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TaxTom, Small Engine Technician
Category: Small Engine
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My John Deere Sabre 14.542GS tractor will not start. Without

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My John Deere Sabre 14.542GS tractor will not start. Without a wiring diagram, I have done my best to check all switches and proper contacts are being made (along with fuse). It was running fine but lately it would not start. If I tried it again a little later it would start and operate fine. Last time I had it out it started fine but then died about one minute later. I have not been able to start it since.

When I attempt to start, it turns over but never starts. I checked the spark plug and I am not getting any spark. I then replaced the armature magneto. This made no difference. I then disassembled to check the alternator. The alternator seems fine (windings and connectivity). I am not sure what to check next. Please give me any thought you have that I can check.


Hello, Unhook the kill wire on your magneto coil and check for spark again. Thanks Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Tried that already - no change. I took the flywheel off this morning to check the altenator. Upon careful review, I noticed a resistence difference across the joint where the inside strip is connected together. Not sure is it is enough to interrupt the field. If I squeeze the joint togehter, the resistence drops to zero. Does this sound suspicious?





Hello, The alternator has no effect on starting only charging. What did you set the magneto coil at (clearance). Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
About 0.006" (same as what the old one was)
If you unhook the kill wire from coil on a new coil there is nothing that should prevent you from getting spark. So lets check the less obvious, first clean the magnets on the flywheel, reset the ignition coil at .010, recheck to be sure coil is not put on backwards, try another spark plug on end of plug wire and hold against head and see if there is a spark. Some of these seem simple but its better to check everything again. Last can you give nme the part number of the coil you installed, both part number on the box and on the coil itself. Thank You Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

New coil: 492341 Armature-Magneto (Top of Box) I do not see any part number markings on the coil itself except for "this side out " on the top of the coil. It is definitely installed the same as the one I took off. If it was on backwards the kill wire connector would be on the wrong side.


FYI: Briggs & Stratton Engine # XXXXX


I just cleaned the ouside of the flywheel & the inner magnets. I will get a new spark plug and begin re-assembling the flywheel and set the coil at 0.01" This will take me a little while.


Thanks - Kevin

It is the right coil. Let me know how you come out. Thanks Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Tom - Well I have spark now! I have been using a spark plug indicator. I tried putting it back in and the idicator does not spark (not sure why - it worked on my truck). Anyways, I have good spark now.


Still will not start though. I tried unplugging the kill wire - no difference.


Could the ignition switch be the cause? The clutch and mower deck ingagement switched appear to be fine (I cannot even engage the starter unless they in the proper position). Since I do not have a wiring diagram, what is the best way to diagnose an electrical issue?



Thanks - Kevin

Okay , the unit cranks over and we have spark both with the kill switch plugged in, is that correct Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes, it cranks over with spark and with the kill switch plugged in



Okay it sounds like it may be a fuel problem lets see if we can eliminate that. Prime the carburetor with about a teaspoon of fuel and see if it tries to start or starts and than dies. Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Success! It started right up! Bad fuel pump?
No bad fuel solenoid probably. Remove fuel line at carburetor and see if you have fuel, if you do its a bad fuel solenoid. If there is no fuel first leave fuel line off and remove gas cap, crank over for about 15 seconds or until fuel starts appearing, connect fuel line and see if it will start. If it start and runs fine then replace gas cap (bad vent). If no fuel come out then it could be a bad fuel pump. Tom
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well there was gas in the line at the carb. I removed and re-tightened the gas cap (just to check). I then started it again and it turned over and ran (with the gas line reconnected at carb). After running about 30 seconds, it got really hot (front muffler area started getting red). I shut it off at once. I replaced cover on flywheel with air filter and checked the oil level.


After it sat about 15 minutes, I started it again. It started. I drove it down the driveway. Sounds differenrt then before though. I do not seem to have near the amount of power / speed as before. It started to get hot again, so I shut it off. Any idea why it would be running so hot now? Does the fuel solenoid have anything to do with temperature?





If it is not letting enough fuel in and it is running in a lean condition the engine can run hot. Do not run it this way. Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I have a fuel solenoid on order (no local dealers have one). I am going to take a look at the carb tonight as well. I should have the new solenoid Friday / Monday.
Okay, Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There were some particles in the bottom of the carb bowl. The bowl was full though (I assume that this means the fuel pumping is working fine). Some of the gaskets look questionable, along with the O ring above the bowl and seal on top of the control arm. I am going to rebuild carb since I have it apart. Fuel solenoid appears to look fine and moves freely up and down. The hose that goes into the bottom of the carb did not have a clamp on it either I noticed.
Hello, Yes always replace the gaskets. Since that is not a high pressure hose a clamp would be optional. Tom
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well I rebuilt and cleaned out the carb. I replaced the fuel solenoid (it operates fine) as recommended.


The tractor does not want to start though. When it does start, it is running extremely hot (lean). I finally ran the battery down, so I just put it on the charger.


Really not sure what else could be making it run lean. I checked the gas tank, no foreign particles. The fuel pump is operating fine - I unplugged the hose into the carb and started it with the hose in a bottle. It pumped fuel in the bottle no problem. There is gas in the fuel filter as well. Gas seems to be getting to the carb without any issue.


Any ideas what would cause this condition?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It seems like the timing is off. Starting fluid in the carb will not even keep it going. It backfires and shutters.


I did tip the entire tractor on its side about a week ago when I was intially working on it to retreive a part I dropped.


How can I adjust the timing? It appears to be fixed. I was going to take the flywheel off again and closely inspect the key.