Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:21 pm

So I've had some starting problems lately, hard starting mostly, but I have largely ascribed this to the cold as this is how I plow my driveway. This is a '49 cub with a 6V system. Anyway, I had some no action when I pulled the starter rod, so I bought a new starter switch and installed it just in time to pull my wife's car out of the ditch during the last snowstorm.

I wanted to set the timing, this is something I used to do by ear, so I tried turning the magneto until I realized my ears were pretty well shot. It all sounded the same. Well you can beat Father Time.

So I did just like the Book of Knowledge said about setting the magneto and tightened every thing up, pulled the starter rod - and nothing!

So I have successfully made sure the battery is fully charged, checked the connections for tightness - nothing. no even a hum. No bad smells ( I have smoked a starter before so I know what that smells like)

Winter is not over and I need this cub to start, do not have a hand crank, and besides that's why they invented batteries.

Should I try a starter rebuild kit? or just jump in and try to find a starter?

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:25 pm

First make sure all connections are cleaned good.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:46 pm

Yeah, that's always the first rule with electrical. I think I'm OK with that but it won't hurt to check.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:10 pm

Maybe try another battery too. In case one went bad. It definitely sound battery or wire related.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:39 pm

I just checked, all connections tight, battery at 100%, and starter no action.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:43 pm

It should be easy to see if you're getting power to the starter with a simple test light.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:50 pm

Actually, I have a multimeter somewhere... get back to you soon

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:32 pm

Clean up the corrosion on battery posts and battery terminal ends? Another problem area is where the ground cable is terminated, side of battery box.

Voltage drop test will indicate battery condition.

With good battery, jump to starter terminal post. Eliminate the battery and battery cables.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:54 pm

Eugene wrote:Clean up the corrosion on battery posts and battery terminal ends? Another problem area is where the ground cable is terminated, side of battery box.

Voltage drop test will indicate battery condition.

With good battery, jump to starter terminal post. Eliminate the battery and battery cables.


Exactly-tight connection is not necessarily a clean connection

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:32 pm

My son talked me into one of those smart battery chargers last year, it says the battery is 100%. The cable is not original and has good flexible neoprene insulation.

It does not make that sad painful weak connection noise, it makes no noise.

I'll check the ground tomorrow.

Thanks for the help so far.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:57 pm

Go back and start testing at the battery and clean up the battery and battery cable connections. Either do the voltage drop test or have the battery tested at the auto parts store. 100% reading on the battery charger doesn't tell you the battery's capacity, ability to crank over the starting motor. 100% only tells you the battery voltage, doesn't tell you how many amps the battery can produce.

Do the inexpensive stuff first.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:46 pm

ParlowMillFarm wrote:My son talked me into one of those smart battery chargers last year, it says the battery is 100%. ......
when those chargers say 100%, they are saying it is at 100 % of the charge the battery will take, not 100 % capability.

Re: Dead Starter?

Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:03 pm

If I understand correctly, it was sorta working, and you worked on the starter switch, and now it isn't. I would start with the starter switch. Here's some info from an older post....http://www.farmallcub.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=82212&hilit=starter+switch
You can take the switch off and touch the battery cable to the nub. IT SHOULD/WILL SPARK (DON'T TRY IT WITH A LEAKY SEDIMENT BOWL) AND MAKE SURE THE CUB IS OUT OF GEAR.

Something else to think about. The ground side of the battery. Does it ground to the battery box side? A mounting bolt under the battery? Or to the transmission case? Saw one one time that the owner said was intermittenly hard to start. No top or front on battery box, battery grounded to side of box. I grabbed the battery box and slid it up the battery. It had completely rusted off at the bottom. Rust and air don't make good electrical conductors.

Also check the ground at the starter. That's the starter housing meeting the engine block. Rust or paint there will keep it from making an electrical connection.

Re: Dead Starter?

Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:38 pm

Folks,
Well, 1. I am so cold from being in the barn
2. Cub starts!

About ten years ago I had the rotten battery box issue, which was solved by the internet. So I think I have good electrical contact with the frame as I have no rust in that area. But reading the posts/suggestions I got to thinking and removed the ground to the battery box. The connection was nice and tight, and the box was well painted - no rust or corrosion at the contact point. Also very poor electrical contact because of the pretty paint.

I sanded both sides of the battery box, the ground strap end, the lock washer and the bolt.

Vroom! Vroom! It's off to the races, Bravo to all who gave advice!

Re: Dead Starter?

Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:55 pm

Yup, and you were all set to throw the baby out with the bathwater ;)

Problems like that, 99% of the time, it's ground.

The 1% was with my Dad's Farmall 400. In that case the "L" wire on the regulator had developed a bad connection, so there was no power to the dashboard.