1949 Cub won't crank over

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1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby millm8 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:20 am

Have a 1949 that I can't crank over - worked last month and tried to start a week later and won't start. I had the starter rebuilt and hooked up over the weekend and still nothing - tried hooking battery cable directly to starter and still nothing - please help -
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby John *.?-!.* cub owner » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:30 am

Do you have a hand crank? Can you turn the engine turn over with it? Also check the ground cable connections bot at the battery and where it attaches.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby millm8 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:35 am

Sounds good - thanks I will try that tonight and go from there - no hand crank though - I will send you a post with outcome tom morning - thanks for the help - I am kinda of a novice at this tractor stuff.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:48 am

It's unclear to me in your post if the starter will turn, or attempt to turn the engine. When you pull the ignition lever does the starter actually crank the motor?

I had a similar problem where my starter would turn the engine but the engine wouldn't fire. I traced my issue to the wire connecting to my ammeter. It came loose and didn't fire my ignition. If your wiring is correct, the easiest way to see if your ammeter is wired correctly and is tight is to turn your lights on. :idea: :idea: If they turn on your ammeter is good and you may have a loose connection at your coil.

Is it battery ignition or do you have a magneto?
Last edited by Connecticut Calvin on Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby Jim Becker » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:52 am

Connecticut Calvin wrote:If you hear a "click" as if the starter is trying to turn but won't then it seems your engine is locked up. :( To verify that scenario, and if you don't have a hand crank, try having someone pull the tractor with a car/truck slowly with a chain attached to the front axle while you're on the tractor. Be sure you're in 3rd gear, the clutch is out, brakes are unlocked and ignition off. If the wheels skid then the engine is locked up. If the wheels turn and you hear the engine turning over then you probably have an electrical issue.

I never encourage anyone to pull a Cub by the front axle. It is too easy to yank it and break the front end off. An easy one-person way to check for a locked engine is to put the tractor in third gear and rock it back and forth with a rear wheel. See if the fan moves (at all).
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby millm8 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:00 am

I have a magneto but by-passed by using a 6 volt coil - I will check the ground - I can move the tractor back and forth now with no problem. I tried connecting the battery directly to the starter itself I am guessing it may be the ground - thanks for all your help on this board - I would like to restore the tractor in some time - but want to get it running so I can use the sickel bar to cut the weeds down - beats doing it with a weed wacker
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:00 am

Jim Becker wrote:
Connecticut Calvin wrote:If you hear a "click" as if the starter is trying to turn but won't then it seems your engine is locked up. :( To verify that scenario, and if you don't have a hand crank, try having someone pull the tractor with a car/truck slowly with a chain attached to the front axle while you're on the tractor. Be sure you're in 3rd gear, the clutch is out, brakes are unlocked and ignition off. If the wheels skid then the engine is locked up. If the wheels turn and you hear the engine turning over then you probably have an electrical issue.

I never encourage anyone to pull a Cub by the front axle. It is too easy to yank it and break the front end off. An easy one-person way to check for a locked engine is to put the tractor in third gear and rock it back and forth with a rear wheel. See if the fan moves (at all).


haha I actually took that post down and edited it to the above just after you posted your notes here whilst thinking it may not be a "good" idea. Fast little sucker ain't ya? :D

Anywho yes your tactic works too. Just make sure your ignition is off!!! (I've heard of horror stories with tractors running away in these situations!) :shock:
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby Connecticut Calvin » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:16 am

millm8 wrote:I have a magneto but by-passed by using a 6 volt coil - I will check the ground - I can move the tractor back and forth now with no problem. I tried connecting the battery directly to the starter itself I am guessing it may be the ground - thanks for all your help on this board - I would like to restore the tractor in some time - but want to get it running so I can use the sickel bar to cut the weeds down - beats doing it with a weed wacker


Check for spark before you do anything. Always check electrical issues from the furthest point from the battery and work your way backwards. If you started at the battery and went through your entire electrical system only to learn afterward you had spark all along you'll need to take a cold shower to cool off! :lol:
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby challenger » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:33 am

tried hooking battery cable directly to starter and still nothing


Just want to make sure by your statement that you have taken off the starter switch on top of the starter motor and you are making battery contact with the copper post coming directly out of the starter motor housing.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby millm8 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:37 am

Yes that is what I hooked it to directly to the copper switch - thanks - I will sand down the ground to make sure I am getting good contact and hopefully that is all it is.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby challenger » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:30 pm

It is highly unlikely that the starter would not be sufficiently grounded to the tractor when installed. Have you taken booster cables and run them directly from the battery to the starter to see if you get any starter action? Clamp the ground cable directly to the starter and tap the negative lead end to the head of the copper bolt that is on the starter housing. Another way to do a similar test of the starter is to pull the starter off of the tractor and then test it with the booster cables in the same manner to see if the starter runs. If it will not run using this test with the starter removed from the tractor, you have an internal starter motor problem. Because you used the word switch in your last response, I am still concerned you may not have removed the switch cover on top of the starter. I press the issue because the internals of the switch have a history of causing starter contact problems. The switch has a copper threaded bolt, but the copper post you want to use to test the starter is found under the switch cover.
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Re: 1949 Cub won't crank over

Postby Rudi » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:11 pm

millm8:

G'day to you and your '49 :D The guys have given you a lot of good info - follow up on it. That internal mag coil may have been by-passed but the magneto is still acting as a magneto. Check to make sure that there is spark coming from the coil output of the coil to the coil input on the magneto distributor cap. Then if there is a good yellow spark (not blue or anything else_), check to see if there is spark to each of the plugs. The solutions there are pretty basic. If there isn't a good yellow spark from the magneto, check the points and condenser as well as the ground lug. Ensure that the proper paper spacers are in place and it isn't grounding out on the case.

As John mentioned, check all of you connections making sure that they are clean and bright metal as well as the fasteners that are used to ground. Check for continuity in the battery cable. If no continuity then the cable has probably gone bad most likely from corrosion between the strands causing shorts.

As Challenger said, check the switch on the starter as well to make sure that the switch is clean and bright metal. I use my wire wheel to clean up the cover itself and a battery brush to clean the threaded copper contact.

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