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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all, me again.

Have a ‘96 SRX75 with the 9 HP Kawasaki engine. Got the mower used and have been fixing it up, so I don’t know the history on the mower.

When I go to crank the mower, sometimes it will crank fine and other times (about 50% of the time) the flywheel will spin once or twice and completely stop. I then have to reach behind me and spin the flywheel back in the opposite direction about a half turn. Usually then it will start right up and spin freely. While running it doesn’t give me any trouble and doesn’t seem to be missing or overheating.

Is this indicative of a sheared flywheel key? Or is there something else I should be looking at? The teeth on the starter perhaps?

The engine doesn’t burn any oil or leak any oil. Couldn’t be happier with the way it runs, just have this issue starting it.
 

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Is this indicative of a sheared flywheel key? Or is there something else I should be looking at? The teeth on the starter perhaps?
No. If the flywheel was not precisely anchored to the crankshaft, the mower would not run because the ignition timing would be so far off. I would suspect the starter bendix, which might be replaceable. If not, it will need a whole new starter. This is assuming from your description that the starter does not engage, or engages and then stops, without manipulating the flywheel. If you're saying it cranks but won't start without moving the flywheel, then that is another problem.

Al
 

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Sounds like a starter issue, the solenoid (fork aka bendix) that kicks the starter shaft/sprocket against the flywheel.outer ring gear. So the shaft inside the starter itself is sticking or the solenoid is sticking/weak.
 

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It could also be too much clearance on the valves preventing the compression release from working properly (if the engine has one). Most engines have them. It is a flywheel arrangement on the cam. The valve clearance needs to be pretty spot on to trigger the compression release. The symptoms are exactly as you describe.
 
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