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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be quick!
I'm a proud owner of my 'manual' STX38 and I'm not sure how many owners were before me.. it's irrelevant.
Just 'cause I'm a female.. I've 'listened' to others who are telling me my problem 'may be' my starter / alternator / solenoid etc..
However..
No one knows your lawnmower or car better than you.. so here's MY take on it!

New battery .. fully charged & tested with a CAT charger..
I hear a 'click..click..click

(That's when I'm told the above)
But it starts when I use my car .. Note: I know I shouldn't do that as it will burn out my regulator..

I'm purchasing a regulator through e-bay (because our wonderful Canadian John Deere dealer wants $86.92 Cdn here) and the USA is awesome for deals but the 'shipping' is deadly.. thank God for Free Trade (NOT)

I feel it's the voltage regulator because when I am cutting downhill.. I can HEAR the slowing of my motor and the blades aren't a fast and leaving me to cut all over again. Also, there doesn't seem to be enough 'voltage' to start her..

My problem is: I can't find a schematic for changing it. I can do it.. I have a chain-fall if I need it.. but I can't for the life of me.. 'find' a schematic.
Can 'anyone' help me here? Pleasing in advance to anyone who can offer aiding info!
Cindy
 

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Cindy,

Your starter is of the "solenoid shift" type that uses the stroke of the solenoid to both engage the pinion gear with the flywheel's ring gear AND to close the high current contacts at the end of that stroke to power the starter motor itself. This type of solenoid takes qauite a bit of current and a strong 12 volt system to do its job, so boosting it from a running car supplies 14 or so volts and makes it work. Your key switch is most likely quite worn if it is the original one, and simply replacing it will give a few years of relief from your present symptoms. However, installing a "starter improvement kit" is the ultimate answer as it reroutes the high solenoid current from the key switch to an intermediate relay. Here is some information from the Deere kit:

starter improvement kit photo.jpg View attachment Start Relay Kit M77862 instructions.pdf

The engine speed is not dependent upon the voltage regulator, and you should cut grass with the throttle in the WOT position (these are governed engines and that is the way they are intended to work. Going down hill should not effect engine speed but may change your ground speed -- and even that is unlikely with a gear drive tractor. If you are not getting the cut you want on your grass, slow down the ground speed by using a lower gear but keep the engine speed (and therefore the blade speed) up...

It is possible but unlikely that you have something wrong with your throttle linkage and/or the governor linkage that makes the engine run slower than the 3500 to 3600 RPM intended -- but you would need a tachometer to tell for sure. There are some good yet inexpensive non-contact ones on E-bay and at harbor freight here (can't say what to do in Canada...) Again, the engine speed is not usually something that changes unless you have had these linkages apart...

Since you asked -- here is the wiring diagram:

STX 38 wiring diagram.jpg

Hope this helps...

Chuck
 

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Mr Chuck, I agree with you .
The "starter improvement kit" is a very good improvement.

It solved my "click click" problem .
Thanks to the advice I received here several years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanx for your replies. SO.. what parts do I need to order to fix my problem?
1.. Do I need a voltage regulator?
2.. Do I need a starter improvement kit? (would I have difficulty doing it myself?)
3.. Do I need a new key ignition part?

I was just hoping that I could get this season out of it..

I have to say.. It's been cutting 'fluffly' in different areas before this happened for a couple of seasons.. so does that help?

I don't want to be pain.. It's just that when I order these parts state-side.. I get hit 'horribly' with shipping and custom fees. I just want to be sure.

eg.. the voltage regulator on ebay was only 19.95.. but shipping is $11.00 and not sure what customs is. To get it here.. the part from John Deere is 86.92.

What say you?
 

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The minimum you need to get a season or two out of your current click-click start symptom is a brand new key switch. This is something you can install yourself, as the harness plugs into a set of tab contacts on the rear of the switch and cannot be easily scrambled up. I would think that the switch would be available from a Deere dealer in your neck of the woods -- these are common replacement parts and should be local stock.

The Deere part number for this switch is AM119111 and is common to many Sabre models as well as several Scotts lawn tractors and a line of commercial walk behind mowers -- here is the complete list:
AM119111 where used list.jpg

Other retailers state that these models are also using this same switch, and OEM part numbers are given, so searching on those may also help:

IGNITION SWITCH
FITS SELECTED JOHN DEERE , FERRIS , SCAG , TORO , MOWERS
FITS JOHN DEERE MODELS , MTD
STX38 BLACK DECKS ONLY , STX46 , 1435 , 1538 ,
15.542 , 1542 , 16/42 , 16/46
AND SELECTED BRIGGS MOTORS
OEM PART No.692318 , 493625 , AM119111 ,
48789 , 83-0020 , 725-1396

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanx for the reply Chuck... I just ordered one through ebay earlier today.. it's coming from the US to me in Canada. I'll see how that works out.
Thank you everyone for helping me..
Wish me luck... Please..
 

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Starter improvement kit is the way to go if the key switch doesn't do it for you. You'll be surprised at how fast it spins the engine over. As those machines get older you have more and more current drop at each connection and switch so that by the time the current gets to the solenoid it does not have enough juice to engage the starter. On an STX with a Kawasaki engine, I believe the kit is pretty much plug and play.

I put on 4 of them last year on various machines. Two STX's, an MTD and a Murray.
 

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I'll not pretend to know the STX series very well, but by looking at JD Parts, there are variations of the starter and solenoid types by tractor serial numbers. So, Cindy, can you give us the serial number of your tractor? It is probably on a foil tag stuck on the rear hitch part of the frame. Lacking that, is the mower deck yellow or black. You have given very good clues so far, just need a few more.

The problem could possibly be a bad ground to frame, or corroded connections at the battery, solenoid, battery cables, or starter. If you have and know how to use a volt/ohm meter, you could check to see if the system is charging or not. It is simple except for the battery being under the seat and the seat switch. That is something you would want to check before buying a regulator/rectifier. Might not need it.

The description of the engine slowing down and the deck not cutting while going down hill still has me puzzled since I first read the post. That's a tough one! What kind of hill? Mountain, or just a slight grade? Does the electric mower drive clutch seem to disengage going down the hill? Again, maybe something as simple as a wire shorting or temporary loss of ground to the frame as the tractor frame flexes. Are the engine attaching bolts tight? Is the transaxle bolted tight to the frame? Any cracks in the frame at those mounting points?

Hope we can help you solve the problem. It's an interesting one for sure!

tommyhawk
 

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Hello from Kzoo MI,
I have been fighting with my landlords stx38. It was abandoned for 2 years, so I figured it need a clean gas tank, new battery, carburetor, solenoid, spark plug. I have changed all these and the engine turns, the starter activates but I get no spark. I changed the spell plug ad well. I am about to look for a time relay kit but will love to read any other suggestions before I fail on getting it going. I will appreciate the response. Thank you
 
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