Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:16 pm


Several weekends ago I disconnected the Cub starter rod at the starter switch to rearrange and tie some electrical wires together.

After reconnecting the starter rod, I forgot to reinstall the cotter pin where the starter rod connects to the starter switch.

(Seems as though that after one passes 23 years old or so, one tends to forget some things, some times).

While cutting grass a few weekends later, (immediately after changing oil & oil filter), a fire started on the full length of the starter rod.

The starter rod had come out of the starter switch, slipped forward, and touched the battery cable on the starter switch.

Fresh oil on the "HOT" starter rod ignited. Never dreamed this would have happened.

Lucklily, I have a safety disconnect switch on the battery ground cable -- as soon as I turned the switch "OFF", no more rod heat & the fire immediately went out.

Could have been a total disaster if the glass filter bowl gasket or gas line immediately above was leaking gasoline; or had just added gasoline whereby some spilled around the gas tank.

I'm not a favorite of adding modern accessories to vintage vehilcles, but this rare experience shows that battery switches are a sure way of eliminating un-fused electrical items.

Without a battery disconnect switch, switching the key to "OFF" would not have stopped the heat on the shorted starter rod.

Worst of all, I was cutting within a foot and along the perimeter of a wood framed house, with the house on my right side -- seeing flames that close to the gas tank, I was about to give the tractor and the house to the flames.

Most sincerely,

H. L. Chauvin

Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:02 pm

Who said ya can't have a little new with a little old. It worked out good this time it sounds like.

Thank God for forsight. Could have been a hot time in the ol neighborhood.

Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:41 pm

Yikes.... I never would have guessed that could happen!

Welcome back!


Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Wed Jul 09, 2008 10:15 pm


Thanks for posting this. I moved it over here into the Safety Forum as this is probably the very best place for this post. This goes to show that safety really is paramount because danger lurks in unsuspecting cubbys and can happen in the unlikeliest of scenarios. Some glad you were ok, and damage was minimal.

Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:55 pm

Mr. Chauvin,
Please share details of the safety disconnect switch you have on the ground cable.


Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:05 pm

Hi Mr. E,

My cut off switch, installed immediately adjacent to the battery, interrupts the battery ground wire -- it was bougtht at Sears for under $5.00 -- all black plastic base with red plastic removable key -- just saw where J. C. Whitney has similar ones for $2.49, their Product No. ZX734720A. Good safety device when working on electrical items.

After buying the Cub, the first time I turned the light switch "ON", the headlight wires smoked & roasted -- sounded like the old Rice Crispy commercial cartoon, "Snap Crackle & Pop" -- my tractor is parked in an enclosed wood framed garage attached to a wood framed house -- just feel safer knowing that the electrical current is entirely "OFF" everywhere, after shut down -- also may make the Cub slightly more difficult to steal with both the battery cut off switch removed & the ignition switch removed.


H. L. Chauvin

Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:15 pm

Did you "mount" yours, or just simply put it in-line?

Re: Cub Safety -- Embarrasing Starter Rod Fire

Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:06 pm

Hi Mr. E,

Mine is securely mounted & fixed, on top of the battery box, with the key pointing upwards.

Cub came without original, metal battery box; but with some off brand much longer plastic battery box when the box is measured from front to rear.

I moved the battery forward, cut a piece of wood about 2-3/4" wide x 3/4" thick x width of battery box, & placed the wood across the rear inside the battery box with the top of the wood flush with the top of the battery box sides -- provided 3 screws through the sides of the battery box into the wood -- 1 screw at rear & 1 screw each side -- mounted the switch centered on top of the wood with battery cables attached to the switch's mounting bolts below the wood.

Hope this helps,

H. L. Chauvin