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Cub Cadet Model 2146 Tractor
Statement of Problem: While mowing along the mower just quits. It will not start until it cools off. Then it will start again.
Steps to isolate problem. (while doing these checks keep the mower in the parked position with the parking lever engaged)
1. Pull the air filter off and observe the throat of the carburetor to check that gas is getting to the carburetor, you will probably see it as you crank, you will also get some vapor from the exhaust pipe. If that happens then it is probably not the fuel system. Even though that was evident I still changed the fuel filter and cleaned the bowl of the carburetor but it was not necessary.
2. After it has stopped, Pull the spark plug and with the coil wire on it and the base grounded crank it and see if you get any spark. I did not. I changed the spark plug and no difference(after it had stopped).
3. Again after it has stopped and won’t start, take a meter and set up to check for continuity using the ohms measurement to ground. One lead on ground and one lead one the connector (9) in the drawing on page 26 of the manual on the yellow wire coming from the harness (you should easily be able to put your probe in the connector. With key in the stop position you will get a short to ground, switch the key to any other position and this should no longer be a short to ground. If you still have a ground then there is a problem with one of the safety switches or a wire shorted to ground. In my case the switch worked normally. To make sure this was the case I removed the pin the yellow wire was on in the connector and waited until it had cooled and started it up again and ran it and it still stopped. (if it does not stop then you must either pull the plug wire or reconnect the yellow wire while it is running and shut it off with the key or just jump the connector to ground) This would probably indicate an intermittent bad safety switch or bad wiring. In my situation, it still did stop once it heated up.
4. That leaves only one thing, the coil. It is had to measure a coil in a static mode, I have read that the coil can break down with time, and this particular article I read that it is though that a spark plug that still works but is requiring too much drain can cause this malfunction. I ordered a new coil, I replaced it and it fixed the problem I had been having. My out of pocket expense was for a new fuel filter, new spark plug and the coil itself. Oh, yea, I paid someone to mow my front yard twice while in diagnostic and repair mode. So my cost for this was about $200, my time was free. Not bad, I could have spent $3000 easily replacing a perfectly mechanically sound tractor/mower with only about 4000 hours of use.

Over the course of this I spent a lot of time taking things apart and putting them back together. I learned that there are easier ways to do this than my first tries at this task. I am attaching a method I used to change the coil on the Onan engine on the Cub Cadet 2146 Tractor.


Replacement Instructions for the Ignition Coil on a Onan E14 engine in a Cub Cadet 2146.
This is my method developed after taking this engine apart while troubleshooting a coil problem then actually replacing the coil. This is my suggestion due to the tight places you must work to accomplish this task successfully.
(Given- The tractor front in on my right as I am facing the tractor, meaning I am facing the right side of the engine compartment.)
Things you will need
Metric tools, socket set 6mm to 16mm sockets with a two inch extension
Torx bits or allen type torx
Vice Grips
Adjustable clamps to hold back engine covers and give you room to work.
Small flashlight
Blue thread tight ( I used a little blue tube from NAPA – not adhesive)
WD 40, shop rags and paper towels
Some old business cards, at least 2
A pan or can to collect the bolts, etc that you remove
The Cub Cadet Operators Manual and Parts Manual (Forms 770-10280 and 770-10281B)

Disassembly
1. Remove both side panels from the tractor, check the operators manual, pages 12 and 13, for the procedure
2. Remove the battery (page 31 of the operators manual). I find that after you remove the strap holding it in place it is good to disconnect the negative side first then the positive side. Remove the battery through the left side of the tractor. Sit it aside out of harms way (it is a good time to clean up the posts and remove the grime before you put it back in)
3. In this step, still on the left side of the tractor, we are going to remove the three bolts that secure the Chaff Cover, page 25 in the parts manual. I put the mounting rods back through the bulkhead to hold it in place, you probably moved them away in the preceding step. I found it easier to get at these bolts with the bulkhead in this position. The Chaff Cover has a shaft going through it so when you remove the three bolts it will slide on the shaft of the way of further operations. First take the vise grips and clamp onto the shaft as far toward the back of the shaft facing the back of the tractor as it will go and still be able to turn the shaft with the vice grip. Find the easiest bolt to get to, loosen it and remove it, put aside for reassembly. Turn the shaft with the vice grips to locate the next bolt in a easily accessible position for removal of the next bolt and the last bolt. Keep the vice grip handy for following steps. Remove the mounting rods from the bulkhead again and pull the bulkhead away, you may use a clamp to secure it.
4. In this step we are going to remove three bolts from the Blower Housing (page 26 parts manual, items 1,2,3-bolts) ( like to start on the left side of the mover and move to the right side) and loosen or remove one bolt from the throttle lever bracket (page 27 in the parts manual item 11 for the bolt and item 14 for the assembly) Once these are removed loosen the two torx screws holding the connector on the housing and slide it away from the housing. Disconnect the connect coming from the wiring harness, from item 9 page26 in the parts manual. Unplug item 10, body connector on the voltage regulator, the same page in the parts manual. It is a good time to clean the connectors using wd40 and rags, knock out any grunge that may have built up in or on the connectors. Also inspect the wrapping on the wiring harness to the connectors and replace anything loose with plastic electrical tape.
5. Manipulate the blower, again from the right side of the mower)housing away from the motor, it may be hard to get it started and you may not get much, there is a cutout on the housing that you can position if you move the housing away from the motor towards the other side of the motor. The end position should be where you can see the coil and have enough room to get your hands in a position to unbolt it for removal and replacement. If you have a clamp or two ling enough, use them to keep the blower in place for the next operations.
6. In this step you will remove the coil. First turn the shaft so that the magnetic part of the blower wheel assembly is not positioned directly below the coil. (page 25, item 1, parts manual) Remove the coil wire that goes to the spark plug from the blower cover if you have not done already. Remove the brown wire with a spade connector to the coil from the coil. If you look at page 19 in the parts manual the coil is in the bottom right part of the drawing. You can see that there are bolts that go through the coil but there are also brass spacers behind the coil that attach to the motor casting. Item 15. It is important that as you remove the bolts that hold the coil in place you catch the brass bushings and not let them fall down through the blower wheel to the bottom of the blower housing, it is difficult to get it back. Remove both bolts with the bushings and take the coil out. Now is a good time to rotate the blower wheel with the shaft so that the magnet is on top. Clean the surface of the magnet with wd40 and make sure the spade connector is in good shape and clean. (This connector is connected to ground to shut the mower off, either by key switch or safety switches.)
7. In this step you will install the new coil. (again I like to work from the left side of the tractor for this step) Examine the coil, you will notice that there are slots not just holes for the bolts to go through. This is for adjustment of the coil. In the last step you moved the magnets so it is at the top, directly below where the coil will be mounted. Get two of the business cards, these should be medium paper grade, if they are high grade cards then you will only need one. If you use two then put the ink sides towards each other and place the cards over the magnet. Hold these in place while you put the new coil in place on the magnet, it will hold the coil in place and the cards. Get your first spacer and put it behind the coil and push the coil against it and put the bolt through the coil and the spacer and use your hand to hand tighten the bolt a few turns. Do this again with the other side of the coil. Make sure the coil is flush with the backside against the motor and is also sitting on top of the magnet with both sides tight to the magnet through the business card(s) front to back left to right. The business cards give you the correct gap. Tighten one of the bolts making sure the alignment has not shifted. Next remove the bolt that was not tightened making sure the brass spacer does not drop out and put a drop of the thread tight on the bolt and reinstall and tighten. When this is done, remove the bolt on the other side, make sure the brass spacer stays in place and apply the thread tight on the bolt, reinstall it and tighten. Make sure the alignment is still good and remove the business cards, if tight then move the shaft and get the cards as they clear the coil. Carefully move the shaft and make sure that the coil and the magnetic surface do not touch, if there is any kind of a bind you will have to loosen the screws move the coil away from the magnet and use two new business cards and make the adjustment again. When the coil no longer is in touch with the magnetic surface and there is no biding on the coil the mechanical part of this step is done, BE SURE TO ATTACH THE BROWN WIRE WITH THE SPADE LUG TO THE COIL or you will not be able to shut down the engine and will have to disassemble it all over again, (I have this experience).
8. The hard stuff is done now. You will basically reverse everything you did to disassemble. Get the blower cover unclamped and manipulate it back in place, before putting the bolts back in be sure to put you coil wire back in place with the grommet at the cut out for the coil. Put you connectors back on the blower housing and reattach the connector from the wiring harness and the voltage regulator. Put the bolt back into the throttle lever bracket. Reattach the coil wire to the spark plug, a new one is recommended.
9. Unclamp the bulkhead move it forward and reattach the rods that hold it in place. You will reattach the chaff guard using the three bolts you removed, I also put thread tight on these when I replaced them, I just put one at a time in until I got all three started then put the thread tight on them and tightened them up.
10. Put the battery back in place, put on the battery strap, always fun, and attach the positive side first and then the negative side.
11. Install the side panels and recheck that you have no extraneous parts left, give the job a good visual to make sure you have not forgotten any connection, electrical or mechanical.
12. Now, go and start that thing, it will probably feel like a new tractor.
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the detail.
 
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