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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
OK.....so without going through all the posts ...have you listened for the PTO to click on?.....there is another guy @Whirly ...who has had more of these than I have, and knows more about them...kind of hoping he see the thread and jumps in, too.

Can you post a picture of the base of the starter...you say there is a starter assist relay.....I would like to take a lok at how that is wired in.....also want to point out that...that arrangement becomes necessary as a result of oxidation on wire connections...so you could disconnect and wire brush every connection you can lay your eyes on and reconnect them
The PTO clutch doesn't click on, it's a new aftermarket unit, which is actually how this thread all started, see the top of the thread. It's morphed into a starter/solenoid issue because now the the starter doesn't engage, the solenoid just clicks. I don't know if these two issues are related, but I don't think they are because the machine started fine the first few times I turned the key after installing the new PTO clutch, then the starter stopped cranking and it just clicked.

I removed all the contacts and sprayed them with Deoxit. I also replaced the bad power connection between the solenoid and the starter with 8 gauge (I didn't have time to put on ring connectors, so it's just raw cable right now.) What's got me head-scratching is why there's no power between the solenoid and the starter when the key is turned. According to the tech manual:

Procedure:
1. Connect jumper wire to positive battery terminal
and briefly jump to bare small starter solenoid
engagement terminal (A). All solenoid terminals
should be clean and free of corrosion.
Results:
• Starter runs: solenoid is good, check circuit wiring.
• Starter does not run: go to step 2.
2. Connect jumper wire between starter solenoid large
terminals (B and C).
Results:
• Starter runs: Replace solenoid.
• Starter does not run: replace starter.

That's where I'm at right now, ready to replace the solenoid. Problem is, they don't make the original OEM one anymore and the 'substitute' costs +$160. So it's either the aftermarket dice-roll or the hack that Taryn guy was talking about above, and I'm leaning toward the latter...
 

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OK...just looked at the Taryl video...I did do that on an STX 30 about 4 or 5 years ago and it worked fine..the STX 30 and 38 have the same Kohler engine...just called a 9HP on the 30 and 12.5 HP on the 38...other than being called differently...they are identical....if I remember correctly there used to be a NAPA near me that had it...I think it was only about 9 dollars and it worked fine
 

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@MARK (LI) --Take a look at his Starter Assist Relay. Something not right. There is supposed to be a wire going from the key switch to the starter assist and then from assist to the solenoid. The wire going to the small tab on the solenoid is the original trigger wire from key switch, it appears (looks to be green in the picture you posted). I see a hot wire (12v+), which should be tab 30 and the ground which should be tab 85. @motorhobo , can you advise where the other 2 wires off the Starter Assist go, or, are they connected to each other as the photo appears?

* * * I just looked really close and think the wires are indeed messed up. Here is what I'd like you to try. Take the connector off the solenoid (appears to be a green wire hooking to the small tab) Connect that to the wire that comes off the relay tab that is numbered 86. Then, take the wire coming off the relay tab 87 and connect that to the small tab on the solenoid. (To be perfectly honest, I think that it would be fine if you vice-versed them around, but let's do it right just for fun since you are fighting a problem already.) It appears that you have the relay wires 86 and 87 connected to each other.

Then, when you do that, let us know back.

If you have a 5th tab on the relay that ends in "A", ignore that one. Long story, not worth going into.
 

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I was starting to think his is not a solenoid...but I enlarged his picture and it is...so I deleted my post...here is his next to one that I did...he says a dealer did that?..sloppy job..his is on the left...I tried tracing the wires ...but it is hard
2498806
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
@MARK (LI) --Take a look at his Starter Assist Relay. Something not right. There is supposed to be a wire going from the key switch to the starter assist and then from assist to the solenoid. The wire going to the small tab on the solenoid is the original trigger wire from key switch, it appears (looks to be green in the picture you posted). I see a hot wire (12v+), which should be tab 30 and the ground which should be tab 85. @motorhobo , can you advise where the other 2 wires off the Starter Assist go, or, are they connected to each other as the photo appears?

* * * I just looked really close and think the wires are indeed messed up. Here is what I'd like you to try. Take the connector off the solenoid (appears to be a green wire hooking to the small tab) Connect that to the wire that comes off the relay tab that is numbered 86. Then, take the wire coming off the relay tab 87 and connect that to the small tab on the solenoid. (To be perfectly honest, I think that it would be fine if you vice-versed them around, but let's do it right just for fun since you are fighting a problem already.) It appears that you have the relay wires 86 and 87 connected to each other.

Then, when you do that, let us know back.

If you have a 5th tab on the relay that ends in "A", ignore that one. Long story, not worth going into.
OK - I really appreciate you all taking the time on this. I'm learning a lot!

Brad, you're right, the relay wiring was off, was probably my error, I probably switched them by mistake last time I reconnected everything. But the result is still the same. Doing the relay reconfig as you suggested isn't so easy -- the existing connectors have a male/female configuration that would mean having to connect male to male. Before I start reconfiguring the whole connector shebang let me show you what I have now.

The attached pic shows the relay, the tab numbers and where each wire goes. I tested each connection, and included those values in the pic. It looks like the switched power comes in from the harness to the relay at 85 and is pushed out to the solenoid at 87. The output at the connector from the wire at 87 (the one going to the solenoid) reads 12.5V switched. But there's still no amps going to the starter and I don't know if this relay configuration actually gets any power from the hot lead at 30 as it's supposed to. I don't know how to test whether the hot wire at 30 is actually doing anything. All I know is the solenoid is still acting as before i.e. when the key is turned, the solenoid still clicks. Jumping across the solenoid poles -- same, just clicks, no amps at the starter. Jumping the starter from the battery positive turns the starter, so I guess the starter works.

So Brad, you said above that ground should be at 85. In the pic below, ground appears to be at 86 and the switched power from the harness is at 85. Does that mean that this relay config won't work as it should?

But all that aside, I put a screwdriver across the solenoid poles and just got the same old click. Isn't that the main indicator of a bad solenoid?

STX38Relay.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
OK...just looked at the Taryl video...I did do that on an STX 30 about 4 or 5 years ago and it worked fine..the STX 30 and 38 have the same Kohler engine...just called a 9HP on the 30 and 12.5 HP on the 38...other than being called differently...they are identical....if I remember correctly there used to be a NAPA near me that had it...I think it was only about 9 dollars and it worked fine
I think it's worth taking a shot at that. My only concern is that whatever is defective in the existing solenid is also going to prevent the power output from the solenoid that's piggybacked onto it. Any thoughts about that?
 

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I'd say contacts inside solenoid are corroded/burnt/shot! Solenoid is clicking means magnetic coil in solenoid is OK, but the contacts inside the coil armature moves are not OK. Replace solenoid. Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Makes sense to me Bob, especially after watching this, where Eric the Car Guy cuts open a couple of solenoids and shows how they work. Great video, really cleared it up for me.

 

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2498882

There you go. Device is the solenoid.
Since you cannot get the solenoid to activate the starter, but with 12v direct to the starter it will turn, correct?

One more question, which I think you may have answered. It said you "jump across the solenoid", are you going from one big post to the other big post on the solenoid? Does that cause just a "click"? But, if you take a cable direct from the battery and hit the starter, she spins? (@MARK (LI) if this is the case I smell a bad cable cuz if you jump from the + post on the solenoid to the other big post, that's the same as going direct from the battery to the starter. )

@motorhobo (what is your name? Don't think I saw it and probably easier to type than motorhobo) when you put 12v from + post on battery to the starter, how are you doing that? Jumper cable from post to starter? Also, if you end up just rewiring the relay, I would not cut and splice, etc. Just get a small pc of wire and add connectors to the ends.

Also, you said: I don't know if this relay configuration actually gets any power from the hot lead at 30 as it's supposed to. I don't know how to test whether the hot wire at 30 is actually doing anything. A relay is nothing more than a miniature solenoid. 1 side hot, 1 side ground, 1 wire triggers it to complete a circuit which will give good clean voltage to the "device", which in this case is your original solenoid.

No problem on helping on this. We're gonna get you fixed. In the meanwhile I am going to draw up a schematic for installing a new remote solenoid. Won't post 'til we know that is going to be a step and @MARK (LI) can review to insure he agrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
@Brad--

My name is Van, as in 'If this Van's rockin' don't bother knockin' - and if you understand that reference you're probably about as old as I am.

So before I start, what is the best gauge wire for the main connection between the solenoid and the starter? I bought a foot of 8 gauge but that is probably overkill for that 3 inch run and it seems crimp ring connectors for that size post are more available for 10 gauge wire.

It said you "jump across the solenoid", are you going from one big post to the other big post on the solenoid? Does that cause just a "click"?

Yes, with a screwdriver, just a loud click.

When you put 12v from + post on battery to the starter, how are you doing that? Jumper cable from post to starter?

Yes, automotive jumper cable and it spins.

I'm trying now to swap the ground with the trigger on 86 and 85 to where they should be in the diagram and am having a heck of a time removing the terminals from this relay... will be back as soon as I get that figured out.

Van
 

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OK, getting this all narrowed down. If you jump from Big post to Big post on solenoid, that SHOULD be the same as going from + post on battery to starter. Only weak link in there would be the main cable running from the battery to the solenoid.

I'm trying now to swap the ground with the trigger on 86 and 85 to where they should be in the diagram and am having a heck of a time removing the terminals from this relay... will be back as soon as I get that figured out.

Don't worry about removing terminals, just change hookup locations of the wires.

But, first, try this:

Jumper cable from + on battery to big terminal on solenoid (not the starter side). Turn key. Results? I worked with someone a while back that fought and fought to get things working and come to find out either the + or - main cable was so corroded inside the crimped fitting it would not work. Looked perfect on the outside.

As far as wire size, I'd try to go with a similar size as the main red cable from Battery+ to Solenoid.
 

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Van, He he, I'm 72 and TOTALLY understand the reference! "If this Van's rockin' don't bother knockin"
Thinking 8 gauge ain't gonna make it! Typical starter amp draw is around 60 to 90 amps and #8 is rated for 24 amps! I'd use #2 or 2/0 (which is best). It may get pricey though and a new cable from JD may be your best bet. Not sure of exact price, but thinking around $2 per foot for wire, $10 each for connectors, and then a crimping tool! These terminals are too large for a "normal" wire crimping tool.
Before replacing, remove one end and get an ohm reading. Thinking you should get LESS than 0.0003 ohms... if meter will read that low! Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Van, He he, I'm 72 and TOTALLY understand the reference! "If this Van's rockin' don't bother knockin"
Thinking 8 gauge ain't gonna make it! Typical starter amp draw is around 60 to 90 amps and #8 is rated for 24 amps! I'd use #2 or 2/0 (which is best). It may get pricey though and a new cable from JD may be your best bet. Not sure of exact price, but thinking around $2 per foot for wire, $10 each for connectors, and then a crimping tool! These terminals are too large for a "normal" wire crimping tool.
Before replacing, remove one end and get an ohm reading. Thinking you should get LESS than 0.0003 ohms... if meter will read that low! Bob
Well, that's true but the recommended gauge is also proportional to the length of travel, in this case less than 4 inches, so 8 ga would be rated for 150 amps at under 4 ft which should be enough to crank the engine. Here's what I went by on the 8 gauge:

12 Volt Wiring: Wire Gauge to Amps | Offroaders.com

At any rate, the 8 gauge is beefier than what was on there before and that worked, albeit crappily. Someone had connected the solenoid to the starter with a 5 inch section of what looks like 14 gauge Romex wrapped around the posts. It broke in half as soon as I tried to disconnect it, so I'm sure it had been there for many years. Tells you something about whoever was working on this thing before I got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
OK, getting this all narrowed down. If you jump from Big post to Big post on solenoid, that SHOULD be the same as going from + post on battery to starter. Only weak link in there would be the main cable running from the battery to the solenoid.

I'm trying now to swap the ground with the trigger on 86 and 85 to where they should be in the diagram and am having a heck of a time removing the terminals from this relay... will be back as soon as I get that figured out.

Don't worry about removing terminals, just change hookup locations of the wires.

But, first, try this:

Jumper cable from + on battery to big terminal on solenoid (not the starter side). Turn key. Results? I worked with someone a while back that fought and fought to get things working and come to find out either the + or - main cable was so corroded inside the crimped fitting it would not work. Looked perfect on the outside.

As far as wire size, I'd try to go with a similar size as the main red cable from Battery+ to Solenoid.
OK, getting this all narrowed down. If you jump from Big post to Big post on solenoid, that SHOULD be the same as going from + post on battery to starter. Only weak link in there would be the main cable running from the battery to the solenoid.
I'm certain that cable is good and I checked all the connections, but I'll check them again.

Don't worry about removing terminals, just change hookup locations of the wires.
Hmmm, OK. That would mean hooking a ring connector (currently ground) to the device connector (currently a plug) and connecting the plug to ground. Swapping the terminals at the relay would be easier, I just need to extract those terminals from the relay which should not be rocket science, just need to find the restraining tab on the connector.

Back soon...
 

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I've never seen a wire chart like that before! Can't say it's wrong, cuz I just plain don't know! Worst case scenario is you new wire will go up in smoke. Best case scenario is everything will be fine... including the questionable contacts in your solenoid. Make & connect new wire and see what happens. All I can say/recommend at this time. Bob
 

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Van, each side of where the terminals go into the block should have rectangular openings. One side will have another smaller rectangular opening, maybe 3/16"w x 1/16h, THIS is where you stick a small screwdriver if to depress the lock tab. Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Van, each side of where the terminals go into the block should have rectangular openings. One side will have another smaller rectangular opening, maybe 3/16"w x 1/16h, THIS is where you stick a small screwdriver if to depress the lock tab. Bob
That's what I thought... like every one I've ever seen. But seeing is believing....

RelayRetainers.jpg


Yes, all these kooky connectors are retained with a single sliding retaining piece. Ingenious! If I ever meet the person who invented it I'll congratulate him and then slap him upside the head for costing me the hour it took to figure it out.

Anyway, the saga continues...

@Brad, you wrote: If you jump from Big post to Big post on solenoid, that SHOULD be the same as going from + post on battery to starter. Only weak link in there would be the main cable running from the battery to the solenoid.

You're right again, big post to big post on the solenoid turns the starter and gets the same voltage as the jumper cable from battery positive to starter. That was my bad, I was jumping spade terminal battery power. And after switching ground/trigger at 85/86, still getting nothing but clicks from the solenoid.

So...does this mean we all agree that the solenoid is toast?
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Plus, I slapped the solenoid a few times with a small hammer at a few locations -- first it cranked the engine 1/4 turn, then just did the clicky thing. I'd say it's completely done for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
So here's the deal -- I can get this DB Electrical starter/solenoid unit for under $80 by Friday.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KGICIJM/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Or I can be the test case for the aftermarket piggyback solenoid solution a la Taryl which may or may not work depending on exactly what's wrong internally with my solenoid. I don't mind being the test case, I figure it might cost me $25 with parts, extra power cable and any connectors or wire I might need. But -- the grass is growing like nuts and I refuse to pay the lawn dudes another $50. So if it doesn't work, then I have to fork out the $50 for the lawn guys plus the cost of the new starter/solenoid.

The point being...I don't understand how this aftermarket solenoid passes thru current to the existing solenoid. If the contacts in the old solenoid are toast, how does the current from the aftermarket one reach the plunger that engages the pinion on the starter? Can anyone explain that to me? Taryl can't... apparently it's just like the Space Shuttle somehow, which by the way no longer works either because it's been retired and now hangs in the Smithsonian...
 
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