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LA175 dead cylinder ?

Steve Hello,
I'm looking for some advice. I have a JD LA175, that was purchased last year. I love this tractor, and it has been doing a fine job for me. Yesterday, when I went to use it,it cranked slow,and when it fired up, the engine sounded a little off. I should mention that the tractor only has 20 hours on it. I changed the oil at 8 hours, and as a matter of maintenance, I changed it again at the beginning of this season, along with an air filter. I know a little about engines, so I pulled the spark plug wire on each cylinder, and found that the right side is not firing at all. I swapped plugs and no change. The right side still not firing. I then swapped coils. Still the same. I did a quicky compression test, (using my finger over the hole) and both cylinders have the same amount of pop. I have a strong suspicion that it is electrical, but I don't what, or how to check any further. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Dale G. Basgall Steve : Which engine do you have in the tractor, that will make a difference. Sometimes certain engines have their own inherant charachteristics and for example a kawasaki engine two cylinder will drop the exhaust guide on the right cylinder if the customer does not keep the cooling fins clean. The cooling fins are under shrouds that plug up when the screen has been damaged on the top of the flywheel, that is only one example so if you give the engine type and model we can go a little deeper in the failure.

Dale G. Basgall

Steve Hi Dale,
The engine is a 725cc Briggs and Stratton 44.

Dale G. Basgall Steve : It is not normal for those engines to fail at 20 hours, the electrical should also last a long time, so let's just assume your right on the electrical failure due to no fire on the right cylinder.

What does not fit is the fact you changed the ignition coils and had the same problem. This leads me to the wires going into the coils, on a dc ignition coil there are two terminals on the coil itself and one large diameter wire going to the spark plug. The + on the coil comes from a switch that connects the battery + to the coil + and at that point you should read battery voltage with your meter, one lead on the + side of the ignition coil and the other lead of the meter to the ground cable at the battery terminal. The - lead on the coil goes to the make or break circuit weather it is a transistor ignition or a points system it makes no difference, the - lead on the coil gets the signal when to fire and the energy so I think your dealing with a no signal situation. Now on some ignition systems there is an additional wire that goes to ground when you kill the engine so just unplug them off of both the coils if that's the case.

A mag ignition or magneto ignition has a coil with one wire small wire into it and the large diameter on that goes to the spark plug. If the coils are located around the flywheel when the magnet passes by the coil it fires the plug, when the coils are mounted seperately then there is what they call an ignitor or pickup coil and if that's the case in this situation that may be grounded or some type of physical wiring problem.

The only odd thing is that the unit is new almost and it doesn't fit that an ignito would just go out that soon, oh well if you need more assistance just write back and update.

Dale G. Basgall

Steve Hi Dale.
First thanks for all the info. I was going to start checking things with a test light, but just to be sure, i did a real compression test on the cylinders with a gauge. What I found was 125 psi on the good cylinder, and only 50 psi on the dead one. Uh Oh! Lesson learned. Don't take short cuts! Anyway, I then took off the valve cover to take a look, and believe it or not, the bolt that holds the rocker arm in place had backed out so far that the push rod had come disconnected from the rocker arm. So only one valve was working. I pulled the push rod out, and it wasn't bent, so I put everything back together, and she runs like new! My only theory is that the bolt was never torqued from the factory. I'm going to keep an eye the situation, but I'm hopeful that everything will be ok. Thanks again, Steve

Steve Hi Dale.
First thanks for all the info. I was going to start checking things with a test light, but just to be sure, i did a real compression test on the cylinders with a gauge. What I found was 125 psi on the good cylinder, and only 50 psi on the dead one. Uh Oh! Lesson learned. Don't take short cuts! Anyway, I then took off the valve cover to take a look, and believe it or not, the bolt that holds the rocker arm in place had backed out so far that the push rod had come disconnected from the rocker arm. So only one valve was working. I pulled the push rod out, and it wasn't bent, so I put everything back together, and she runs like new! My only theory is that the bolt was never torqued from the factory. I'm going to keep an eye the situation, but I'm hopeful that everything will be ok. Thanks again, Steve

Steve Hi Dale.
First thanks for all the info. I was going to start checking things with a test light, but just to be sure, i did a real compression test on the cylinders with a gauge. What I found was 125 psi on the good cylinder, and only 50 psi on the dead one. Uh Oh! Lesson learned. Don't take short cuts! Anyway, I then took off the valve cover to take a look, and believe it or not, the bolt that holds the rocker arm in place had backed out so far that the push rod had come disconnected from the rocker arm. So only one valve was working. I pulled the push rod out, and it wasn't bent, so I put everything back together, and she runs like new! My only theory is that the bolt was never torqued from the factory. I'm going to keep an eye the situation, but I'm hopeful that everything will be ok. Thanks again, Steve

thomas adkins was wandering how and what the settings was for the 175 lawn tractor.


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