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Curtis B.
Curtis B., Technician
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 13581
Experience:  have worked on and around most engine models for 35 yrs./Polaris ATV expert
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Have a Deere 318 with P218G Onan engine. Intermittent issue

Customer Question

Have a John Deere 318 with P218G Onan engine. Intermittent issue with starter not engaging. Fiddling with control lever (in and out of neutral) usually resolves issue. Starter improvement kit has been installed. Likewise, battery recharging light is intermittent.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.

Hi, my name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you.

Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.

When the starter does not engage do you hear any clicking or noise?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, nothing at all. Battery light stays on even when engine is able to start.
Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.

You may have a bad cell in your battery. Do you have a way to either load test the battery yourself or get it in to someone that can? You will need to load test it not just check volts. It could show that it is good with a voltage check but when you load it the voltage may be dropping too low to function.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've already had the battery load tested at the local auto parts store. It passed with flying colors. Are you considering this is a John Deere with two safety switches that can prevent the starter from working?
Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.

I have seen batteries have a bad cell or strap between the cells that you allow them to work sometimes and not others. I just needed to verify first that we didn't have a battery problem.

Expert:  JohnF2015 replied 1 year ago.

You had stated earlier that playing with the shift lever had normally fixed the problem in the past. You may want to focus on the safety switch that is there, the machine has to be in neutral before it can crank over if this safety switch is acting up then it could be your problem. If there are two wires coming to this switch you can easily unplug the wires from the switch and jumper them to see what happens, if the engine cranks then you know that the neutral safety switch is bad.