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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old Yardman 4 wheel steer 18 hp riding mower model 135D614G401. I use this old thing mostly in the fall to mulch and bag leaves on heavily wooded 2 acres. It's having a short problem at start up in that when I turn the key there is no sound and the ammeter light lights up. This is intermittent and so far is always fixed by using a leaf blower to blow out all the leaf dust that has collected under the seat and around the battery. Then it starts and runs fine until I turn it of again. This problem used to occur maybe once a month but lately it's more often. Yesterday it was occurring about every time I turned it off.

Could it be the solenoid? Is there a way to check that out before just buying a new one? If it's not that, is there a way to trace the circuit to try to find where it shorts out?
 

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Hello Winch, welcome to the forum.
Next time it does that, leave the key in the "on / run" position and jump the starter solenoid with a jumper cable (trans in neutral). If the starter turns the motor, it would point to a safety interlock switch being faulty or the actuator being wore or out of adjustment. For trouble shooting, start at the brake / clutch switch and jumper it out and try to start in in normal fashion. After that check the blade engage / PTO switch. (edited) If that fails, try a hot wire off the battery "+" to the small terminal on the main starter solenoid. That will bypass the PTO/blade switch and the brake / clutch switch.
If jumping the solenoid doesn't turn the motor, then you may have a dead spot in the starter,
-Please practice safety as troubleshooting may cause sudden engine starts or equipment motion.-
good luck - post back your results.
(PS - I added content later in the day)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
By jumping the solenoid I would make contact between the heavy red wire going into the solenoid and the heavy red wire coming out of it that goes to the starter?

Also I'm not sure what an actuator is. I don't get a hit doing a find on that term in the parts manual.

I used it for a couple of hours this morning so I started it maybe 20 times and it worked every time. Don't it figure.
 

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here is some things to try. Some of this stuff you may have already done or know, but I'll list it anyway for a future reader to understand.

Hand Fluid Gesture Liquid Font



-Please practice safety as troubleshooting may cause sudden engine starts or equipment motion.-
(trans in neutral - blades disengaged)
First - make sure all connections are clean and tight and battery has a full charge.
To jump the solenoid, use a jumper cable (never a small wire) to connect the heavy terminals shown above. The actual wire placement might be different then as shown depending on mounting. If that doesn't spin the starter, try heavy battery "+" direct to the heavy red lug on the starter (located on engine). That bypasses everything and will tell you if the starter will spin the engine (with available battery charge).
If that proves adequate starter function, next use a wire to jump from battery heavy to the small orange / white (on solenoid) that goes to the safety start circuit and key switch. That will bypass the safety circuit and key to activate the solenoid for a starter function.
If that spins the starter, you then may have a safety circuit switch malfunction, loose wire / cut wire or a key switch problem.
Note: this will only spin the engine. The engine may not fire / start due to other safety switches (seat switch, fuel solenoid shut off, other)
The "actuator" I mention is just a generic term to describe any mechanics used to move a actual switch. Sometimes a pedal or adjustment will wear and not move the switch plunger far enough to engage.

here is a link to the electrical diagram.
electrical diagram for yardman 135D614G401 View attachment 62222
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Problem is in the safety switches. For now I just spliced a wire onto the orange wire and a short lead from the battery and let them hang under the seat. When the key doesn't start it touching those does. I don't care about the safety aspect so rather than trying to adjust or replace the switches I might put a push button switch in the dash panel and permanently use it as an override.

Thanks for the help.
 
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