JD 111 hard to crank


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JD 111 hard to crank

Don Ehrlich My new 111 with a standard Briggs & Stratton 40 engine is only a few months old. The starter is often (at least half the time) unable to crank the engine. The battery is good and the problem occurs even with a healthy car battery jumpered into the circuit. The solenoid is working properly. Battery voltage drops to about 7 volts in the system overall and at the starter moter when attempting to crank with the engine refusing to turn over. When this happens I can add a little torque with my hand applied to the fan on top of the engine and that is all I have to do to get it to turn over and start. Looks like a feeble starter moter or unusually stiff engine to me. Is this a familiar story?
bontai Joe Another possibility is that the automatic compression release isn't working correctly. It's job is to allow for easy starting.
Don Ehrlich I was wondering about the compression release but do not know how to check it. Is it released when engine is not running as a default and then actively switched to full compression when engine starts or is it only released when cranking? I noticed that the engine seems very easy to turn when off just by twisting the fan with my hand so I thought compression must be released and therefore not the problem. (I could take tractor to dealer for warrenty repair but that is very inconvienent and am hoping for simple fix I can do.)
bontai Joe I'm unaware of an easy fix for a bad compression release as it's internal to the motor, Could also be a weak starter motor as you mentioned. As inconvenient as it might be, I think using the warantee is the best answer I can give.
Don Ehrlich I talked to the mechanic at the JD dealer ... yes, he actually called me back! Knows exactly what the problem is: The engine needs it's valve lash adjusted (to .004 and .006). Incorrect valve adjustment interferes with compression release function. Thanks for the suggestions.
t_bois You know, it's really nice when someone reports back with information, good new or bad news.

Why can't others be more like you Don?

bontai Joe Thanks Don for letting us know what the mechanic said. It's nice to sometimes learn what the outcome is, instead of sitting here wondering whatever happened to "John Doe's" tractor problem. Plus your post educates the rest of us for the next guy that has a similar problem. Thanks again.
Don Ehrlich Ahhhhhh .. shucks
Don Ehrlich I pulled the valve covers today and found one cylinder with the prescribed .004/.006 and the other one had .008+ on both intake and exhaust. After adjustment the engine cranks like it should. Problem solved. Somebody tell me if it matters which Top-Dead-Center you have the piston set to when doing the adjustment and if the piston must be some prescribed distance from TDC. I just set the piston for maximum slop in the rocker when I set mine and have begun to worry if that was the correct way to do it.

Bruce Ahhhh yes, these 111's! :) Hope you've found your trouble, with the valve lash! But, you just *may* be putting a bandaid on it! I've run into this problem countless times on these, so I'll tell you a couple things... Open the hood and watch the top of the engine when you shut it off. If it rotates "backwards" just after it quits, and goes "whoosh"...then your CR (compression release) is working fine! About 2-3 years ago, we had a number of these with bad camshafts, that caused this same trouble. Timing was a bit off! I'm actually the one who figured this out, for Briggs. But, since you said your's is new...this is most likely not the trouble. I want you to look at the ground wire coming from the battery. Does it attach to the engine....or the painted deck? I'll bet it's on the deck...and this is the trouble! (I fixed a BUNCH of these!)...same problem as your's. If you snip off a couple of those plastic ties...there's enough wire to attach that ground to the engine block @ the rear. (You'll see a bolt hole there.) Metric bolt, so get the right size! Ground it here....and your starting troubles are over! Paint, is not a good conductor.. and the amperage required to run the starter, is often more than this set-up allows. Very poor design there,....IMHO. Hope this helps!
Don Ehrlich This is a re-post of message I previously sent incorrectly.
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I pulled the valve covers last week and found one cylinder with the prescribed .004/.006 and the other one had .008+ on both intake and exhaust. After adjustment the engine cranks like it should. Problem solved. Somebody tell me if it matters which Top-Dead-Center you have the piston set to when doing the adjustment and if the piston must be some prescribed distance from TDC. I just set the piston for maximum slop in the rocker when I set mine and have begun to worry if that was the correct way to do it.

Bruce: Thanks for the suggestions. I guess you didn't see my last posting (which I might have bungled) so have repeated it above. In my case I think the problem actually was valve adjustment. The repair tech at the dealer was sure about it and I suspect he has seen the problem a lot lately.



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