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I was mowing with a new (to me) mower this afternoon and it just died in the middle of the yard. I tried to start it again and it won't even crank. I've never owned a riding mower before so I'm not really familiar with what all I should look for, after a few hours of googling and experimenting, here's what I've tried so far:

  1. Checked the gas - still about 1/3rd tank.
  2. checked the seat switch - continuity when the switch is pressed down so that's normal I think.
  3. checked the oil - The dip stick showed it looked like oil was maybe toward the low end? but hard to tell because the oil is pretty clear and some of it rides up the sides of the dip stick.
  4. checked the air filter - the precleaner foam thing was a little dirty, I cleaned it really well with soap and water and waiting for it to dry. Tried to start the mower without the precleaner around the filter, still nothing, not even a click.
  5. checked the battery voltage - it's at about 12.6 so I think that's normal.
  6. visually checked as many wires as I could without taking the mower apart. No wire harnesses loose or frayed wires that I could see.

What's my best course of action to diagnose this? I'm more on the noob end of the spectrum when it comes to this stuff, so I'm not sure what the best thing to start with is. Any help is appreciated!

Mower model number is 1692416. I found an operator's manual here but I don't think that's as good as a repair manual.

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  • Have you done what the manual says - “ Test 2 - Engine should crank if: A. seat is occupied and B. transmission lever is in neutral and C. PTO switch is disengaged and D. clutch/brake pedal is fully depressed”
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 5:52
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    The troubleshooting section of the manual seems fairly comprehensive. Have you followed all the steps in that? It does sound like one of the safety features are active.
    – HandyHowie
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 6:10

1 Answer 1

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I forgot to update this with an answer once I finally found the issue. Here it is, almost 2 years later:

The issue was a loose connection inside of one of the wiring harness connectors. I found this through painstakingly following every connection on every wire with a multimeter set to continuity (beep) mode.

What was very helpful in this process was finding the wiring diagram for the mower. It labelled all the wires and their colors, and their function. So I could test the continuity from one point to all other points it should be connected to. after testing each one, I would cross it off and check the next one. Eventually I found the one causing the problem. There was no broken wire, but just a loose connection of one wire within one of the connectors. This wire was one of the multiple safety cut out features on the mower where if any of them are disconnected, the mower won't start. I can't remember which one it was, but for example, here are a few common ones:

  1. Operator present in seat (switch under seat connects when you sit in it)
  2. Brake Pressed (switch attached to brake mechanism that closes when brake is pressed)
  3. PTO not engaged
  4. key in "on" or "start" position

Hopefully this is helpful to someone else if they come across it. If you've exhausted the other possibilities that are more common for why it won't start, it could be helpful to check all your wiring!

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