Lawnmower problem : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I think that the solenoid is bad on my riding mower, but I'm not positive that's it. Help!!

While I was gone my friend decided to mow some of the weeds down. She grabbed the diesel can instead of the gas can and went to town and filled it the rest of the way with gas. It's mostly gas, but anyway she poured that in and the thing wouldn't start for her. I drained the tank and poured some fresh gas in the carb, and it blasted a big ole belch of smoke out and then died and the solenoid clicking commenced.

If I pull the plug the engine spins. The plug doesn't seem to be fouled. The starter bench tests just fine. The battery is re-charged. There is correct oil in it, but it won't start.

When I hit the ignition, the first time it almost starts, then it just gets a few clicks from the solenoid and won't spin the starter.

Any ideas? I really can't take it in right now and wait the three weeks to get it back. Thanks a bunch!

-- Doreen (, June 18, 2001


Here are a couple thoughts.

Get some either type starting fluid, make sure the air filter is not clogged, put a little starting spray on the filter/air intake and (with the battery fully charged) try to start the engine. The starter may let the motor run long enough to flush the rest of any low octane diesel mix out of the lines.

The solenoid clicking sounds like the battery is damaged, maybe from many futile attempts to start the engine. Also, make sure the battery hot and ground connections are clean and the ground strap to frame connection is clean and tight. If your system is 12 volt, try boosting the battery with jumper cables (use extreme caution jumping a small battery with a large one--wear eye protection and make connections in the right order); if your charging system is 6 volt, instead of jumping, replace the suspect battery with a known good one for a test.

If you get the mower going, change the oil after a few hours to make sure any contaminants are removed.

-- Rags (, June 18, 2001.

Doreen, Rags pretty much has it pegged the clicking solinoid is only related to to the wrong fuel because of repeated start attempts.Put the battery on a seperate charger.Drain the fuel tank and empty the the carburator float bowl.clean the jet(s)because diesle fuel can often have a lot of crap in it.Look and see if you have an in line fuel filter.If so blow it out or replace it.after doing all that fill the tank with fresh gas and give it a shot.It should start up for you.diesel fuel in a gas engine is not as big a deal as gas in a diesel engine.(sometimes the diesel engine goes boom)You could also try battery booster cables and jump start the mower.if the problem persists the battery is fried.Sometimes there is a weak cell that allows it to be charged but does not hold a charge.Try boosting it and see if you can limp by for a while doing that.

-- greg (, June 18, 2001.

Thanks guys! I had drained the tank and "supposedly" charged the battery, but I was dumb and had the charger set for six volts. After re-charging the battery and cleaning the plug and all the other stuff, I needed to dump fresh gas in the carb about 4-5 times and then it actually would stay running. A LOT of black smoke needed to clean itself out of there. But thanks to your advice...IT WORKS! God bless!

-- Doreen (, June 19, 2001.

How difficult is it to replace the solenoid on a riding lawn mower? I've ordered the replacement part and it arrived yesterday, but I really have no clue how to go about it. Is there a guide on the web somewhere? My mower is a Craftsman.

-- StephP (, August 20, 2002.

Steph, if your mower is still under warranty you can get the part rpl free by taking your mower back to the place you purchased it. If you can't do that then call 1-800-659-5917 for customer service.

-- Charles (, April 29, 2003.

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