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Discussion Starter #1
I was mowing my yard and about an hour in my 400 started shutting down and backfiring and then died. I was able to pull the choke before it stopped but it didn't help. When I tried to restart it the battery didn't have enough to crank it over and when I tried to jump it it still wouldn't start. The backfiring is what has me concerned, was running great until that happened. Any thoughts?
 

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Kevin, what engine is in this 400? If it has breaker points, I would look there first. Also look at all the wiring for a short or burned connections. All I've got right now.

tommyhawk
 

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Kevin,
There are a lot of possibilities here. Does it have a spark? Is it getting fuel? Did you have an actual backfire through the carb, or was there popping through the exhaust? Are you saying that the battery failed? When you jumped the tractor, did the engine crank? If not, look for a bad connection on a battery cable. What year is the tractor, and if equipped, does it have a functional seat safety switch and double micro switch at the PTO lever? Look for loose connections or worn, shorted wires anywhere on the tractor. Another thought is that a failing battery caused an over-charge condition that took out the ignition coil and/or condenser.
Harold
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Last night it was back firing out the exhaust. When I tried to jump it it was cranking good and fast but no fire. So I left it in the yard and took the 140 out there this morning, figured I'd try it again before I drag it back, jumped off the 140 and the 400 fires right up as normal and ran fine. Even finished the lawn with it. No issues 🤷🏻‍♂️. Guess ill pull it in and get a tune up and new battery. Probably going to pull the gas tank for cleaning and new lines as well. Not sure what happened to it last night, I'm stumped
 

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It looks like the 400 just needed some company. Have a look at the 3-prong connector going into the voltage regulator on the right side of the flywheel shroud. That connection is problematic and can give a ground short. A failing ignition coil or condenser can be heat sensitive and function again till the engine gets good and hot. Some ohmmeter checks may or may not help here.
Harold
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well last night I was dragging our horse pasture and it was acting up again. Under a heavy load it would just die out but when I stopped it would spit and spudded and blow black smoke and then catch itself and run fine until I would try to pull again. It eventually died and then the new battery was dead 🤦🏻‍♂️. After work today I will pull it back to the barn and get into it again. I'm thinking about a new voltage regulator and coil just to be safe but the flooding out has me stumped. I wonder if the tractor bouncing in the field was making the float bounce and the fuel pump push passed it. I'm thinking me ordering a cheap carburetor is most of my problem and now I'm really paying for it
 

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Could the flooding be it not sparking and loading the cylinder with fuel?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not sure. Like I said, when I stop it does catch itself and clear out. But yes I think that's definitely a good possibility.
 

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Kevin,
It is possible there are both fuel and electrical issues, but the battery discharge would be the first thing I would tackle. Have a look at the voltage regulator 3-prong connector, the connector on the key switch, and the green wire in between. Does the ampmeter on the dash show charge or discharge with the tractor running? I would recommend some more evaluation before throwing parts at the tractor.
Harold
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well the amp meter doesn't show any readings. I just assume it doesn't work. At WOT I was getting almost 14v at the battery. I will recheck that when I get home though. Someone has gotten into the wiring here and there so I'm looking at replacing the whole harness, just to be back at square one, I hate tracing other people's stuff. There is definitely a little time to be put in it to figure this one out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I ment to send that last post last night, oops. The multimeter is showing 12.5v at the battery. I'm only getting a couple of cranks out of it. I pulled the plugs and there crusted over in carbon so they'll be changed out when the tune up parts come in. I did also order a new US made carb and new coil. Also the battery ground is only ran to the sheet metal on the motor so I am probably going to change that. 7-10 days and I should be tearing into it. I'm going to also be checking the valve lash and adjusting. I think I'm done mowing for the year so I just need to have it running to push snow
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Getting the tune up done. I only took a couple of pictures but new coil, points and condenser, adjusted the valves fuel filter and oil change with new air filter. Hopefully the dying out problem is cured. Also an eBay cutting edge, 1/4 AR400, installed on the snowplow and 54c center blade
 

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I really like your workstand. Wish I had that here for working on my 318 & 420 ... Gabby
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I've ran the tractor around a little bit without any issues. Waiting for the snow to come so I have a reason to use the tractor now. Funny, I don't recall any smoke but now that I have changed the oil it's smoking pretty good 🤷🏻‍♂️. Oh well, just going to have to keep an eye on the dip stick until spring
 

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A K532 I bought right after it was rebuilt did that. It didn't smoke when I brought it home but I did an oil change and only had 10W30 on hand so I put that in it. It immediately started smoking when I started it up. Like a lot. So I dashed out and bought some 30W and the smoking wasn't nearly as bad after that. Didn't go away though. Been using that engine for 10 years and it always smokes on start up. The longer it sits the better the smoke show. Does it a little bit when running too and has always used about a quart every 50 hours or so. Has never gotten any worse though. It's been used a lot too. Around 700 hours if I remember correctly. Was in my beater 400 for many years and used for mowing and blowing. It's in my blower 400 right now. It was pretty scruffy when I got it. I cleaned it up after this pic but it still isn't the prettiest engine you'll ever see.
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Well I've ran the tractor around a little bit without any issues. Waiting for the snow to come so I have a reason to use the tractor now. Funny, I don't recall any smoke but now that I have changed the oil it's smoking pretty good 🤷🏻‍♂️. Oh well, just going to have to keep an eye on the dip stick until spring
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Walked in the barn today to find a puddle under the trans now 🤦🏻‍♂️, never ends lol. Looks like it is leaking at the input shaft. Any pointers on fixing this? Hope it can be done without to much work
 

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Kevin, I have never wrenched on a 400 but if it is anything like 317 it is not a difficult repair but will take a couple of hours.
  • Remove seat and fender deck.
  • Remove fuel tank
  • Remove driveshaft
  • Four capscrews to remove the charge pump.housing.
  • Shaft seal is AT12820
  • I would also replace o-ring M49523 which seals the charge pump housing to the main pump housing.
Caution, there is a dowel pin which I believe locks the inner geroter (oil pump) gear to the main pump housing. Keep track of that dowel and make sure it is reinstalled or you will be tearing it apart again. Also, I would scribe a line between main and charge pump hsgs to make sure they are reassembled correct. I flipped the charge pump hsg on a 314 and the pump did not work. Tore it apart again, flipped the hsg, reassembled, and drove it away.

While the fuel tank is off this may be a good time to do some service work by flushing/rinsing fuel tank and replacing fuel lines/fuel filter/shut off valve. Also make sure the roll pins in the drive shaft are in good shape. I had a roll pin fail at pump input shaft on my 314 and I ended up replacing pump because it wore the bore in the input shaft obround.

Gabby
 

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Sadly, getting the driveshaft off means either pulling the engine forward or the rear end backward. It's a bit of a chore either way. Might as well pull the rear end out as long as you'll be working on the pump anyway. The front seal can be changed from the outside but you may want to make sure other seals are up to snuff while there. Yep, comes with having a 40 year old tractor.
 
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