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Hi Guys - I have a JD 445 and I'm having issues starting it, when I turn the key fuel pump engages and dash lights come on, but it only turns over 1 out of every 10 times (at best). I replaced the battery and that didn't help. I discovered that if the key is in the "run" position it will start every time if I use a screw driver and bypass/jump the battery cable to the starter, so this tells me the starter is fine. I decided to replace the solenoid, I bought one in a "green and yellow box" from my local dealer, replaced it, it worked the first time and maybe a time or two after that, but now nothing. I'm going to give a try at cleaning all the electrical connections but I'm not confident that will go too far.
Any thoughts how to trouble shoot the problem? Did I get a bad solenoid? Anyway to test it?
751899
 

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It sounds like dirty contacts. If it still has the problem after cleaning the exposed connectors it might be the ignition switch itself.
 

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One other possibility is the relay on the control board. Either way, the switch comes with the control board for a nice price. I would un-solder the relay and replace it for a few dollars, I had to do that for the PTO relay on that board after choking on the price of the board over10-12 years ago. It has worked perfectly ever since. I believe the price back then was well north of $200 and the relay was ordered on line for less than $20. If it is the switch, I don't know what you could replace it with as it is soldered to the circuit board and comes as an assembly. I guess you could just mount a push button on the dash and wire it the the start terminal connection on the circuit board.
 
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I fixed mine with a $69.00 starter from Amazon. Starter came from either SW Virginia or Tennessee. I think I still have the box if you want the name and address.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
I cleaned all the terminals in and around the Solenoid using a brush and some sandpaper. No luck starting it :(

How do I rule out the solenoid being bad?

Any opinions on what way to go next? I googled the ignition switch, but the board and all is like $207 on Amazon. If the lights and fuel pump are coming on doesn't that mean its working?
 

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Run a 12 volt line to the small terminal on the solenoid. If the solenoid engages, you probably have a safety circuit issue some where. If it won't engauge, the solenoid is probably bad. The issue could be an electrical issue in the solenoid coil or dirt/rust not allowing the plunger to move.
 

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I remember now that I replaced the ignition switch and board on mine two or three years ago. It was expensive, but it fixed it. The starter was about 1/3 the price of the switch and board. I can't remember how I figured out it was the switch, but probably from a post on here.
 

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Darrin, Technically, you've already checked that the solenoid is good... by using a screwdriver to connect the battery terminal to the red wire connection. If this makes the engine turn over, solenoid is good. Your problem is you're not getting 12 volts on red wire when key is in "Start". I can't help any more with a wiring schematic, but I'd suspect ignition switch, a safety switch (someplace!) or circuit board. Bob
 

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When I had the same type of issue, I had to replace the entire wiring harness
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One other possibility is the relay on the control board. Either way, the switch comes with the control board for a nice price. I would un-solder the relay and replace it for a few dollars, I had to do that for the PTO relay on that board after choking on the price of the board over10-12 years ago. It has worked perfectly ever since. I believe the price back then was well north of $200 and the relay was ordered on line for less than $20. If it is the switch, I don't know what you could replace it with as it is soldered to the circuit board and comes as an assembly. I guess you could just mount a push button on the dash and wire it the the start terminal connection on the circuit board.
Do you have anymore info or links on the $20 relay? Its winter now so tractor sitting idle most of the time, and worth giving a try at replacing the relay. If I screw it up I can go for the $200 board right?
 

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Do you have anymore info or links on the $20 relay? Its winter now so tractor sitting idle most of the time, and worth giving a try at replacing the relay. If I screw it up I can go for the $200 board right?
Sorry, no I don't have any link, it was many years ago. I just took the numbers on the relay and found it on the WEB. I then took the specifications and with those I checked around and found one that was physically the same dimensions and had a higher current rating and bought that and soldered it in. The manufacturer doesn't matter as these are common relays made by different companys.
 

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Steps to solving this type of problem.

1. Take a picture of your tractor's serial number on your phone and save it so you can find it as you will need it to buy many parts as some are serial number specific. The tractors number is on the right frame rail, about a foot behind the right front tire.

2. Get a John Deere Technical Service Manual (TSM). Yes, they are expensive but so is throwing parts at every problem which surfaces.

3. Using the TSM, Look up the diagnostic process for the symptoms of your problem. If you can jump across the starter to activate it, the starter and solenoid are both working. They just aren't getting the 12v signal from the switch or ignition control board.

4. If you have been plugging and unplugging ANY of the tractors wires under the hood or dash, you very well could have pulled a wire back out of one of the plugs. I have seen it also happen just from the natural pull on the wires when in use and from the vibration of the machine. The TSM tells you exactly which wire goes where and all of the wires are color coded and numbered. It saves you a TON of time guessing and assuming.

5. If you plan on making repairs yourself and owning a machine, get a TSM. At a minimum, you might be able to locate the wiring schematics online. But you need to have the wiring for YOUR machine's serial number. Yes, the TSM's are expensive, but it will pay for itself over and over by saving you money on throwing parts at problems, which happens WAY too often.

6. One John Deere Starting Solenoid for a 445 - MIA11504 $165
One battery for John Deere 445 - $100 (likely more)

Amount already spent trying to solve the problem without success $265

Yes, the TSM's are expensive, but so is guessing at the repair process.

7. It most likely is the Ignition Control Board as that is what controls the signal sent to the starter, but its best to test the components to avoid wasting money. It could also be a bad ground on the main cable. Or a bad connection on the ignition fuse, or a wiring or plug issue. Testing and following the diagnostic procedures in the TSM will lead you to the right repair.
 
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