318 Starter Woes
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Thread: 318 Starter Woes

  1. #1
    Member
    Display Name: Mark Broz

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    I've got an 83 318 with a replacement P218 Onan engine that was replaced a few years back by the local Dealer.

    Anyway, for the first time ever she failed to start today. The starter would just 'spin' w/o engaging. I removed the shields and tapped on the started, and the starter engaged again. But I shut it off, and tried again, but now I have nothing at the starter, No click or spin, Just dead. I also have no voltage at the starter either.

    I am able to start and run the engine by turning the key 'ON', then running a hot wire from the starter to the Pos side of the battery.

    Anybody have any ideas? Do I have a bad Ign Switch? Can one of you good fellows send me a wiring diagram?? I've got an owners manual but no shop manual..

    Thanks Much!!

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  3. #2
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    Display Name: Ken

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    Mark, I'd start by checking all the fuses and circuit breakers.

  4. #3
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    Display Name: B.A. Babbitt

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    If I'm not mistaken those wiring diagrams are all
    over this forum, & this site. Chuck V. is a pro
    at helping & sending that type of info.
    Do a little more internet work using this website. Good luck. Bobo

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  6. #4
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    Display Name: Gimmodog

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    many starter problems like this are a bad connection or a safety feature. Try wiggling the wire connecter on the key switch to see if it has a bad connection inside it. If it has a stater solenoid relay check to see if it has voltage to the pull in terminal. Check all the connections around the PTO switch, neutral switch, ignition switch, starter solenoid relay, fuses and circuit breakers. Clean all connections the then coat them with dielectric silicone compound to keep the connections clean and stop from corroding. If it still will not start after doing that the do a search for starter problems and you will find an insert of the starter wiring diagram in one of those threads. Need any help troubleshooting it after you find one let us know and we will give more help.

  7. #5
    Senior Member
    Display Name: Chuck Van Dusen
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    Mark,

    It may very well be that you have a failing ignition switch (key switch) since power to the solenoid has to pass through it TWICE, but it could also be the other safety circuits that must be in the proper state to allow the solenoid to be powered by the key switch. The basic wiring for the starter is shown below:



    Since you have an early tractor with a P218 repower, you may have either a separate solenoid as was used on the original B series engine, or the solenoid-shift starter that is common on the P series engines -- depending on if the dealer notched the frame for the later style...

    In either event, you will not have the brake switch in your harness. One place to look is for the neutral switch to be working as it should...try holding the hydro speed lever firmly toward the steering column in the notch in the slot. If that is the issue, that switch can be adjusted -- instructions are in the TM1590.

    Chuck

  8. #6
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    Display Name: trpshoot

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    NO MORE TAPPING!!!

    These starters are not the same of yester-year!

    Before I did the repower (best move ever for me..) I had a starter issue and lightly tapped on the starter. Well I cracked the magnets and the old guy who was going to rebuild my starter gave me a 5 minute lecture on how I was stupid because these starters are not the same as a car starter, blah, blah, blah... and one should never tap them.. blah, blah... So then he shows me the cracks, etc... to rub it in. Yes it was a very positive experience with this old salt...

    So if your starter needs new brushes, then hopefully you haven't beat it beyond repair like I did.. HAHA

  9. #7
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    Display Name: Barnhart

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    I'm having the same problem with a 318 serial number 293994. This one has the remote solenoid and separate starter.

    When I go to "start" the solenoid clicks but the starter doesn't engage. I have tried repeated times to get it to engage, perhaps 20 in a row.

    There have been many comments on the forum about this problem. Is the repair (ignition switch, starter improvement kit, clean terminals and check safety switches) the same for the models such as I have versus the self contained starter solenoid models?

    I'm trying to avoid removing the engine, installing a new starter and still having the problem.

    Any specific help would be appreciated, I'm a new member as of "today"

    Thanks,

    Bill

  10. #8
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    Display Name: Mark Broz

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    Chuck, Thanks for the diagram. It looks like there are two switchs, since I dont have a rear PTO, or the brake switch, But do have the seat switch.. I will have more time tomorrow to fiddle with it, and will manually depress the Neutral Switch. Do you know how often the Circuit Breaker is at fault??

    Trpshoot, FUNNY!!! I've known a couple fellows like that also, But I have to admit, the sure know their stuff..

  11. #9
    Senior Member
    Display Name: Chuck Van Dusen
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    Bill,

    Welcome to the WFM forum! How many hours are on your 318 and how long have you owned it? Post some pictures when you get a chance...

    Yes, the starter improvement kit, new key switch, etc. all help the older tractors too -- but there is another thing to check with the Bendix style starters on the early tractors. When the solenoid clicks, does your starter turn and not engage the flywheel, or does it not turn at all? If the latter, then replace the solenoid itself on the firewall. If the former, then clean the Bendix mechanism on the starter shaft or replace parts if severely worn.

    Mark, the circuit breaker can fail with age, and in the early tractors with the press on terminals, those can also be making poor connections if oxidized or if they have been overheated and lost their spring tension. Best to replace those press on terminals with the ring type that can be attached with the nuts on the threaded studs of the circuit breaker...that is what the later tractors used.

    Chuck

  12. #10
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    Display Name: Barnhart

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    Chuck,

    Thanks! I just checked the voltage at the starter stud. On "start" I read 12.54VDC, on run 0. I then tried a jumper from the battery positive to the starter stud. Nothing happened so I'm now thinking it is the starter since that is the only power source it could receive - through the stud.

    You mentioned the solenoid. Where is it on the firewall? Sounds like it might be OK, but I will probably replace it with the starter if that is the problem.

    As far as the 318, I have had it 11 years and it now has 987 total hours on the meter.

    Bill

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