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I recently acquired an L8 in addition to some other gravely equipment. I have an issue putting a fire to it. I cleaned the carb, replaced the condense, cleaned the points, replaced the plug wire, and gapped the plug. I cant get it to fire. if i have the plug out, and cover off the mag and hold the end of the wire on the coil i get a spark when i hit the button. as soon as i put the cover back on the spark is gone. As an industrial electrician i'm not your average joe when it comes to testing stuff. I megged the cover and its not grounded there are no visible cracks in the plastic. what am i missing
 

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Please clarify "hit the button". Is this an electric-start unit? Do you mean when you hit the starter button, and the engine turns over, you get a spark?

:wwp:
 
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Yes, I thought a magneto was a "generator" of sorts and had to be moving to generate a spark? I was a industrial electrician for about 26 years myself. Could not stand those concrete floors anymore so I moved to more of a facility type electrician now.
 

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a "generator" of sorts
Basically, yes.

It doesn't generate continuous current. It does whip a magnet past a coil to generate a pulse of current which energizes the condensor. It does need to be spinning to generate a spark.
 

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Daryl G
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m1garand762,
While it is frustrating to have an issue like this, I can honestly say that I feel your pain! I was attempting to bring one of my machines back to life after not being started for a while. Initially, I saw that no spark, like your experience, so I removed the magneto cover and cleaned the points with a note card sprayed with some brake cleaner. To evaluate whether this made a difference or not, I replaced the magneto cover and simply held it in place by hand without screwing in the four screws while using my other hand to turn the engine using a 15/16" socket/ratchet. Yes, a nice spark was restored so I tightened up the magneto screws and attempted to start the engine... it made no attempt to crank EVEN after spraying a little brake cleaner into the cylinder.

After removing the spark plug once again, I repeated my earlier test to evaluate for a spark that I KNOW was there earlier... this time no spark. I pulled the magneto cover and re-cleaned the points and, just as before, held the magneto cover in place with hand pressure and looked for a healthy spark that was easily seen. I replaced the cover and tightened up the screws BUT this time looked for spark before trying to crank - though no spark was to be seen???

This made no sense to me so, on a whim, I thought I would try something else... this time I only loosely tightened the magneto screws, gave the starter rope a pull and the machine fired right up. There were no cracks in my magneto cover (at least none that could be seen by the naked eye) but it has been running fine in this configuration ever since. My recommendation is to replace the magneto cover and tighten the screws just until you feel resistance and then back off 1/8 of a turn and look for a spark. Hopefully, your machine will roar to life!
 

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m1garand762,
While it is frustrating to have an issue like this, I can honestly say that I feel your pain! I was attempting to bring one of my machines back to life after not being started for a while. Initially, I saw that no spark, like your experience, so I removed the magneto cover and cleaned the points with a note card sprayed with some brake cleaner. To evaluate whether this made a difference or not, I replaced the magneto cover and simply held it in place by hand without screwing in the four screws while using my other hand to turn the engine using a 15/16" socket/ratchet. Yes, a nice spark was restored so I tightened up the magneto screws and attempted to start the engine... it made no attempt to crank EVEN after spraying a little brake cleaner into the cylinder.

After removing the spark plug once again, I repeated my earlier test to evaluate for a spark that I KNOW was there earlier... this time no spark. I pulled the magneto cover and re-cleaned the points and, just as before, held the magneto cover in place with hand pressure and looked for a healthy spark that was easily seen. I replaced the cover and tightened up the screws BUT this time looked for spark before trying to crank - though no spark was to be seen???

This made no sense to me so, on a whim, I thought I would try something else... this time I only loosely tightened the magneto screws, gave the starter rope a pull and the machine fired right up. There were no cracks in my magneto cover (at least none that could be seen by the naked eye) but it has been running fine in this configuration ever since. My recommendation is to replace the magneto cover and tighten the screws just until you feel resistance and then back off 1/8 of a turn and look for a spark. Hopefully, your machine will roar to life!
OMG! I just got on here to look around, been sick & to busy plus unpredictable weather to even think about Gravely but you got me thinking Fireant because my mag cover had a crack in it and I fixed it ( or think I did ) w/some epoxy or something on inside of it and painted outside and it is sealed but if I have any spark issues when I can actually get back on the tractor.
I do have spare cover I recon but one or two of the little "nubs" that protrude around the edge of the cover are broken off but I actually saved them incase I have to glue them back on, but I can use this reply of yours for a reference. So thanks again Buddy and I hope all is well with you and yours!
Mark
 
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