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Curtis B.
Curtis B., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 26027
Experience:  have worked on and around most engine models for 35 yrs./Polaris ATV expert
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My John Deere 155c lawn mowing tractor engine will not turn

Customer Question

My John Deere 155c lawn mowing tractor engine will not turn over. When the brake pedal is depressed and the ignition turn on the starter will on click the flywheel a quarter of an inch then reset and click 1/4 inch until I turn off ignition. The battery has been tested and it fully charged. I did have to replace the 20amp fuse.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 5 years ago.

curtis b :

Welcome to JUST ANSWER small engines, let me try to help you !! Remove the spark plugs and see if the starter will turn the engine. What model mower is this? LA155?? Follow the positive battery cable to the starter solenoid and use a old screwdriver to jump across the two large post to see if the starter will turn the engine.

Customer:

I removed the spark plugs but the starter will not turn over the engine. It reacts the same as when the spark plugs are in..it moves about 1/4 to 1/2 inch then rocks back

Customer:

The starter seems to be strong. The model is 155 C Automatic.

curtis b :

Ok, I found the 155C, Briggs engine, same setup as LA155. Did you try jumping across the solenoid? This would eliminate the solenoid and tie battery direct to the starter.

curtis b :

Do you have a voltmeter to check the system?

curtis b :

Check the battery cables again, and double check the negative cable where it bolts to the frame.

Customer:

I can only locate the one post on the starter the other must be behind...give some time to try your suggestions

curtis b :

You are looking at the wrong thing. Follow the positve battery cable to the starter solenoid/relay. This is what you want to jump.

curtis b :

Starter only has one post.

Customer:

OK, let me try

curtis b :

ok.

Customer:

It is the same, kicks the engine 1/2 inch back and forth in a jerky fashion

curtis b :

You either have bad battery, bad cables, or a bad starter. If you had voltmeter we could test.

curtis b :

Can you turn the engine by hand using the flywheel??

curtis b :

When did it last start?

Customer:

How do I check with the voltmeter? Let me try to turn over by hand with plugs in or out?

Customer:

It was running on Tuesday

curtis b :

Doesn't matter, would be easier with plugs out.

curtis b :

With voltmeter, test battery voltage, should be minimum of 12.5 volts. The with one lead on the positive terminal and the other to the frame, what do you read, if the ground cable is making a good connection, voltage will be the same as the battery was. If ground checks ok, put both leads back on battery and try to start unit. Does, voltage drop below 9 volts? If it does, the battery is no good.

Customer:

I just turn the engine over using a breaker bar and socket and it made a sound like a spring being over stressed and releasing...it was not muffled like it was internal but maybe the clutch??? Does that make sense? Once it let loose it turned freely 3/4 of a turn

Customer:

before tightening up again

curtis b :

So something is binding the engine. Look under the motor to see if there is a stick or wire wrapped around the pulleys . Does engine have plenty of oil in it? Could it have been run low on oil?

Customer:

There is plenty of Oil and it is clean. I'll look underneath

curtis b :

If nothing underneath, You might want to pull the valve covers, this engine could have broken valve or valve could have dropped on the piston.??

curtis b :

This ghas taken a bad turn from a no start , to an engine that for some reason is not free enough to turn with starter.!

Customer:

I just hand cranked it again and got to a point where the starter would turn it then the starting making the spring noise..it doesn't sound like it is inside. There is no wire or other objects that I can find but it sounds like the binding is happening out side the engine. To removed the belt from engine shaft to mowing deck so it is not the mower itself . Is there a clutch?

curtis b :

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Full Size Image

curtis b :

It has the electric clutch for the mowing deck.

Customer:

Could a bad clutch (item 14) cause the binding? I will remove the drive belt and see

curtis b :

The bearing would have to be out in the clutch.

Customer:

The engine turns by hand quietly and so does the clutch assemlby #14 until it hits #20. there is a fork on number #14 that looks like it should be held in place by number #20...do you know if it is supposed to be stationary?

curtis b :

Can you turn the clutch by hand? It basicly should spin free.

curtis b :

I mean the pulley side, the top side should be held in place by the #20.

Customer:

I can turn #20 backwards from #14 freely and I can see the flywheel turning as well

curtis b :

20 needs to keep the upper portion of the clutch from rotating, otherwise the wires are ripped out of the clutch.

Customer:

It can go all the way around because number #14 is blocking it. It is forcing #20 past #14 that appears to be making restricting the engine

curtis b :

Does the lower pulley that drives the deck rotate freely?

Customer:

it rotates freely until #20 hits #14 and then is rotates but not as easily

curtis b :

Your clutch is locked up. You are going to need to remove it. Do you have impact wrench, electric for changing tires will work. Remove the lower bolt and washer and pull off the assembly. Then see if the engine will rotate and crank.

Customer:

Yes I have an impact wrench, but it will take some time to set it up. Should I turn clockwise or counter ? If I loose connection while setting up and removing pulley how do I get back in touch with you?

curtis b :

Just come back to site an use your password XXXXX get back to here. It is just a standard right hand bolt.

Customer:

All right

Customer:

thanks

curtis b :

Righty tighty , lefty loosey.

Customer:

The engine turns freely and the wires for the electric clutch were pulled out. I can't get the bolt off and am afraid of snapping it off. I am running out of light so I will spray the bolt with WD40 and let it sit overnight. I think I'll need a new clutch at a minimum. Thanks for you help.

curtis b :

Ok. Thank you.

Curtis B. and other Small Engine Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Curtis,

Are you available to answer a quick question?

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 5 years ago.
What would you like to know.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

You helped me figure out that the electromagnetic clutch had failed on my 155c John Deere tractor (LA155). When it failed it ripped the wire out of the connector on the wiring harness not the clutch end. I have just gotten a new clutch but it did not include new wires. the connector to the clutch is in tact but I can' t find the other end? where does the clutch hook up electrically?

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 5 years ago.
Both wires run back to the switch on the dash that activates it.It needs a positive and a negative.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They are only 10 inches long and I can not find any evidence of an empty connector
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 5 years ago.
Sounds like you will have to add two mew wires from switch to clutch.