Question about Craftsman 42 in. Deck 19.5hp Lawn Tractor

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Mastercraft 18hp B&S lawn tractor Won't start with key BUT am able to "hot wire" by srewdriver blade across starter solenoid - recently put in new - with ignition swith to "on". Good battery, good ground connection, all other connections and wiring seemingly OK with continuity OK; ignition switch OK, circuit breaker OK - So where do I look now - ??? If I replace the starter solenoid again - what is causing it to fail after a couple of starts??

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Hi NiteRanger shorting out the two large terminals on the solenoid does not mean the solenoid is working !!!! The test for ascertaining whether it works or not is to disconnect the wire on the small terminal and then connect a wire to the positive terminal of battery and briefly touch it to the small terminal if starter operates then solenoid is good.

Posted on Oct 15, 2012

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If you can cause the engine to turn over by shorting out the solenoid then it is OK.Your problem is probably that there is no power getting to the solenoid from the ignition switch. Connect a test light to the control wire at the solenoid and turn the key, if it doesn't light then follow the wire back to the switch looking for a break in the wire.The wire casing may not be broken while the wire may be open inside so feel for soft spots where wire may be broken. Check your ignition switch is sending power to this wire when in start position, the switch may be faulty.

Posted on Oct 08, 2010

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Solenoid clicks but starter does not kick in to start tractor


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I'm not familiar with your brand and make of lawn tractor but here's a few basics many of them have in common.

Any one of several safety features on newer lawn tractors will prevent it from starting.

Assuming your battery is fully charged, here's a few basic things to check, depending upon your level of skill and motivation:

1. Parking brake: A switch must be engaged when the parking brake is set. Most newer lawn tractors have to have the brake set to allow the starter interlock relay to energize the starter.
2. Blade engagement PTO: The blade PTO switch or lever must be OFF or the tractor starter won't energize.
3. Seat switch: Some (not all) newer lawn tractors won't start if the operator presence seat switch is not closed. (you have to be sitting in the seat or the starter will not be energized.)
4.. Corroded/loose battery terminals or wires. Remove the battery leads and clean the terminals. Check and make certain the battery leads are tight.

You can do some investigative sleuthing by using a multimeter, set in the OHM position, to test switch continuity. Locate and unplug these switches from the wiring harness, one at a time. Insert the meter's test leads into the switch plug's terminals; not the wiring harness. Activate the switch. If your meter shows current pass-through or continuity, the switch is working. If the meter reads OL (for digital meters) or stays at zero, that switch is bad.

If your safety switches are good, you'll have to look deeper.
Some lawn tractors have a fuse panel to protect the electrical circuits and components.
1. If you have a fuse block on your tractor, remove the plastic cover. Most of the fuses in today's tractors are the color coded, plastic cased, automotive type. Remove each fuse and inspect their filaments one at a time. A blown fuse will be easily identified. Replace any blown fuse.
2. The starter interlock relay may be faulty, or have a disconnected/broken wire. Check your wires and terminals. The starter switch itself may be faulty. Use your meter in the OHM setting, put your leads on the starter switch terminals with the switch disconnected and off. Turn on the ignition switch and turn the switch to the start position. If the switch shows current pass-through, the switch is good. If not, replace it.
3. Is your battery discharged? Do you hear a "click" when you try to start your tractor? If you hear a "click" when you turn your key to the start position, and your battery is charged, there's a strong likelihood your starter has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. (or your engine is seized) If you hear absolutely nothing while trying to crank over the engine, it's a safe bet you're not getting power to the starter because of a safety switch, bad fuse, starter interlock relay, or a broken/disconnected wire somewhere.

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