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I have an L8 walk behind electric start and with a new battery it won’t even turn over. I noticed a huge voltage drop on the battery when you try to start it up. So a bypassed both battery cables by going straight to the bolt on the ignition and the negative to ground and had the same result. I’m not the most mechanical individual but I guess I’m looking a bad starter? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi 85,

First of all don't assume anything is working or not on a 12 volt system. Corrosion and bad contacts are it's worst enemies. Start from scratch and eliminate all parts from the battery to the engine being free to turn over. Since you are satisfied with the battery being good and there is a voltage drop, do you hear anything at the starter or see smoke at the terminals? Does the engine turn freely? If you bypass the starter button, does the starter work? If it ends up being the starter, it might be the brushes need replaced. Just trying to check some of the most obvious first and again check and double check.
 

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Hi cward and welcome to
2450309


You could just remove the starter and bring to Advance or Auto Zone...they can check it for you..that is probably the quickest way to find out.....also you say that you "bypassed both battery cables by going straight to the bolt on the ignition and the negative to ground "...did you mean the bolt on the starter itself?
Did this start just recently?... was it parked for a while?.....the gear may be just stuck...if you go to remove the starter it might just retract and start working again
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi 85,

First of all don't assume anything is working or not on a 12 volt system. Corrosion and bad contacts are it's worst enemies. Start from scratch and eliminate all parts from the battery to the engine being free to turn over. Since you are satisfied with the battery being good and there is a voltage drop, do you hear anything at the starter or see smoke at the terminals? Does the engine turn freely? If you bypass the starter button, does the starter work? If it ends up being the starter, it might be the brushes need replaced. Just trying to check some of the most obvious first and again check and double check.
The engine will turn if I use wrench to turn the starter clutch. There is some popping at the positive terminal but not every time. I went straight to the starter and had the same results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi cward and welcome to View attachment 2450309

You could just remove the starter and bring to Advance or Auto Zone...they can check it for you..that is probably the quickest way to find out.....also you say that you "bypassed both battery cables by going straight to the bolt on the ignition and the negative to ground "...did you mean the bolt on the starter itself?
Did this start just recently?... was it parked for a while?.....the gear may be just stuck...if you go to remove the starter it might just retract and start working again
This gravely was my grandpa’s this one to my knowledge has not been started in many years. I can turn the starter clutch with a wrench and starter will turn, it’s a little stiff but my guess is that’s normal when you turn it by hand. I’ve went to both the starter button directly and the starter itself with the same results. I didn’t think about taking it to Autozone to be tested, I can try that after this stay at home mess is over.
 

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Does the starter motor turn by hand? With the chain off, you should be able to turn it relatively easily, like firmly gripping it with your fingers. Certainly with a set of channelocks.

You're getting current through the unit, so the brushes aren't totally toasted. If it's not mechanically siezed, the only other thing that comes to mind is that the windings have deteriorated pretty badly. That's pretty rare, in my experience.

I'd make sure it's freed up, turn it some, try putting voltage to it again, etc. It may just take off on you once it gets loosened up. If nothing in there works, then yeah, take it someplace and get it tested, after the zombie apocalypse is damped down some. Or you can get rebuild kits for not too much if you don't want to wait.
 

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Since it hasn't been started in years, the chain may be stiff with rust and installed too tight. Like JRD said, remove the chain and apply power to the starter. If it turns freely, then check the chain flexibility and tension. Oil the chain or spray it well with penetrating oil. When you reinstall it, leave a little bit of slack in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Removed the chain (which was very stiff) and oiled it. Put power to the starter with out the chain and still did nothing. I removed the cable from the ignition button to the starter and it turned. Put the chain back on and gave it some slack this time and the motor will turn over, however the spark plug has no spark and I don’t have a replacement or one to try in its place. But thanks for your help and I’ll definitely let you know what happens after I get the new parts.
 

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So the motor works, and you've got the engine turning over? Great!

The toe switch can be easily replaced. You can order from GT or Richards, or Tractor supply should have them.

On an L8, no spark generally means mag issues. First, is the impulse coupling working? As you turn the engine past TDC you should hear a "snap" from the mag. If you're not hearing that, odds are the mag isn't turning fast enough to make a spark.

If the impulse is working, you can try any old spark plug just to see if you're generating a spark. If yes, then order a replacement of the big plug. If no, your next step is to open up the mag and clean and gap the points.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have installed new points and gapped them along with a new condenser and still have no spark. How do you test the coil, if there is such a way?
 

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Yes, there is a way. First, lay a good tested plug on the mags aluminum case and turn the crank to impulse the mag. This will eliminate any ground problems through the case to frame. If you still have no spark, connect your ohm meter to the plug wire or wire tower and check reading. Should be around 6000 ohm's. If you have nothing, then the coil is most likely open. Next is to take the magneto off the tractor and clean the mating surfaces off completly and don't forgat to clean the insect dirt ou If the coil is OK, then you may have to get the magnet remagnetized usually around $10-$20.
 
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