I purchased a 1988 John Deere 316 with a snow plow and mower deck last Summer from the school district that I work at. The mower had sat for about two years prior to being sold at auction. I paid $100 for it. The mower was used to push snow there as recent as 3 years ago. So I know it ran when they put it up. I replaced the battery as it was not getting any juice at all and it was rather old. I also had to replace the rear tires as they were dry rotted and flat. When I last messed with it last Summer, it cranked but would not start. I left it out all last summer and through the winter.
Fast forward to yesterday... I pulled the old mower back to the shop yesterday and started to do a little bit of digging into the issue. The mower did not crank at all. The mower has an Onan P218G engine in it. When I turn the key I get the oil pressure light and the battery light flashes and goes off. When I go to crank it over I get nothing. I checked the seat sensor switch on the back of the mower and found that it had been jumped with a piece of wire. I checked continuity on the wire and had positive continuity. I checked the PTO switch and when I turn it to the on position I do get lights on the dashboard. I checked the position of the hydrostatic lever and it is in the neutral position. I also replaced the negative end on the battery terminal wire.
I decided to check the ignition system further and could not locate the starter solenoid. (I did read on the forum that the solenoid is attached to the starter and can only be replaced with the engine pulled.) I found the ignition coil and checked voltage at the coil. I have power at the positive post when I turned the key to the run position and when I turned it to start. I'm assuming that the ignition coil does not get voltage until the safety switches are all satisfied?
Are their any easy ways to check the ignition system without pulling the engine? If so what is the proper path to troubleshoot?
Thanks for the advice!