Briggs 17.5HP engine - starter will not turn engine over
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Thread: Briggs 17.5HP engine - starter will not turn engine over

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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Briggs 17.5HP engine - starter will not turn engine over

    I have an Ariens with a 17.5HP B&S engine. All of a sudden when I try to start it the starter just clunks and the flywheel jumps a bit but it will not turn over.

    The battery is being sucked down to 9V when I try to crank so I tried a new battery and it too is sucked down to 9V. I checked the starter solenoid for continuity and everything checks out. The odd thing is, if I remove the spark plug the engine will turn over fine. Reinstall the spark plug and it's back to starter clunking and flywheel jumping. Could the starter be defective and drawing too many amps?

    To eliminate the entire starting circuit I tried touching a positive jumper lead directly to the starter terminal and I was greeted by a shower of sparks and no starter rotation.

    Things seem to be pointing to a bad starter. It almost seems like it is drawing too much current.

    Anyone ever encounter anything similar. I'm not sure what else I can try before plunking down $90 for a new starter.

    Thanks!
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    New starter

    I had something similar on a 17 hp Briggs on a White lawmower. Messed around with it and finally bought an aftermarket starter for about half the Briggs price. It worked fine.

    Treefarmer
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Thanks Treefarmer. I want to do one more test tomorrow and then I guess it will be time to shop. I'll probably pull the old one off first so I can be sure I get the correct one. The B&S parts manual that came with the tractor is listing an invalid part number compared to what I'm seeing in on-line searches.
    2012 2720 -- 200CX Loader -- 54" Quick Attach Snow Blower -- Frontier LR5060 Rake -- Land Pride RB1660 Blade (Hydraulic Angle) -- Artillian 42" Forks -- Ken's Bolt on Grab Hooks -- Fit Rite Hydraulic top-link -- 2013 X500 for mowing duties

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    I have an Ariens with a 17.5HP B&S engine. All of a sudden when I try to start it the starter just clunks and the flywheel jumps a bit but it will not turn over.

    The battery is being sucked down to 9V when I try to crank so I tried a new battery and it too is sucked down to 9V. I checked the starter solenoid for continuity and everything checks out. The odd thing is, if I remove the spark plug the engine will turn over fine. Reinstall the spark plug and it's back to starter clunking and flywheel jumping. Could the starter be defective and drawing too many amps?

    To eliminate the entire starting circuit I tried touching a positive jumper lead directly to the starter terminal and I was greeted by a shower of sparks and no starter rotation.

    Things seem to be pointing to a bad starter. It almost seems like it is drawing too much current.

    Anyone ever encounter anything similar. I'm not sure what else I can try before plunking down $90 for a new starter.

    Thanks!
    Before you buy a starter try this. Do a valve adjustment on the rocker arms. Then see if it will turn over. Also look for any damaged parts while you have the valve cover off. Like a jumped push rod.
    These engines have a compression release built into them. It opens the exhaust valve slightly to let the engine turn over more easily. If the adjustment is out of whack it won't open stalling the starter. This is why it will crank over no problem with the spark plug removed. Put the plug back in and the compression won't let it turn over.

    Good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    Before you buy a starter try this. Do a valve adjustment on the rocker arms. Then see if it will turn over. Also look for any damaged parts while you have the valve cover off. Like a jumped push rod.
    These engines have a compression release built into them. It opens the exhaust valve slightly to let the engine turn over more easily. If the adjustment is out of whack it won't open stalling the starter. This is why it will crank over no problem with the spark plug removed. Put the plug back in and the compression won't let it turn over.

    Good luck
    That's a good idea. Could this just happen out of nowhere? I mean, I ran the tractor Sunday and it worked fine. I shut it off and then Monday morning it wouldn't turn over.

    The bad part is it looks like B&S does not have their manuals available on-line like Kawasaki does so I do not have the procedure for adjusting the valves. I really need to get this thing back running quickly.

    Do you know any place on-line where the information is available?
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    One thing you can try is to give it a few smacks with a hammer. oh yeah and pick up a service manual. you never know...
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    Before you buy a starter try this. Do a valve adjustment on the rocker arms. Then see if it will turn over. Also look for any damaged parts while you have the valve cover off. Like a jumped push rod.
    These engines have a compression release built into them. It opens the exhaust valve slightly to let the engine turn over more easily. If the adjustment is out of whack it won't open stalling the starter. This is why it will crank over no problem with the spark plug removed. Put the plug back in and the compression won't let it turn over.

    Good luck
    Now that I think about it... isn't the compression release a spring loaded cam driven by a gear off the crank? I don't think there is an adjustment for that. You can adjust the valve clearance but I believe the compression release is fixed.

    If I knew what to look for and when I assume you could see the little bump to the exhaust valve during the compression stroke.
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    Follow H-D's advice before investing money in anything except maybe a service manual. There is a very good chance excess valve lash is the problem. The typical compression release on the small engines does have a spring tensioned apparatice on the side of the camshaft gear that sticks up just slightly from the nearest cam lobe. This interferes with complete closing of that valve until it is revolving fast enough to be disengaged by centrifugal force, allowing only the cam lobe to raise and lower the valve lifter. The system in modern Briggs engines with overhead valves is very sensitive to proper valve lash (valve to rocker clearance). Too much clearance and the compression release won't work. Checking valve lash is part of routine maintenance for these engines, so you won't be wasting any time even if this is not the problem. You might need a new rocker cover gasket if it uses one.

    If you can post some numbers from the I.D. tag for your engine maybe we can help find the valve lash setting for you. Besides normal wear and tear adding clearance, look for any rocker stud having backed out or loose. Or a lock nut that doesn't hold well. I have not worked on one of these for some time, but think the rockers fit on a stud and are adjusted with a self locking nut, very much like the old small block Chevys. The Kawasakis I am familiar with use a tiny adjustment screw and lock nut at the end of the rocker, but I haven't seen a Briggs like that. But I haven't seen them all!

    Let us know how it goes.

    tommyhawk

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnH123 View Post
    One thing you can try is to give it a few smacks with a hammer. oh yeah and pick up a service manual. you never know...

    This trick only works if the starter doesn't engage. His is engaging but not turning the engine.

    I seen quite a few videos on YouTube showing how to adjust the valves on a B&S single cylinder engine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyhawk View Post
    Follow H-D's advice before investing money in anything except maybe a service manual. There is a very good chance excess valve lash is the problem. The typical compression release on the small engines does have a spring tensioned apparatice on the side of the camshaft gear that sticks up just slightly from the nearest cam lobe. This interferes with complete closing of that valve until it is revolving fast enough to be disengaged by centrifugal force, allowing only the cam lobe to raise and lower the valve lifter. The system in modern Briggs engines with overhead valves is very sensitive to proper valve lash (valve to rocker clearance). Too much clearance and the compression release won't work. Checking valve lash is part of routine maintenance for these engines, so you won't be wasting any time even if this is not the problem. You might need a new rocker cover gasket if it uses one.

    If you can post some numbers from the I.D. tag for your engine maybe we can help find the valve lash setting for you. Besides normal wear and tear adding clearance, look for any rocker stud having backed out or loose. Or a lock nut that doesn't hold well. I have not worked on one of these for some time, but think the rockers fit on a stud and are adjusted with a self locking nut, very much like the old small block Chevys. The Kawasakis I am familiar with use a tiny adjustment screw and lock nut at the end of the rocker, but I haven't seen a Briggs like that. But I haven't seen them all!

    Let us know how it goes.

    tommyhawk
    What he said. lol

    This starting problem will usually get worse over time but can happen all of a sudden. This is why I suggested looking for other damage/problems while the valve cover is off. If something besides the adjustment is wrong it should be pretty apparent. However just to much lash/gap is enough to cause your problem.

    Sorry I don't have the specifications. You can give your local dealer a call and ask them.
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