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Bahmi

312-8 electrical woes

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As a very recent new owner of a 312-8, I found the tractor starting and running well. Yesterday, on the 3rd day anniversary of ownership, I found the starter switch to be corroded and non-functional. The starter would not work at all. I replaced the starter switch and one of the fuses. Still nothing. All other switches appear to be good and functional. Could the solenoid be the culprit? I put in the new switch, feeling that would do the trick, but it did not. Nothing changed appreciably from about 4 days prior. It started well before, but nothing doing today.

I checked all contacts to insure no rust and poor contacts.

Would bet my bottom dollar on the solenoid, but I might have omitted inspection of some other wire or contact.

What is the consensus on this starting problem?

 

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:WRS:        With any electrical problem the first thing that needs to be done is have the battery load tested at your favorite auto parts store and clean and tighten ALL electrical connections including grounds. replacing parts prior to doing this will generally result in wasted time and money.

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         :text-welcomeconfetti:  Like 953nut says, CLEAN all connections before ordering parts, but you can use a jumper  to bypass the solenoid to check it out..

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2 hours ago, 953 nut said:

:WRS:        With any electrical problem the first thing that needs to be done is have the battery load tested at your favorite auto parts store and clean and tighten ALL electrical connections including grounds. replacing parts prior to doing this will generally result in wasted time and money.

All connections have been cleaned up. In connection with my hunch, I crossed the poles of the solenoid and got nothing. No spark, no start, nothing. Battery is virtually new and tested nearly 13V. Load test showed vitality.

I replaced the ignition switch and air filter.

I have not yet jumped the starter terminal. Should this be the next test I do?

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Not real familiar with the "newer" tractors but to me safety switches can be the cause.

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If you jumped the solenoid (big wire to big wire) and it did not spark then a cable or the starter may be your problem. Go ahead and run one jumper from the battery"-" to the starter body and jump directly from the battery  "+" to the starter post. if it turns over you have a bad cable, if not your starter is likely the problem.

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Posted (edited)

Confirm your tractor is in neutral before you do any of the tests that we all suggest. Don't want a runaway tractor.

 

I had a look at my wiring diagram and there are some more things you should check after you try what 953nut has suggested. Please tell us the year of your 312 and some one can throw a wiring diagram up here for us to download. I'm still new here so I'm learning my way around, but someone did that for me as soon as I started posting. Forgive me, I can't remember who it was. Once I have a look at it I can have you check a few more things to narrow down your diagnosis.

When you turn the key are you getting 12 volts to the small wire at the solenoid? That will be the small gauge wire on it's own, not the one that comes from the battery side of the large solenoid post. I can't confirm wire colour without the wiring diagram, mine's purple. If not, feed 12 volts to it and see if the solenoid gets 12 volts to the large post feeding the starter. If it does, then the solenoid is most likely not the problem and it's the circuit feeding the ignition switch terminal at the solenoid. If it doesn't, I would say your solenoid is the problem. Make sure the solenoid is also well grounded to the chassis.

 

Ex-auto mechanic. I could type a book here. As I type more details keep coming to me...lol. I like 953nut's post. You kept it simple. I'm trying not to over think this.

 

Let us know what you find.

Edited by Rob XC700
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One part of this situation should address the observation that the tractor worked on Tuesday and no longer on Wednesday. It was  a sudden occurrence. This factor seems to indicate that some possibilities can be eliminated immediately. There is virtually no reason to think the wires to and from the solenoid "suddenly broke" and then delivered no current to the starter.

Are all "safety switches really necessary"? Can some be turned off? Would this help in diagnosis? What switches should be turned off and what should remain on to try and diagnose this problem of non-starting?

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Not all 312-8's were built the same.

What is the tractor model number and serial number?

 

Garry

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50 minutes ago, Bahmi said:

One part of this situation should address the observation that the tractor worked on Tuesday and no longer on Wednesday. It was  a sudden occurrence. This factor seems to indicate that some possibilities can be eliminated immediately. There is virtually no reason to think the wires to and from the solenoid "suddenly broke" and then delivered no current to the starter.

Are all "safety switches really necessary"? Can some be turned off? Would this help in diagnosis? What switches should be turned off and what should remain on to try and diagnose this problem of non-starting?

Unfortunately sudden occurrences happen every day. At work we had a Ford go down simply because the neg battery cable connection went bad at the frame. It worked the day before and was working right up to the point where it malfunctioned. So, suddenly broke or suddenly had a improper connection does happen in todays world. 

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55 minutes ago, Bahmi said:

One part of this situation should address the observation that the tractor worked on Tuesday and no longer on Wednesday. It was  a sudden occurrence. This factor seems to indicate that some possibilities can be eliminated immediately. There is virtually no reason to think the wires to and from the solenoid "suddenly broke" and then delivered no current to the starter.

Are all "safety switches really necessary"? Can some be turned off? Would this help in diagnosis? What switches should be turned off and what should remain on to try and diagnose this problem of non-starting?

I've noticed that after turning the key "ON", then turning it "OFF", there is a ticking sound for upwards of 30 seconds, almost like a ticking clock sound. What could this be? I don't know where the sound is coming from.

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1 hour ago, Bahmi said:

I've noticed that after turning the key "ON", then turning it "OFF", there is a ticking sound for upwards of 30 seconds, almost like a ticking clock sound. What could this be? I don't know where the sound is coming from.

If you have an hour meter they make a faint ticking noise

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9 hours ago, gwest_ca said:

Not all 312-8's were built the same.

What is the tractor model number and serial number?

 

Garry

Tractor model number is 312-8.  Serial number is 1112K604         21306? not sure what these last 5 numbers mean. Part of serial# or something else?

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As 6bg6ga said, sudden occurrences do happen. Work in a shop day after day and "Murphy's Law" will always be a common occurrence.

 

Let me approach this a different way today. Your solenoid is a low current circuit controlling a high current circuit. You need to look at both circuits separately.

First the ignition switch circuit. PTO off, clutch peddle in, trans in neutral. I think that will cover safety switches, someone  please jump in if I missed something. I'm a car guy learning tractors...lol. Turn key to start and check for 12 volts at the solenoid from the ignition circuit.

If you don't have 12 volts there then you need to trouble shoot that circuit. It will be something between the switch and the solenoid. Jump 12 volts from the battery to the ignition connection on the solenoid and see if it turns over. If it does it confirms the ignition circuit needs to be diagnosed. Looking at my diagram there's several switches, fuses and a relay to check.

If you are getting a steady 12 volts, then it's in the solenoid or the starter.

Starter circuit, jump across the 2 large connections at the solenoid and see if the starter turns over as 953 nut suggested yesterday. Use jumper cables here, this is a large current. Can't remember if you can use a screwdriver across this solenoid.  If it turns over then it's most likely the solenoid. Make sure it has a good ground and all connections are good.  If it doesn't, jump 12volts direct to the starter and see if it spins. If it doesn't, it's most likely a starter. Again check cables and grounds before purchasing new parts.

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1 hour ago, Rob XC700 said:

As 6bg6ga said, sudden occurrences do happen. Work in a shop day after day and "Murphy's Law" will always be a common occurrence.

 

Let me approach this a different way today. Your solenoid is a low current circuit controlling a high current circuit. You need to look at both circuits separately.

First the ignition switch circuit. PTO off, clutch peddle in, trans in neutral. I think that will cover safety switches, someone  please jump in if I missed something. I'm a car guy learning tractors...lol. Turn key to start and check for 12 volts at the solenoid from the ignition circuit.

If you don't have 12 volts there then you need to trouble shoot that circuit. It will be something between the switch and the solenoid. Jump 12 volts from the battery to the ignition connection on the solenoid and see if it turns over. If it does it confirms the ignition circuit needs to be diagnosed. Looking at my diagram there's several switches, fuses and a relay to check.

If you are getting a steady 12 volts, then it's in the solenoid or the starter.

Starter circuit, jump across the 2 large connections at the solenoid and see if the starter turns over as 953 nut suggested yesterday. Use jumper cables here, this is a large current. Can't remember if you can use a screwdriver across this solenoid.  If it turns over then it's most likely the solenoid. Make sure it has a good ground and all connections are good.  If it doesn't, jump 12volts direct to the starter and see if it spins. If it doesn't, it's most likely a starter. Again check cables and grounds before purchasing new parts.

 

1 hour ago, Rob XC700 said:

As 6bg6ga said, sudden occurrences do happen. Work in a shop day after day and "Murphy's Law" will always be a common occurrence.

 

Let me approach this a different way today. Your solenoid is a low current circuit controlling a high current circuit. You need to look at both circuits separately.

First the ignition switch circuit. PTO off, clutch peddle in, trans in neutral. I think that will cover safety switches, someone  please jump in if I missed something. I'm a car guy learning tractors...lol. Turn key to start and check for 12 volts at the solenoid from the ignition circuit.

If you don't have 12 volts there then you need to trouble shoot that circuit. It will be something between the switch and the solenoid. Jump 12 volts from the battery to the ignition connection on the solenoid and see if it turns over. If it does it confirms the ignition circuit needs to be diagnosed. Looking at my diagram there's several switches, fuses and a relay to check.

If you are getting a steady 12 volts, then it's in the solenoid or the starter.

Starter circuit, jump across the 2 large connections at the solenoid and see if the starter turns over as 953 nut suggested yesterday. Use jumper cables here, this is a large current. Can't remember if you can use a screwdriver across this solenoid.  If it turns over then it's most likely the solenoid. Make sure it has a good ground and all connections are good.  If it doesn't, jump 12volts direct to the starter and see if it spins. If it doesn't, it's most likely a starter. Again check cables and grounds before purchasing new parts.

H

 

1 hour ago, Rob XC700 said:

As 6bg6ga said, sudden occurrences do happen. Work in a shop day after day and "Murphy's Law" will always be a common occurrence.

 

Let me approach this a different way today. Your solenoid is a low current circuit controlling a high current circuit. You need to look at both circuits separately.

First the ignition switch circuit. PTO off, clutch peddle in, trans in neutral. I think that will cover safety switches, someone  please jump in if I missed something. I'm a car guy learning tractors...lol. Turn key to start and check for 12 volts at the solenoid from the ignition circuit.

If you don't have 12 volts there then you need to trouble shoot that circuit. It will be something between the switch and the solenoid. Jump 12 volts from the battery to the ignition connection on the solenoid and see if it turns over. If it does it confirms the ignition circuit needs to be diagnosed. Looking at my diagram there's several switches, fuses and a relay to check.

If you are getting a steady 12 volts, then it's in the solenoid or the starter.

Starter circuit, jump across the 2 large connections at the solenoid and see if the starter turns over as 953 nut suggested yesterday. Use jumper cables here, this is a large current. Can't remember if you can use a screwdriver across this solenoid.  If it turns over then it's most likely the solenoid. Make sure it has a good ground and all connections are good.  If it doesn't, jump 12volts direct to the starter and see if it spins. If it doesn't, it's most likely a starter. Again check cables and grounds before purchasing new parts.

How about putting a screwdriver between the purple wire that comes from the switch, through the fuse on the right side wall and the battery terminal +? This would allow the current to go through the solenoid to the starter terminal. If the starter does not run, it means it is defective. Not eloquent, but does it make any sense?

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23 hours ago, 953 nut said:

If you jumped the solenoid (big wire to big wire) and it did not spark then a cable or the starter may be your problem. Go ahead and run one jumper from the battery"-" to the starter body and jump directly from the battery  "+" to the starter post. if it turns over you have a bad cable, if not your starter is likely the problem.

:text-feedback:

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Yes, if you have 12 volts at the solenoid from the battery, which you should have confirmed, you can jump that to the purple wire and see if the starter turns. If not, see if you have power at the solenoid on the connection going to the starter as well when you jump it. If you do the solenoid is fine and it could be the battery. Takes longer to try and explain correctly, then it does to do the procedure.  I just want to reach through the computer and show you. LOL.

 

Did you also try what 953 nut suggested? If you do that and tell us the results, one of us can give you direction from there as well. He's pretty much saying the same thing in a different way. I'm giving lots of info, and he's keeping it in simple bites. He knows what he's talking about.

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7 hours ago, Bahmi said:

Tractor model number is 312-8.  Serial number is 1112K604         21306? not sure what these last 5 numbers mean. Part of serial# or something else?

Your numbers don't look right. Guessing this is what you have

Check your engine numbers against the details page here

Garry

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9 hours ago, 953 nut said:

:text-feedback:

What are the real chances I have a "bad cable"? It's multi-filament, tough, wiry, and is not under mechanical stress. I'd also assume that IF the cable burned out between solenoid and starter terminal that there would be a melted spot along that cable between these 2 points.

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29 minutes ago, Bahmi said:

What are the real chances I have a "bad cable"? It's multi-filament, tough, wiry, and is not under mechanical stress. I'd also assume that IF the cable burned out between solenoid and starter terminal that there would be a melted spot along that cable between these 2 points.

 

Instead of questioning every post made on your thread why don't you simply take the advice as given. Its doubtful that you have a cable that is burned thru. It is highly possibly you have a cable that looks good but has a poor connection. My advice as simply as I can put it is to take the advice as given by people with a lot more experience than you seem to have. Its been handed out to you in a simple systematic form that can be easily followed by anyone. Since we can't be there to hold your hand we can only offer advice based on your comments on how it is acting what it is or isn't doing. My advice is to re-read the posts and do what has been suggested and you will arive at a conclusion and solve the problem. If your unable to follow the simple advice I would suggest that you contact the nearest small engine repair facility and have them fix it. Your problem is a simple one that anyone with any mechanical and or electrical experience can solve in less than 5 minutes.

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14 hours ago, 6bg6ga said:

 

Instead of questioning every post made on your thread why don't you simply take the advice as given. Its doubtful that you have a cable that is burned thru. It is highly possibly you have a cable that looks good but has a poor connection. My advice as simply as I can put it is to take the advice as given by people with a lot more experience than you seem to have. Its been handed out to you in a simple systematic form that can be easily followed by anyone. Since we can't be there to hold your hand we can only offer advice based on your comments on how it is acting what it is or isn't doing. My advice is to re-read the posts and do what has been suggested and you will arive at a conclusion and solve the problem. If your unable to follow the simple advice I would suggest that you contact the nearest small engine repair facility and have them fix it. Your problem is a simple one that anyone with any mechanical and or electrical experience can solve in less than 5 minutes.

 

14 hours ago, 6bg6ga said:

 

Instead of questioning every post made on your thread why don't you simply take the advice as given. Its doubtful that you have a cable that is burned thru. It is highly possibly you have a cable that looks good but has a poor connection. My advice as simply as I can put it is to take the advice as given by people with a lot more experience than you seem to have. Its been handed out to you in a simple systematic form that can be easily followed by anyone. Since we can't be there to hold your hand we can only offer advice based on your comments on how it is acting what it is or isn't doing. My advice is to re-read the posts and do what has been suggested and you will arive at a conclusion and solve the problem. If your unable to follow the simple advice I would suggest that you contact the nearest small engine repair facility and have them fix it. Your problem is a simple one that anyone with any mechanical and or electrical experience can solve in less than 5 minutes.

 

14 hours ago, 6bg6ga said:

 

Instead of questioning every post made on your thread why don't you simply take the advice as given. Its doubtful that you have a cable that is burned thru. It is highly possibly you have a cable that looks good but has a poor connection. My advice as simply as I can put it is to take the advice as given by people with a lot more experience than you seem to have. Its been handed out to you in a simple systematic form that can be easily followed by anyone. Since we can't be there to hold your hand we can only offer advice based on your comments on how it is acting what it is or isn't doing. My advice is to re-read the posts and do what has been suggested and you will arive at a conclusion and solve the problem. If your unable to follow the simple advice I would suggest that you contact the nearest small engine repair facility and have them fix it. Your problem is a simple one that anyone with any mechanical and or electrical experience can solve in less than 5 minutes.

My, my, aren't we pedantic. So, I can't ask questions, I just have to be a robot and take whatever as some kind of absolute?  You have the wrong fella to make those kinds of demands. I'm supposed to go around in circles because somebody  has a whim?  I think you need to realize my asking questions is not some kid's exercise. If that's your feeling, jump off the train and let somebody else deal with my question with a bit of humility. You think I am challenging your knowledge by asking questions?     How wrong you are.

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I'm sorry that you are feeling challenged by someone telling you to heed the advice that has been given. To be blunt here your electrical problem is very easy for any average person to solve without any outside help. You come to the forum complaining about your Wheel Horse problem and troubleshooting solutions or help guidance is given. Instead of answering hey thanks guys I will try what you have suggested you question the advice and guidance given. Personally I view your response several ways. Either your here to Troll and don't really have a problem but instead seek to start trouble or your a simpleton who isn't capable of following simple suggestions. Friend , I have a number of degrees in several different fields. Others here are extremely qualified and possess extremely good troubleshooting skills and abilities. The fact that they are willing to share their experience says several things. They are intelligent caring people that devote their time so that they can help others in need. The way I see it is you can accept their experience and knowledge and reap the benefits of their time and knowledge or you can challenge the answers given and possible have the longest running thread on the forum with you still not having a running functional machine. The solution as I see it is either follow the advice that has been freely given or tackle the problem yourself with additional money and time spent throwing unneeded parts at it trying to arrive at a solution on your own. 

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:text-yeahthat:            I'm Finished!

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Bahmi, I'm a Newbie also. Just wondering what you found was your problem, or are you still Troubleshooting it? Reason that I ask, is I'm having a similar issue???

Thanks

Brent

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If the 300 series is like the 400 and 500 series from the same time period, there is one area of the tractor sometimes overlooked but somewhat likely to sooner or later cause problems. The fuses and also the safety switch on the blade engagement lever are almost right beneath the battery. Battery fumes/acid and fine dust from mowing gather in the fuse slots and safety switch. Blowing out those areas and a bit of penetrant can work wonders.

 

 Spraying penetrant where the key enters the switch has saved the day for me a time or two.  I will describe my advice as somewhere on the fringes. Solid diagnostic advice has already been given and cleaning up connections is at the top of that pyramid..

 

 I will also mention that the later model starters live at the front of the engine and in the grass clipping/dust zone. [Onan engine] The grease on the solenoid spiral gear got dirty and hard and had to be cleaned each year for the starter to work.

 

 This is an interesting thread. Waiting to see if the horse takes a drink.

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