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    15.5hp Kohler in a Craftsman rider-won't start

    Asked May 7, 2008, 06:36 PM 38 Answers
    The mower cranks, and cranks... will not start. I tested the sparkplug, had no spark, so I replaced it with a gold/plat plug (upgrade from standard). I put in a new ground, in case the other is getting old--figured too many will not hurt-checked the fuse-looked a little dirty, but not blown. Checked the safety under the seat... not too sure it looks good... tried bypassing it (might not be recommended-but didn't know what else to do). I checked the gas line... took off the fuel filter---think this is my problem, but not positive how to check for sure... I blew the gas out of it, put it back on, put new gas in the tank. I put it all back together, and it seems it is not filling the filter. So I took it back off, put my thumb over the line and don't feel any pull on the line.. no suction--I read in here about pulling the bowl off the carb to check for crap/water--is this an easy process that I can't screw up? Is there a fuel pump in this? I can't find my book... Not sure whatelse to try. Last year had the magnito (sp?) replaced... maybe a new fuel filter..? Got me stumped! In the meantime my grass is growing like weeds! Any imput would be awesome!

    Edited: OH, before it decided not to run it was having starting issues--so I replaced the battery (seems these things go through one every 2 yrs!) and new cable... it was corroded looking this year... brushed it all off. It also had a problem, probably unrelated, but who knows, once last year with blades having trouble disengaging... maybe another safety under there? I will try the carb while I wait for help--thanks.

    Thanks,
    Alison

    Last edited by walstra5; May 7, 2008 at 07:38 PM.
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    eeseely's Avatar
    eeseely Posts: 100, Reputation: 3
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    #2

    May 8, 2008, 12:25 PM
    Clamp the fuel line, then remove the bowl to observe the float valve.
    Sometimes this area gets gummed-up, if you had gas in the bowl over the winter.
    When you crank the engine, check if you getting a spark. Remove the spark plug's lead and hold is about an 1/8" from the metal chassis. You should see arcing when you crank the engine.
    Give it a try and let me know the results.
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    May 8, 2008, 07:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by eeseely
    Clamp the fuel line, then remove the bowl to observe the float valve.
    Sometimes this area gets gummed-up, if you had gas in the bowl over the winter.
    When you crank the engine, check if you getting a spark. Remove the spark plug's lead and hold is about an 1/8" from the metal chassis. You should see arcing when you crank the engine.
    Give it a try and let me know the results.
    eeseely,
    Thanks, I pulled the carb today--bowl had crap in it... sprayed down the carb and let it all run out, looked good after that. I checked for spark again... didn't have any yesterday... still none today! HAs brand new plug... so I took the top of the case off to inspect the coil... I am not sure, but think when I go to start I hear a spark before I turn the key all the way... but don't see where it is coming from... could it be the green lead near the magneto? The magneto is new, however--who know's if it couldn't have been defective. I am definitely getting gas now--I did try jump starting it-thinking It just might not have enough power after all these tries, didn't change a thing, just spun faster.

    What can I try next? I am 100% sure I hear a spark coming from somewhere-in the motor when I turn the key without starting it--isn't there a kill next to the magneto that could have been messed up when the neighbor put in the magneto? I checked all the wires that I can see everything looks connected, nothing corroded, can I run a new wire to the green lead next to the laminator? (I am bad with the correct names of these things)... it is the only thing that looks possibly loose-even after pushing it in--I didn't try squeezing it tight, didn't want to break anything--Can I take this lead off to test it? Honestly I haven't had it apart this far without someone over my shoulder... but am willing to try anything. Just for the heck of it I grounded it again with jumper cables--even though I know the ground is good (changed it yesterday)--no change there.

    I will check the other safety switches tomorrow--under the seat, clutch/trans, and mower deck right? I need to figure out the location of the last 2... guess I will follow the wires down if I have to.

    Thanks for you help, it is very much appreciated!!
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #4

    May 8, 2008, 07:44 PM
    Ohh, forgot to mention I did find a manuel for the motor the green wire I keep talking about is there--says it can be one of 2 colors--mine is green, it's on the ignition module.

    Not 100% sure, but I don't think there is power coming into the magneto -or a working ground,. pulled the wire off, and it has nothing... it didn't change a thing when I went to turn it over. I thought maybe it should have. I did check the safety that runs down to the drive area... it looked slightly corroded, I scraped, and put it back... checked the safety under the seat (again) and fine. I followed the wire I pulled off the magneto to a plug just under the leftside of the trackor it stopped in another switch/connector or sorts about 6 inches from the sylenoid. It looked oxidized... so I scraped it, when I did, it sparked! I know up until that point it has power I guess. I put it all back tried to start and it does the same crank, no spark at the plug. I wonder if that wire I pulled off the magneto is a ground, and it is bad... can I just run any ground to that to test it out, or does it need to be heat resistant covering like it is now? I did check to see if the headlights would come on.. thought why not at this point--power branches off the same connector/switch that ground from the magneto comes from... headlights are not working. But if I don't have a complete circuit there I don't think they would... sorry for thinking outloud... but it may help you "see" what I am seeing somehow. Kicker... I went to start the stupid push mower... lol... it won't start either (ahh... but it is only the carb cable!).

    Any help-ideas- would be greatly appreciated!
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    May 8, 2008, 09:52 PM
    Thought I would throw in my model number 917257660 craftsman command 15.5 kohler number is cv15s the serial is 2405609214 the diagram I found is at kohler's webpage. Thanks again. Alison
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    May 10, 2008, 08:04 PM
    OK, I pulled off the safety's one at a time... each time it made it so it wouldn't crank-had nothing, so that tells me those are all working. I pulled the kill wire off and it cranks still...

    Does this only leave the magneto? My neighbor told me he changed it, but when I went to take it off it was rusted onto it's bolts... it was VERY hard to get off... and I ran into a problems once it did break loose... a bolt cracked. The bolts looked like they had never saw day light-- It sits hard in place with one... will this make a difference? I am going to order a new one magneto and see if that works... I can try to tap out the bolt, but not sure if I should even try (it is mounted in the casing).

    On a good note... I did get my push mower started! Finally--had to drain the gas tank, clean the plug, clean the carb... pushed some and the cord tangled! I have to take that apart tomorrow... but at least it will run!!

    Think I am on the right path?

    Thanks,
    Alison
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    MOWERMAN2468's Avatar
    MOWERMAN2468 Posts: 3,214, Reputation: 243
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    #7

    May 13, 2008, 07:10 PM
    Any luck on this problem yet?
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    May 13, 2008, 09:53 PM
    I am waiting to get the part in--so I am not 100% sure yet- It was difficult finding a magneto for it! I spent hours looking online. Sears didn't have it available on the website-I didn't look directly at Kohler... hope the company I ordered from comes up with something soon... they said it could be 2 weeks!

    I hope this is what I need... does it sound like I missed anything?

    Thanks for responding Mowerman!
    Alison
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #9

    May 15, 2008, 06:45 PM
    I picked up the ignition module (coil) and popped it in--STILL NO SPARK! I can't even believe it. I am at a loss of what to try. I am afraid I might have to pull the fly wheel- unless someone knows what else I can try... I tested all the wires leading to the fuel solenoid, the ground for the kill wire, there is a yellow and black wire that goes towards the flywheel, one is hot, one isn't. I did sand off the magnet on the fly wheel some, it is/was rusty. I know the new magneto needs to be gapped right, (think 0.010?) and not sure how to get this gap right... a match book? If it is too close will it keep from charging the new coil? I went through everything else a second-3-4-5-6th time for power and grounds. I do have a timing question... since it runs off a coil, does it need to be timed? And if so, how do I accomplish this? My concerns about pulling the fly wheel (and thoughts of why) might be off--would the engine crank so great if the shear pin was broke? And how do I look for this on this motor? I did repull the plug to make sure I wasn't getting spark... it isn't. Prob just wasted 47 bucks!

    I also have a set of wires just above the connector the feeds the magneto and fuel solenoid and looks like someone horseshoed 2 reds together... with a short wire--not sure why this is-or if it is supposed to be like that...

    So frustrating! Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

    Alison
    Found a check list... this is what I have checked for or changed (plus anything above):
    Fuel tank empty. New gas
    Fuel hose kinked, pinched. Checked all lines, plus it is getting gas--can smell it.
    Fuel filter clogged. Blew it out.
    Fuel valve shut off --I don't have a shut off--I think the fuel solenoid checks for this
    Fuel solenoid inoperative. I have power to it--can the actual part keep it from starting if gas is still making it through?
    LPG Regulator not opening. Not sure what this is (prob not on my mower)... starter is engaging each time...
    Water in fuel, stale fuel. New gas
    Wrong type fuel (Diesel). No
    Throttle control in stop position. No
    Choke not fully closed. No
    Choke on, flooding hot engine. Not running, can't be hot
    Power take off clutch on. Not sure what this is.
    Safety interlocks inoperative. I disconnected these one by one, and tried starting in-between--won't start on disconnect, so they should be good.
    Spark plug wire disconnected. No-and brand new
    Spark plug improperly gapped. Gapped at 0.030
    Wrong type of spark plug. No-5066 gold plat replaced RC12YC
    Wiring harness not connected. I checked and sprayed all wires... they test all good... am kind of concerned how they change from one side of a connector to another (black/red, blue/orange, yellow/white, red/blue).
    Wiring broken, loose or wrong. Everything is connected--one loop was added above the connector that the magneto is ran off (diff circuit) not sure what this is.
    Transmission not in neutral. In neutral, plus starting with parking brake engaged.
    Electrical clutch not adjusted. Not sure--parking brake engages with it no problem though.
    Cranking sepeed too slow to start. I tried jumping it--cranks strong! Cranks just OK at this point with out charging (been working on it over a week!)
    Spark plug loose. No, snug... brand new coil (ignition module) today... kill wire still isn't keeping it from cranking... can the wire itself be bad--it is supposed to be a ground right? The wires that lead under the flywheel (yellow and black) can these go bad? I do see what I think is an inline diode there--wire looks good...
    Low or no compression. Took plug out--put fingers over the hole, good/strong amount of air with revolutions.

    I do have another question that just came to mind... my arm for engaging the blades will not drop to the complete bottom in off position... it is 1/4 inch from the bottom... not even sure why, but I did reach under to make sure blades were not engaged, belt was OK... greased arm under housing just to see if maybe that was it... engaged/disengaged... no difference... could this be the issue? And if so, how do I get it to reach 100% disengage position? (when working right, it needs to go over the top to engage) It still cranks strong... and safety is good there too.

    Thanks for any help! I check back often! I don't close the page and have read tons of posts here... they seem to stop just where my question begins though!

    Alison
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    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 838
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    #10

    May 15, 2008, 09:00 PM
    Are you using one of those funky plugs that are supposed to give a great spark that have no continuity from the top to the center electrode. If so, lose it now.

    Go get a real plug if you are.

    Try to get a small arc from the plug wire to the block.

    Does this thing have points? Points + ignition module and magneto?
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    May 15, 2008, 10:18 PM
    It has an ignition and magneto... I don't thnk it has pts etc... I have the manuel open on a different page... the check list it has there I have covered a few times. I replaced the magneto today... have a better than standard plug in (it states it replaces the one that was in it... a RC12YC--this one is the gold plat version of it made by Champion--gapped it at 0.030--it also says brigs/strat on the box. I tried getting a spark, but maybe haven't built up enough in the coil since it is new? I cranked over and over until the battery ran low, then jumped it... it cranks perfect--wish it would just start!

    I did find a picture of the fly wheel in top dead position... even thoug I have great cranking-could it still be the flywheel shear pin? I know I am thinking out loud... but just want to make sure everything else checks out...

    Here is the ignition info from the manuel
    Figure 8-2. Electronic Magneto Ignition System, CV11-15, CV460-465, CV490-495 Engines. 8
    Electronic Magneto Ignition System, CV11-15, CV460-465, CV490-495 Engines
    Operation
    As the flywheel rotates and the magnet assembly
    Moves past the ignition module, a low voltage is
    Induced in the primary windings of the module. When
    The primary voltage is precisely at its peak, the primary
    Circuit is interrupted, inducing a high voltage in the
    Secondary windings. This high voltage creates a spark
    At the tip of the spark plug, which ignites the fuel-air
    Mixture in the combustion chamber.
    The timing of the spark is automatically controlled by
    The module. Therefore, other than periodically
    Checking/replacing the spark plug, no maintenance,
    Timing, or adjustments are necessary or possible with
    This system.
    CV11-15, CV460-465, CV490-495 engines are
    Equipped with a dependable electronic magneto
    Ignition system. The system consists of the following
    Components:
    A magnet assembly which is permanently affixed
    To the flywheel.
    An electronic magneto ignition module which
    Mounts on the engine crankcase.
    A kill switch (or key switch) which grounds the
    Module to stop the engine.
    And a spark plug

    So that answers my question about timing... and still leaves me with the kill wire question off the ignition module being possibly bad.

    I have the old plug... it still looks good, and clean... maybe I should put it back in and try it out... I don't know why else I don't have spark!
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #12

    May 15, 2008, 11:03 PM
    Here is the ignition wire list that comes all the way up according to the diagram from kohler... of my motor. This says that the kill wire off the magneto should run all the way here, yet mine stops and is grounded to the wall of the tractor as far as I can tell. I did pull off each wire to the ignition itself last week and checked them. They all seemed clean- and tested OK, but if that kill wire is supposed to run through here, and doesn't (not because of something I did!! ) maybe this is why it cranks and doesn't kick over.

    Ground-to-Kill Lead (White)--

    (Violet) R
    (Blue) S
    (Red) B


    A (oil sentury switch... don't think I have this)
    GND M
    All to Key Switch

    I bring this up because when the tractor was new the igition (key swtch) went bad right away from it's housing nut, it would just turn freely... I would have to put my fingers behind it to hold it still to turn on and off. My nieghbor fixed this last season- I guess I am taking this connector off tomorrow to test again too. I wish it was easier to get to these wires!

    Let me know what you think about the kill wire off the magneto and where it should end up... I will change it if I can.

    Thanks so much again!

    Alison
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    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 838
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    #13

    May 16, 2008, 05:55 AM
    That white wire should really go to the ignition switch (A), the low oil pressure switch (missing). For now, take it off ground and the ignition switch if it is there. Have it handy.
    Try to start the engine and/or look for spark with the plug removed.

    Ground the white wire to stop the engine if it starts. Place it on terminal A if the ignitition switch.
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #14

    May 16, 2008, 01:01 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by KeepItSimpleStupid
    That white wire should really go to the ignition switch (A), the low oil pressure switch (missing). For now, take it off of ground and the ignition switch if it is there. Have it handy.
    Try to start the engine and/or look for spark with the plug removed.

    Ground the white wire to stop the engine if it starts. Place it on terminal A if the ignitition switch.
    Thanks! I will go out and try this now. I know when I pull the kill wire off the magneto it still cranks the same way... maybe he put the wrong connectors back in the ignition when he 'fixed it' I hope this is the answer... even if I have to jump off the mower and manually kill the motor each time-the grease I put in should have had time to work--I will try to get the blade engage handle to drop that last little bit--it wasn't budging yesterday (not down anyway) moving it to the engage position was difficult too, but I blame that on the motor not running.

    I will repost tonight and let you know what happens.

    Thanks again! Kiss!

    Alison
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    May 16, 2008, 04:17 PM
    k, found either a ground-or the magneto kill wire-pulled it mower wouldn't crank-so it must be good--if it is the right wire (it was the top of the 2-2-1) at the 1 spot.

    I found that this ignition switch has more wires on it that the manual says. When I pulled the wire off the mower wouldn't crank at all... but the problem I am finding is I can't tell which it is since there is so many black wires... (wish they would use the colored wires for live things!! ) I need to try to pull the black wires off one by one and see if one of those are it. The connector has 5 clips (2-2 and 1)--8 wires... makes no sense. I am tempted to take all of them off--connect the wires individually to the switch what I know belongs... this is making me lose my mind!
    I did find another button switch (safety) behind the linkage for the blade engage switch--tested it too... was good. The ignition is not all testing good though. I have 1 hot wire... that's it-with the key switch on--not on run (crank). I do know when it cranks a few things... the solenoid is good, the starter engages... from there it is a mystery.

    I am going to try to bypass the key ignition somehow to see if that isn't bad... are ignition switches expensive?


    I am scratching my head---grrr... sweet talking it isn't an option anymore---

    Thanks again!

    Alison
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    uchai's Avatar
    uchai Posts: 9, Reputation: 2
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    #16

    May 31, 2008, 06:01 PM
    Alison,

    You can ignore all the wires on the ignition switch right now if your starter is cracking.

    Sound like you don't have sparks, so ignore all the fuel system right now.

    You have the new ignitor coil and magnet, that is good.

    Do the following:

    Unplug the kill wire, probably white on the ignitor coil. Remove the plug and connect back the plug cable, ground the treaded region of the plug to the engine(must be in good contact). Crank the engine and observe the spark on the spark tip.

    If you still not getting sparks, check to make sure you have bought the exact ignitor and magnet for your tractor model. If so, you can try to remove the magent and flip it down, this will change the magnet polarity inorder to induce the right current. There is no other reasons that you still do not have sparks.
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    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    May 31, 2008, 08:18 PM
    How do I flip the magnet? I did buy the exact magneto (ignition mod) that was on it--I tested all of it for continuity. I still have no spark. Kholer suggested a bad wire somewhere... finding it is difficult. I have checked each for continuity. I have one wire that appears to be bad... or has no continuity anyhow. It does go to the ignition from the connector that runs on the left side of the tractor to a groups of 4 wires, one is the killwire, one to the fuel syl, one goes to the stator, and this one---not sure where it goes. Someone told me to also look for a rectifier. I am not finding one. I did jump start it, he said I could have blown that which would keep it from converting the spark over... I thought it made sense, however more so in a snow mobile than a rider...

    I did just start bypassing all the safety's this weekend. I am going to finish that up, if it still doesn't get spark I am going to get a new ignition switch... the spring in it may be faulty and not ungrounding right... all the wires that do matter are cranking, but it may be lacking that one part that keeps it from grounding, not allowing a circuit to be completed.

    I was thinking if all else fails I am also going to order or run new wiring. I have tried everything else under the sun! The only thing I am missing is spark...

    Brand new spark plug gapped at 0.40 per manual, new magneto (ig module) gapped with a dollar bill-tested it for continuity too after building the resistance up (mag pull) tested good, tested all the wiring for continuity, replaced the ground behind the solenoid, there is a fusible link next to the fuse, and it tested good-changed the fuse too (even though it was good), battery tested good--even though I keep killing it trying to start it up, I have to find the last 2 safety's I found a couple of weeks ago to bypass those. It is frustrating!

    Any other tips would be GREAT---anyone hear of a rectifier being on a rider?? And if so, where is it---I can't find it!

    Alison
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    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 838
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    #18

    May 31, 2008, 09:11 PM
    OK, here is a weird thing to look at. Are there magnets on the flywheel? Do they attract steel?

    Make sure there is no rust on the flywheel's magnets. Take some 400 grit sandpaper lightly sand all the rust off the magnets.

    I'm gasping at straws.
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    uchai's Avatar
    uchai Posts: 9, Reputation: 2
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    #19

    May 31, 2008, 09:38 PM
    Alison,

    That is good since you have the exact parts. Insteads of flip, I should have said turn it upside down, the mounting should still fit but the contact position may be off a little.

    STOP looking at any other wires in the mean time. A rectifier is used in battery charging, it converts the ac to dc current... The spark is generated from the rotation motion of the magnet and the ignitor coil. I am assuming the starter is cranking.

    You are trying to debug the spark, the only cable that is concerned is the high tension cable connecting the spark plug when you left the other terminators on the ignitor coil open.

    On your previous post, you quotes " I tested all of it for continuity. I still have no spark"

    I am not sure what is your continuity test, are you testing the continuity of the ignitor coil and the spark plug cable? You are wasting your time to test the continuity on all other wires on the tractor if you are to figure out the problem of spark.


    Just do the following test as mentioned on my previous reply:

    Unplug the kill wire, probably white on the ignitor coil. Remove the plug and connect back the plug cable, ground the treaded region of the plug to the engine(must be in good contact). Crank the engine and observe the spark on the spark tip.
    Helpful (1)
    walstra5's Avatar
    walstra5 Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
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    #20

    Jun 2, 2008, 12:51 AM
    I did that way back when KISS told me to. I have repeated that several times since replacing the ig coil. I even tried taking the kill wire complete out--nothing! I did test the new ig mod for continuity (and yes the right way). And thought I would test the key switch and the wires leading to other places in case it is drawing out somewhere.

    It cranks perfect---still no spark. It poured so I couldn't go out and bypass the last 2 safety's today. I will try the kill wire again... and order a new key switch. I figure at this point I have tried everything. My reasoning behind the key switch is how the spring works inside of it... turning to crank it sends all the energy to the solenoid, but also has a ground that stops sending it--maybe it isn't stopping... but staying grounded enough to keep spark from making it to the plug?

    So there is no rectifier on this then? I kind of didn't think so, but without getting anywhere it was worth asking.

    I am looking at the manual again to see if I am missing something. I have been trying to get this started for weeks now! Giving me nightmares!

    I will see if the ig coil will flip over... it does have great magnetic pull... no rust! I sandpapered the flywheel side weeks ago... just had a little rust... thought it couldn't hurt to get rid of it.

    Thanks for responding so quickly to my posts!

    Alison
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