316 Onan P218G Ignition Issues
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Thread: 316 Onan P218G Ignition Issues

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    316 Onan P218G Ignition Issues

    Hi!

    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!


    Cheers,

    Joe

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    Chuckv's Avatar
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    Joe,



    The best way to diagnose the 316 with Onan P48 engine is to use the methods described in the Technical manual (TM1590.) Attached is a low resolution version you can use until you purchase a full version:

    318 Tm1590 reduced filesize.pdf

    The P-series engines do have the solenoid mounted to the starter low on the engine by the frame rail -- but you can still see the terminals of the starter if you look closely...see the attached illustration (sorry for the poor image quality...).
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    The solenoid is powered from the key switch through multiple safety interlock switches -- later model tractors have a parking brake interlock as well as the neutral switch and the PTO switches. see the below wiring excerpt:

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    Let us know what you find and we can suggest further things to try.

    Chuck
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Onan starter P series.JPG  
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    Hi Chuckv!

    Thanks for the reply! Well I finally got to do a bit more digging this morning. I have power all the way around from my 20 AMP circuit to the oil light, tractor lights, pto switch and the selinoid when the key is in the run position. It looks as though it's likely the selinoid.

    How difficult is it to replace that without an engine stand? Do you have to completely pull the engine in order to replace that? Any advice folks can give is greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction. I believe that is the issue.

    Cheers!


    Joe

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    Just some advice from my car fixing experience.

    Does the solenoid "clunk" when you turn the key to start? If not, I've been able to "temporarily" coax a solenoid to work by giving it a couple of light taps with the handle of a hammer. That is if you can reach it. From the diagram posted, the solenoid also advances the starter gear in addition to energizing the starter. Things get stiff when they sit and a "little" tap can get things moving.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Tom

    2011 1026R/R4's -- H120 FEL/49" -- 260 BH/12" -- Bro-Tek Ripper -- Artillian Forks/42" -- 244 lbs JD Rear Wheel Weights -- KBOH Hooks and Clevis' --
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    Found the problem! I found a stray hot lead that was not hooked up. Further examination of the starter / selinoid I found that the lead was not connected. I connected things up and we have ignition. ;-) Woo Whoo! Now time for some fresh fuel and start on the mower deck. Than maybe a restoration project later this summer.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I almost took it to the mechanic.

    Cheers!


    Joe


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    More Ignition Issues

    Hi all,

    Well, after I got this guy started, I ran into further ignition issues. Here's where I am... I checked spark at the plugs and we are getting good spark. I had noticed that the fuel line didn't have a great vacuum on it so I replaced the fuel line from the pump, the fuel filter and the remaining line to the carb. I also replaced the fuel line clamps with better screw type clamps. Now I get a great vacuum and plenty of fuel to the carb, but it will not start. The engine will crank like crazy but never fires over. I had initially thought that it was the battery so I tried jumping it and it didn't work either. I took the battery down to the parts house and they checked charge there and it was 82% charged. They even gave me a new one to try and it didn't work either.

    After following the manual I noticed they recommend going over the carburetor. My local parts house doesn't deal with onan engines and doesn't have any cross referenced carb kits for me. I found the correct onan part number in another thread. My plan is to remove the carb, and rebuild it.

    One other thing, I was told by the previous owner that they had to choke the heck out of it to get it going. I also noticed that this engine has the onan surge. I'm guessing a lot of that is the poorly maintained carb...

    Do you have to remove the entire intake to remove the carb?

    Any advice? Does that sound like the correct direction to go?

    Thanks guys!


    Cheers!


    Joe

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    bloodrunsgreen's Avatar
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    Because it sat for multiple periods of time, the carb is most likely the cause, if you have to choke it, check the low idle jet and emulsion tube (combination), there are also 3 small holes in the body of the carb, on the side where the welch plug is, make sure those are clean, use carb cleaner there, no wire because you may enlarge the holes and change the air fuel ratio. Was the surge at low RPM or even up towards WOT?

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    Here is video of what my old girl is doing. Please let me know your thoughts! Thanks!

    https://youtu.be/LRmC7y67jnY

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    Bloodrunsgreen,

    I sprayed carb cleaner thoughout the carb. I have never attempted anything like this in the past and did not see your reply while I had things torn apart. I will have to look at adjusting the fuel air mix. I'm betting that may be the cause. Please watch that short video I linked. That may give more light on the issue. Thanks for the advice! I'll look at making the adjustments in the morning.

    Cheers!


    Joe

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    bloodrunsgreen's Avatar
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    To me it's not getting fuel (carb issue), when you had it apart, did it have fuel under the float? If it did then the inlet valve should be ok, the critical part is #5, the idle jet.

    I've attached diagram for carb and parts list
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Onan nikki 6100 carb diagram (610x638).jpg   Onan nikki carb 6100 part numbers (288x640).jpg  
    Last edited by bloodrunsgreen; 06-16-2019 at 11:26 AM.

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