Trying to Get 154 Running

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SteveCanup
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Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby SteveCanup » Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:38 am

A friend purchased a '73 154 Low-Boy and brought it to my house for me to try to get it running. It's been sitting in a barn for many years, and the previous owner said it just quit running. I replaced all of the ignition parts (cap, rotor, point, condenser, coil, wires) and had spark at the plugs. I took the carburetor off and disassembled, cleaned . set the float and reassembled it. Put a new battery in and it will not start. I removed the side cover to make sure the valves were opening and closing, which they were. Checked and rechecked the timing and I think that it has 'jumped timing.' I am not real familiar with flathead four cylinder engines. Does it have a timing chain around the crank and cam? How hard (involved) and expensive will it be to rectify if the timing has jumped. My friend only paid $200 for the tractor, but he said that if the engine is not any good, he would scrap the tractor. It is a complete tractor and is in pretty good condition otherwise. Any feedback on this would be appreciated. Thanks!
Steve-

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby staninlowerAL » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:24 pm

The timing is by crankshaft/camshaft/distributor drive gears. No timing chain. If the timing is set for #1 at TDC on compression stroke, the pointer should indicate that it is correct by aligning with the Crank pulley notch mark. There should be 2 notch marks on the crank pulley. Rotor set to #1 distributor cap tower. Also the wires go clockwise from #1, 3, 4, 2. Once you have everything set as it should be and verify fuel is reaching the cylinders you could try pull starting to see if it will fire. I've had occasions in the past when one had to be pull started the first time after sitting for a long time.

SteveCanup
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby SteveCanup » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:59 pm

Thanks for the feed-back, I was finally able to access the manuals and saw where the crankshaft, camshaft and governor ignition drive are all gear driven. I might pull the cover off and see if everything is aligned properly. You lost me with the 'pull start"...Do you mean that I should put it into gear and pull it with another vehicle?

staninlowerAL
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Tractors Owned: Cubs: (3)'49's, (1)'52, (1)'57 IH Cub LoBoy w/FH, (1)'72 154 Number Series Loboy, '76 Longstripe, Mowers: C-22, Bush Hog 412, Pennington 59, Woods RM42CF, Woods 42, assorted FCub plows, planters, discs, etc. OTHERS: '49 AC B & Ind. Sickle mower, '61 AC D12 Ser 2, '52 8N, '56 Ferguson 35 Deluxe, '53 MM BG (offset), (2) '49 Avery V's, '56 JD 420C, with Blade and fire plow, '85 JD 850 (Yanmar) w/72" belly mower, '76 Yanmar 1500, Sears Surburban's, MTD's, Jeeps & other misc. "treasures"
Location: AL (Southwest)

Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby staninlowerAL » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:49 pm

Pull start--yes, pull it with another vehicle. Avoid a "jerk" on the tow line/chain. I don't know how sturdy a 154 front end might be but a regular/LoBoy Cub can sustain front end damage by towing. See pictures in this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=94748

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby Larry B » Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:56 pm

These engines don't jump time. Gear driven.
Since you have replaced all the ignition components hold a spark plug wire 1/4" from ground and crank engine. If spark jumps gap you have enough spark energy to run the engine. Static time the engine at TDC. It will start with the timing set there. Get some starting fluid and remove the rubber hose at the inlet to the carb and spray about 2 seconds worth of starting fluid into carb and crank engine to see if it will start or at least fire. If it tries to start you have a fuel delivery problem. If it never fires at all you probably have compression or timing issue. Are the spark plugs new?

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby gitractorman » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:20 am

As Larry mentioned, the timing doesn't just jump or skip, and if it was running then timing is likely not the issue.

Many folks forget (or just didn't know) on the 154/185/184 tractors, that there are a few safety switches, which, if not working correctly, will let the tractor crank, and let there be spark to the plugs, but will not let the circuit be completed for the tractor to run. It really sounds to me like this is the case with your machine. The clutch safety switch is easy to jumper, literally pull the leads off the switch and wire them together. It is also really easy to check the switch with a volt meter/continuity tester hooked to the two leads of the switch, then press the button to see if the circuit changes (closes) allowing continuity. Anyway, that's what I'd be looking at if it were me.

Also, I've seen those key switches wear out or break, allowing you to crank the engine but fail when the key turns back to the run position. I've seen the contacts worn, corroded, and completely missing when opening up the switches. Again, this can be checked with a continuity tester, but it's a little more tricky. There's a common or ground tab on the back of the switch, then the other tabs deal with starting, and running. If you pull a wiring diagram it will show you which tabs go to which circuits and you should be able to check continuity with the key turned in different positions. If there is no continuity in the run position, then the switch is bad. I have had luck spraying electrical cleaner and sometimes even WD-40 into the switch and working it a bunch, to clean out corrosion and restore a switch, but I've also replaced many of them too.
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chugah chugah
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby chugah chugah » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:16 pm

Hi All- Have a similar problem getting my 154 turning over- it was sitting in the rain all spring and after slowly turning over a bit the solonoid just clicks now- it;s pretty hard to get at as I was thinking just jump it.. The battery is 13 volts . I polorzed the dist, and tried jumping to the power post on the generator but just sparked. Going to try turn key and use my drill w small pully to turn over on the fan belt. Will I damage the gen If I take a separate battery and jump to pos and ground at generator- any advice? I know enough mechanically to get into trouble ") Thanks!
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby Larry B » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:29 am

A few things you can check. Is the battery fully charged? A battery can show about 13 volts when it comes off a charger but not have enough capacity to start an engine. Connect your meter across the battery terminals and try to start the engine. What does the voltage drop to? If voltage drops to something like 4 volts your battery is bad. If the voltage stays near 12 volts and the starter relay clicks look for a bad connection. Check that the battery terminal are clean and tight and the ground connection to the tractor is good. If you know how you can do voltage drop tests on the positive and negative sides of the starter wiring. Sounds to me like you just have a discharged or bad battery. You can get a simple battery load tester at Harbor Freight fo about $25. It will give you a better condition test of a battery than a voltmeter.

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gitractorman
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby gitractorman » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:31 pm

Chugah,
I'd run a ground directly to the engine block. The number series Lo boys are notorious about the ground being poor because the battery ground cable is to the sheet metal in the battery box/fender. Over the years, the fitting of the fenders to the frames tend to corrode and cause a poor ground. Every one I've had I've run a new ground cable directly to one of the bellhousing bolts, and it will fix your slow cranking problem! While you're at it, I'd consider running a new battery positive cable to the starter too, with new battery terminal connectors. You wouldn't believe how deteriorated those (wires and connectors) become after 40-years. Also, I think that IH skimped a little on the wiring because the factory wires are pretty thin. A new, heavier cable will carry the starting load a lot easier. Trust me on this, it's a cheap, easy fix.
Bill
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby Mike H » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:13 am

chugah chugah wrote:Hi All- Have a similar problem getting my 154 turning over- it was sitting in the rain all spring and after slowly turning over a bit the solonoid just clicks now- it;s pretty hard to get at as I was thinking just jump it.. The battery is 13 volts . I polorzed the dist, and tried jumping to the power post on the generator but just sparked. Going to try turn key and use my drill w small pully to turn over on the fan belt. Will I damage the gen If I take a separate battery and jump to pos and ground at generator- any advice? I know enough mechanically to get into trouble ") Thanks!



Had the same problem with my 185
I added a bonding strap from the mounting screw for the voltage regulator to the block and it fixed the problem,,, starts every time :{_}:
and also the battery ground is to the transmission helps a lot too


Mike :tractor:

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby Larry B » Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:25 pm

Bad ground connection is common on the 154 and 185. Not so much the 184. There is a simple way to check the quality of the ground connection and also the positive power to the starter. It is called a voltage drop test. To test the ground connection to the starter connect the negative lead of a voltmeter to the negative battery post an the positive lead of the multimeter to the frame of the starter. Not any of the terminals or the engine. If using an auto ranging meter manually set to DC volts. The circuit must be energized by cranking the starter an observing the the reading on the voltmeter. Ideally it should be 0.0 volts. If it is you have an excellent ground connection. Anything above 0.2 volts indicates an issue with the ground connection between the starter and battery. To check the positive side connect the positive lead of the meter to the positive battey terminal and the negative lead to the large battery terminal on the starter. Crank the starter and observe the reading on the voltmeter. Since this will be reading through the the starter relay contacts anything below 0.5 volts is good. If above 0.5 volts indication of poor connection or bad contacts in the starter relay. Many voltage tests may not show a problem with very low current flow. This test is at a high current flow which will better show problems with the ground connection. This test does not test the quality or the starter, just the connections to it. If doing this test be sure to clean the battery terminals and clamps before doing test to get an accurate test.

SteveCanup
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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby SteveCanup » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:35 pm

Got it running by pulling it behind a pick-up truck....head was cracked. It ran for a minute or so before I turned it off....Time for a rebuild.

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby tbear » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:11 pm

I'm not saying this is your only problem needing attention but you haven't mentioned this. My experience was-extremely hard starting all the time, it would just die while in use and not start other times. I checked timing, compression (120 lbs. on all 4 cyl., new points and condenser, rebuilt the carb,, new dist. cap and rotor. I had pulled the plugs first and they all showed lotsa spark. After taking a good look at the plugs, I decided they looked rusty enough to have been the original ones from 1972. I bought new plugs now I pull the choke and hit the starter and it barely makes a small grunt and it's running summer or winter. Started it at 22 below this morning to pull the neighbors car out of the ditch. What I think is that the old plugs were just not firing under compression. This was 2 years ago. I've had the same experience with chain saws and small engines but not with something like the Lo Boy engine.

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Re: Trying to Get 154 Running

Postby Larry B » Mon Dec 19, 2016 12:11 am

tbear is absolutely right about spark plugs. I run a small engine shop on the side and I see it a lot where guys think that just because a plug sparks it is good and the ignition system is fine. If the ignition system is working it should be able to jump a 1/4" gap in air. A carbon fouled plug will usually spark at the gap but misfire under compression or if wet with fuel. The C60 engine has more in common with a lawn mower engine than a tractor or automotive engine. It does not have a thermostatic controlled cooling system and the cooling system is designed to work with the engine a full throttle on a warm day with a load on the PTO. Like a lawn mower engine it will run best a full throttle under a load. Spark plugs need to operate in the self cleaning temperature range of about 950 degrees to 1500 degrees F. Below that they will carbon foul and above that they will overheat. Every time you start the engine the plugs are carbon fouling till the engine reaches the self cleaning temperature of the spark plugs. This is dependent on the heat range of the plugs. If the tractor is a parade queen that never gets much above idle it will probably foul plugs no matter what plug is used but a working tractor shouldn't if using the proper heat range plugs. I see charts that say the Champion D15 is the recommended plug for Lo-Boys. I have not seen a tractor run hot enough to keep them from fouling. My 184 likes Champ D21 plugs when I mow. A fellow I know has a 154 that likes Champ D18Y plugs when he mows in the summer. The ignition on the C60 engine is low energy of around 20,000 volts which means that the plugs will take hundreds of hours to wear out the electrodes. Plugs in these engines are not changed for wear but for fouling which means that they are the wrong heat range for the application. Plugs can look good and still misfire from carbon fouling. If you have an engine that is hard starting put in a fresh set of plugs before you do anything else. And if they were black try a step or 2 hotter heat range plugs.


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