getting signal to new solenoid, still won't engage starter

cbs123

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Hello everyone,

Long time small engine mechanic, having a hair pulling issue with a lawn mower in the shop. It's a dixie chopper silver eagle with a 27 HP kawasaki engine. I'm getting a signal to the starter when I turn the key, but all it does is "click" "click". OK, simple, its the starter solenoid not working, you would think. But, I can run a jumper wire from the battery cable to the small post on the solenoid and it cranks just fine, no problem whatsoever. Test the signal wire to the solenoid and it's getting 12V when you turn the key.

After dicking around with it for awhile, I finally decide to just replace the solenoid anyway, it must just be weak or corroded or something.

Still the same thing. "Click" Click" Touch the solenoid post with a hot wire and it fires right up.

Could I not be getting enough amps to the solenoid? like a bad connection, even though it's getting a 12V signal enough to make it click??
 

slomo

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What about grounds? Gotta have some good ones. Some solenoids require a good clean ground. How is the main ground from the battery - post? And the other end of this cable? Look for a poor ground or bad solenoid. Also new parts don't mean they are new. Might be a defective little guy. Check the wiring diagram for any other grounds missing or corroded.

slomo
 

mower king

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I worked on a Dixie Chopper about a month ago, I can't recall the model # or what was weird about it but, it had a weird way to activate the starter system, it took a minute to figure it out. Had to be in the seat for one thing....it was kinda a different set-up then most mowers! I wish I could recall exactly what it was....but after a month....nope!
 

keakar

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What about grounds? Gotta have some good ones. Some solenoids require a good clean ground. How is the main ground from the battery - post? And the other end of this cable? Look for a poor ground or bad solenoid. Also new parts don't mean they are new. Might be a defective little guy. Check the wiring diagram for any other grounds missing or corroded.

slomo
this ^^^^^^

i just spent a day chasing the same symptoms as you even after i replaced the battery

so next i replaced the solenoid and no joy, then the wire from solenoid to starter and still not working so i replaced the starter and still does nothing but click (all were confirmed good working used spare parts i keep on hand from mowers i scrapped)

after all that i went back to my shade tree mechanic days and broke out the jumper cables and jumped all power connections from battery to the source

turned out all it was was the main ground connection from the frame was corroded and no longer letting any amps flow yet it still read 12v on the test meter with everything. made a new ground point and connections and its all good now
 

cbs123

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this ^^^^^^

i just spent a day chasing the same symptoms as you even after i replaced the battery

so next i replaced the solenoid and no joy, then the wire from solenoid to starter and still not working so i replaced the starter and still does nothing but click (all were confirmed good working used spare parts i keep on hand from mowers i scrapped)

after all that i went back to my shade tree mechanic days and broke out the jumper cables and jumped all power connections from battery to the source

turned out all it was was the main ground connection from the frame was corroded and no longer letting any amps flow yet it still read 12v on the test meter with everything. made a new ground point and connections and its all good now
I know bad grounds can often be the source of the problem. Been through that a few times. This "seems" to be something else though. I've already removed the frame ground and reattached it, and the battery post and terminals look brand new. It has the automotive style round lugs and everything is tight and clean. Starter spins and cranks the mower easily when I run a small positive wire directly to the spade on the solenoid. Just touch the wire to it and it engages. Getting the same 12V charge from the wiring harness (when key is turned to "start" of course) and nothing but "click"

Somehow, the 12V + from the wiring harness is different from the 12 V + direct jumper wire

Edit: would also like to add that "sometimes", like 1 out of 10, the thing will actually crank with the key. Most of the time it will not. Although it will click every time.
 

cbs123

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It seems like it HAS to be a lack of amps reaching the solenoid, although this is a new one on me. It has enough amps to make a very audible "click" I can touch the solenoid and feel something moving in there. "Click" "Click" "Click" a hundred times in a row if you feel like clicking away. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click

Touch it one time with the jumper wire and it fires right up
 

Hammermechanicman

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You probably have a corroded connection somewhere in the circuit. No load you will measure battery voltage through considerable resistance. Try this test. Connect volt meter to positive on battery and the other lead to the signal wire at the solenoid but have the signal wire connected to the solenoid. When you turn the key and you get the click see what the voltage is. It should be less than about half a volt but i will bet it it is in the 4 to 6 volt range which indicates a bad connection somewhere in the circuit from the battery to solenoid.
 

keakar

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It seems like it HAS to be a lack of amps reaching the solenoid, although this is a new one on me. It has enough amps to make a very audible "click" I can touch the solenoid and feel something moving in there. "Click" "Click" "Click" a hundred times in a row if you feel like clicking away. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click. Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click

Touch it one time with the jumper wire and it fires right up
well that is just it, in my case and possibly yours as well, the positive wire has full voltage and amp capacity but the ground wire to mower frame bad connection was where no amps are being allowed to flow. the ground wire is where you need to look. hook jumper cables from battery ground to the engine fins and i bet it fires right up
 
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