When a riding mower won't start: How to troubleshoot and replace the starter- MTD and more



This video shows how to troubleshoot the starting circuit and replace the starter on an MTD riding mower with a Briggs and Stratton engine. Included is a segment on how to find and check out the starter relay, or solenoid.

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17 thoughts on “When a riding mower won't start: How to troubleshoot and replace the starter- MTD and more

  1. So if one takes the red wire off the starter and with a meter sees 12 volts or a bit more when one turns the key and when key is off zero volts and when on 12 volts proves without a doubt that the trouble has something to do with the starter and not the solenoid or anything else. The reason I ask this is that I just did that test before watching this video and phoned my small engine guy and he said that test means nothing and to throw the meter away as it can always read 12 volts even with a bad solenoid. Comments on this appreciated. Now I am confused as if its the solenoid its almost impossible to remove on my 20 twin hp briggs and stratton engine.

  2. Very common problem with Briggs. Starter turns the engine over good when cold, but will not turn it over fast enough when hot, or will not turn over the engine at all when hot. The solution is to check valve clearance. I've seen this so many times over the years. Adjust your valves, and it will turn over when hot. Yes, it could be bad connections or a bad starter, but check the valve clearance before wasting money on a new starter.

  3. I'm just a little confused with this video. what's his starter bad ? He said there it is 12 volts and then he remove the starter

  4. When I try to turn my mower on nothing happens no noise or nothing. I can jump the mower by hooking up a battery straight to the starter.

    There are 3 red wires connected to the solenoid. 2 of them gets over 12 voltage but the other one doesn’t get any. Do you know what that wire might be? It’s not the starter wire.

  5. I just had this problem this week after installing a new battery it still would not turn over fast enough to start, I didn't have any test equipment but I did have another starter ,So I swapped it out and bam! that was the problem. Thanks for posting this.

  6. 45sec in, my starter does that but only turns the motor about a 1/4 turn then stops, Motor wont turn all the way over, replaced new coil and battery , what could it be? Thanks

  7. If anyone can help, I have the same engine on my John Deere. I have red wire with diodes connects to the black and red wires coming out of top left of starter. When I connect them even with key off they spark and heat up. What could cause that?

  8. I have only mowed with it twice,>>>t.co/9AJeplQBAQ  but I love the operation and the clean cut you get with this machine. I do not have a big lot, less than 17,000 square feet with several large buildings, but I love this machine. Speed is adjustable, height is adjustable, handling is very good, breaks are great, comfortable to mow with (I am 6'5", 235), has a hitch for pulling rakes, spreaders,etc.

  9. I started my multimeter with battery got 12 volts there so I went to solenoid checked the battery lead post and got 12 volts there so I checked the outbound post of solenoid (where starter cable connects to) got 12 volts there so I ruled out solenoid….now just starter cable and starter are left….or a seized engine…when i went to check starter cable I'm confused….i put black lead on cable end right by the starter and then red lead on solenoid post and I get 0 voltage or maybe like .01 does this mean there's simply no voltage lost from solenoid post to end of starter cable? Did I perform a drop test and not know it lol…if that's the case then all that's left to do is what you did here and make sure I do have 12 volts at the starter cable end by the starter and we can rule out bad starter cable and point to the starter or seized engine….although I'm 99% sure it's not seized

  10. I have a 17hp Briggs and Stratton engine in my riding mower… starts fine. after running it for a while if I shut it down… gotta wait for it to cool before it will start again

  11. That was good information to know and I have to change the starter out on my John Deere mower which have a Kawasaki engine in it. After that I have to work on my Craftsman mower to get it running also, but it should run once my battery in it is charged. I knew about the starter on my J.D. mower since my neighbor who is a small engine repairman told me about it last Summer, but I didn't change it then.

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