BX22 intermittently starts

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
I am the original owner of a 2002 BX22 with just over 1000 hours. Over the last 5 years intermittently the tractor won't start. All I get is a click when I turn the key to start. This would happen a couple of times then it would start, and the problem wouldn't happen for a month or so. Recently it has been happening more frequently, and for the last two days it wouldn't start. I have read several posts about this, and I have removed, cleaned, continuity checked my ground and power cables. What happened over the last two days (and this has never happened before) is; when I went to the first position my battery light came on and the hour meter started ticking (all normal), went to the second position and my glow plug light came on, battery light on, and hour meter ticking (normal). When I went to the start position, I got one click, then all my lights went out (this has never happened before). I went back to the "off" position and tried it again, but it was dead (no lights, ticking noise, nothing). I figured my intermittent starting issue could now be pinpointed to something that failed. I thought it might be my battery so I replaced it with a brand new boat battery. The same thing happened when I tried to start it again. I lifted the leads off the battery and reattached them and tried it again. This time I got the lights, ticking, but only a click, then everything went dead. I rechecked all my wires and cables again, but they are all good. I tried it one more time and again, just a click. I noticed that the bendix gear engaged the flywheel, but did not retract. I pushed it back into the starter and then I removed the cables from the battery and tried it one more time watching the bendix gear engaging the flywheel. Again, one click, all lights out, and bendix gear engaged in the flywheel. I figured either my ignition switch is bad, or it is the starter.
I decided to give it one more try before I pulled the starter, and the tractor started up like it did the day I bought it!! I shut it off and tried it again, and it started right up. I had no idea why it started this time and not the others, but it was running. I shut it off and put on the cowling, but before I put the brush guard on (PITA), I tried it one more time and all I got was lights, ticking, and one click then everything went dead. I pulled the cowling off, took off and put back on the battery cables and tried it again. The tractor started right up. I shut off and restarted the tractor approximately 10 times over the next couple of hours and each time it started right up. I do not believe I have fixed the problem, and because I am in Northern Maine in the woods, I decided to pull the starter and get it checked out at home.
Does anyone know what would cause the tractor to like trip a breaker and the only way to reset it is to disconnect the battery leads then reattach them? Does anyone think this may be an ignition switch problem? I am mechanical and electrical inclined, but this one is kicking my butt. Sorry to be so wordy, but I wanted you to know exactly what is happening. Thanks in advance.
 

DustyRusty

Active member

Equipment
BX23S w/ Cab
Nov 8, 2015
599
131
43
North East CT
Take a battery out of your car, and try it. To me, it sounds like a bad cell in the battery. If you need a new ignition switch, I have one that I bought when my key kept falling out when using the tractor, but never got around to installing it. I put a string through the key and tied it to the steering column, lost key issue solved.
 

Russell King

Well-known member

Equipment
L185F, Modern Ag Competitor 4’ shredder, Rhino tiller, rear dirt scoop
Jun 17, 2012
2,470
150
63
Austin, Texas
If the starter checks out good then clean the mounting face on starter and tractor before replacing the starter.

I would be suspicious of bad safety switches or lack of voltage on the wire from the key through the safety switches to the starter solenoid.

There are relay systems you can put between the battery and the solenoid feed point and the key wire will just close the relay. Plenty of discussion about that on the forum if you’re good with searching. If not post back and ask for links.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Bark

Member

Equipment
L4701/FM2560LA765/BB2560Case disk Titan P forks
Feb 18, 2020
104
6
18
North CA
I'm not much help but the last time I got involved with a very similar problem we removed, cleaned and reinstalled every ground including (as Russell King mentioned) cleaning the mounting surface of the starter. Also wiggled every connector we could find. Started just fine from than on but we never knew what was actually the culprit.
 

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
Thanks guys.
DustyRusty, I did remove the old battery and connected the tractor to a one year old Interstate Megatron with the same results. I have an ignition switch on the way.
Russel King, I will clean the mounting surface before reinstalling the starter. I have read about the relay system and have that post tagged.
Bark, I have taken apart, cleaned, applied a light coat of electrical grease, and wiggled almost every wire on that tractor. I must be missing one (LOL).

At the starter, there are two, hot, red wires attached. The large red one is from the battery and the small red one goes to a plug-in fuse. There is also a white with black stripe wire that connects pretty close to the two red ones, and there is a white that connects a couple of inches away. Is it the white/black wire or the white wire that get the signal to energize the starter?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

GeoHorn

Well-known member
Lifetime Member

Equipment
M4700DT, LA1002FEL, Ferguson5-8B Compactor-Roller, 10KDumpTrailer, RTV-X900
May 18, 2018
2,326
598
113
Texas
TimF... I was “with you” on your original post until you posted “Does anyone know what would cause the tractor to like trip a breaker...”.

No where I could see ...that you mentioned any “breaker” which had tripped.... so, you’ll have to explain that a bit more to completely understand your description...

Otherwise, I agree with Russell King that you should ascertain all the electrical connections are good... and I also agree that this sounds MOST like a safety-switch which is intermittent....

BUT...

I have run into a similar problem on a boat I used to own. It was a Volvo stern-drive with a Bosch starter that would do exactly as you described.... after numerous efforts and a couple trips to the auto-electric-starter/alternator shop who declared that starter was fine..... It finally irritated me sufficiently to throw that starter into the junk-pile and install a completely different starter. Never had another problem. It turned out that ONE coil on the armature windings was bad and if the starter happened to come-to-rest with it’s brushes on THAT particular “bar” of the commutator... the one that fed the bad armature coil... the starter would be dead. Apparently bumping the starter around and such tinkering would compel it to work again intermittently... but it dang near drove me nuts until I figured that out.

Check out all the safety switches and don’t forget there is likely another relay/solenoid which is between your key-switch and your starter-solenoid ...(probably under/inside your instrument panel if it’s like mine....and also probably waaay over-priced also... mine was $70 and backordered so I disassembled it and ruined my wifes’ nail-file cleaning up the contacts.... she hasn’t yet discovered this...

Good luck... keep us posted on the final outcome so we’ll know.
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
“ ... I got one click, then all my lights went out (this has never happened before). I went back to the "off" position and tried it again, but it was dead (no lights, ticking noise, nothing). I figured my intermittent starting issue could now be pinpointed to something that failed. I thought it might be my battery so I replaced it with a brand new boat battery. The same thing happened when I tried to start it again. I lifted the leads off the battery and reattached them and tried it again. This time I got the lights, ticking, but only a click, then everything went dead.....”

You really need a volt meter and need to take some measurements to zero in on the cause of the problem.

Voltage measurements and logic will be you friends here.

Without specifics, one educated guess is as good as the next.

If you have/get a volt meter and are uncertain where to take measurements do ask here.

You also should download the WSM from Kubotabooks.com if you do not have it. I believe they have one for your BX.
 

Njtool

Member

Equipment
Lx2610 Cab
Jan 1, 2021
72
74
18
New jersey
How about this...
Get a jumper cable and hook it to the negative battery terminal. Take the other end and use it to ground the starter. If it starts, you have a bad ground. Then you can remove and clean all the connections. And/or add another jumper wire from the battery to the starter.
I’ve had this problem with a few riding mowers. Including everything going dark when you try to engage the starter.
your entire issue sounds like a bad ground. A meter won’t help much because you will probably see low ohms on the meter. The connection fails only when you try to pump starting amps through it.
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
... A meter won’t help much because you will probably see low ohms on the meter. The connection fails only when you try to pump starting amps through it.
True with an ohmmeter. That is why one would use a volt meter and make measurements when trying to start the engine, when the voltage drops very low...to narrow in on where the problem is... ;)
 

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
GeoHorn, what I meant regarding the breaker is that when I turned the key switch to start, everything went dead, similar if you tripped a breaker in your home. Taking the leads off the battery and putting them back on reset something on the tractor similar to resetting the breaker, except I didn't reset anything on the tractor. Now the starter is hot all the time, so maybe when I took the leads off the battery something inside the started reset itself (maybe). I just got home from Northern Maine and I have the starter with me to get it checked out.

On the BX22 there are not many safety switches. I do not have one on the seat. I will have to get my manual out to see the wiring diagram and check for relays, switches, etc.

I will take all the other feedback with me when I head back to camp where the tractor is and perform all the checks. I will keep you posted.

As I stated in my original post, the tractor started up several times without issues at the end of two days (off and on) of troubleshooting, and it not starting, but I decided to pull the starter and get it checked out anyways. My gut feeling is that they are going to say there is nothing wrong with the starter. I may buy one anyways to bring back with me. Trial and error seems to be the way to go with a tractor out in the woods.
 

Njtool

Member

Equipment
Lx2610 Cab
Jan 1, 2021
72
74
18
New jersey
True with an ohmmeter. That is why one would use a volt meter and make measurements when trying to start the engine, when the voltage drops very low...to narrow in on where the problem is... ;)
However, since the circuit cuts out, you can’t get much of a measurement.
the first time I came across this, I spent hours testing everything, even the ignition switch, grounds, voltage drops, etc. Then I jumped the negative directly to the starter and BANG, started right up.
another time I had someone who took it in for service and they couldn’t figure it out. They replaced the battery and starter but it didn’t fix it. Intermittent starting etc. I took out my jumper cables and grounded the starter to the negative terminal and problem solved!
the Machine was old, so instead of cleaning all the contacts etc, I used a heavy gauge wire and ran a jumper. No problems after that.

Yes, you could test everything and trace it out but why not take 30 seconds and try the jumper? Then at least you know what you’re looking for, which would be bad continuity on the negative wires.
 

JeremyBX2200

Member

Equipment
BX2200
Aug 3, 2020
56
14
8
Indiana
I have a BX2200 that had very similar behavior, minus all the power going out. When I would get just a click, I could always jump the starter. Some of the older tractors start to build up a lot of voltage drop in the starter circuit and it will no longer activate the relay on the starter. I added a relay kit to mine and haven't had an issue since.
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
However, since the circuit cuts out, you can’t get much of a measurement.
Sure you can. I will give an example. battery with a bad cell. Put your leads on the battery terminals directly, and try to start the tractor. IF the voltage drops low, then the issue is with the battery.

Another...put one lead on a battery terminal, and the other lead on the clamp for that cable. Try to start the tractor, if voltage appears on the meter, you have a bad connection at the clamp. These are just two examples of many.

I agree a properly applied jumper is also good tool for troubleshooting electrical problems. Example would be using a jumper to directly activate the starter solenoid, to prove the starter is good. But a jumper has more risk of being misapplied by someone unfamiliar with electrical troubleshooting.
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
I have a BX2200 that had very similar behavior, minus all the power going out. When I would get just a click, I could always jump the starter. Some of the older tractors start to build up a lot of voltage drop in the starter circuit and it will no longer activate the relay on the starter. I added a relay kit to mine and haven't had an issue since.
Same here...my BX2200 is so reliable now that I forgot I suffered with that problem for a couple years!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
Ok, I just got back from the best alternator and starter rebuilders in New England. They tested and took apart the starter (free of charge), and there is nothing wrong with the starter. There is a little wear, but absolutely nothing they would be concerned with. I told them what was going on, and they said the starter would not cause all my power (lights, hour meter, etc.) to disappear. They told me that I have a bad wire somewhere, and to verify that it is not the starter, to jump it the next time the problem happens.

Njtool, I will try the jumper from the negative battery terminal to the starter

JeremyBX2200, what did you use for the relay, and does it come with installation instructions?

Henro, can you explain in a little more detail, "Another...put one lead on a battery terminal, and the other lead on the clamp for that cable. Try to start the tractor, if voltage appears on the meter, you have a bad connection at the clamp." I think you want me to put one lead from my meter to the positive battery terminal and the other lead on the positive battery cable clamp???? Is this with the battery cable attached to the battery or with it off?
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
Henro, can you explain in a little more detail, "Another...put one lead on a battery terminal, and the other lead on the clamp for that cable. Try to start the tractor, if voltage appears on the meter, you have a bad connection at the clamp." I think you want me to put one lead from my meter to the positive battery terminal and the other lead on the positive battery cable clamp???? Is this with the battery cable attached to the battery or with it off?
Sure. It would be with the circuit hooked up as normal and ready to operate normally. You need to measure what is happening in the circuit in its normal state.

Whenever two wires or leads are connected together they should work the same as if there is just one wire. In other words, if you measure voltage across the joint, you should not read more than a minuscule amount of voltage. Ideally it would be zero, but in a practical world it will just be very close to zero. So we can consider it zero.

If a connection is poor, when current flows through the poor connection, voltage develops across that poor connection. Worst case, like you are seeing, the voltage across the poor connection will be quite high, enough that little remains to power whatever would normally be powered by the battery.

In other words, circuit elements that would normally see very close to battery voltage, will see much less. Not enough to light a light bulb or turn the starter.

A bad connection can cause this wherever it may be. It could be at a battery terminal (at the clamp where the wire is connected to the clamp, or at the interface between the clamp and the post) or at the ground connection to the frame. As mentioned by someone above, bad connections to the frame do often seem to be an issue.

There are many measurement possibilities that can be helpful and point to where the problem may be. For example, if you would measure between the negative battery terminal and the tractor frame, you should get zero volts. If you tried to start the tractor and you saw the voltage at this point jump up, you would know you had a poor connection somewhere between the battery TERMINAL and the tractor frame.

This same logic applies elsewhere in the circuit as well. It may be easier for those with experience in electrical troubleshooting to see easily, but it is not difficult if you take a moment and think about it. (I think...I spent a good portion of my working life in this area...might be more difficult to digest than it appears to me...)
 

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
Henro, thank you for the breakdown. When I head back up Maine I will do those test "IF" the tractor doesn't start. Even if it does start, I will do those test as a baseline in case the problem happens again. You explained it well, thank you for your time and effort.
 

Russell King

Well-known member

Equipment
L185F, Modern Ag Competitor 4’ shredder, Rhino tiller, rear dirt scoop
Jun 17, 2012
2,470
150
63
Austin, Texas
Henro explains it well but uses “voltage” and should use “voltage drop” across the joint. To clarify his process think of a battery hooked to one large resistor. If you measure battery terminal to terminal (cut the resistor out of the circuit) you will get battery voltage, but if you move to measure across the resistor you will see the voltage drop across the resistor (that power s shed as heat).

Henro check me out to make sure I got that correct please.

In the tractor there will be joints with high resistance to electricity from corrosion or small conductors from broken wires.

And on my L185 the black/white wire passes from key to clutch safety switch to starter solenoid so I would assume that it would be the same on most Kubotas but a wiring diagram would be best to consult. If you can post one there is one member (Dave_eng) who’s ears would perk up and then he would be able to supply great support.
 

TimF

New member

Equipment
BX22, brushog, yorkrake
May 3, 2019
10
2
3
Greenland, NH
Thanks for all the help. I almost want to jump back in my truck and drive 4 hours back to camp just to try all these ideas. I just looked at my owners manual thinking at the back would be a wiring schematic. What was I thinking. Do you know where I can find a wiring schematic for a 2002 BX22? I only have two safety switches, one for the PTO clutch and one for the range gear shift lever. I will write a new post asking for help.
 

Henro

Well-known member

Equipment
B2910, BX2200, KX41-2V mini Ex.
May 24, 2019
1,391
342
83
North of Pittsburgh PA
Henro explains it well but uses “voltage” and should use “voltage drop” across the joint. To clarify his process think of a battery hooked to one large resistor. If you measure battery terminal to terminal (cut the resistor out of the circuit) you will get battery voltage, but if you move to measure across the resistor you will see the voltage drop across the resistor (that power s shed as heat).

Henro check me out to make sure I got that correct please.
I was never interested in English class Russel, but I think this might be called semantics. Had to let the spell checker spell that for me! Guess I only get the four letter words right...😳

Technically, when a meter is used, it measures voltage, not voltage “drop” alone, since voltage rise in parts of a circuit is also possible, depending on the perspective a circuit is being analyzed from.

Just splitting hairs, but it would probably be best to say voltage develops across a resistance when current flows through that resistance. It can be a drop or a rise, depending on direction the current is flowing.