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Discussion Starter #1
My 318 has been having starting issues and I'm not sure what step to take next.

Last week I went to start it up and I was just getting a "chunk" sound with every key turn. So after some reading on here I purchased and installed the Starter Improvement Relay Kit.

Once I had the kit on I went to start up and now I'm just getting a grinding noise coming from the engine area with the key turn. I'm brand new to working on these tractors with very minimal knowledge on them but that's why I'm here.

So what's my next course of action in getting my 318 running again?
 

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I'm not too familiar with 318, but here's what I think could (??) be going on: You may have a broken mounting tab on your starter or simply a bolt fell out. Your original "clunk" could have been the pinion gear on the starter hitting the flywheel...not engaging, just hitting due to misalignment. Now, they gear is still hitting the flywheel but the starter kit gives the starter motor enough power to rotate...again, against the flywheel but not engaging.

First, is engine turning over when starter motor rotates?
Second, check all of your starter mounting bolts...will probably need a mirror.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. No the engine is not turning over at all. Just getting the grinding noise and that's it. I'll try to get a video of it played if I can.

And I'll take a look tomorrow and see if I can pinpoint any loose mounting bolts on the starter and tighten them back down.
 

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To me, a "clunk" and/or "grind" is DEFINITELY a starter misalignment issue !! Starter pinion comes out and hits flywheel rather than engaging with teeth on flywheel. Either the front of the starter is in too far or the back is out too far. Check REAL close for any cracks/breaks in starter...and block! Bob
 

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Unfortunately you need to pull your motor. It only takes about an hour if your tools are organized enough to search sizes quickly. The motor weighs about 100lbs I’d guess. I can squat one. You only need to put the side of the oil pan on the frame rail to access everything for shroud and starter removal.
 

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TR,

A couple of more things to consider:
1. Is this an early 318 with the Bendix starter or a later one with the integral solenoid shift starter? The reason for asking is that the later type starter's pinion should be fully engaged with the flywheel gear before high current is applied by the solenoid to spin the starter motor. The Bendix has a separate solenoid on the firewall and it spins the starter motor before the pinion is moved into engagement -- much more likely to hear grinding noises with the older style starter. An out of alignment or loosely mounted starter would cause grinding in either case...

2. What is the battery voltage when the key is on but not turned, and what is it when you move the key switch such that the starter is turning? A low/weak battery will magnify starter and solenoid issues, and sometimes even mimic them.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
TR,

A couple of more things to consider:
1. Is this an early 318 with the Bendix starter or a later one with the integral solenoid shift starter? The reason for asking is that the later type starter's pinion should be fully engaged with the flywheel gear before high current is applied by the solenoid to spin the starter motor. The Bendix has a separate solenoid on the firewall and it spins the starter motor before the pinion is moved into engagement -- much more likely to hear grinding noises with the older style starter. An out of alignment or loosely mounted starter would cause grinding in either case...

2. What is the battery voltage when the key is on but not turned, and what is it when you move the key switch such that the starter is turning? A low/weak battery will magnify starter and solenoid issues, and sometimes even mimic them.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Chuck
Thanks for the replies everybody. I've never pulled a motor or done much work on tractors before so I've been looking around to get all the info I can on the best way to pull the motor and to try to avoid damaging anything in the process.

Chuckv,

I apologize again as I'm new to this, how can I tell if my tractor has a Bendix starter or an integral solenoid shift starter? The tractor serial is in the M00318X3688XX range if that tells anything.

I tested the battery voltage and got these readings.
- Battery with nothing turned on: 11.91V
- Battery with key in run position: 9.07V
- Battery with key cranking: 5.60V

Are these good readings or is there a separate battery voltage issue here?
 

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Your battery should be 12.6 fully charged. It might be as high as 14 fresh off a charger.

To pull the motor there are a couple wires to disconnect, coil and voltage regulator.

Fuel line

Throttle and choke cables. I spray paint the clamps before removing to mark their position.

Oil cooler and driveshaft. If the driveshaft is accessible first do it before the cooler. I forgot if it is.

Then motor mount bolts. and yank.
 

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368xxx is a solinoid shift starter on a b-43 engine.



 

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The voltage measurements you posted are indicating that your battery is end of life and dead or dying...get a new battery and try again.

If this battery is not that old, then try an external battery charger to see if it can come up to 14.3 volts on the charger and at LEAST 12.6 volts at rest with the key off... It could be that the tractor is not charging this battery and we can trouble shoot that symptom if needed after you establish that a good battery is in place, charged and able to start the tractor.

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The voltage measurements you posted are indicating that your battery is end of life and dead or dying...get a new battery and try again.

If this battery is not that old, then try an external battery charger to see if it can come up to 14.3 volts on the charger and at LEAST 12.6 volts at rest with the key off... It could be that the tractor is not charging this battery and we can trouble shoot that symptom if needed after you establish that a good battery is in place, charged and able to start the tractor.

Chuck
I'm not sure how old the battery is as I just got the tractor about a month ago and I'm not sure when this battery was installed. I did run a charge on it last night however and got some new voltage measurements.

Battery alone: 12.52V
Battery with key in run: 12.47V
Battery with key cranking: 10.10V

This time, to my surprise, the engine started trying to turn over. I wasn't able to get the tractor started before it sounded like the battery was starting to weaken and this may be because it has sat in the colder weather for the past 2 weeks now without running. But I was surprised how the weak battery mimicked the starter issues just like you said.

So, I'm not sure still if I have just a dying battery or if the tractor is failing to charge the battery. I've got the charger back on it again but I will probably purchase a new battery soon, just to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Went ahead and ran out this morning and bought a new battery. The tractor sounds as it should and the engine is trying to turn over. Just having trouble getting it to take.

New voltage numbers have the voltage while cranking at 11.50V.


I will run through the manual's engine troubleshooting guide and try to start through possible issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Just an update on my situation. I was able to get my 318 to start up but I have run into a new issue with keeping it running.

I'm not exactly sure what the cure was for the tractor not starting. I put a new battery on and the engine would finally turn over but wouldn't fully start up.

So then I changed out the spark plugs with brand new AC Delco 41-800's. This didn't seem to have any effect. I did confirm though that I was getting a good blue spark on both plugs.

I then pulled the fuel filter outlet hose off and cranked the engine to make sure it was getting fuel. There was definitely fuel delivery and it had no problem filling a cup with gas.

As I was doing these tests I was using a shop vac to clean a lot of caked on dust and dirt out of the engine bay. I pulled the air filter box and cleaned the top of the engine off. Just by chance, I sat down on the seat and cranked the engine and after about 10 seconds it finally began to try to start. I adjusted the choke a little and it finally took off on its own.

So then I pulled the tractor out into my yard and let it idle for about 5 minutes and then went and hopped on and kicked the PTO on and began to mow. I only got about 5 more minutes in and the engine began to sound like it was losing power and then finally stalled out. I tried to restart it and it fired right up but only stayed running for about 3 or 4 seconds and then shut off again. I was able to repeat this 3 more times and then the engine wouldn't start at all. It is still turning over but will not fire up.

Any ideas where to go from.here now?
 

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TR, I'm not familiar with the 318, so I'm just throwing this out for you to consider. Back to basics: air, gas, fire. You may have a fuel problem...intermittent fuel pump, debris in tank/lines/carb...but I'm thinking fire/electrical. Turn key on, check voltage at coil. If engine will run, run it til it stops and then check voltage at coil. If voltage is good there, replace condenser. If no voltage, check all components back to ignition switch to see where your losing voltage. Hopefully, you've got a schematic! Bob
 

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Thanks rwmeyer. I will give that a shot in the morning and see what results I get.

Also, just as a diagnostic, I was able to get my 318 running again today. As a matter of fact, it runs great, when it is just the tractor alone. I think I've narrowed it down to the PTO usage. After I start the deck blades up the tractor runs for about 20 to 30 seconds and then dies. Then the whole system seems to be weakened and it will not start up very easily or at all.

Does this narrow my problem search at all?
 

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TR, I see 2 possibilities with the pto causing your tractor to stall: Time delay module or pto coil.

Disconnect wire going to pto and ohm out pto windings. I'm not sure of the EXACT specs, but 4.0 ohms is good and 3.5 or less is a failing coil.

While pto is still disconnected, start tractor and operate pto switch. If engine stalls with pto diconnected, probably a TDM isssue.

Hope this helps, Bob
 
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