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I had post earlier that my mower had died while running , i wondering could it be the module , and most said the battery , and that exactly what it was .
After i replaced the battery , all i get now is a hard loud single click . From the post many have said this is the sign of a bad starter , or possibly ignition switch . I have never had one sign that the starter was failed , it spun well all the time , untill now , and i know that really don't mean much . I figured i'd start with the ignition switch , so my question one , is the side panel on the switch side the best place to access the switch ? When i pulled the dash panel , there was'nt room there to even get my small hands in . Some posters have suggest using cables directly to the starter, i can't even see it , much less get a cable end to it . I shutter at having to pull the motor to get to the starter, it looks complicated . The motor isn't locked , i borrowed wife's wooden spoon to put in the cylinder and turned the motor with a ratchet , all seem ok there . Any more quidance appreciated
 

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I haven't done anything much with mine yet, but from what I have looked at you could either go in that side panel or take out the battery tray
 
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You could try using a second battery connected to yours via jumper cables. If the added amps spin the starter more like normal, then you definitely have a defective starter. Make sure your Bendix has not come loose from starter (assuming you have a P218 Onan engine).
 

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You could try using a second battery connected to yours via jumper cables. If the added amps spin the starter more like normal, then you definitely have a defective starter. Make sure your Bendix has not come loose from starter (assuming you have a P218 Onan engine).
Thanks much for the replies , I have added the start assist wiring kit by the way . They do work too , and it is a P218 .
 

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Hi Bob. Had kinda same issue with my 318 last year. Was thinking worst the same as you having a huge teardown on the P218. But it was simply the interlock switch on the brake pedals acting up. Once activating about 20 times it started right up. Maybe just a bit of corrosion in the switch. I can't remember though if I had the click before or not. Pretty sure it did. Try that first as taking that starter out is a real chore! Peter
 
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Bob B, Starter assist will make trouble shooting a little easier. Remove wire from starter assist coil going to solenoid...purple I think. Put voltmeter on starter assist coil, turn key to start. If 12v, bad solenoid or starter. If no 12v, safety interlock "someplace". Bob
 
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Hi Bob. Had kinda same issue with my 318 last year. Was thinking worst the same as you having a huge teardown on the P218. But it was simply the interlock switch on the brake pedals acting up. Once activating about 20 times it started right up. Maybe just a bit of corrosion in the switch. I can't remember though if I had the click before or not. Pretty sure it did. Try that first as taking that starter out is a real chore! Peter
That leads me another question , is it ok to wash the area under the battery tray , if you let it dry thoroughly . I took the compressor and blew out some of the dust , but the previous owner must have never had the tray out , much less wash it ?
 

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BobB, It's ...kinda...OK to wash there, but be very cautious of where the water goes and water pressure. You may have a connection on the verge of falling off and the water may loosen it even more making NO connection, but still in place!

This is dangerous as all get out, but I've found a parts brush and gasoline is the cheapest and safer for the tractor than anything else. Brush with gas until clean and rinse with parts cleaner, One can of parts cleaner will rinse the entire area under the hood rather than 6-10 cans of parts cleaner to clean and then rinse. You can use water if you like, but don't be too surprised if you spend a day or so chasing loose connections! Also, water will remove most dirt, but will have little affect of heavy oil build-up. Bob
 
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A single loud click would tell me that the solenoid is engaging but with the starter not spinning, you don't know whether it's a solenoid problem or a starter problem. The solenoid is very much like a relay, used to switch the high amperage 12 volts to spin the starter. On the front of the starter you have two studs with nuts on them and a flat connector. The flat connector is for a lower amperage 12 volt supply to energize the solenoid (causing the loud click with a healthy battery and a chatter with a poor battery). Inside the solenoid, the energizing causes the heavy duty switch to close the contacts between the two studs. You'll see that one of the studs has the heavy gauge battery cable attached, and if you look closely, you'll see that the other stud has a braided cable going into the starter, so when the working solenoid is engaged, it connects the high amp battery +12 to the starter. If the contacts on the solenoid are shot, you won't get the needed power to the starter, so to test this, you can use a jumper and jump one stud to the other - if the starter spins, you need a new solenoid (they are replaceable) and if the starter doesn't spin, you have either a failed starter or a jambed starter and you'll need to lift the engine and pull the starter to fully check this out and either fix the jamb or replace the starter (with or without the solenoid - if the starter is gone, I'd recommend getting the combination unit just for added insurance).
 

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BobB, It's ...kinda...OK to wash there, but be very cautious of where the water goes and water pressure. You may have a connection on the verge of falling off and the water may loosen it even more making NO connection, but still in place!

This is dangerous as all get out, but I've found a parts brush and gasoline is the cheapest and safer for the tractor than anything else. Brush with gas until clean and rinse with parts cleaner, One can of parts cleaner will rinse the entire area under the hood rather than 6-10 cans of parts cleaner to clean and then rinse. You can use water if you like, but don't be too surprised if you spend a day or so chasing loose connections! Also, water will remove most dirt, but will have little affect of heavy oil build-up. Bob
Did I read that right? Gasoline to clean the battery tray? Never! use gasoline to clean unless you want to burn the place down. If your so worried about a little water getting into someplace just remove the tray, only four easy to get at bolts and clean it properly. If necessary use a baking soda mixture should any acid residue be present. With modern sealed batteries this is seldom the case but its likely nothing more than dirt.

I agree with CaptPete with one additional comment. That is if it is the starter, or any of the components in it, it's quite likely you'll be replacing the starter sooner than later. Usually at the most inopportune time. I would bite the bullet and fix it right. You don't have to completely remove the engine. Just remove the hood, remove the engine mount bolts and lift/tip it enough to get the starter out.

Your reference to the "starter assist" which most folks call the starter improvement kit, should have eliminated everything before the starter IF you hear that loud click. What that does is remove the high impedance (load/resistance) from the circuit which includes all of the safeties and switches. If the solenoid clicks, it is working. That large solenoid on the starter draws too much current to route through all of those contacts. Sooner or later, the weakest link burns up. The kit allows a much lower amount of power to pull in the little relay vs. the large on the starter. The starter solenoid is then activated with the starter assist (as you call it) relay. Another Deere lousy design. But again, they never expected these tractors to be around thirty years later.

Hope that's not to complicated. I'm not good at explaining things.

As for the switches in (on) the operators panel. Ignition they are all held in place with the exterior nuts one each. Simply unscrew them and reach under to remove the device. I think I have hands as large as any man and I have no problem reaching in to remove or install them.
 

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I sort of agree with @jdgreen. Before doing any difficult troubleshooting, you should test the battery. Ideally this would mean under load but unless you have one of those testers, simply use jumper cables from your car battery (not running is ok). If no difference, carry on with testing other things, but new battery nonwithstanding, defective stuff is sold all the time. If the starter spins when using jumper cables, is a bad battery, NOT starter.

You did not post your voltages. A freshly charged new battery should show 13.3 volts. After the surface charge is gone, you will see 12.6 or so. However, a damaged new battery will drop the voltage significantly under load.

Eliminate the easy stuff early in your troubleshooting. I'm in the bad safety switch somewhere camp after the battery checks out.
 

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For what it's worth - My 318 has been hit or miss while starting since I bought it many years ago. It has the 20 hp replacement engine by Linamar. When I turn the key I get one solid click or nothing. Turn the key a few more times and one of those times will cause the starter to spin but not necessarily engage the ring gear. It has a new ignition switch. Because a few months ago I suspected that was the problem...it wasn't. I found and fixed a couple loose connections at that time too. That didn't solve the problem so I've learned to live with it.

Day before yesterday it died while mowing. I reached up under the gauges and wiggled the connections and it started. The lights on the dash went dim when I was wiggling wires so I'm reasonably certain the issue is near that area. I almost made it back to the shed and it died again. No lights lit on the dash, wiggle and they came on dimly, then when the wiggle was just right, they came on brightly and it would start. Repeat till I made it back to the shed.

I probably won't get around to working on it this year. It's getting close to winter and I don't have a shop to work on it in. Too many other irons in the fire.

However, I'll be watching this thread closely for what this problem turns out to be.
 
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