Beginning to troubleshoot starting problems

wendol

Member

Equipment
L3800 HST
Feb 5, 2014
150
16
18
78
North Tx
The low voltage relay kit is "AM 107421". Has $10 worth the parts in it and Deere charges $64. I purchased a couple off of Ebay a couple of years ago for $15 or so from take-offs. It made a world of difference on a TG 1860.
Totally agree with D2Cat's recommendation!!.........I had intermittent starting issues for years (going from HST pedal, to clutch switch, etc, etc) and a couple of months ago installed this relay kit from Amazon, and for the past few months it has started like new.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DF5JVDW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
3,868
1,518
113
North of Pittsburgh PA
I have read this thread over the last few days but unfortunately I don't retain everything nor have the energy to reread everything another time.

I think you need to approach this from the divide and conquer approach. That means I think you should first verify that the starter actually works. This can be done by using a jumper between the main power log on the starter and the small terminal where the safety circuit connects to the starter solenoid.

If everything else is normal, the starter will turn over and the engine will likely start, and you will know the starter and the power circuit circuitry is OK.(If you do this, Make sure you have the tractor in neutral and the parking brake set.)

So that Points you at the safety circuit.

Now if the starter doesn't turn over, you need to determine whether the starter is the problem, or if the connections in the circuit for the starter Power is the problem. So you need to use a voltmeter to make measurements to evaluate what's going on.

Since the battery itself is the Power source to activate the starter, voltage measurements should be referenced to the negative battery Post. This is because a poor connection anywhere in the circuit between the positive and negative battery terminals can affect current flow through the circuit. And the battery needs to provide high current flow to the starter to turn over the engine.

If the starter motor doesn't turn over when you apply 12 V to the starter solenoid, there's always a chance that the starter solenoid could be the issue. But making voltage checks can point you in this direction or somewhere else.

So if you get to this point, Measure battery voltage at the positive terminal of the starter when you try to start the engine. Again this is referenced to battery negative post. Do you have 12 volts at the starter positive terminal when you try to start the engine?

If so, put your positive meter probe on the starter case and try again. Do you measure voltage on the starter case? You shouldn't. But if you do that would indicate you have a Poor connection between the starter case and the battery negative a terminal. Somewhere there is a lead that connects the engine case to the tractor frame. This might be the issue. But a bad connection at the battery negative clamp would show up the same way. So you have to dig a little.

Bottom line is using logic Will lead you to a solution… don't be overwhelmed! It's a pretty simple circuit. You will win this battle!

Just an afterthought. If you get to the point where are you are questioning the starter solenoid itself, if you measure 12 V on the main power line to the starter, and you also measure 12 V on the small lug which feeds the solenoid, when you try to start the engine, then chances are something is wrong with the starter solenoid .

edit: the engine might not start if jumped because the key might have to be in the start position to pull the fuel shutoff coil in, so the hold coil can take over. But if the starter turns the engine over, that is all that is needed at that point in the diagnosis.
 
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Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
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I have read this thread over the last few days but unfortunately I don't retain everything nor have the energy to reread everything another time.

I think you need to approach this from the divide and conquer approach. That means I think you should first verify that the starter actually works. This can be done by using a jumper between the main power log on the starter and the small terminal where the safety circuit connects to the starter solenoid.

If everything else is normal, the starter will turn over and the engine will likely start, and you will know the starter and the power circuit circuitry is OK.(If you do this, Make sure you have the tractor in neutral and the parking brake set.)

So that Points you at the safety circuit.

Now if the starter doesn't turn over, you need to determine whether the starter is the problem, or if the connections in the circuit for the starter Power is the problem. So you need to use a voltmeter to make measurements to evaluate what's going on.

Since the battery itself is the Power source to activate the starter, voltage measurements should be referenced to the negative battery Post. This is because a poor connection anywhere in the circuit between the positive and negative battery terminals can affect current flow through the circuit. And the battery needs to provide high current flow to the starter to turn over the engine.

If the starter motor doesn't turn over when you apply 12 V to the starter solenoid, there's always a chance that the starter solenoid could be the issue. But making voltage checks can point you in this direction or somewhere else.

So if you get to this point, Measure battery voltage at the positive terminal of the starter when you try to start the engine. Again this is referenced to battery negative post. Do you have 12 volts at the starter positive terminal when you try to start the engine?

If so, put your positive meter probe on the starter case and try again. Do you measure voltage on the starter case? You shouldn't. But if you do that would indicate you have a Poor connection between the starter case and the battery negative a terminal. Somewhere there is a lead that connects the engine case to the tractor frame. This might be the issue. But a bad connection at the battery negative clamp would show up the same way. So you have to dig a little.

Bottom line is using logic Will lead you to a solution… don't be overwhelmed! It's a pretty simple circuit. You will win this battle!

Just an afterthought. If you get to the point where are you are questioning the starter solenoid itself, if you measure 12 V on the main power line to the starter, and you also measure 12 V on the small lug which feeds the solenoid, when you try to start the engine, then chances are something is wrong with the starter solenoid .

edit: the engine might not start if jumped because the key might have to be in the start position to pull the fuel shutoff coil in, so the hold coil can take over. But if the starter turns the engine over, that is all that is needed at that point in the diagnosis.
Henro, you've provided a lot of info. I'll have to print it out and mull. I'm good at mulling but not so good at anything else! Plus, today's efforts have sent me downhill. I'll put the specifics in a separate post.


TG

TG
 

Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
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The seat switch is not in the engine Crank circuit as the tractor should crank with no one in the seat.
Wow. That really surprises me. So, the tractor would start but can't be moved with the HST pedal unless someone is in the seat. Good to know.

TG
 

Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
276
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NC
OK, Gentlemen, the plot thickens. I did some searching today...before I read Henro's post. I would've tried his recommendations first but it is too late.

After each of these checks, I tried to start the tractor to see if the problem was corrected and, if not, to make sure I was back where I started. First, I checked the seat safety switch and it had good continuity so that is OK. Then, I tested the PTO selection switch. I could reach it without removing the RH wheel. It was not fully seated and the terminals were quite dirty., so I thought I had found the problem. Not so fast, dearie. I cleaned the terminals and tested for continuity...it was OK. Still, no start.

Then I went to the range selector switch. Since the tractor won't start, I can't use the outriggers to life the tractor to remove the LH wheel. I could see a lot of debris in there so I blew out some of the dirt with the compressor. It's hard to see the switch so I couldn't get to the terminals to test. But, still hopeful that something good may have happened, I tried to start it. NOTHING. No dash lights, so clicking, nada. I cannot imagine what in the world happened.

So, I disconnected the ignition key start module. The WSM says to use a voltmeter and test the voltage between the red terminal and the chasis. It should be same as battery. I got no reading. So, there is a problem getting power to the key module.

Even though, it appears there is no power getting to the ignition key module, I took that module off and tested it, thinking that maybe there was something I hadn't noticed Saturday but it tested OK. When I reconnected it and turned the tractor on...nada again. BUT, when I turned the key off, there was a whining sound for about 5 seconds, kinda' like a creaking door closing. And, then it stops. I tried to get closer to where the sound was coming from but it's pretty small in there. The sound is near the battery and maybe up toward the dash. I'll have to do more tomorrow.

I'm not sure that I will be able to track down an electrical problem like this, but I'll give it a go. Maybe it's something obvious...broken wire, etc. We'll see

I'll report back. Thanks for all the help. You guys are great.

TG
 

Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
276
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OK, Gentlemen, the plot thickens. I did some searching today...before I read Henro's post. I would've tried his recommendations first but it is too late.

After each of these checks, I tried to start the tractor to see if the problem was corrected and, if not, to make sure I was back where I started. First, I checked the seat safety switch and it had good continuity so that is OK. Then, I tested the PTO selection switch. I could reach it without removing the RH wheel. It was not fully seated and the terminals were quite dirty., so I thought I had found the problem. Not so fast, dearie. I cleaned the terminals and tested for continuity...it was OK. Still, no start.

Then I went to the range selector switch. Since the tractor won't start, I can't use the outriggers to life the tractor to remove the LH wheel. I could see a lot of debris in there so I blew out some of the dirt with the compressor. It's hard to see the switch so I couldn't get to the terminals to test. But, still hopeful that something good may have happened, I tried to start it. NOTHING. No dash lights, so clicking, nada. I cannot imagine what in the world happened.

So, I disconnected the ignition key start module. The WSM says to use a voltmeter and test the voltage between the red terminal and the chasis. It should be same as battery. I got no reading. So, there is a problem getting power to the key module.

Even though, it appears there is no power getting to the ignition key module, I took that module off and tested it, thinking that maybe there was something I hadn't noticed Saturday but it tested OK. When I reconnected it and turned the tractor on...nada again. BUT, when I turned the key off, there was a whining sound for about 5 seconds, kinda' like a creaking door closing. And, then it stops. I tried to get closer to where the sound was coming from but it's pretty small in there. The sound is near the battery and maybe up toward the dash. I'll have to do more tomorrow.

I'm not sure that I will be able to track down an electrical problem like this, but I'll give it a go. Maybe it's something obvious...broken wire, etc. We'll see

I'll report back. Thanks for all the help. You guys are great.

TG
One more thing...I won't be able to get to this until Wednesday. Didn't want anyone to think I was stuck under the dashboard. "-)

TG
 
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Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
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Making some progess on the "no start" issue for my BX23. Happily, I report that I have been able to get the tractor started! That, in itself, is a miracle. :) However, the dash lights and gauges are not working. And, I don't hear the fuel pump clicking when I turn the key on. Because the dash lights are not working, the glow plug indicator does not light up as it had been doing, and the oil temperature light which had illuminated, no longer does.

I took the "bonnet" and side panel off to get a better look at the starter and the wiring. Actually, taking those things off, because of the grill guard, is one of the hardest parts of the job! The wires are enclosed in the protective stuff so I wasn't able to see any of that. I took the positive lead off the starter to make sure it had good contact and it seemed OK.

With nothing having jumped out as a problem, I decided that I needed to go back to the beginning. I removed the cables from the battery and used the terminal cleaner again. Then, I noticed that the INSIDE of the battery cables looked dirty. I scraped around in the best way possible, then let them soak in some apple cider vinegar. That did the trick. I hooked the battery back up and the tractor started. I nearly jumped out of my skin. :) But, as stated the Easy Checker lights are not working and the temp and fuel gauges are not working now.

I'm not sure how to track this down but I'll give it some study to see if I can figure it out. I printed the wiring diagram from the WSM but my ability to use that is quite limited. Maybe in time, I can see what it's trying to tell.

It is hot here today and I was too hot to continue. I wanted to cut the grass but without hearing the clicks like I used to hear when I turned the key to on prior to turning to start, I am afraid the fuel pump may be not working and I don't want to get caught stranded outside.

I'm relieved to discover that there is not some major issue that needs to be addressed...at least I don't think so. Now, if we're talking wiring harness, I've got troubles. But, hope springs eternal...

Many thanks to those who've helped guide and encourage. My hat is off to Henro. After reading his exhortation, I was ready to win the battle. People always need a little encouragement. Thank you, Henro.

If there are any tricks to chase down the problem with the Easy Checker lights and dash gauges, I'd love to know. Taking off that dash looks like something that would not be fun. Removing the steering wheel? The Kubota engineers must not ever work on these machines!

When I know more...I'll back.

TG
 
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Jim L.

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Jun 18, 2014
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If there are any tricks to chase down the problem with the Easy Checker lights and dash gauges, I'd love to know.

Fear not. Check fuses so that there is a positive supply; ground for the cluster is bright and tight; connectors in the path are not loose or pins corroded.
 

Tractor Gal

Active member
Oct 30, 2020
276
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If there are any tricks to chase down the problem with the Easy Checker lights and dash gauges, I'd love to know.

Fear not. Check fuses so that there is a positive supply; ground for the cluster is bright and tight; connectors in the path are not loose or pins corroded.
I'll give it a go, Jim. I had checked the 4 main fuses for continuity yesterday. As far as under dash...I have not attempted to remove the dash panel. When I bought the tractor, none of the rocker switches for lights have any connectors, so the rear lights do not work. The headlights work if they are plugged in but I disconnected them for two reasons: can't turn them off and I do not use this at night. :) I can't really see up under the dash to get a sense of what may be the problem. I may have to try to remove the steering wheel and get that panel off.

Thanks for the "Fear not." :) I'll work at it.
TG
 

Dieseldonato

Well-known member

Equipment
B7510 hydro, yanmar ym146, cub cadet 1450, 582,782
Mar 15, 2022
691
391
63
Pa
I just looked over the parts manual to get an idea of what's all going on. I'm still 90% sure it's something simple being over looked, but as I assumed you have several relays under the dash and there is the "smart realy" for the safety switches under there as well. The dash does look like a bit of a pain to get off, but once the plastic is off it looks like everything is pretty accessible.
 

Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
276
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NC
I just looked over the parts manual to get an idea of what's all going on. I'm still 90% sure it's something simple being over looked, but as I assumed you have several relays under the dash and there is the "smart realy" for the safety switches under there as well. The dash does look like a bit of a pain to get off, but once the plastic is off it looks like everything is pretty accessible.
I think you're right, Dieseldonato. It is going to be something simple. A description of myself, actually...simple. :) I can't get to this today but will certainly get at it tomorrow. The wiring diagram is a mystery to my brain, but it may come to me as I study it a bit. I know it give the wire colors so perhaps I can track those down. We'll see.

There is at least one good thing...each time there is an issue with the tractor, I learn so much. That, alone, is a wonderful thing! First, the transmission housing, then the fuel line, then the hydraulic hoses, now the electrical. Life is good.

TG
 
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JerryMT

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Equipment
Kubota M4500, NH TD95D,Ford 4610
Jun 17, 2017
432
93
28
The Palouse - North Idaho
I think you're right, Dieseldonato. It is going to be something simple. A description of myself, actually...simple. :) I can't get to this today but will certainly get at it tomorrow. The wiring diagram is a mystery to my brain, but it may come to me as I study it a bit. I know it give the wire colors so perhaps I can track those down. We'll see.

There is at least one good thing...each time there is an issue with the tractor, I learn so much. That, alone, is a wonderful thing! First, the transmission housing, then the fuel line, then the hydraulic hoses, now the electrical. Life is good.

TG
have you checked the chasis ground yet?
 
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Mark_BX25D

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Bx25D
Jul 19, 2020
734
429
63
Virginia
I think you need to approach this from the divide and conquer approach.
Exactly.

Hen-pecking (check this thing, check that thing) is the usual process, and it's frustrating and confusing.

In the electronics world, we call this "divide and conquer" technique, "circuit splitting", and it is the fastest, least frustrating, most certain way to resolve a problem. (It applies to hydraulics, too.)


Find a place that is logically in the middle (ish) of the circuit, and check to see if you have the correct function there. If you do, you know the problem is downstream of that point. So, take from where you are to the endpoint, find a middle (ish) point, and test there. Rinse, repeat.

Same with failures. If you do NOT see the correct function, the problem is upstream. Follow the same logic.

Of course, this requires that you have a circuit diagram so you know what is supposed ot happen, but if you don't, you can only hen-peck and have fun with that!
 
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Tractor Gal

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Exactly.

Hen-pecking (check this thing, check that thing) is the usual process, and it's frustrating and confusing.

In the electronics world, we call this "divide and conquer" technique, "circuit splitting", and it is the fastest, least frustrating, most certain way to resolve a problem. (It applies to hydraulics, too.)


Find a place that is logically in the middle (ish) of the circuit, and check to see if you have the correct function there. If you do, you know the problem is downstream of that point. So, take from where you are to the endpoint, find a middle (ish) point, and test there. Rinse, repeat.

Same with failures. If you do NOT see the correct function, the problem is upstream. Follow the same logic.

Of course, this requires that you have a circuit diagram so you know what is supposed ot happen, but if you don't, you can only hen-peck and have fun with that!
Yes, I have the wiring diagram from the WSM. Now, following that is quite a task but with time and effort, I can do it! :) Tomorrow, I'll be at it again. Good thoughts, Mark BX25D. I appreciate it.

TG
 
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Jim L.

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Jun 18, 2014
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28
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A Pro trick is to print the schematic - then use a hi-liter to mark what you've checked.
 
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Tractor Gal

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Oct 30, 2020
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NC
After all of the above, the problem has revealed itself, but it is not resolved. Here's the story.

Today (Fri), I began to try to find the problem of temp and fuel gauges not working. Yesterday, I had the WSM printed so it wasn't necessary to keep checking of the WSM different pages via computer. With the book in hand, voltmeter, etc., I figured THIS would be the day.

My original plan was to remove the dash panel to see the gauges and wiring under the dash. But, after I used some "pretzel maneuvers" to get my head under the deck with flashlight in hand, and after getting a face full of dust/dirt while poking around, I changed the plan.

The tractor starts well and everything is operational other than those two gauges. It is going to be VERY hot next week so I wanted to get the grass cut first, THEN take the dash panel off, etc.

So, here's the outcome. Mowing went well...no problems. Just as I was finishing, the two gauges began working again! What a hoot. That cements in my mind that it is a loose connection somewhere. How to find that, I do not know...not at this time when things are working. I'll just keep an eye on things and if/when these gauges stop again, I'll trace it down. It has not happened like this in the whole time I've had it so that's something to think about also.

All of the suggestions, etc., given by a myriad of people here are SOOOO appreciated. I continue to learn which should reduce the need to ask for help! The operative word there is should. :) I believe everyone who asks for help feels the same appreciation. We travel on...and the journey is good.
Thank you all.

Tractor Gal
 
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JerryMT

Active member

Equipment
Kubota M4500, NH TD95D,Ford 4610
Jun 17, 2017
432
93
28
The Palouse - North Idaho
After all of the above, the problem has revealed itself, but it is not resolved. Here's the story.

Today (Fri), I began to try to find the problem of temp and fuel gauges not working. Yesterday, I had the WSM printed so it wasn't necessary to keep checking of the WSM different pages via computer. With the book in hand, voltmeter, etc., I figured THIS would be the day.

My original plan was to remove the dash panel to see the gauges and wiring under the dash. But, after I used some "pretzel maneuvers" to get my head under the deck with flashlight in hand, and after getting a face full of dust/dirt while poking around, I changed the plan.

The tractor starts well and everything is operational other than those two gauges. It is going to be VERY hot next week so I wanted to get the grass cut first, THEN take the dash panel off, etc.

So, here's the outcome. Mowing went well...no problems. Just as I was finishing, the two gauges began working again! What a hoot. That cements in my mind that it is a loose connection somewhere. How to find that, I do not know...not at this time when things are working. I'll just keep an eye on things and if/when these gauges stop again, I'll trace it down. It has not happened like this in the whole time I've had it so that's something to think about also.

All of the suggestions, etc., given by a myriad of people here are SOOOO appreciated. I continue to learn which should reduce the need to ask for help! The operative word there is should. :) I believe everyone who asks for help feels the same appreciation. We travel on...and the journey is good.
Thank you all.

Tractor Gal
Glad you got it running.
SO what was the root cause of the starting problem?
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
3,868
1,518
113
North of Pittsburgh PA
Great idea. I guess I can pretend to be a Pro. :)
Another enhancement to this idea (which is a good one) is that you can use different colors of highlighters, and just mark where the wires start and end at each device, after following out the lines on the schematic diagram...

Looking at the colors tells you the power starts "here", and ends up activating a device or devices "there" (sometimes multiple "there") ...
 
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