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James W
James W, Small Engine Troubleshooting Expert
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 3708
Experience:  7 years as Mechanic & Parts Manager for Brother who has Owned Lawn & Garden Repair shop for 35 years
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I have a Snapper model 331416bve i bought used. It has a 19.5hp

Customer Question

I have a Snapper model 331416bve i bought used. It has a 19.5hp Briggs & Stratton engine installed, obviously an add on.
When I start the engine, the battery will crank for awhile, and then die. Often before starting the engine. I have today replaced the battery with a new one from Walmart, so it should be very fresh. Does not crank until i put the charger on it, and then it will crank right over. Starts very quickly then.

Is the starter dragging? How do I replace that? Is the solenoid bad? I know how to replace that. The connections are tight. It seems to me it should crank easier with a new battery. Something else may be wrong.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.

James W :

Greetings, My name isXXXXX and I am here to help the best I can. My goal is 100% satisfaction. Let's get started.

James W :

You must have a "GOOD" quality battery and not one from the big box stores or the big hardware chains.

James W :

It must be rated at at least 350 CCA

James W :

Also, there is a compression release on most engines which have overheaed valves

James W :

If the compression release is not activating then the battery and starter motor will have a hard time turning it over

James W :


James W :

if the motor has enough power when you have the charger hooked up, then the motor is not bad

James W :

the compression release is activasted by the valves

James W :

but only if they are ajusted correctly

James W :

They are supposed to be adjusted every 12 to 18 months, so I am sure they probably need it

James W :

Most likely the problem is that the valves need to be re-adjusted. There should be between .004" and .005" clearance between the valve stems and the rocker arms when the valves are completely closed. If this is not correct, then the compression release will not work and the engine will be hard to turn over.

Also make sure that you have the proper amount of oil in the engine.


Here is a video that should help you try to adjust the valves.



How to set the valves on overhead engines. B & S

Set valves between .004 and .005"


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I am sorry to be so long getting back to you. I got the wrong feeler gauge set from Advance Auto - no .004 blade, so waited for Amazon to deliver one today and I have set the valves as directed.

Now the battery will not turn over the engine, even with the charger connected. I first got a minor clicking sound from around the solenoid. I tried connecting charger to positve on solenoid, and the system will not turn the engine over. No starting sound.



Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.

You may test the battery.


But, try to see if the engine will spin if your short the TWO LARGE terminals of the starter Solenoid with a large screwdriver


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Could not get a screw driver into solenoid, but put a large wrench across, and nothing.


Grounded screwdriver from positive terminal to side and got a small spark.

Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.

If you had grounded the Screw drive from the positive terminal accidentally to the frame of the tractor and only got a small spark, something is very wrong


If the ground from the negative terminal of the battery to the frame is good, and the battery cables are good, and the battery is good, then when you accidentally shorted the solenoid to the frame you should have seen a LOT of Large sparks because it would be the same as shorting the two battery terminals together. NOT GOOD.


So check the ground wire, and battery terminals and all the connections and make sure they are perfect.


The ENGINE should have spun.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I will work on in the morning
Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.
I should be available.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I have charged battery. I touched a screwdriver across the posts, and it sparked very well. I tightend the connections to the battery posts.

I measured with voltmeter 12.4 volts across the battery. I measured from the positive post on the solenoid to negative - 12.4 volts. The same when i measured to a bare spot on the mower.

When I turned the ignition switch to run, the voltage dropped across the solenoid by about 2 volts.

I do not know if this means anything.

I do not have an ampmeter.

Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.

SOUNDS LIKE a Bad Battery.


Take another battery And hook it up Positve to Positive negative to negative to the battery in the tractor.


You can use the battery in you vehicle, but NOT with the vehicle running.


THEN try jumpering the starter solenoid again and see if it will spin the engine.


The batteries at the Big Box stores generally are just Not good enough.


If it spins when you jumper the solenoid then try the starter switch


If it starts with the car battery hooked up, then go buy another battery, a good one, from a dealer.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Did not start with truck battery jumpered to the other battery

I got some spark, not big, when i jumpered accross the solenoid, but no start or try to turn the engine.

I tried with ignition starter - nothing

Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.

If you had it hooked right + to + and - to -.

Then what you have done is telling me that you have ONE of just a few problems



Bad Starter motor.

Bad Ground cable from Battery to frame (or bad terminal end or dirty connector).

Bad cable from battery to solenoid.

Bad cable That is hooked to the starter.


Or a FROZEN up engine (which I doubt because you said it would start if you hooked the charger up to it..


But, if the unit would start if you hooked the charger up, how did you have the charger hooked up.


From what to what.


So, if a different battery did not help

and if the charger will start it


then we are saying the starter it good.


So the only thing tis leaves is a bad cable or a bad ground..


By jumpering the two large solenoid posts together, we have bypassed the starter solenoid, so it only leaves the cables or the ground (which is still cable related).


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I will be away for about 2 weeks, and will work on this thing when I get back
Expert:  James W replied 6 years ago.
I will be available.. let me know when you get back.