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Allis Chalmers Discussion Forum

WD starter switch is sparking

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12-28-2012 14:07:51

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Hi All,
I'm a new WD owner. I have a pull rod type starter switch. The other day I started the tractor and it stalled so I pulled the rod again to start it and the switch started sparking inside the switch housing. And the starter will not engage. The sparking pitted out the connections. I have filed them down and even tried a new switch and nothing seems to be working. I tightened the screws up good on the switch to the starter and that didn't help. The connection gets so hot it starts to weld the connections while never engaging the starter. I'm hoping I do not need a new starter. How can I jumper the starter to see if it will turn over. Would I jumper to the old wiring posts? if so which one(s) anyone have a picture to help. I do have good battery cable connections and a good ground.

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12-31-2012 16:35:16

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 14:07:51  
Be careful not to use too long of screws to mount that switch on the starter. Had one rebuilt once and they must have used different screws off the bench that were a little longer. Got it on and wouldn't turn it over even with plugs removed. Took that switch off and noticed something shiny in one of the holes. One screw got into the winding. Left it loose and it rolled it over. Used shorter screws and haven't had any more problems.

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John T

12-28-2012 18:09:39

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 14:07:51  
On the side of the starter (under the switch)is the big copper button/contact and its to that the starter switch engages. If that has gotten all burned carboned and/or pitted or worn down too much even a hundred new switches wont fix the problem. Its takes BOTH a good switch andddddddddd a good non pited not worn down non carboned up starter button/contactor.

If things got too hot and arcing under that switch solder may have melted inside the starter resulting in open connections or mechanically stuck/jammed brush holders or burned commutator segments and all other sorts of nasty stuff.

High current draw may have also caused burned carboned resistive connections at battery post and terminals and ground connections and switch to cable connections etc etc. You may have to remove, clean n wire brush, and re attach each n every battery n starter and ground and cable connection.

So you need a good switch,,,,,,,,a starter with no internal damage,,,,,,,,a starter with a not worn out or burned or pitted or carboned button/terminal,,,,,,,,good cables and grounds and connections.

Of course, its possible for a starter to get mechanically stuck/jammed into the flywheel and that causes extreme high current draw which may have damaged the starter or caused burned or carboned connections etc. If you loosen the starter and/or rock the engine over it may free it up...

John T

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12-28-2012 14:37:27

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 14:07:51  
Loosen up the lock nut then the bolt and pull the starter out. Bet it is jammed in the flywheel ring gear which has the whole shooting match locked up and that is why your having a problem. If you want to make sure take a set of jumper cables and hook one end to the starter case and then the other to the stud part and hit the starter button. If it spins over that way you are almost sure that the starter had jammed on the ring gear. Reinstall and give it a try

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12-28-2012 18:14:45

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to old, 12-28-2012 14:37:27  

You just made my day. That was the exact problem!

Turns over just fine now.

Thanks you guys for you input.


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12-28-2012 18:49:16

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 18:14:45  
See now if it happens again and it probably will you will know what to do to get it back up and running. Common for the engine to stop pretty much in the same place most of the time so that area of the ring gear also gets the most wear so it can happen more then once

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12-28-2012 15:26:03

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to old, 12-28-2012 14:37:27  
Ok I"ll try that. If that"s the case am I lucky enough that Pulling and reinstalling the starter will fix it? Or is the potential jam a permanent thing thus needing replacement?

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Ted J

12-29-2012 04:36:08

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 15:26:03  
If it happens frequently, you can split the tractor and move the ring gear. You can move it 90 degrees, but I would rather install a new one.
Did you REALLY clean up the starter before you put it back together? The bendix needs to slide on the starter real good. Crud on the shaft can keep it from coming back, a bad spring or the teeth could be bad on the bendix or on the ring gear.
Things to look out for.

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12-30-2012 10:12:09

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to Ted J, 12-29-2012 04:36:08  
Good points. I cleaned it to make sure it came back ok. However I"m sure I could have been more detailed.

If it happens again, or on a warmer day, what do you guys recommend using on the shaft to clean it good. Carb cleaner?

Also what is the correct type of lube to use on the shaft? 3 in one oil? Or a lithium type grease?

Any thoughts are welcome. I"m just glad it"s running again! I use it to plow snow and here in MN you can"t go to long with a broken tractor for plowing snow.

Thanks again guys. I love this forum.


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12-30-2012 13:23:50

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-30-2012 10:12:09  
On the starter drive you want NO LUBE of any kind. To clean spray with brake cleaner spray because it leave the least residue behind and you want the starter drive area clean and shiny. Grease and oils collect dirt and dust which in turn makes the drive stick and that in turn causes problems like you had

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12-28-2012 16:20:46

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 Re: WD starter switch is sparking in reply to PTG in MN, 12-28-2012 15:26:03  
The welding of the contacts could have blown the solder out of the armature, causing one or more of the brush contacts to rise up, and jam against the brushes. Remove starter, listen and feel if the drive retracts, as you remove. If it feels like something moved, as starter was removed, pull the brush inspection band,and look at the armature, to see if any contacts have risen. If it looks good, hook jumper cables to a good battery, and try hitting the switch, with the starter laying on the ground. The drive should pop out and spin freely. If starter passes this test, stick a big screwdriver in the starter hole, and pry on the ring gear, inspecting the teeth, and seeing if the motor is not locked up. Flywheel needs to rotate freely 360 degrees.

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