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JD 316, Onan B43E, will not start

Bill My neighbor gifted me with a JD 316. He stated that it started running bad then quit. It will not start.

It seems to have good compression on both sides, but it's unable to fire even with a shot of starting fluid. I removed the plugs and noticed that only one seems to be firing. Only one side of the coil will fire. Does this sound like a bad coil? How is the timing accomplished on this engine? Do both spark plugs fire at the same time? How is the timing set, just with the points?

Thanks...

bill

John Mechanic Let’s start from the bottom of your question and work up.

Any engine (ANY ENGINE) the breaker points is a crucial part of the ignition timing. On a engine that doesn’t have a distributor it is the only way to set the ignition timing (the wider the point gap the earlier the earlier the ignition will fire, ie. Before Top Dead Center.

Yes the coil fires both plugs at the same time. They made one coil with two sparkplug wires coming out of it, one for each cylinder.
Remember the cycles of a four stroke engine (Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow). This is a two cylinder engine, both pistons come to the top of the cylinder bore at the same time (one on the pistons is on the compression stroke, the other is on the exhaust stroke) so yes the coil fires both plugs at the same time.

Now let’s jump back to the start of your question.
“It seems to have good compression”. Did you check it with a compression tester or by plugging the spark plug hole with your finger (that was for the geeks)? Personally I use the finger method, because if the engine has enough compression to blow your finger out of the hole it has enough compression to run!
As for the starting fluid (Be careful with that stuff) that tells me it is Fire/Spark that is your problem not fuel.
Check the Ignition points that both sides are flat and smooth. File the contacts of the points with a point file or your wife’s emery board (she will love you for that, I know), or go to your local John Deere or Onan store and buy a new set on ignition points & condenser than adjust them with a feeler gauge and then with the breaker points closed slide a piece of clean white paper between the contacts to remove any oil or grime.
The engine should then run.
I hope I was some help

Bill Thanks for the response. Here are a few more details..

I checked the compression with my finger and also by covering the carb. The compression pushed my finger out and when covering the carb my hand was sucked into the carb.

I removed both plugs and reconnected them to the plug wires. I only saw spark from one of the plugs. If I swapped the coil wires (unscrewed and swpped the wires) and the spark moved to the other plug. It seems like the coil is only running one of the wires, hence my question of "do they fire at the same time". I will replace the points and set the gap, but I'd like to see both of the plugs fire first. A schematic of this thing would be nice, especially of the coil since it looks like there are 2 different windings, one for each plug.

So far all the real manuals I can find on the internet are for sale only. I'll buy them but only if I can get this engine running first. If it's shot I'll have to dump some cash in a rebuild or re-engine.

Thanks for all the help!

bill

John Mechanic It sounds like you have a bad sparkplug wire.
You can change the plug wires from one hole to the other by unscrewing the cap on the plug wire, and then unscrew the wire from the coil. It has a threaded stud inside the coil. Check to see if the plug wires have a wire or carbon core. (Wire is better).
See if the spark stays with the same wire. If you are using a sparkplug to check for spark be sure to use the same plug to test each wire one at a time.
The Onan coil dose in fact fire both cylinders at the same time as I stated earlier. If you try to test both wires at the same and one plug has a better ground than the other the one with the best ground will get all of the spark (electricity will always take the path of least resistance).
I will make a guess that the plug wire that won’t fire is the left hand or longer wire.
The fact that you are getting any fire out of the coil tells me that the points are at least operational and may only need adjusted.
I will see if I can dig up a schematic for you. I think I still have a service manual.
If you want to change the plug wires check with your local parts house. Most of them carry the boots, ends and sparkplug wire with a wire core. As for the points & condenser you will have to go to John Deere or an Onan dealer. The set will probably be about $50.00.

Bill Thanks John...

Actually, the spark stays with the particular location on the coil, even when I add a ground wire to the sparkplug metal housing. Thats why I was wondering on how the coil is constructed. It would appear that there are 2 windings inside, one for each plug, since I can only get spark on one of them.

Both sets of plugs and wires will spark, but only when I attach then to a particular connection on the coil.

bill

bill Thanks John...

Actually, the spark stays with the particular location on the coil, even when I add a ground wire to the sparkplug metal housing. Thats why I was wondering on how the coil is constructed. It would appear that there are 2 windings inside, one for each plug, since I can only get spark on one of them.

Both sets of plugs and wires will spark, but only when I attach then to a particular connection on the coil.

bill

John Mechanic Bill,
I could not find a schematic, sorry.
Before we totally condemn the coil (that dude is pricey) I would like for you to try something (I just look back at your original post and happen to think of something).

Reconnect both plug wires to the coil, check the plug gap .035 and install them and connect the plug wires.
Check the point gap, .016 to .018 (closer to .018 is better).

Pour about 1oz. of fresh gasoline in the throat of the carburetor and leave the air cleaner off (that is better than using starting fluid). Open the throttle to about half, do not put the choke on, (that amount of gas should slightly have the engine flooded but that is ok).

Crank the engine. It may take a little more cranking than normal but it should fire and run even on one cylinder for a short time.

If this tractor quit running and has been sitting for a year or more their may be a fuel problem also. If the engine is getting fuel and the timing (point gap) is about right it will run on one cylinder (not good but it will run).

Pleas try this and let me know.

Bill John...

Yes, the engine will run. I re-gapped the plugs last night and reconnected the coil. I saw spark from both plugs so I reinstalled and poured a water bottle cap full of gas down the carb and it fired right up with almost no cranking time! The engine ran for about 5 seconds but it sounded pretty good!

I had done ths before but the engine didn't fire at that time. Somehow it fires up now.

The fuel system is completly empty so I think I'd rather clean the tank and perhaps change the ful line to the filter before I add gas to the tank.

It looks like the tractor has a fuel pump, could I just re-rout the fuel line into a gas can for now? How does the pump work is it mechanical or perhaps vacuum driven?

I expect that the carb may have some issues, but the filter looks clean.

Thanks !


bill





If this tractor quit running and has been sitting for a year or more their may be a fuel problem also. If the engine is getting fuel and the timing (point gap) is about right it will run on one cylinder (not good but it will run).

Pleas try this and let me know.


John Mechanic Bill,

The fuel pump is vacuum operated.
One thing you can try is to take the fuel line running from the fuel pump to the carb. off of the fuel pump and take a small funnel (if you don’t have that small of a funnel take a plastic water bottle, and poke about an 1/8” hole in the cap and squirt the fuel in the fuel line) and pour fuel into the line to charge the float bowl of the carb. It should hold about a quarter cup of fuel.

Try starting the engine without priming the carb with fuel. If it doesn’t want to start try priming the carb with a cap full of gas as you did before and see if it will keep running until it uses all the fuel that you put in the carb through the fuel line (at least a minute maybe longer). The idle circuit in the carb is the first to get plugged so keep it about half throttle.

I am not in favor of a lot of additives but if you get a can of Sea Foam (this stuff cut’s gasoline varnish and is not harmful to hoses or engine components) available at most parts stores and mix it with the gas you are using, you might get lucky and not have to disassemble and clean the carb.

Good luck.
I will keep checking if you have any questions.

Bill John...

I have a "Gumout" kit that will connect to the fuel line and run a car engine. I hooked it up the the carb and blocked off the fuel pump. The engine seems to run just fine. I think it needs a basic tune up which must include new wires, since they look bad and one of the plugs was carboned up a lot, almost like it was running on half of the spark voltage. It looks like it's going to work fine, but I'll see how well it moves tomorrow.

Maybe I lucked out this time. Thanks for all your help!

bill

Alan Bill I sent you a wire diagram for your 316.
Alan

Keith Nichols I have a JD 316 with Onan engine that hasn't started since summer of 2008. I'd turn the key and nothing happened (I've jumpered the safety switches, and still nothing). Replacing the battery (which was bad) did not change things. I'm finally getting around to troubleshooting the problem, and would like to get an electrical schematic with the parts named, so I can troubleshoot systematically, and discuss the problem intelligently with others. Any suggestions on how to get my hands on a schematic, and the kinds of things to look for?
Ron Cutler I just got a JD 316, turns over, but will not start, no spark, or electric anywhere, If I run 12V directly to starter, it turns over, don't know where to start. This tractor is nothing like my 140. so i guess i need a wiring diagram. does the black box control everything? any healp would really be appericated. Thanks Ron C.
bill Does anyone still need the wiring diagram for the JD316? Please post a reply. I have the single and dual PTO wiring diagrams.

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