Electrical problem on Cub Lo-Boy 154 - *solved, that was EZ*

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Postby Into Tractors » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:03 pm

Joe, Well C$%P :!: Now you have me pulling my hair out. At one time you thought the starter/gen had problems? With a new battery (unless it wasn't fully charged?) it shouldn't be acting like that.

If you have a trickle charger, I'd put it on the battery and let it fully charge and report back to us.

I can bring my battery charge that has a "Start Mode" on it, if it still won't spin up, then the starter needs some attention.

In the mean time, we need to look further into electrical issues & mechanical as well.

I have you work number, so PM me in the morning and I'll call you from the office.

The next step is after charging the battery, see if the engine spins over. If not, need to check all the elctrical connections and make sure they are good. If they check out, I'd suggest loosening the belt and see if the engine itself turns easily. If not, you now know we have mechanical issues with the engine.

If the engine can be turned freely, I'd bypass the electrical system, and wire the starter directly and see if it spins. If not, the starter needs to be looked over. If it does spin up, we need to address some electrical issues.

PM me in the morning and we'll chat.
Last edited by Into Tractors on Tue Aug 14, 2007 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Matt Kirsch » Tue Aug 14, 2007 8:34 pm

Wow, way too much to keep track of, so I might be asking some dumb questions here:

1. Have you pulled the distributor cap off and cranked the engine over? You should see the rotor turning.

2. Have you done the Briggs & Stratton spark test? That's pull a plug, put the wire back on it, and ground it against the block. You should see a spark when you crank the engine. No spark, don't even bother trying to start the engine.

Don't crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank until the battery is flat. If it doesn't fire right away, it's not going to fire. You can do a lot more troubleshooting on a battery charge that way.

If you can't read 12V by touching the red probe to the + side of the coil, and the black probe to the frame of the tractor with the switch in "run," there's no point in cranking the engine. You won't have a spark.
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Postby 888 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:40 am

Matt Kirsch wrote:Wow, way too much to keep track of, so I might be asking some dumb questions here:


Hey, no questions are dumb ones. Thanks for replying.

Matt Kirsch wrote:1. Have you pulled the distributor cap off and cranked the engine over? You should see the rotor turning.


Yes, that's how I set the point gap. Turning the engine by hand via the drive belt and watching the dist turn to the lobe.

Matt Kirsch wrote: 2. Have you done the Briggs & Stratton spark test? That's pull a plug, put the wire back on it, and ground it against the block. You should see a spark when you crank the engine. No spark, don't even bother trying to start the engine.


Yes, that's why I replaced the tuneup parts. There previously was no spark. I didn't check again last night, it was too dark.

Matt Kirsch wrote: Don't crank and crank and crank and crank and crank and crank until the battery is flat. If it doesn't fire right away, it's not going to fire. You can do a lot more troubleshooting on a battery charge that way.


I didn't, I can tell by now whether it's going to start in about 5 seconds. What is new is the fact that it just dies for a half second and then starts cranking.

Matt Kirsch wrote: If you can't read 12V by touching the red probe to the + side of the coil, and the black probe to the frame of the tractor with the switch in "run," there's no point in cranking the engine. You won't have a spark.


By the time I finished up last night it was dark and I did not want to do anything else. I made this check in the past and I will make it again when I go back out to work on it next and report.

thanks again.
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Postby 888 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:58 am

Into Tractors wrote:Joe, Well C$%P :!: Now you have me pulling my hair out. At one time you thought the starter/gen had problems? With a new battery (unless it wasn't fully charged?) it shouldn't be acting like that.

If you have a trickle charger, I'd put it on the battery and let it fully charge and report back to us.

I can bring my battery charge that has a "Start Mode" on it, if it still won't spin up, then the starter needs some attention.

In the mean time, we need to look further into electrical issues & mechanical as well.

I have you work number, so PM me in the morning and I'll call you from the office.

The next step is after charging the battery, see if the engine spins over. If not, need to check all the elctrical connections and make sure they are good. If they check out, I'd suggest loosening the belt and see if the engine itself turns easily. If not, you now know we have mechanical issues with the engine.

If the engine can be turned freely, I'd bypass the electrical system, and wire the starter directly and see if it spins. If not, the starter needs to be looked over. If it does spin up, we need to address some electrical issues.

PM me in the morning and we'll chat.


The engine spins fine, I can turn the engine with one hand via the drive belt while sitting on a stool to set the points.

I'll PM you and we can chat. I need to think back on the way this tractor wiring was damaged when I got it and what I have done to repair the wiring problems. It's either a problem in that area or a grounding problem. There were two damaged/broken wires in the 8 pin harness that needed repair, I got a complete new IH harness for the dashboard side of the harness. The other side is mostly original, I left it alone because most of the components on the tractor did not match the factory plugs.

If you look back early in this thread, Rudi posted up a wiring diagram that can be used for reference. It is not exactly like the one in the IH manual but it's close. I'll look back at that and and try to tell you (and everyone else) exactly what was wrong and what I did. This was done weeks 1 through 3 before I found this forum and started posting here.

I have one of those braided metal battery ground cables on there, I don't like them. When I got this thing, it had a beat up/damaged red positive cable going under the tractor to a bolt near the rear end, the clamp was too big for the negative post (because it was a pos cable). No idea what that was all about, I found it and changed it out before doing anything else. I changed that to a used OEM braided cable and I've experimented with grounding points, it's grounded now to the battery tray bolt as I'm told the original is set up. I'm thinking of getting a regular black negative cable and redoing the ground.

More later, work calls.
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Postby 888 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:11 am

To update, this is what I sent Mike by PM:

It's gotta be a wiring/grounding problem. I just ran out of light and patience last night. I'm trying very hard to think back at what all has been done in the past month or more on this thing......

Here's the wiring diagram that Rudi posted earlier.

http://ihregistry.com/wiring/K16.pdf

The ammeter and safety circuit were bypassed when I got it because the ammeter didn't work and the safety switch and clutch PTO wires were all sheared off and damaged. There were jumpers all over the place.

To cut to the chase, there are two of what I consider major/important wires that were broken off when I got this thing (not counting sensors etc that I know are fixed because the safety circuit works). One was black, one was red. If you look at the schematic, the entire "top" side of the 8 pin connector is new, it was totally useless. The bottom of that connector outbound to the rest of the tractor is original.

If you look at the bottom side of pin 5, there are two red wires that are supposed to come out of the connector terminal side by side. One of them was sheared off flush with the connector body. To get around this, I used a 3M bridge to jump another lead off of the good one, I forget which component that it goes to but i know it works because the circuit works, if the bridge was no good, the starter circuit would not work.

If you look at the 'bottom' of pin 4, there is a black lead that eventually splits between the ignition switch on the key terminal and the + terminal on the coil. That lead was broken off behind the dash but I had an end to work with off of the connector and off of the harness. I jumped the ends together using the same type 3M bridge.

When I say I used a 3M bridge, this is what I mean:

http://www.mcminone.com/product.asp?cat ... =108%2D005

If I had to make a guess, I'm guessing that either the negative cable is somehow ineffective and needs to be replaced (please note that I took a 3m abrasive wheel and cleaned both the loop connector and the paint off of the body at the connection point) or this bridge connector on the black wire is not working as it should. I cannot recall why I did not use a butt connector instead of a bridge, I just can't remember that detail for some reason, it was some time ago.

The ignition components appeared to be original, there was an IH on the cap and on the condenser retaining loop. So there wasn't any harm in replacing them. I just expected it to start and was disappointed that it got somehow "worse".

It just seems to be straining very hard to start, there are very few grounds on this tractor that don't use the body and the negative cable but the neg cable on this one is set up the way I have seen other 154 Lo-Boys set up.

Just wanted to post everything I could think of that was relevant to the problem.

I can report that the headlight circuit works, so if it ever runs I don't have to worry about hitting anything.

I have not ever had the red oil pressire warning light come on when the key is in start or run. It is all new because the dash half of the harness is new. Is it supposed to come on before starting?

Thanks as always for the help. The more I fight this, the more I am learning and the better it will feel when it finally starts. The previous owner said it usually started immediately on turning the key and ran great, I hope to get there soon.
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Postby 888 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:32 pm

Tonight I scored this really handy thing that fits between the spark plug and the wire that tells me if the plug is firing. It was not, as we were pretty sure.

I also got a really beefy neg cable to replace the ugly braided one. The neg cable went on first to a freshly cleaned ground by the PTO. No change.

Based on what I posted earlier about the wiring mods, I assumed the problem was in the black wire bridge between the dash and ign switch and coil. I took it all apart and after some checks, realized it was not in the bridge. The problem was somewhere in the harness between the dash and the coil. I found a jumper wire long enough at work to reach from the dash area splice on the black wire to the + post on the coil and I now have 12 v to the coil on the + post. This is an improvement over the .41 v measured before the test. I also have spark on #1 indicated by my new spark meter.

However, it still won't start, doesn't act a bit different combustion wise, but I feel like a big part of the problem has been solved.

The battery was down to 11v and it was getting too dark to see under the trees so I called it a night.

I hope Mike is able to come out tomorrow night and we can post up that the Cub is moving under it's own power. I think we're close.

It's been a rollercoaster ride for a guy like me with very little patience with things he can't fix quickly. Thanks to all for their suggestions and input throughout this adventure. You guys are great.
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Postby Into Tractors » Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:36 pm

I hope Mike is able to come out tomorrow night

Joe, still planning on coming if you need the help. Already packed up some of my electrical equipment and such, to include my battery charger with the start option on it, and a carb and an aux fuel tank.

Tell us, did you change/alter/bypass anything we chatted about today? Might help us narrow down the problem.

Might even pack up my camera, as it would be nice to post a picture of you driving the darn thing after we get it running.
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Postby 888 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:34 pm

Into Tractors wrote:
I hope Mike is able to come out tomorrow night

Joe, still planning on coming if you need the help. Already packed up some of my electrical equipment and such, to include my battery charger with the start option on it, and a carb and an aux fuel tank.

Tell us, did you change/alter/bypass anything we chatted about today? Might help us narrow down the problem.

I took the black wire between the 8 pin connector and the ign switch and the coil + apart. As mentioned above, I had forgotten what all I had done to that circuit. I actually crimped on a spade and mating connector to the two broken ends of that wire and used the 3M bridge to make a jumper to the coil off of the circuit created with this repair. I measured off of each piece of the circuit with the VOM until I figured out what was hot and what was not. Through this process, I determined that the black wire had some sort of problem between the dash and the coil within the braided harness. I used a jumper I made at work with an alligator clip at each end to go between the known hot end of the black wire at the dash side and the coil + post. When I turned the key to the start position, I got 12.5 v alternating with a lesser value on a rythmic basis while cranking. What's more telling is that the ammeter actually registered some activity while this was happening and the Harbor Fieght spark o meter gave me signs of spark on every 4th engine cycle. The cranking cycles were still slow and tedious but the spark was there and the coil had what it needed. I think we're pretty close.

I know from diesel work not to kill a starter when something doesn't crank but if this starter is weak, it could be the problem. What I don;t know is how fast these things crank. It seems leisurely to me but diesels need a stout crisp crank to turn over. Gassers need less.

I'm not getting sputters of combustion and I want some sputters. I have starting fluid, maybe a charged battery and chemical persuasion is all we need. I'm thinking there's a good chance we'll need that camera. See you tomorrow, please let me know of questions and what time you;ll be here.
Might even pack up my camera, as it would be nice to post a picture of you driving the darn thing after we get it running.
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Postby BigBill » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:52 am

If this hasn't been running in a while I would put a few drops of engine oil in each cylinder before using starter fluid just to lube them.

Hang in there, take a break from it often thats what i do too...
I'm technically misunderstood at times i guess its been this way my whole life so why should it change now.
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Postby 888 » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:42 pm

It really helps if the fuel is going to the carb. I had no idea there was a petcock under the tank, it was leaking like a sieve off of that glass bowl and I tightened the flare nut and it must have shut off the fuel supply. Mike came over tonight, saw it was turned the wrong way and off she went. Didn't even need starter fluid. Runs like a champ.

Actually, the petcock was open before and didn't start (remember my carb was dripping?) the marginal coil wire in the main harness that I found last night was the main electrical issue that was holding me back. That got me spark and Mike got me fuel.

I really really wanted to drive it around but it won't go into gear, there is a terrible gnashing of gear teeth when the engine is running.....but let's start another thread on that one~!

Well, at least I know how a lot of this thing is put together and wired up. Thanks to everybody for the suggestions and support and to Mike/Into Tractors for the visit and company. :D
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Postby Rudi » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:42 pm

888 wrote:It really helps if the fuel is going to the carb. I had no idea there was a petcock under the tank, it was leaking like a sieve off of that glass bowl and I tightened the flare nut and it must have shut off the fuel supply. Mike came over tonight, saw it was turned the wrong way and off she went. Didn't even need starter fluid. Runs like a champ.

Actually, the petcock was open before and didn't start (remember my carb was dripping?) the marginal coil wire in the main harness that I found last night was the main electrical issue that was holding me back. That got me spark and Mike got me fuel.

I really really wanted to drive it around but it won't go into gear, there is a terrible gnashing of gear teeth when the engine is running.....but let's start another thread on that one~!

Well, at least I know how a lot of this thing is put together and wired up. Thanks to everybody for the suggestions and support and to Mike/Into Tractors for the visit and company. :D


Joe:

Thank you so very much for my chuckle of the day... it really brightened up a day that was going south fast :!: :!: :!:

Don't fret it.. cause you are not the first and you won't be the last... Glad to hear your very first MiniFest was a success ... now on to the gnashing and wailing of tranny teeth... :!: :wink: :D :D
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Postby Into Tractors » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:44 pm

Joe, you're more than welcome. I'm glad it was an easy fix there at the end.

Be sure to keep us updated on the clutch status? My guess is that you need to make some adjustments, or it has sat so long that it's frozen up and needs a little persuasion to get it to release.

The worse part is over, she runs like a top now. Just replace the bad sediment bowl assembly and check out the clutch linkage.

Let us know if you get stuck, and we'll all pitch in if needed.
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Postby Bigdog » Thu Aug 16, 2007 5:46 pm

One down and more to go! Problems that is! Glad to hear you got it running. It's always those dang little things that get you. That clutch problem will be fun for sure!
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Postby Into Tractors » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:01 pm

I had hoped to get a picture of Joe driving it, but that would be a little hard to do as the steering wheel is off, and the dashpanel dangling from the steering column would make that a little hard, plus the clutch wouldn't release?

He did a great job of troubleshooting. Once I mentioned a few things to check in an earlier PM this week, and got his answer, he was able to find some more electrical problems and correct them.

As far as the clutch goes, I'm hoping that it is just seized up to to it been sitting for a long period of time, or needs some adjustments?

Got to tell you BD, the engine itself runs great now. Compression seems to be fine, no apparent leaks (other than the sediment bowl which Joe is going to fix by just replacing the entire assembly as it is in really bad shape) and I couldn't really see anything else wrong with the exception of the clutch not wanting to release.
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Postby Eugene » Thu Aug 16, 2007 6:12 pm

Now that is funny. Well, not really.

One guy at work said that his A JD wouldn't start. Drug the tractor 1/2 mile down the road and back home trying to start it. Took a coffee break. Went out and turned on the fuel petcock.

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