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Engine won't turn. Have checked battery, starter, solenoid

I usually can't turn by hand. I have seen it leaking gas. Today I pulled the spark plug and quite a bit of gas came out. I put it back in and it started. It has been doing this for a while. Sometimes it turns and starts fine. Then the next time it won't turn. I got a battery first and it started. A few days later same thing, won't turn. Checked the solenoid, it was fine. I got under it and turned the engine by hand a few times and it started. Went out yesterday and it was leaking gas. Then it stopped leaking gas after awhile. Went out today and pulled the starter loose and it spins with the key. Pulled the plug and gas shot out the housing. I also noticed considerable gas laying in the air filter. Put the plug back in and it started but still seemed to have to much gas in cylinder. Ran rough for a few seconds then smoothed out and it started 4 or 5 times with no problems. Anyone got any ideas about this kind of problems. Tractor was new in 2010.

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  • John Beatty
    John Beatty Dec 27, 2013

    would a faulty fuel solenoid cause this



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  • Master
  • 905 Answers

The float needle in the carburetor is not closing which will allow gas to keep filling up into the cylinder and compression is blowing it up to the air filter.
There could be dirt or a build up ring around the needle of a jelly like material from sitting through the winter or just a build up over a long time
Cleaning the float needle may work but a new one is better

Posted on Dec 27, 2013

Testimonial: "Thanks for the info. Would the fuel buildup cause the engine not to turn when trying to start? Would a faulty fuel solenoid cause this? Thanks so much, I've been going round and round with this for about a month or so. I plow snow with it and it seems like every time I need it I have to work on it for a while. I just hate to take it in, it costs so much for them to look at it. Thanks, I'm going to try it."

  • jason Dec 30, 2013

    Yes the gas build up would cause it to be hard to turn because more air than gas is easier to compress than the cylinder filled with gas and no air. I also plow snow with a riding lawnmower , yes they are alot of maintenance . If the battery Cranking AMP is low(which can be noticed when after a few days starting up seems weak and running it seems to charge the battery back up for stronger start up)then a new battery also is most likely needed.



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if there is oil on the sparkplug, you have blown a cylinder seal. It will need repair.

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SOURCE: Trouble starting Craftsman Lawn Tractor Mod# 917-272350

It is time to rebuild your carburetor paying special attention to the float and seat.
Gasket set is about $30 delivered and gallon can of gunk carb cleaner with a parts basket is $21 at kragen auto parts. takes about two to three hours. Or you can but a new carb for about $150.

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SOURCE: Engine stalls

DId you remove the existing gas or just topped it off? If you topped it off, I would dump the fuel and replace the fuel filter, after that I would clean the carb (Spray cleaner). 
Good luck!

Posted on May 20, 2009

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How do I trouble shoot an engine that won't start?

Hi, Frank and the usual suspects are:
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Why will it crank but won`t turn over?

Have you checked for correct fuel pressure? Most parts stores have a loan-a-tool fuel pressure gauge kit, and if you remove the plastic engine cover you will find a fuel rail port to attach the tester. Just because you replaced with new pump, don't assume it is good. Many cheap aftermarket pumps are noisy and fail often.

If pressure is good, insure you have spark to the plugs.

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Olds cutlass will not start we have change the fuel pump and spark plugs. the old plugs had gas and were black on the end. Its still will not start just crank a little

I would suspect no spark - have you put a spark plug wire onto a removed ( not installed ) plug, held it to the engine with INSULATED pliers and cranked the engine? You should have a BLUE spark from the electrode of the plug - any other color ( or no spark) indicates no juice and you'll need to first check the wires going to the coil ( s) to ensure the connectors and wires themselves are good ( no corrosion, grease, or other contaminants on connectors or lumpy wires ) and test the coil ( s) for output. If the engine turns over slowly, you could have a bad battery, starter solenoid, or starter. Check for spark first. if ok, remove the battery and starter/solenoid assembly and take them for testing at your local parts store ( make sure you disconnect the negative lead from the battery before pulling the starter, if just taking the starter). If none of these cure the problem, it could be computer related, which will require a diagnostic to be done on the car ( by a shop, as the equipment to do this is expensive and delicate).
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It won't turn over

Try this procedure:
Check the battery like this:
Turn on the headlights, then try to start the car.
If the headlights do not dim or go out, then the battery is likely ok.
Check that the battery cable plus post, goes to the starter, Minus post to a good ground, like the engine.
If wiring is ok, then look at the starter solenoid for a good connection, and proper voltage at the starter.
Problem is most likely the Solenoid's bendix gear or starting relay, Have someone bang on the starter while you try to start the car. This usually works by dislodging the bendix gear..
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Engine won't fire. Starter turns over, but, won't run

Hi Anonymous, when checking for spark the CKP needs to measure the compression bump in order to send the correct signal to the ICM/ECM so always check for spark with either a third plug grounded or lift the end of the plug boot 1/2 " off one of spark plugs that are in the head. and the usual suspects are:
1. Fuel tank empty
2. Fuel supply valve turned off.
3. Fouled spark plugs.
4. Engine flooded with gasoline as a result of over use of enrichner.
5. Fuel valve or filter clogged.
6. Vacuum hose to automatic fuel supply valve disconnected, leaking, or pinched.
7. Discharged battery, loose or broken battery connections especially the "GROUND" cable to the frame.
8. Loose wire connection at coil, battery or plug between ignition sensor and module.
9. Spark plug cables in bad condition and shorting, spark plug cable connections loose,
or cables connected to wrong cylinders.
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14. Security alarm system not disarming.
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My 96 jeep Laredo will not turn over. I've checked

sorry turns over means ZERO
the crank shaft can spin or not
the starter can in fact spin and crankshaft not.
and some think turns over means, engine runs. now that fact makes turns over, a dead statement.

the word is cranks over, the engine cranks over robustlyl
and then the engine runs.
then runs for more that 3 seconds, and the ASD relay holds. (step by step his works like this ,93 to now)

wont crank ? (clear statement in fact)
cranks ok, (crank shaft spins fast) can be seen and heard.
runs for 3 seconds? and stalls (ASD relay drop out) can be seen.
runs for 5min and stalls. (complex)
runs for hours and stalls. (even more complex)
all are key facts to the solution.

tell more..... tell all it does good bad or ugly
for better suggestions!

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Starter replacement

  • Check the condition of the battery. A weak battery can't turn the starter over. Make sure thesultansikand.jpg battery is at full strength before you blame the starter. Your car's instrument cluster should indicate when there is a low battery with either a warning light or ammeter.
  • Also check the battery connections, the wires going to the starter, and the starter connection. The most important wire is the big one running down the back of the battery. It is the wire that goes from the battery to the starter. All connections should be snug. Check that the insulation on the wires is intact. Tighten any connections loose enough to wiggle by hand.
  • Check the starter solenoid. The starter solenoid is a special switch that turns the starter on and off. Solenoids rarely cost more than $10, and they are fairly easy to replace. When you turn the key, have a friend listen to the solenoid for a clicking sound. If there's no sound, assume the solenoid is broken and needs to be replaced.
  • If the automotive engine is turning over and still won't start, it might be due to another problem unrelated to the starter or battery. Anything from a dirty air filter, worn spark plugs, bad spark plug wires, a worn distributor cap, insufficient fuel reaching the engine or even blown gaskets can prevent a car from starting. If you can't isolate the problem through trial and error, it may be time to take the car to a mechanic for check-up or repair.

    Once you've determined that the problem is not resolved by troubleshooting the above issues, it may very well be that you need to replace the starter.

  • Disconnect the battery cables in order to reduce the possibility of accidentally shocking yourself.
  • Remove the electrical connections from the side of the starter. There are usually two wires: a positive and a negative wire. Remove the positive wire first, and then remove the negative wire from the starter. You may want to mark the connections with a paint pen to help you correctly reconnect the connectors to their proper terminals. To remove the connections, you'll need to use an open face wrench or socket wrench to remove the bolts.
    After both of the electrical connections are removed, you'll need to unbolt the starter from the chassis. Before you remove these bolts, take note of how the starter is oriented. You may want to mark the bolts with paint pens. There are usually only two or three bolts that attach the starter to the vehicle.
  • Remove the starter. In preparation, look closely at your car and determine what path will be easiest for removing the starter. It might be a tight fit, but you'll need to twist and pull the starter around various engine and frame parts in order to get it out of the car. Some cars may be particularly tight, especially those with front wheel drive. You may have to remove other parts in order to get enough space the pull the starter out. If you do remove engine parts, take care to remember their proper location. Replace bolts into the same place they came from once you pull a piece off. This will help you keep up with all of the pieces.
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Im tryin to start it for the first time this year and it just wont turn over, making a clicking sound?....its a 42 in ariens lawn tractor

Hi and welcome to FixYa, I am Kelly
First try remving the spark plugs and pull the starter by hand. If you can not turn the engine spray WD-40 in the spark plug hole and let it sit several hours. After several hours try pulling it through again.
Just a note if you turn the engine through and get gas from the cylinder spark plug holes there is a carb problem. Should you note gas from plug holes... check the oil level to make sure the crankcase is not filled with gas.
If you can pull the engine through next try the starter again. If you still get the click without the starter engaging sucpect a battery problem. If you have a set of jumper cables jumper the battery and try again knowing you will have to ensure the seat switch is made to engage the starter.
If you can not jumper the battery... have the battery charged then try the starter again.

Still not working? Use a large screw driver and short across the 2 large solenoid terminals. Still just cliking... Suspect the brushes in the starter and or a dirty commutator on the armature of the starter.

Thanks for choosing FixYa,

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1 Answer


My power-washer suffers from same problem after sitting idle.

After paying for a new carburetor, I discovered how important it is to drain the gas if washer is going to sit idle.

Another time, we had a problem with the screen covering exhaust outlet. Deposits from the engine + dirt clogged the screen. Although it's not the solution for everybody, we broke the screen open with a screwdriver and the machine ran fine after that.

Small gas engines require 3 things. Compression, spark, and fuel. Take out spark plug. Put finger over spark plug hole and pull cord or push starter. Do you feel suction? If yes, then you have compression.

If machine will not turn over at all, then your motor might have run out of oil. Power washer needs oil in 2 places. It needs oil for the engine just like a lawn mower. Oil plugs are located low on each side of engine. It doesn't hurt to change oil, but do NOT NOT turn small engine upside down or oil will get into carburetor which requires removal and cleaning. I learned that the hard way.

The power washer also needs oil for the pump head. This is the box attached to front of engine. Usually 10W20 non-detergent is a good choice. Oil is usually about half way up inside pump head.

Now hook spark-wire back to spark plug. Hold spark plug in hand. Touch threads of spark plug to metal spark plug opening. Now pull cord or push starter. Do you see sparking in the spark plug gap? If yes, then you have spark. Put new spark plug in anyway. If no, then you need parts from small engine repair service.

Spark plug is in. Take off air filter so you have access to carburetor air intake. Put fresh gas in tank. Use starter spray or WD-40 as a starting accelerant. Set your choke to start engine. Spray starter fluid into carburetor opening and pull cord or push starter. The engine should fire up on the starter fluid. If engine doesn't fire, then try setting choke in different positions. If engine doesn't fire up then carburetor is suspect.

If engine fires but dies, keep spraying starter fluid into carburetor to see if you can keep it going that way ... and then move choke in different positions ... you might need extra hands for that maneuver.

If machine turns on, but dies when filter is put back, then filter might be clogged. Time for a new filter anyway.

Finally check the fuel filter and fuel line below the gas tank. It usually has a hex head bolt. Loosen bolt and see if fuel is able to fall out of tank. Loosen rubber fuel line at both ends and see if fuel is flowing. This will tell you if fuel can get to carburetor.

Usually these measures get the thing going or tell you if professional service is needed.

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