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Briggs 12hp possible bad starter

4070 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Austen
Hello all,

I purchased this used lawnmower and i have had to buy new fuel line, fuel filter, fuel shutoff valve, and carb float.

The issue im experiencing is that when i go to start it the starter motor used to start the engine. Now it will turn it but wont start. If i hook the battery up to my truck the engine starts up.

The solenoid was not making the clicking noise when i purchased it. It just started doing that this past weekend. But like i said if its hooked up to the truck it starts up.

I checked wiring and it looks good. I dont have a voltmeter though...

I have made a video in hopes that one of you can help with this problem.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, im a noob so be patient as this is my first riding lawnmower.



Model: 281707
Type: 0415 01

B&S 12HP wont start - YouTube
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Mod can you change the title to 'Briggs 12hp possible bad starter'?


Connecting it to a fresh battery and it starts? Perhaps you answered your own question. A new battery in the near future. Good Luck
Doesn't seem that battery has enough "juice" to turn the engine over by itself.
... I dont have a voltmeter though...
Three possible things come to mind..

1) The battery has went bad.

2) While making repairs you have not let it run long enough to fully charge the battery before you shut it down and restarted again.

3) There is a problem in the charging circuit. (Really need a voltmeter to dig into the charging circuit.)

Since you don't have a meter I would take the battery to an automotive parts store or lawn and garden repair shop and they could probably test it for you.

The clicking noise you hear is the starter solenoid failing to stay engaged due to not enough voltage (available amperage capacity) from the battery. There is enough voltage to close the solenoid but once the current draw from the starter motor kicks in the voltage drops too low to hold the solenoid switch closed and the cycle repeats.

Mod can you change the title to 'Briggs 12hp possible bad starter'?....
Gotcha covered. ;)
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Im positive it has to be the battery. I originally purchased a 265 CCA battery and it started fine but then i ran into the same problem. So i figured i would exchange it for a higher 365 CCA battery. Same thing. It starts fine a few times but then i need to jump it from the truck.

Do these tractors have a alternator? I dont see anyting resembling one.

Maybe i should just get a truck battery that would fit the opening.

The battery thats in there now is just two weeks old. Probably sitting on the shelf forever though.

did you check all connections from battery to ground , starter etc...? sometimes just a dirty connection could cause that problem....i had that problem with an old wheel horse i have...had to jump it from the car ...i couldnt figure it as to why..the battery was just 2 months old...ended up being the battery again...and after another battery all is good
...Do these tractors have a alternator? I dont see anyting resembling one...
Yes, it is part of the flywheel under the shroud. Someplace around the engine you'll also have a rectifier and possibly a regulator, fuse or fusible wire link as well.

You can find a parts list showing those parts using your model number at the Briggs website:

Also here's a link to a pdf file from Briggs that shows how they work and can be tested: (14 MB file)
Perfect! Thanks for the links, ill check them.

OTOH! I fixed my problem.

I stopped at a local auto parts and picked me up a refurbished car battery. 525 CCA's and the tractor starts beautifully. Man this then spins right up like was brand new.

Thank you all for the help!

Information readers should heed!

I know this is a very old post! I add this for anyone else that is trying to bring an old mower back to life after sitting for a time.
ALWAYS and I do mean always. Take the covers off the engine along with the flywheel. You wouldn't believe what all I have found stuffed under the flywheel (enough pecans to make a pie) and in the cooling fins.( everything from leaves, paper, insulation, rags, feathers and much more) I have also found the insulation chewed off the wires. All this stuff may or may not prevent the engine from starting, but the engine will overheat unless it is cleaned out.

After many years of restoring old mowers, I have found it best to at least do the following in addition to what I said already.
1. Clean the fuel tank. Fuel filter should be replaced (Gasoline begins to turn into vanish within 30 days)
2. Replace battery if it is more than 3 years old or if it hasn't been charged in the past 6-8 months.
3. Replace the v-belts if the mower has been sitting for over a year. (even though they may look okay, but they get hard and will destroy the bearings in the idle pulleys before long.
4. Check every inch of the wiring. The wiring insulation must taste great
as much as varmints love chewing on them.
5. Rebuild the carb, if any fuel was left in it. You will need to use a Chem cleaner to get all the vents open.
6. I take all cables off and soak them in mixture of oil and diesel (outside) while I'm doing all this other stuff. Doesn't hurt to work them once in awhile.
Every mower has it's own problems, so there may be more on your mower that needs attention! (blades, lights, switch and seat, etc.)
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Well, thank you for this information Old Chipper, and I would like to take this opportunity to Welcome you to MLF.

We would encourage you to start an introduction thread and tell us a little about yourself and your equipment, maybe even a couple pictures of your restored mowers. We really enjoy looking at pics of restored "Old Iron" big or small as we all find them inspiring. You can start your new Intro here:


Once again, thanks!


Welcome to the site Old Chipper! :)
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