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lodestonefarm

Another 520 that won't start

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lodestonefarm

I went out to use my 520H with blower this evening and it won't start.  I used this machine a few days ago (for the first time this winter).  The battery has been on a trickle charge so I don't think that's the problem.  It's done this before where it won't start, won't start, and then starts.  Usually that is in cold weather and after I've previously used it to blow snow.  I don't have a heated garage so I think it might have some ice somewhere that was introduced as water the last time I blew snow.

 

Here's what it's currently doing.  When I turn the Ignition to 'On' the red warning lights and the dashs light all come on.  When I turn the key to start position I get a single 'Click' and nothing more.  I tried jumping it from a hot battery just to rule out a bad battery.  Same behavior.  Following some of the other threads about 520s with trouble starting, I pulled the blue wire off the starter solenoid.  If I run a jumper wire from the (+) side of the battery directly to the solenoid I get the same behavior (regardless of key being in on or off position)- small spark where my jumper wire is touching the battery terminal and a single click.  

 

I'm unsure what this means about the solenoid and if that, in any way tests, the starter.  Could it be that my starter is bad/frozen?  I tried using a heat lamp to warm up that area, but in this weather (and my garage, which is really just a tarp shed) that just isn't going to work.  

 

I've downloaded the demystification guide and started looking at it but I'm hoping someone might have some suggestions.  Snow is falling and I'm not making much headway on this.  

 

Thanks

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WVHillbilly520H

I would check the 9pin harness connection and grounds for corrosion, also check the fuses, when I bought my used 520H the P.O. had bypassed the harness with a jumper wire to the solenoid but wanting it back as close to original and nearly pulling my hair out the root cause of the problem was a broken neutral safety switch actuator for the motion lever, so do a check on that as well as the PTO switch next to the battery/fuse box and seat switch, Jeff.

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roadapples

Hold the key on start position and wiggle the fuses....

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lodestonefarm
19 minutes ago, WVHillbilly520H said:

I would check the 9pin harness connection and grounds for corrosion, also check the fuses, when I bought my used 520H the P.O. had bypassed the harness with a jumper wire to the solenoid but wanting it back as close to original and nearly pulling my hair out the root cause of the problem was a broken neutral safety switch actuator for the motion lever, so do a check on that as well as the PTO switch next to the battery/fuse box and seat switch, Jeff.

 

 

Hi Jeff, thanks for responding. 

 

For better or worse, I don't have the dreaded 9-pin molex.  Previous Owner(s) did wiring work and that's no longer here.  At least I can't find it.  I'll have to hunt around for grounds because I don't think it's a bad sensor.  When I turn the key to On and wait by red dash indicators all go out except for the Oil light.  That's normal behavior for this machine I believe.  If I put the motion lever into something other than neutral, when I turn the key to 'Start' I get no click, but the 'Motion Lever' light on the dash is lit indicating I'm in gear.  Same goes if I engage the PTO and try to start it: no click, but the dummy light on the dash lights up so I think those are working correctly.  Is that a sufficient indication that the safety switches are working?  The seat switch was remove by the PO as well.  

 

I'll work through the demystification guide to see where the appropriate grounds are/should be.  This machine is very dependable in warm weather but in cold (after snow blowing) it's finicky.  

 

 

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1995 520H+96+97

The starter can be frozen, from snow that melted and dripped on the bendix.

Take the starter off and bring it in the house to thaw out.

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WVHillbilly520H

Study that demystification guide, usually some POs think they're electrians but just like on mine they didn't trace down the actual problem but "wired" around it and please don't over look a corroded fuse or fuse box connection as it lives right beside the battery all those acid gases to tend to make their way there plus grass dust ect a bad connection could still have enough voltage to light the dash but not enough amps to light the solenoid, just trying to help you out, Jeff.

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Kurt-NEPA

If you jumpered from the battery plus to the solenoid and still didn't turn over,  I would check the starter system first.  It sure sound like the solenoid is working, but can't get enough power to the starter.  Remove and clean both battery cables.  Clean, Bright, and Tight.  Then replace that battery.  Third, pull the starter and check it over.

 

Another thought, have you tried jumping the battery from a running car or another tractor?  If it starts, the starter is good,  If not, look at battery cables and/or replace the battery.

 

Good Luck

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squonk

You're putting 12V Directly to the solenoid and it just clicks and tried another battery. You've already eliminated all the switches, linkages, 9 pin connection & fuses. All that's left are the battery cables both positive & neg, Ground connection, Starter ground thru the contact with the block and the starter itself .If the cables check out. Pull the starter and have it bench tested.

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JoeM

Sure does sound like a ground problem. If you have a set of jumper cables try running from the battery negative directly to the engine as a supplemental ground.

Could try turning on the lights and trying to start the machine, If the lights stay on you have a control issue, If they die lack of power, bad ground, or main wiring issue.

 

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buckrancher

check the bolts that bolt the engine mounting plate to the frame

 

Brian

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Sarge

Yes, from your tests so far it indicates either a bad solenoid or more likely a grounding issue. For the solenoid's internal plunger to hit the contacts hard enough to engage the starter it needs a good solid ground - without that ground connection to carry the amps required you'll just get that click. Most often solenoids don't go bad - they just corrode enough to lack a solid ground back to the battery. Same deal with the engine - if it is not grounded properly the starter can't get the amps required to do it's job, these are the most common problems I run into on these tractors - it's why I run separate ground wires to both the solenoid base and engine block as well as any high drain equipment in the electrical system. Internal tooth lock washers, dielectric grease and other things help a lot here and make things more reliable for many years to come. Never rule out battery cables either as they can corrode mid-span or at the ends and not show any signs of a problem, but they cannot carry the amps required to make things work.

 

The fastest way to directly test an issue with the solenoid and it's grounds - jump directly to the starter off another battery. It the engine turns over you've isolated the problem down to grounds, starter, solenoid, or the battery cables themselves. The ignition switches can also be the culprit in some cases - if it can't deliver at least 3-5amps to the solenoid's electromagnet - it won't work right. Never touch the stud on the starter with a jumper cable clamp - go directly to the nut itself as that clamp can act as a welding rod and destroy the stud's threads. Using the nut is a larger surface area and if it gets damaged they can be replaced easily versus trying to replace the stud inside the starter head.

 

Sarge

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lodestonefarm

Hi Guys,

 

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Sounds like I've got my work cut out for me when I get off work.  One of these days I'm going to build a heated garage.  I'm not looking forward to working on this in 0 degree weather, but thankfully most of these approaches don't sound too bad.  I think getting the starter pulled off is the 'worst' and that doesn't sound too bad.  

 

I'll post back with my progress/results.  

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WH nut
2 hours ago, lodestonefarm said:

Hi Guys,

 

Thanks for all the suggestions.  Sounds like I've got my work cut out for me when I get off work.  One of these days I'm going to build a heated garage.  I'm not looking forward to working on this in 0 degree weather, but thankfully most of these approaches don't sound too bad.  I think getting the starter pulled off is the 'worst' and that doesn't sound too bad.  

 

I'll post back with my progress/results.  

Take a hair dryer out and warn up the starter. Im betting its iced up

 

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1995 520H+96+97

The bendix freezes (ice) to the armature shaft. Snow comes in though the screen (drifts as high as the screen, or snowblowing in heavy snow fall).

It has happened two times to me. Taking the starter off is 3 minute job.

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lodestonefarm
3 hours ago, WH nut said:

Take a hair dryer out and warn up the starter. Im betting its iced up

 

Because this was the easiest thing to do- setup a hair dryer and go back inside where it's warm, I tried this first.  Bingo.  About 30 minutes of the hair dryer and she started right up.  Thanks!

 

I was able to get the drive cleaned.  Of course it's already started snowing again and since it doesn't look like temps outside will get above freezing for a few days, I wonder if there's anything I can do to prevent this from happening again.  My tractor is missing one of the 2 frames that the headlights sit in.  I suppose additional snow could be getting behind the hood via that gap, but given how much snow swirls around when blowing, I kinda doubt filling that gap will do anything to keep the snow away from the starter/solenoid.  

1 hour ago, 1995 520H+96+97 said:

The bendix freezes (ice) to the armature shaft. Snow comes in though the screen (drifts as high as the screen, or snowblowing in heavy snow fall).

It has happened two times to me. Taking the starter off is 3 minute job.

I was looking at how to do this but bailed on it and went with the hair dryer.  It look like much more than a 3 minute job to me so I must be approaching it wrong.  Looked to me like I had to take the cowling off around the engine to even get to the bolts.  I must be way off.  

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1995 520H+96+97

As long as your running. When I blow I do the high banks, then blow smaller lower snow for about a 1/2 hour, and it hasn't froze again.

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WH nut
5 hours ago, 1995 520H+96+97 said:

As long as your running. When I blow I do the high banks, then blow smaller lower snow for about a 1/2 hour, and it hasn't froze again.

You can always try praying the starter down with WD40 before you shut it down.

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lodestonefarm

Thanks for the suggestions.  I ran the blower yesterday to clean up a bit.  Started right up.  Things are finally warming a bit.  We've probably had almost 24 hours of temps above freezing in the last 3 days.  She's totally snow free today and it's currently 38 so she should be good and dry the next time I need her- probably Saturday if the forecast holds.

 

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