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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,
I'm at my wits end on a JD 3038E utility tractor with engine-start problems. Symptoms always the same: starts up fine when engine cold, but once engine is fully warmed up, it won't re-start. Solenoid and starter motor kicking in fine, can do the bypass trick for the starter motor solenoid and it turns over the engine fine but just won't fire.

Have had it into Deere dealer twice already for same thing. Tech and I both suspected bad neutral safety start switch based on symptoms (would stall like it's supposed to if you hit gear shift lever and knocked it into gear accidently when not not sitting down fully in seat) but it just would not reset. Dead in the water. Seat safety switch appears OK on testing it. We replaced the Neutral Start switch and I used the tractor fine for a couple days with no further re-start issues. Now same thing yet again. Engine won't re-fire once fully warmed up from running it for couple hours with no symptoms or trouble indicator lights on dash.

Any ideas since we can probably already rule out the seat and neutral start safety switches and they also replaced all wiring involved with the neutral switch? Bad main logic board maybe? At times it WILL re-fire and run fine once engine is fully cooled back down overnight. Engine does not run or idle rough or act power-starved once it starts. Everything seems perfectly normal until this problem hits it each time.

Stumped totally !!

Thanks,
Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
P.S....forgot to mention, battery is brand new and tests at 13.8V not under load. 550 CCA so plenty of amps. Have not checked it under load when cranking but it has done fine past two days when the tractor was running and tractor does not labor or sound low on amps when cranking the engine to start it.

Wade
 

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Sounds like an injection pump issue to me? Or possibly loosing compression when it's at operating temp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Kenny. I'll check both of those out. At least it's a good rule-out. If it's the rotor gap in the injection pump head, can the gap be adjusted or rotor replaced if worn out, or pump rebuilt? Or does the whole injection pump have to be chunked? Looks like they are extremely expensive, >1000 bucks for a new factory one!

The tractor only has 212 hours on it so I'm hoping it's not the engine block or head compression. I'm not the original owner though and it could have been abused or not properly maintained. It seems to have really good power though and no stalling or lugging down on uphills or under load with implements, so I'm hopeful it's not the compression. I'll be sure to check compression on it though just to make sure.

Thanks for the good tips. Now I at least have a starting point. Also thinking I'll go under it and re-check the boot and wiring to/from the neutral start safety switch since the dealer replaced all that and the switch/O-ring for these same symptoms only a week ago. It came back from them running perfectly for 2 straight days after the switch replacement with no hot-start problems. Maybe the neutral switch boot wasn't on tightly or got knocked loose by brush or a stick got underneath it and pegged it with a lucky shot.

Thanks,
Wade
 

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The NSS is easily bypassed/jumpered to eliminate that as being the issue.
As far as the pump, not sure what's available to fix/test/rebuild it, but yeah at 212 hours it should be fine unless the PO was running crap fuel or K1 all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The NSS is easily bypassed/jumpered to eliminate that as being the issue.
As far as the pump, not sure what's available to fix/test/rebuild it, but yeah at 212 hours it should be fine unless the PO was running crap fuel or K1 all the time.
We found a custom jumper cable with spaded ends on it inside the glovebox. The bladed ends fit the seat safety switch connector socket so we tested it first but it was ok.

Haven't looked at the NSS switch hookups yet but if they are same we could easily bypass the new NSS switch to see if it was bad right out of the box new.

When it stalled I was throttling it down pretty quickly parked level, getting teady to shut it down for the day, so it may wind up being the fuel injector pump.

Coughed couple times, then died. Like when one runs out of gas. Acted gas-starved. Can't figure out why it wouldn't restart from that though unless the injection pump is completely failing now.

Thanks Kenny! I'm a tractor newbie so really appreciate all the good ideas!

Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thinking some more on it......if it was the inj. pump, looks like the engine would still turn over and crank though, right?? I hear the solenoid clicking and a lower-pitched single "clunk" (starter bendix??) when I turn key to start. But engine never turns over and cranks.

I have a brand new starter motor on-hand already so could change that out as a rule-out I guess if the NSS switch tests out ok.

May be a combo problem of electrical + fuel system since the throttling back caused it to stall suddenly. But the failure to re-fire or even crank is a real stumper.

The engine WILL crank when jumping across the starter, but still won't fire so not sure replacing starter would get me anywhere?

Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool engine this morning, fired right up like nothing wrong. If it does it again going to slap the new starter motor and solenoid on it.

I'm hanging my hat on the fact the starter doesn't even engage to turn over the engine when warmed up.

Guessing it's a bad or worn spot on armature inside starter that loses contact intermittently and won't spin up any time it happens to land on that spot when it spins down after a successful cold start. When it cools down, contact restored betw. armature and brushes inside starter motor.

We'll see how that all works out pretty soon likely.

Wade
 

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Two ideas. try removing the fuel cap and let it run for a couple minutes before shutting it off and seeing if it starts. If the vent is clogged it could be building a vacuum that it cannot overcome starting. That vacuum could bleed off by the time it cools.

I don’t know if there is a screen in the fuel tank on the outlet hose but it could be sucking full of crap as it runs and then it falls back away after it sits. That would be odd for a low hour tractor but I have come across this on old ones.

Both are cheap and easy to test. Both would cause a fuel starving issue like you mention.

I was confused by the post. Some of it read like it would crank over but not start like a fuel issue and some of it read like it would not crank over like an electrical problem.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Herminator. Will try that. When it happens, the starter motor always fails to engage the flywheel and engine doesn't turn over even though you can hear the normal solenoid clicking noises.

However when it fails to crank I don't hear the single lower pitched "clunk" from the starter motor bendix firing. When it does start successfully I DO hear that clunk initially as the solenoid is firing.

This is making me think it's some kind of hot short in the starter motor or elsewhere in the wiring or ignition system.

It only happens when the engine has been run awhile and is fully warmed up. It always cold starts fine after sitting overnight.

Thanks,
Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's what I think too, Lindsey. Engine block heats up starter motor. Motor brushes/armature worn out and losing contact when heats up and expands, starter motor not firing when solenoid fires. Cools back down overnight, contact areas shrink back together again. starter works then. That's our hunch anyway.

Waiting on it to quit again and will be replacing starter motor and solenoid next time. Everything else checks out that's been suggested.

Thanks,
Wade
 

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Listen to me. Pull off the starter wire from the solenoid to the starter. There is a POS plastic connector which is some proprietary @$# stupid thing, which if it is not connected properly, will cause intermittent headaches. My 2038r has the same motor as your 3038E and I fought this FOREVER. The male tab on the starter motor can slip under the female connector and look and feel connected, but aren’t. Take it apart and you’ll see what I mean. I took the plastic off the female end so I could make the connection and 👀 the tabs were hooked up properly. I fought with relays, neutral switches, seat switches, batteries, you name it.
783592
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for the pic and description. Will def. look again using your pic after what happened today.

New results today: quit again after 30 minutes with box blade.

Symptoms:
Throttle at 1000 rpm, engine idling fine in N. Sitting on seat.

Neutral confirmed (rocked shifter lever back and forth to make sure was in neutral)
Parking brake engaged.

Slowly and carefully starting rising up from seat, being careful not to hit shifter with leg.
As soon as started coming off seat, it died.
Would not restart no matter what, rocking shifter, brake, parking brake, etc., nothing worked.
Bypassed seat safety switch, still no-go.

**NEW: This time, rocked PTO knob up/down couple times. FIRED RIGHT UP !!! WTH!!

Guys I'm just stumped...just when I think it's got to be the starter, now this. How can simply rising up off the seat affect the PTO Safety Switch??!!!

Going to work through this latest idea at starter motor connections first though and see what turns up with wiring and connectors.

Also looking at seat and PTO safety switches and their connectors and wiring runs. Maybe a common wiring harness intersection point for both switches that is loose or corroded??

Might be quickest to just re-wire those two runs from the two switches, esp. since bypassing the seat switch itself didn't help?? But the PTO deal is a total stumper. Could bypass it too as a test or just replace it as a rule-out I guess.

Thanks for helping, ideas and the pic!

Wade
 

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I would check the PTO switch to see if corrosion got in there and is making a connection or something weird. My switch is kind of finicky the first time I try to use it after not using if for a long time. I sometimes have to cycle the switch multiple times to get it to engage the rear PTO. They should be cheap to replace.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Herminator. Decided to just replace the switch completely tomorrow.

You can tap the PTO knob from the side with your finger with knob down (disengaged), tractor in Neutral, parking brake on, and it tries to kill the engine even when you're sitting in the seat.

That can't be normal behavior surely?? Guessing from that it must be bad or corroded wiring at the PTO switch assembly, connector plug, switch itself or maybe all three.

Repeated jumper wire bypasses of the Neutral Start switch didn't change the behavior of the PTO switch at all on these symptoms.

Hopefully between that and the starter post wire/connector checks tomorrow I'll get this thing solved finally with all the great ideas and suggestions from you guys.

Thanks!
Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update: After seeing the PTO switch symptoms (see earlier post), I pulled it and checked it out. Had heavy oxidation on a couple of its blade pins. Was getting only intermittent continuity with my multi-tester unit that wasn't consistent when you jiggled the yellow knob. Cheap out on a 10-year old, weathered-looking part so just replaced it outright and cleaned the female sockets and wire harness pins and sockets further down the line with computer contact cleaner.

Also pulled the starter motor terminal and solenoid connections per "Concrete"s suggestion in earlier post. Found same thing: oxidized contacts. Cleaned it all up there as well. Fired up and ran fine for an hour yesterday doing work with it. Tried several hot-starts with engine temp up to normal both on and off seat. No problems. I think this may have solved it. Time will tell I guess, but certainly looking good at this point. Thanks again everybody for your great help and suggestions here. Appreciate it !!

Wade
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Final Update: I think it's solved now by replacing the PTO Switch that had an intermittent fault in it and cleaning the starter terminals, PTO female wiring harness pin sockets and solenoid terminal of some oxidation that had accumulated on them. Several hot re-starts multiple days with no issues.

Wade
 
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