bad and not let enough current go to the starter--or none at all..you should at least hear it click,clunk,or make some kind of noise,if its getting enough juice to activate it..but they can fail completely too..they have a piston like device that slides inside to connect the starter to the battery,that can corrode and get stuck..

Jumping across the two largest studs on the solenoid will connect the battery directly to the starter ,that is what the solenoid does internally..if the solenoid is bad,that will over-ride it and let the starter crank,so will applying a jumper right to the battery positive to the starter itself..

Amperage is more important than volts when it comes to battery power and cranking,a good battery will maintain a good 500+ amps under a full load,a battery with a dead cell might read good at no load,but drop to nothing as soon as a load is applied..this could be your issue also..unless your certain the battery is good under a load and is fairly new,it is suspect..old fashioned battery testers with a big resistance element or carbon plie work best to determine if its actually able to deliver under a good load..

If the solenoid looks like the typical ones your familiar with used on older Fords,you can get one at most any parts store,it may cost less than Tractor Supply gets for one..but try jumping it first,if it still wont crank then,the solenoid probably isn't bad,it is more likely a wiring issue or bad battery..

There are two types,most car ones need 12V to the "S" terminal to activate them,the other type has the bracket insulated from ground and needs that terminal grounded to make it crank..I think yours needs 12V to activate it..so a car one should work OK..
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the response. Yes, it seems all voltage is lost as soon as the starter button is pressed. We go from 12v battery voltage to the small post, to 6 volts when the key is turned, to 0 or close to it when the starter button is pressed.

Honestly, all I know about the battery is that it's a Duralast, it's definitely not new, and it worked every time I've needed it to work until now. I had a used Duralast in one of my Cummins trucks and it was still just fine when I sold it 5 years later so I've had good luck with them but all batteries die sometime. Rather than dork around with trying to measure it under load with the meter I will take it to Autozone tomorrow and have it checked.

I spent the last hour or so tracing wiring to be sure nothing is pinched or eaten and everything looks fine so it's not the wiring. I made a schematic of the connections and it seems to make sense.

I noticed that the starter switch is a turn key to start type so I have a push forward/spring back position and terminal that's not used. Also, the ignition switch itself seems to be a bit rusty in the area of some external contacts but it must have always been like that and worked, photo below.

I also went to TSC and neither the Ford 6v or 12v solenoids match what was installed, photo is below. There is a NAPA nearby, I may take the old one there and see what they have.

I already have it off so if NAPA has one, I'll install a new one. If not, will find jumper cables tomorrow and see if I can jump across the solenoid. All my jumpers are small diameter wire because I used them on 12v car systems or 24vdc control systems, I think I need something a little beefier.

I think the grass grew another foot today so hopefully tomorrow is the day. Thanks again for the responses.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Autozone tested the battery and they couldn't tell me exactly what was wrong with it because it wigged out their tester but it definitely had a problem. I got a replacement and will put everything back together this morning, hopefully that does the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I got a different sized battery that fit better in the tray but my negative cable was a little too short so I went to NAPA and got a replacement.

I put it all back together, double checked everything, and it tried to start it. Voltmeter (probably better term than ammeter) hopped up to 12 volts, the starter button cranked the engine as normal, but it didn't start in 10 seconds so I stopped cranking to allow the starter to cool a little.

Tried to start it a second time, heard a single click from somewhere behind the dash when I pushed the starter button and nothing more happened. I'm back to low reading on the voltmeter, 2.4 volts at the coil, and a solid 12.6 out of the battery. In other words, I'm right back where I have been since this started. I think I have 2.4 volts at the coil now rather than the 8v earlier because I activated the starter and or key a few times and it drops more every time I try it.

I called Autozone and they used another checker to confirm the old battery dropped to 0v under load so that makes sense based on what I measured earlier.

What doesn't make sense is why everything worked fine ONCE after I replaced the battery and then went back to low voltage in the circuit. I half thought I originally had a problem with the battery and overreacted by redoing all of the contacts and reconnected something incorrectly but everything is connected properly and capable of operating properly, but only once.

The only thing in the circuit I can think of that is capable of changing the circuit voltage is that resistor. Maybe the old battery issues created a problem with the new resistor? I still have the old resistor, I only took it out because it seems mechanically janky with the terminals being a little loose in the housing. I can reinstall that and see what happens?

Any other suggestions?

This is starting to get a little silly.

Thanks
 

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The resistor on the coil has nothing to do with how it cranks,that only reduces the voltage to the coil ,at most if the resistor is choking down too much voltage to the coil it may have weak or no spark and not fire up,but it'll crank over OK provided nothing else is wrong..

I have to go out for awhile to help a neighbor--I will post back later to add more suggestions to check,and see if you have made any progress..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I'm sort of an idiot but not a complete idiot. I was on the right track but didn't go far enough.

I took the battery out in preparation to swap the resistor (pretty much knowing that it wasn't going to help but I needed to dig back in and try to find whatever it really was).

When the battery was out, I had a look at the inside of the positive cable clamp and it looked relatively dull compared to the new negative cable. I did file both clamps early on but the only circular file I had in the barn was a chain saw file and I worked them till they looked better and called it good. This time, I trekked to the house, got a real aggressive circular file and laid into the inside of the positive clamp, threw filings and chips everywhere till it was really shiny in there.

I put the battery back in without doing anything else and it fired up and purred like a kitten, volts were at 14, oil pressure at 60, temp came up to left of center in the green area of the gauge and stabilized.

So what happened? My guess is that the contact points between the positive battery post and cable were really marginal and the only time they were half good was when I removed and replaced the cable? The negative cable could have been bad too but I replaced that because it was too short. Why it would work once and not again is beyond me but I did only one thing and had to hit the starter button a few times to get it going and it maintained voltage once I redid the cable.

But wait, it gets better. I decided to seize the moment and headed out to the back 40 and started bushhogging. My proofmeter doesn't work (need to figure out how to fix that!) so I had to guess at throttle position in 1st for PTO rpm but it went fairly well, I cut about 45 minutes and did the area with the most alfalfa grass versus weeds, probably 3/4 to 1 acre, and the tractor gauges stayed stable and rpms stayed consistent even with full passes. So, everything seems good, photographic evidence included, you should be able to see the taller area before the weeds take over, haha.

I brought the old girl back to the barn to let her cool down, check the fluids, fill the gas tank, and clean off the front of the radiator. It's getting hot now, supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow but be really nice in the mornings this weekend so I'm going to do the rest saturday and sunday mornings/late evenings.

I have the bushhog set high to reduce load on the tractor so I'm getting pelted with stuff coming out of the front of the bushhog. I read somewhere that conveyor belt is a good way to block that, and the place I used to work had rolls of that the wrong size for our machines so I hope I can get some of that. The only other concern is that the blade seems out of balance when slowing down, fine when at speed, not sure if that needs to be addressed or not. When I first got the bushhog, it had just been sharpened and when set low, it did pretty well as a finish mower so it seems to cut nicely.

That's the story, I'll let you know if it changes but I think I've got it sorted out. Thanks for the responses.
 

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Glad you got it figured out...and sorry I wasn't able to get back to you yesterday..
Neighbor wanted some lawn cart tires either fixed or replaced,but in my shed full of spare rims and tires ,I had nothing in 6" rim size any better than the tires that were on it--all dry rotted and cracked,didn't want to waste my time & effort trying to swap them on the old rims and end up having them not hold air for a few minutes..

I wasted an hour trying to seal up the old tires with bead sealer hoping the beads were just leaking--took a long time and fiddling to get them to inflate,and once we did,air was escaping all over the tread area..told them a tube would work temporarily,but none are available close by,Tractor Supply is 10 miles away..

We ended up searching the web for new tires,they were the wheel barrow type ,so thin they were like tubes with tread..tubes cost more than those tires do!..Walmart had some available online only for $7.77 each..so I told them to order two and let me know when they arrive and I'll install them..

I have a few spare batteries in my garage I use to jump start things ,and every time I go to use one of them,either both terminals or the positive especially,have a dark black coating that forms on them,a "lead oxide" coating,that is a good insulator,I usually have to scrape the terminals down to bright shiny lead or the cables wont make a good contact,otherwise I have to keep rotating the jumper cables or battery cables to get the starter to crank--often it will work once or twice,then I get only a "click" from the solenoid,or nothing..so I hit the terminals with a wire brush in a drill and shine them up good first,or scrape them with a knife if that fails,till all that black crud is gone..
A fully charged battery might seem stone dead until I remove that coating!..
 

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Glad you got it figured out...and sorry I wasn't able to get back to you yesterday..
Neighbor wanted some lawn cart tires either fixed or replaced,but in my shed full of spare rims and tires ,I had nothing in 6" rim size any better than the tires that were on it--all dry rotted and cracked,didn't want to waste my time & effort trying to swap them on the old rims and end up having them not hold air for a few minutes..

I wasted an hour trying to seal up the old tires with bead sealer hoping the beads were just leaking--took a long time and fiddling to get them to inflate,and once we did,air was escaping all over the tread area..told them a tube would work temporarily,but none are available close by,Tractor Supply is 10 miles away..

We ended up searching the web for new tires,they were the wheel barrow type ,so thin they were like tubes with tread..tubes cost more than those tires do!..Walmart had some available online only for $7.77 each..so I told them to order two and let me know when they arrive and I'll install them..

I have a few spare batteries in my garage I use to jump start things ,and every time I go to use one of them,either both terminals or the positive especially,have a dark black coating that forms on them,a "lead oxide" coating,that is a good insulator,I usually have to scrape the terminals down to bright shiny lead or the cables wont make a good contact,otherwise I have to keep rotating the jumper cables or battery cables to get the starter to crank--often it will work once or twice,then I get only a "click" from the solenoid,or nothing..so I hit the terminals with a wire brush in a drill and shine them up good first,or scrape them with a knife if that fails,till all that black crud is gone..
A fully charged battery might seem stone dead until I remove that coating!..
Not a problem, thanks for checking in. Sounds like you had as much trouble with the tires as I had with what turned out to be a relatively simple fix. At least all of the connections have been touched up now and I know how everything is wired up.

I've had a lot of problems with corrosion on car grounds causing weird problems so that's why I looked at the wiring terminals first.

The cables were connected to the batteries so I didn't expect too much to form between the two but I did hit the clamp with a file just to be safe, maybe even some scotchbrite. I have a battery post cleaner but it's worn out so I had scotchbrite and 100 grit sandpaper in use for the posts. Apparently, I just didn't hit it well enough.

I haven't started it again since the maiden voyage, planning on using it again tomorrow morning, but I expect it to start just fine. Only ill affect from first use is a bit of a leak from the oil pan gasket so I got another from NAPA and will swap that after I get done bushhogging this first time around.
 

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A bad battery can still read 12 volts when there is no load, especially if it has been sitting on a charger. If trying to start it causes the voltage to drop dramatically directly at the battery post, then I would say that it's time for a new battery.

I keep my batteries on a battery tender when the vehicle or tractor is not being used for long periods of time, and I have had good luck with their longevity, but they do all fail eventually. I have 2 SUV's, a truck, an RV, 2 garden tractors, a SCUT and a 52hp Ford 4000 farm tractor and over the past 10 years I had only needed to replace 2 batteries, but in the last month I've had to replace 3. I think it's at least partly my fault as I didn't keep all of them on battery tender rotation.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A bad battery can still read 12 volts when there is no load, especially if it has been sitting on a charger. If trying to start it causes the voltage to drop dramatically directly at the battery post, then I would say that it's time for a new battery.

I keep my batteries on a battery tender when the vehicle or tractor is not being used for long periods of time, and I have had good luck with their longevity, but they do all fail eventually. I have 2 SUV's, a truck, an RV, 2 garden tractors, a SCUT and a 52hp Ford 4000 farm tractor and over the past 10 years I had only needed to replace 2 batteries, but in the last month I've had to replace 3. I think it's at least partly my fault as I didn't keep all of them on battery tender rotation.
I do have a battery tender and I had it on a square body Suburban I was trying to sell so it would fire up if someone came to see it. Otherwise, I kept it on the NAA or occasionally on the Cummins truck to keep everything charged.

This battery did charge up on the 2 amp setting just fine and maintained 12.6v but dropped to 0 when loaded so that was part of my problem. The other problem (started up fine a few days ago, will know for sure tomorrow AM when I start the tractor again) was the contact between the positive post and cable clamp. The negative clamp could have been bad too but I replaced that cable due to length so it's hard to say.

It was just really odd how it would occasionally work but if it did, it would only work once before failing again. So the circuit was capable of working, but only randomly. Dang electrons.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just wanted to update that the tractor fired up immediately yesterday so the condition of the inside of the positive cable clamp was responsible for the problem I was having.

I ran it another hour bushhogging the back 40. Only issue is the amount of weeds that find their way into the radiator and grille during that hour, but that's a small problem versus not starting, haha.

Another 3 of these 1 hour cuts and I'll be done with the back 40. clean it up, and change the oil.

I really want to get the proofmeter going so I know I'm turning the correct RPM for the PTO but I'll start another thread on that one.

Thanks again for the responses on the no start.
 
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