I own a Craftsmen 917.270930 and I am having a difficult time getting it to start.

When I turn the key, The fly wheel spins a few rotations and stops ( No clicking noises ).

The battery sits at 12.5ish volts. When I turn the key, the battery drops to 9.5ish volts.

With the red volt meter wire to the red wire coming to the starter from the solenoid and the black volt meter wire to the mower chassis I read 9.5ish volts when I turn the key.

I suspect the culprit is the starter motor.

Are there any other troubleshooting procedures I should take before purchasing a new starter motor?


  • 1
    You have indicated that the starter turns the engine over in your post. What makes you think the starter isn't functioning properly other than you readings if it's turning the engine over. Considerable batter draw is expected during the starting process. Does that starter seem to struggle as it's turning the engine over? Have you placed a charger on the batter to ensure it's fully charged? Dec 27 '15 at 1:31
  • Are you saying that the starter motor stops turning before you release the key?
    – HandyHowie
    Dec 27 '15 at 9:46
  • Yes HandieHowie, that is correct.
    – Calvin
    Dec 27 '15 at 12:29

It does sound like the starter motor, it possibly just needs some new brushes. It could also be a fault in the starter solenoid, the large conductors that switch power to the starter could be worn. I would first try using a length of wire to connect the thin control wire on the solenoid directly to the battery positive to bypass the ignition switch. If the starter still has the same problem then the fault is not in any of the wiring prior to the solenoid.

A solenoid often has two large connectors, with one thick wire going to the battery and one going to the starter motor. If you use an old screwdriver or wrench to short these two connections together, then the starter should turn for as long as the connection is made. If it does, the starter is ok and the solenoid is at fault.

  • Hi HandyHowie, I have tried the screwdriver test with the solenoid and found it near impossible to get the right angle due to limited space. To test the solenoid, I checked the voltage the goes to the starter from the solenoid and I am getting all 9.5ish volts that the battery is putting out when I turn the key. This may be a question for a new thread, but how can I determine if I need a new starter or if I can get away with new brushes?
    – Calvin
    Dec 28 '15 at 20:01
  • It is usually quite easy to get to the brushes on a starter motor, the rear cover should come off and then the brushes should be visible. You may be able to look on eBay for a photo of brushes for your starter.
    – HandyHowie
    Dec 28 '15 at 20:25

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