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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning Everyone,

I am resurrecting a John Deere 165 Hydro Lawn Tractor with a Kawasaki FB460V 12.5hp engine. I've got it running, and am almost finished putting it back together, but I have an electrical gremlin that I just cannot track down.

The problem is this.....The first time of the day when I turn the key to start the tractor, it cranks over and usually starts right away. Everything is good. But when I turn the key off to shut it down, I hear a few clicks that sounds like relays clicking, but I don't know where they are coming from. It ALMOST sounds like it is coming from the voltage regulator, but I've never heard a voltage regulator click before. Even with the key off, I will hear a click sometimes up to 20 seconds or a minute after shutting the tractor down. I mean, I'll walk away from the machine and go do something else, and hear a phantom 'click' from across the shop. The thing is, I can't find a relay on the tractor that would do that! I've had the entire harness out of the tractor and could find no relay like that.

THEN, in what appears to be random occurrences, trying to start the tractor again is sometimes an act of futility. Most of the time, turning the key gets me no cranking, but SOMETIMES i will get no crank WITH a 'click' sound. Repeated cycling of the key just gets me a few random clicks that don't exactly line up with twisting the key! Then I go back to the tractor a few moments later and it'll start right up. But sometimes waiting 20 minutes will still get NO Crank.

I have found that leaving the key on, the tractor will produce a click every 30-60 seconds for as long as the key is on. Turning the key off, the clicks will continue for sometimes a minute, then nothing.

I know you all will probably crucify me for this, but I have bypassed the seat switch and I have currently bypassed the brake switch. The seat switch was removed when I got the tractor (entire seat assembly was gone), and the brake switch was rotten and corroded up so I spliced the wires while I sourced a new switch. I am confident that neither are the culprit. I crimped them with an electrical connector AND used shrink wrap tubing on the wires.

Ignition switch is new, 25A breaker is new, battery is from NOV19, starter has been gone through, solenoid has been gone through.

What bottles my mind is that the lack of cranking when I turn the key seems almost random, as does the clicking sound. If it always happened at the same time or of the same duration, i could work with that, but sometimes its one click, sometimes two or three in rapid succession, and sometimes 2 clicks in a one minute period. I can cycle the key on and off and sometimes get no clicks, other times i'll get a click when i go to the Start position, and sometimes i'll get a click when i go back to the Off position.

Do I need a new Voltage Regulator? What is the clicking coming from? Why, when I turn the key on and get no crank, then I hear a click, and try the key again and STILL get no crank, then hear another click, and STILL no crank when I try the key? It seems like the clicking would either be allowing or preventing starter engagement, but I've even tried cycling the key from run to start when it's clicking, I've tried cycling the key from Off to Start when it's clicking, and nothing.

Then, a few minutes later, it starts right up.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I forgot to add that I have TWO 165 tractors, and my other tractor does not make these clicking sounds. Or if it does, it is masked by the starter engaging and the engine turning over!
 

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Hmm, Just throwing this out there! One item common to "clicking" and not starting is the pto (if electrical). Disconnect wire to pto and see if clicking stops. If it does, probably pto switch is bad. Bob
 

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If you have two, one making clicks, other not, you're in kings row.
I would simply swap parts, starting with voltage regulator.

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys, I'll try to check that out when I get home tonight if I have time. If I remember correctly, the clicking sound happened even when the PTO clutch was disconnected, and my other 165 happens to be hooked up to a snowblower right now, so swapping PTO Clutches is not exactly easy right now.

But swapping PTO switches.......hmmmm.

thanks for the idea.
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Okay, just throwing this out there as a thought.... One of the things that is very commonly installed on the 160-185 line of tractors is the "starter assist relay" kit.... (see here: Starter Assist Relay Assembly and Install)

This kit is supposed to prevent the clicking when you try to start... I wonder if you have one installed and THAT relay is starting to fail....

Here's what mine looks like on my 160
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the insight, but no, I do not have that on my tractor. I've heard of them, I even have a spare engine and harness that had thus on it, but mine does not. I've had the entire wiring harness out of the tractor while I was working on it, and I do not have that modification. That was actually part of the reason I removed the harness, I was LOOKING FOR this relay, thinking it was the culprit! I've found wiring diagrams that include it, and I thought I was going bonkers because I couldn't find it.

AND.....since I had the wiring out, I checked every wire with a multi meter for continuity, and they all checked good. Once I realized this issue was a persistent, yet 'random' issue, I looked into the wires to see if one was broken internally. Can't find any broken wire!
 

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Little tractor guy is correct about the starter assist kit , there was a schematic ,to build your own on MTF a couple of years ago. I did it to three tractors . Don't know for sure where to find the schematic any more. Or the kit was available from John Deere.
 

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close enuff works for me
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I used a relay from a car I scrapped out , have done this on 3 different tractors that developed clicking when trying to start.
 

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Thanks guys, I'll try to check that out when I get home tonight if I have time. If I remember correctly, the clicking sound happened even when the PTO clutch was disconnected, and my other 165 happens to be hooked up to a snowblower right now, so swapping PTO Clutches is not exactly easy right now.

But swapping PTO switches.......hmmmm.

thanks for the idea.
If PTO clutch is disconnected, no need to swap switch then.

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

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You may try this. Temporary fabricate a jumper so you can quickly disconnect the battery. Something simple like unbolt one lead, then held together with a large clip lead. This way you shut it off...quickly disconnect battery. If it still clicks you know it's not electrical, like muffler cooling down, etc. Then if it still clicks you could narrow it down with clip lead and wiring diagram.
HF sells a clip lead set cheap, two clips and a few inches of heavy (10ga) wire would work.

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hello Everyone,

I thought I would give an update to everyone who has tried to help me. First of all, thank you all for your assistance!

I wasn't able to get much progress done because of the snowy weather, and I was also out of town, enjoying the snowy weather!

BUT I did notice that my other 165 attached to the snowblower DOES have the starter assist relay mod...I had just simply never noticed. It was so professionally installed that it looked like it belonged and I never questioned it, until I had this issue with the other tractor.

I have not been able to swap out parts between the two because I haven't had time, but i've also decided that since I have the relay from the spare engine and the diagram provided by LittleTractorGuy, I'm just going to install it on this tractor and be done with it. I really think my clicking issue is going to be fixed by this starter assist relay mod.

I ALSO had a slight fueling issue, and it turned out that the suction line INSIDE the fuel tank got so corroded from years of sitting outside without a good gas cap on the tank that a hole appeared inside the pickup tube and of course, when it's above the fuel level, it sucks air instead of fuel, so I lobbed off the corroded part, replaced it with a section of fuel hose and new metal line and stuffed it back inside the tank.

Runs like a champ and stays running, too!
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Thanks for the update... Hope you get some time to play tractors soon and get the parts swapped out! I hear you on the corroded pickup... Here's what mine looked like on my 160 when I did a full fuel system cleanup after I got it



(the old one's on top! :) I was able to source a new one from Deere)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hello Everyone!

I wired up my relay this weekend and that seems to have cured my clicking issue! I also had the time to put the front wheels, hood, fender pan, rear wheels and seat on it, and lower it down off the blocks! Once I get some nice weather, I'm going to take it out for a spin and see how she runs!

Thank you all for the suppport. I can't wait to post on here again about my other projects.
 

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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Excellent! Great to hear! Really looking forward to the pictures (hint hint! :) ). Did you put anti-seize on the axles before you dropped those rear wheels back on? I'd strongly recommend that if you haven't. A LOT of stories on here about people having to cut rusted rims off their axles on this vintage of machine....
 

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Did you make your own relay or buy one?

Glad to hear that it fixed your problem.
 

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Make Better Mowers
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I just now saw this thread. If in the future, you need to find out what is clicking, put your hand on things that could click and I guarantee that you'll be able to feel the culprit!
 
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