No Spark Blues

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
Hello! I have a 1995 John Deere LX176 mower. I love this little mower! However, two weekends ago, I went out to start it to mulch some leaves, and no spark. Nada! I have replaced the battery and the seat switch. No go. I have ordered the neutral switch, a spark plug and a new ignition module. Will have to see if these make any difference. The neutral switch screws into the hydro (took me FOREVER to find out where it is located), but I’m still trying to figure out how to get to it. And is it just this little ball thing with two screws, or does something hook into it? Anyway, I’m hopeful but worried I’m throwing dollar after dollar at a problem that may be simple. Any advice (With PICTURES!) would be greatly appreciated!! I’m no mechanic and my dad is, but he’s 78 and it’s hard for him to do this type of work anymore. Anyway, hello forum!
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
No Spark Blues!

No Spark Blues
Hello! I have a 1995 John Deere LX176 mower. I love this little mower! However, two weekends ago, I went out to start it to mulch some leaves, and no spark. Nada! I have replaced the battery and the seat switch. No go. I have ordered the PTO switch, neutral switch, a spark plug and a new ignition module. Will have to see if these make any difference. The neutral switch screws into the hydro (took me FOREVER to find out where it is located), but I’m still trying to figure out how to get to it. And is it just this little ball thing with two screws, or does something hook into it? Anyway, I’m hopeful but worried I’m throwing dollar after dollar at a problem that may be simple. Any advice (With PICTURES!) would be greatly appreciated!! I’m no mechanic and my dad is, but he’s 78 and it’s hard for him to do this type of work anymore.
 

Scrubcadet10

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Re: No Spark Blues!

Battery should have nothing to do with creating spark.
First thing is to unplug Is the black kill wire from coil(s) and if it starts, coil is done for.
Generally a faulty switch won't even let the mower turnover.

Always diagnose before you fix ;)
 

bertsmobile1

Lawn Royalty
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12,847
Re: No Spark Blues!

:welcome::welcome::welcome:

The first bit of advice is please do not post the same post in multiple sections of the forum.
It gets people trying to help you very confused.

the second thing is always work out what is wrong before opening your wallet, unless you are buying parts that you don't need from me in which case my retirement fund thanks you deeply :laughing:
Third thing is it helps greatly if you also post the engine make, model & number.
The 4th suggestion is in place of buying a whole heap of parts you don't need you buy the official JD technical manual for your mower.
After reading it you will be a mower mechanic, all plain text all very easy to follow written for some one who has to think about which end of a screwdriver you hold.

The service manual for your engine is available from here https://www.mymowerparts.com/pdf/Kawasaki-Service-and-Repair-Manuals/
There may even be a better one in the JD manual, some of them do & some don't but yours has.

There is usually nothing preventing the engine making a spark when cranking.
All of the safety switches prevent the engine from cranking, not starting or service technicians would not be able to service the mower.
Thus the neutral switch you have just bought is not your problem.

There are 2 sections to the ignition on your engine.
A trigger module and the actual coil itself.
The coils rarely fail but the modules do.

The PTO switch is the same story, it prevents the engine from cranking .
Only when the engine is running does it kill the spark, in conjunction with the seat switch.
Seat switch similar story, when cranking it does nothing. Once running it stops the spark in conjunction with either the PTO switch or the parking brake switch.
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
Re: No Spark Blues - Correction no turn over!

Hello,

Thank you for all of the advice. I do apologize for the duplicate post. After I posted in the Welcome Forum, I saw where there was a place specific to my engine. So sorry.

Anyway...maybe I used the wrong terminology (again, not a mechanic!)...when I turn the key NOTHING happens at all. No sound. Nothing. And yes, I do admit that it is probably a waste of money to buy and replace parts that may or may not have anything to do with the issue, but I was actually following the advice I found on this forum and other places online about the no turn-over issue. The mower is very old, so I'm sure new parts won't hurt...may not help though. Anyway, I do appreciate any help that I may receive. And I will try to get the manual. I had another friend suggest it may be the coil, so I will look into that as well.

Thank you!
 

Scrubcadet10

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1,281
Well, switches wouldn't matter if it would turnover and not start,
But in this case it's most likely a switch.

I would also check the ground cable (-) to see if it came loose from where it grounds.
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
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7
Thank you for the additional "clues". As soon as I get this little baby up and running, I will post back and let you know what it was :smile:
 

bertsmobile1

Lawn Royalty
Messages
12,847
So here is my SOP for non cranking engines
Please go through the tests mentioned and post the results.
it may be as simple as a blown fuse
and please download the Kawasaki manual at least if not get the JD one.

Before you start, pull the spark plug & try to rotate the engine by hand.
No use checking the electrics if you have a hydraulic lock, seized engine or jambed belt overloading the stater motor.
Assuming the engine turns freely.

I like to start from the starter motor and go backwards .
Do the following 5 tests, regardless of the results from an or all of them as there can be more than one problem and you want to isolate where the problem lies.
Elimination of individual parts is important so you know by the end, the battery, solenoid & heavy power circuits are all in good order.

1) try to jump the starter motor directly from your car or truck.
Starter turns = starter good

2) do the same directly from the mowers battery
Starter turns = mower battery good
No turn = duff battery, recharge it & try again.

3) check for voltage ( + 12V ) at the solenoid trigger wire with the key in start position
3a) same with ground trigger wire ( 4 wire solenoid ) or body of solenoid ( 3 wire solenoid)
( I like to test V from the battery hot terminal to ground terminal rather than ohms as they give funny readings )

4) leave ground jumper in place ( from step 2 ) & try key start.
Starter turns = power connection good but ground connection suspect ( most common )
Confirm it by trying again, extra ground removed
I run a secondary ground from the grounding bolt to one of the starter mounting bolts & paint over both with liquid electrical tape.

5) Remove the trigger ( thin ) wire / wires from the solenoid.
Ground one & bridge from the hot terminal to the other.
Starter cranks = solenoid good.
Solenoid is not polarity sensitive, BUT THE WIRING IS so make sure you remove the thin control wires.
Note a thinner wire on the hot terminal is not a control wire. It is the main power feed to the mower.


From here on things become very mower dependant as starting circuits are getting changed all the time.
Basically the power goes in a loop from the hot side of the solenoid ( saves wire, no other reason ) through the fuse to the B terminal on the key switch then to the PTO switch then to the parking brake switch then to the solenoid trigger switch , easy peasy after you grow the 3rd arm. Use a test lamp and follow the power.
However a lot of mowers with a 4 pole solenoid, run a secondary ground control circuit to the ground solenoid wire through the lap bars.
Then to stop this interfearing with the normal safety function of the ground kill, it goes to a relay with the ground as the switched connection.
These are a PIA as the + control wire to the relay comes from the power loop above and the ground side of the control comes via the normal cut out functions of the lap bars.
Be very careful because if you have a system like this and accidentally send 12V down the ground loop you can fry the magnetos on some circuits.
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
Thank you, bertsmobile!! What a ton of great information! I have got to rally my dad up to help me with this project, but I think I’m going to have to wait until after Thanksgiving. I will post back to let you know what I find to be the culprit.
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
Well it turned out to be the PTO switch that was causing my no start issue. But now that I can get it to turn over, it won’t start. I replaced the spark plug. I will try some of your other suggestions and keep my fingers crossed.
 

Scrubcadet10

Lawn Addict
Top Poster Of Month
Messages
1,281
Put a small amount of gas into the plug hole, install the plug and start it.If it runs then dies, you have spark and compression.
Then put some gas into the carb behind the air filter, if doesn't start possibly a valve problem. If starts, fuel isn't getting through the carburetor.
 

vhagan

Forum Newbie
Messages
7
Thank you, Scrbcadet10! I will try those this weekend and let you know if either worked.
 
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