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Small Cabin Forum / Off Topic / More tractor troubles...need some input
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WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 08:30
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1955 Ford 850 that was converted to 12V by previous owner.

A week ago i went to move the tractor for the first time in several weeks. Put the key in an zero anything when i depressed the starter button on it. So i just assumed the battery was dead. Hooked it up to my pickup to try and jump it...still no luck. I let it stay connected for 15min and tried again and still nothing. So i took the cables off the battery, hooked the negative to the frame where the paint is rubbed off and tapped the positive stud on the started and she fired instantly.

Pulled the battery that day and took it home and put it on the charger. Charged said 25% when i hooked it up and she was charged up to 100% by the next morning when i remember to check on it again.

Reinstalled the battery this weekend...same problem...no juice So i got the meter out and tried to figure out where the issue is. Keep in mind i'm not electrical savy and i know just enough about using the meter to check voltage and continuity.

**Keep in mind that without the key in, you can hit the starter button and the tractor will try to start. However, it will keep turning over but it won't start.**

Vertical (home) position of the key is how you can insert and remove the key. I think i normally turn the key clockwise when i go to start it. The key will also turn counter clockwise from the home position....not sure if the tractor will start in that position or not...never tried it.

On the incoming power side of the starter solenoid I have good voltage 12+.
Regardless of what position of the key, when i depress the starter button, i never get any voltage at the output side of the starter solenoid.
When i put the probe on the small terminal (not sure where this wire goes) i get a 12+ volt reading when the key is either in the home or counter clockwise position, but 0 when i put it in the clockwise position. When i depress the starter button those voltages drop to zero.

Key at home position:


Key at clockwise position:


Key at counter clockwise position:


So i feel like this tells me the starter switch is functioning properly. Is it that obvious that it's simply a bad starter solenoid, or do i need to check something else first?

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 08:48
Reply 


Starters can be wicked monsters to troubleshoot. The biggest issue is grounding whcih has to be good. Some of yoru description says that much... So check all the ground wires braided or otherwise.... Yes the braided wires do deteriorate over time.

Solenoids can be good or crap and lately more crap appears to have taken over. Fortunately they are NOT expensive but I will suggest you do get a High Quality one and not some cheapo. NB: I discovered that some solenoids require that the attaching plate be affixed to clean steel as ground and if there is even a bit of corrosion or paint in the way, problems can pop up. I spent 3 Months chasing that Gremlin and BOY was I PO'd when it turned out to be that simple (especially after many $ spent needlessly).

I suggest you get a Wiring Schematic for your model so you know what it was supposed to be originally.

Also, please do take the time and check the entire wire harness (it's not that big, nothing like a car) connections and for chaffing / rubbing etc. Be prepared to clean contacts and connections.

WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 09:33
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The unfortunate part is that the air clearner assembly blocks alot. So i'll have to figure out how to get that out of the way.

I need to figure out which starter solenoid will work so i can order one and bring it up next time.

Tim_Ohio
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 09:51
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Will1e,

A good source of information on these old ones can be found at "Yesterdays Tractors".

Tim_Ohio

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 10:23 - Edited by: gcrank1
Reply 


The solenoid has 2 fat wires and 1 small.
One fat is main bat power
The other is power thru to the starter motor
They dont connect inside the solenoid until the small 'trigger' wire activates the solenoid. That small wire goes to the start button.
You will want to back-trace that trigger wire to ensure it is in good shape to the button (and so you know a bit more about your tractor wiring).
With the trigger wire ok and with a good battery when you push the start button you should get a 'hard click' in the solenoid (as it activates). Just hold a finger on it as you push the button, you will feel it even if not hearing it.
You can bypass the solenoid manually if it has gone bad.
Initial test, ignition off:
Have a pair of bare end pliers and a heavy glove.
Hold one pliers handle on the fat wire to the starter motor and deliberately press and hold the other end onto the + fat wire/bat power in. You are now the solenoid, thus the glove; starter should run.
If so, you know the solenoid is not functioning but you can then turn the key to ig. on and get it running.
Note that the sparks can be vigorous doing this, that is why you want to be deliberate and solid when making the fat wire contact! The effect is like small scale arc welding, so dont do it a lot, it will pit the contact points and pliers handle (so dont use your best Snap On pliers). I keep a junky-beater in my toolbox.

1tentman
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 10:45
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Will1E I was just wondering how you was getting along with your tractor doesn't sound like it is cooperating real well.First thing keep in mind that this electrical system is made to work on 6 volts. Since it is switched to 12 volt things work a little different. The single wire on the solenoid should go to the starter button on the transmission, when you push the button down you are grounding the wire and it completes the circuit engaging the solenoid and sends current to the starter. The cranking system is working fine, the key has nothing to do with engaging the starter. You need to check and see if you have power at the coil, the ignition system is made to run on 6 volts, when it was switched over there should of been a resistor installed in the wiring or a new coil installed, if 12 volts is going thru the points they are probably burned up. You said that it is cranking fine now but just wont start, I think your problem is in your ignition system, check your points and make sure you have current to the coil.

1tentman
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 10:56
Reply 


After reading your post again not sure if you have got it cranking over, if not take a screwdriver and ground the wire on the starter button and see if it will crank over.

WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 11:12
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1tentman If i put 12V direct to the positive post on the starter with the key turned to the ON position, she runs just fine.

I think i eliminated the starter button on the tranny case from the equation because of my mentioning how the meter dropped to zero volts at the small wire when i would depress the start button.

So this is why i think the solenoid is my problem.

Tim_Ohio
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 11:14
Reply 


Will1e,

How to test your solenoid video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnqdbcQYAI4

1tentman
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 11:27
Reply 


OK Iam following you now, you can get it started. Check one more thing. The cables on the solenoid are actually connected between 2 nuts on the studs,try wiggling the cables if the stud moves , take the cables off and tighten the back nut on stud, and clean good and reinstall. After years of use the studs will actually stretch and become loose , thus not allowing good contact inside solenoid. If all this fails then I agree you might need a new solenoid. Good Luck and keep us posted.

travellerw
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 11:54
Reply 


Sounds like a loose connection somewhere. Ground or Positive..

On my 9N, I disconnect the positive battery cable when the tractor is not in use. If I just try putting that cable back on with my hands, it will look secure but when I try to start I get nothing (sometimes a small spark at that connection). I have to actually tap the cable clamp with a hammer, then tighten the bolt. Works every time.

A loose connection can make you run down all kinds of false trails. Its quick and easy to take each connection off, clean and reinstall tightly. Troubleshooting always starts with the easiest stuff first.

Tim_Ohio
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 12:32
Reply 


6 volt requires CSB (clean, shiny and bright) terminals, but since you converted to 12V, that is not so critical.

WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 13:54
Reply 


Everything is tight, i already checked that. And like i said i've got 12V coming to the solenoid, it just won't come out the other side of it.

Now i just need to figure out what solenoid i need since it's a converted system. Any way to figure that out based on the photo i posted above?! Would like to order it up before i head up next time as i suspect there will be snow up there next time.

Tim_Ohio
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 15:02
Reply 


If you had the original one, any car parts dealer would
be able to find one for you. They are not unlike ones
used on old cars. I bought a lot of parts at car parts dealers for the old ones I had.

Tim

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 15:37
Reply 


The solenoid is not that hard to get.... you want a 12v Ford Selenoid which were used forever on many ford pickups etc... probably the most common one... Hell even used then to replace the dead selenoids on GM Starters.

A Battery Cutoff Switch is always a good idea, they can be attached to battery posts or in-line with a key or switch. (Any UAP PepBoys or or other auto-parts store will have them as well). Personally Summit Racing most often has terrific pricing on such goodies.

gcrank1
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 15:48 - Edited by: gcrank1
Reply 


I suggest you dont go to a tractor repair place, mark-ups on parts tend to be huge.You are likely better off going to a Farm &Fleet, TSC, etc.
You probably dont even need the solenoid to run it if you want to just pull it off next time to take with you.
Discon the + cable to it and safely route from grounding.
The switch wire, if really a grounding trigger can be left hanging and if it is a + wire it wont be unless you hit the start button
Discon the starter motor cable
Pull the solenoid off
To start tractor turn ig key On
Touch starter cable to the bat cable, release when it starts.

BobW
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 19:38
Reply 


Save yourself a fireworks show and disconnect battery before removing solenoid.

Fanman
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 19:52
Reply 


If it's a bad solenoid, a short u-shaped piece of reasonably heavy wire or other metal to short across the big terminals will make it crank. Expect some sparks, too.

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 20:21
Reply 


150% with BobW no chances of "Oh Crap (*&#NI&@*(%" that way.

1tentman
Member
# Posted: 22 Nov 2021 22:38
Reply 


WILL1E just because its been converted to 12 volt doesn't mean they changed the solenoid. Since you are using the original start button in the top of the transmission cover then you will need a solenoid that engages by grounding it not one that takes current to engage it. When systems are converted to 12 volt usually none of the starter parts are switched other than the battery. Now the main question ,is the solenoid bad or is it not engaging because of another problem. I was never a real fan of those multi meters like you are using on these old tractors. Take the wire off the starter button and ground it if solenoid clicks and cranks the engine then your problem is in the starter button if it doesn't then you need a new solenoid. you will probably have to go back to a 6 volt original solenoid.

Brettny
Member
# Posted: 23 Nov 2021 05:49
Reply 


If the solenoid is truly junk just turn the key and jump the large terminals. It should start.

WILL1E
Moderator
# Posted: 23 Nov 2021 08:53
Reply 


Quoting: 1tentman
Take the wire off the starter button and ground it if solenoid clicks and cranks the engine then your problem is in the starter button

But wouldn't the voltage drop from 12 to 0 at the small terminal when i press the starter button on the tranny case indicate the switch is working?

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