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Starter motor on my MTD lawn tractor spins but does not engaging?

I tried to remove the starter motor but can't get it off the engine. There must be a bolt or something holding it, that I can't find.

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  • 153 Answers

There is a bolt under the flywheel that has to come off. To get it, you MUST remove the flywheel. Even if you get a wrench in there, the bolt is too long to get out of the way enough to remove the starter.

Posted on May 15, 2009

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Starter motor spins, but does not engage
  1. Check the starter motor for a seized or binding pinion gear.
  2. Remove the flywheel inspection plate and check for a damaged ring gear.

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1 Answer

Starter motor spins but the engine doesn't turn over


Sounds like an issue with the starter. There is a gear on the top (bendix) that will engage with the flywheel to start the motor. Since most lawn tractors don't have an actual solenoid on the starter, it engages by spinning up the starter shaft by centifigal force. I would take the starter off and see if this gear moves up and down the shaft easily. May just be hung on with some debris. Let me know how it works out for you.

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Starter gear doesn't move up to engage flywheel gear when started


The solenoid does two things -- it closes an electrical contact to run the starter motor, and also pulls a lever to slide the motor gear up to engage the flywheel. Since the contact is closing, the solenoid itself must be OK, but the lever could be broken, or the sliding gear could be binding or stripped. Since you're looking at a probable replacement, try cleaning with compressed air, then squirting some WD-40 into the starter gear area - you could get lucky! Otherwise, you can replace the starter/solenoid assembly -- you can find replacements on eBay for about $80. Less expensive but more time consuming is to remove the assembly, disassemble, and replace just the defective parts if you can find them. Good luck! Please rate my answer if helpful, thanks.

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1 Answer

My craftsman lt 1000 lawn tractor will not start. When I turn the key the starter motor spins but the gear will not raise up and engage the flywheel. Do I need a new starter? (18 hp b&s 42 Inch cut) If...


Starter motor spins, but does not engage
  1. Check the starter motor for a seized or binding pinion gear.
  2. Remove the flywheel inspection plate and check for a damaged ring gear.
  3. Engine stalls immediately when started
    1. Check the ignition switch condition and operation. The electrical contacts in the run position may be worn or damaged. Try restarting the engine with all electrical accessories in the off position. Sometimes turning the key on an off will help in emergency situations, however once the switch has shown signs of failure, it should be replaced as soon as possible.
    2. Check for loose, corroded, damaged or shorted wires for the ignition system and repair or replace.
    3. Check for manifold vacuum leaks or vacuum hose leakage and repair or replace parts as necessary.
    4. Measure the fuel pump delivery volume and pressure. Low fuel pump pressure can also be noticed as a lack of power when accelerating. Make sure the fuel pump lines are not restricted. The fuel pump output is not adjustable and requires fuel pump replacement to repair.
    5. Check the engine fuel and ignition management system. Inspect the sensor wiring and electrical connectors. A dirty, loose or damaged sensor or control module wire can simulate a failed component.
    6. Check the exhaust system for internal restrictions.

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Gear of starter motor won't engage in flywheel to run the tractor


Look under 'My Profile' (Longhorn294 in the top right corner of this page)on page 5 at this post and solution. "craftsman riding mower starter will spin but not engage". Dwain

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