Tractor quit under load and now won't start

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Randy Tuura
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Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Randy Tuura » Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:40 pm

The other day I was mowing along quite nicely. Was marveling at how well the governor was responding to the load and enjoying the sound of the engine... and then all of a sudden it quit. No sputtering, just sudden stop. Pulled the starter and it started right up. Then a few minutes later it did the same thing and now the tractor is dead. I thought maybe a dead short because it is a 12 volt conversion and the battery doesn't fit the box very well. But the Positive cable did not contact the box. I just read the post entitled "Not even a click" and that's what I have. I got headlights but not a single response from the starter.

I've read that a good general rule is if everything is going well and suddenly stops, look for a small cause, not a major one.

So, I have headlights,
I can turn the crankshaft by turning the fan.

It happened suddenly like a car I once had that developed a dead short in the battery cable to the starter because it suddenly grounded out.

I suspected that here but I could not find any evidence of a short.

Could it be that the coil suddenly went bad?

I do know my starter button needs work because it is and has been very hard to pull to get the starter to work.
Is that something a guy can fix at the workbench or do I just buy a new starter button?

Thanks in advance, the advice I've gotten here has always been right on the money.
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Eugene » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:27 pm

Sudden death sounds like loss of voltage in the ignition circuit. First check to see if you have battery power (voltage) to the coil then to the distributor. If so remove the distributor cap, rotor and dust cover. Check condition of points. No voltage at any point, start testing the ignition circuit from the no voltage point back, working toward the switch then to the terminal on top of the starter, until you find battery voltage.

Check battery condition and corrosion at all battery cable connections. Then conduct voltage drop tests on the engine starting circuit.

Small causes. Just have to identify the problem(s).
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby staninlowerAL » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:33 pm

Headlights means some power from the battery. Suggest you follow the electrical path from the connection at the starter where the smaller wire goes to the dash and go forward to the distributor connection. See if you loose the power along the path. Or with the ign switch on, start at the distributor connection and go backwards to see if there is power all along the path. Some thoughts: 12v conversion: mag converted to run on external distributor? Kill switch changed to ign switch? 6v coil with resistor? 12v coil with internal resistor? where is it located in relationship to the coil? Points in good condition? The fact that the starter does not respond is probably a separate problem. You can replace it or remove, take it apart and clean it. The contacts have a tendency to "burn" when they arc both in the switch and the post on the starter. A light filing to restore the surface usually will correct it. Pay attention to the insulation so it does not short out after reassembly. (Eugene finished first.) :)
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby ntrenn » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:28 pm

I like simple too....coil.....they die in several ways...one has them dying once they get warm...then working once they cool. Another is they just quit. I had one go for several months 20 minutes run....30 minutes cool. I have never been successful in ohming coils. They are only $20 or so at oreilly or autojunk....

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Randy Tuura
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Randy Tuura » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:43 am

ntrenn wrote:I like simple too....coil.....they die in several ways...one has them dying once they get warm...then working once they cool. Another is they just quit. I had one go for several months 20 minutes run....30 minutes cool. I have never been successful in ohming coils. They are only $20 or so at oreilly or autojunk....


I like it. Just replaced the coil a year ago. I know that they either go a long time or they don't. Perhaps I did something wrong when I installed it. Will have to check the starting circuit though. A bad coil shouldn't have any effect on whether the starter turns over. Starter button has been a problem for a long time so it probably went at the same time coincidentally. Who knows?
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Jackman » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:18 am

A bad starter mechanism won't shut down a running Cub , but since the starter button is a exsisting problem they are easy to clean up like Stan said or get a new one at TSC there cheap . I'd do as previusly mention but start at the terminals cause I think your loosing contact , problby a loose or dirty battery connection .

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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby randallc » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:37 am

And remember the condenser, the don't go out to often but can be a head ache when they do.
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby tnestell » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:46 am

staninlowerAL wrote: 12v conversion: mag converted to run on external distributor? Kill switch changed to ign switch? 6v coil with resistor? 12v coil with internal resistor? where is it located in relationship to the coil? Points in good condition? The fact that the starter does not respond is probably a separate problem.

I believe this is where I would start. I had problems with $20.00 12 volt internal resistor coils Made in Mexico going bad after a short period. Was advised to spend $40.00 on a Made in USA coil. That solved my problem.

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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Mike in Louisiana » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:40 am

Last time mine did this, it was just a wire came loose on back of the dash. Check easy things first.
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Eugene » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:45 am

Mike in Louisiana wrote:Last time mine did this, it was just a wire came loose on back of the dash. Check easy things first.
Had my standard Cub suddenly quit while mowing. First time, loose wire under dash. Second time, the ignition switch quit. Both easy fixes.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Matt Kirsch » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:09 am

If I understand things correctly, the starter does NOT turn?

1. One or more of the four (or six on later Cubs) large battery connections is bad. Most likely on the positive wire because the engine also quit.
2. One or more of the large battery cables has gone bad. Inspect the cable for blackening of the copper (black wire disease), blue or white flaky corrosion.
3. The starter switch is bad. Less likely because the engine also quit. The engine quitting indicates the loss of a major electrical connection.

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Randy Tuura
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Randy Tuura » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:50 pm

Matt Kirsch wrote:If I understand things correctly, the starter does NOT turn?

1. One or more of the four (or six on later Cubs) large battery connections is bad. Most likely on the positive wire because the engine also quit.
2. One or more of the large battery cables has gone bad. Inspect the cable for blackening of the copper (black wire disease), blue or white flaky corrosion.
3. The starter switch is bad. Less likely because the engine also quit. The engine quitting indicates the loss of a major electrical connection.


My thoughts as well.

I was just checking with the experts before I go into it blind.
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby chuck ma » Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:34 am

i had the same thing happen, traced to coil to distributer wire. the wire didn't look broken but replaced it and problem solved
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Randy Tuura
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby Randy Tuura » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:59 pm

Call me crazy, but I sticked the tank and it was almost out of gas and going uphill. Starter switch has been going bad for a long time. I have to change fingers sometimes if I have to pull the starter more than two or three times. New coil, condenser, points, plug wires and plugs last fall. Tune up did wonders for power. Should have it running before the grass gets too tall.
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Re: Tractor quit under load and now won't start

Postby farmallfletch » Fri Dec 22, 2023 3:18 pm

I had nearly the identical problem while mowing. I got new battery cables and cleaned the points of contact, and that was it!
Last edited by farmallfletch on Sat Dec 23, 2023 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.


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