My cub cadet 100 that I use for tilling only had a rattle when running ever since I purchased it. When tilling it had the huff of blue smoke occasionally so I never really gave it much thought. Yup it runs and tills the garden.
The other day it started funny and got louder noise wise. I found out it was the starter the one with the rear bronze bushing not the ball bearing on the rear cover. I know some starters had bronze bushings in the rear covers and some have the ball bearings. So one is more heavy duty over the other. We must oil or grease the bronze bushing in the rear cover at least once a year.
My point is if you have a double ball bearing S/G make sure you don't part with it incase you sell it. If you have a few cadets swap it out with a bushing starter. Keep the better ball bearing one.
My 100 sounds really quiet now. I never paid that much attention to it. But the old trick of using a socket set detention as a listening device would of told me the rear bushing was worn out.
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