If it's only got one wire connection then the ground is completed through the housing and mounting bolts. Make sure that where the starter is bolted to the engine is clean and shiny, that there is no dirt, paint or oil, or else the ground side of the starter circuit won't allow the current to flow. Also make sure that the ground wire from the battery is securely connected to the block or frame and that the cable is good, and the connection there is clean and bright.
If you want to test the starter while it is not installed on the engine jump the ground side of the battery to the starter housing at one of the bolt holes and then touch the hot side to the single wire connection on the starter.
Is it possible that your replacement starter has the wrong starter gear? Meaning the incorrect number of teeth. One of the ones that I use comes with same body but has 11 teeth on one and 9 on the other. Model number is almost identical. If that was case it would jam. It is also possible that you got a bad starter. It happens.
Ok, so I got out to the tractor to spin it by hand, and it did seem stuck, I got it moving though, and what do you know, the starter kicked in and turned the engine.
haha, man do i feel silly.
te starter made a squealing sound when it kicked in though, it didnt the next two times.
Is that something to be concerned about, or just a new starter thing?
Sounds like the bearings in the starter were stuck. If it was sitting a long time the grease may have settled but got redistributed after the starter began turning. If the noise persists then the bearings are suspect.
Always bench test starters that way you know they work and any settled grease get distributed. When the engine has to come out of the frame to install it testing the starter installed is not such a good idea.
In post#1 OP says he put in a new starter...I suspect that the engine got knocked out of time somehow and that this will happen again...in post #24 he states that it seemed stuck....I think that overworked the starter causing heat and sparks from before he cleaned up the connections