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Discussion Forum

WD 45, intermittent spark

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Fred Bassett

03-25-2003 08:54:36

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Dear list,

My WD 45 has an intermittent problem where the engine backfires through the muffler and stops. Usually, if it sets while I do some simple troubleshooting, it will start. This last time, it just won't start, and doesn't seem to have spark. Frankly, I know next to nothing about a mag. Any ideas?

Thanks for the help,


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Fred Bassett

03-26-2003 17:04:18

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 Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Fred Bassett, 03-25-2003 08:54:36  
Thanks a lot for all the help. I was told it was a WD 45 when I bought it, but not positive. Anyway, it has a mag. After posting the reqeust for help, I went back to the tractor to see if it would start with a little rest. Not luck. I then studied the mag a little, and observed the kill spring thing that you press into the mag to kill the engine was loose, and touching the body of the mag. I turned this a little, and the tractor started. I have since removed this part, as it has no use for me. Thanks again for your help.

All the best,


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Steve in N.J.

03-26-2003 19:09:20

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 Re: Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Fred Bassett, 03-26-2003 17:04:18  
Fred, Just brousing through the forum and see you found the problem! That's great! See, like I said, it's the simple things (and dumb) that cause troubles. Happy Motoring! LOL!
Steve/B&B Custom Circuits

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Fred Bassett

03-27-2003 14:49:08

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 Re: Re: Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Steve in N.J., 03-26-2003 19:09:20  
Actually, I found it very funny. I was ready to start taking it apart. Today I changed to SAE 50 oil and hotter plugs to see if I can stop the oil fouling of the # 2 plug. I am hoping I can get some of the bugs worked out of this thing and get some use out of it. It is great to have this forum to bounce ideas and problems around.

All the best,


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Brian G. NY

03-26-2003 05:59:34

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 Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Fred Bassett, 03-25-2003 08:54:36  
Starting in '53, the late WDs and all subsequent WD-45s were factory equipped with distributer ignition. Anyway, Steve knows his stuff on the mags. My A-Cs don't have mags but when I lost the spark on two of my Gravely's and a Wisconsin powered Plate Tamper, the cure was simply filing and resetting the points in the mags. This appears to be a common problem with mags on engines that are not started for months at a time.

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03-25-2003 18:24:07

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 Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Fred Bassett, 03-25-2003 08:54:36  
If you have a 45 it probably has battery ignition? Anyway, replace the condenser, sounds like a likely culprit. Possibly the coil, but I suspect the condenser. Had that porblem in a B and have heard of it in others too.

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Steve in N.J.

03-25-2003 15:06:58

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 Re: WD 45, intermittent spark in reply to Fred Bassett, 03-25-2003 08:54:36  
Fred, I rebuild F/M mags. Could be just something simple. For the symtoms you're having, check the contact point gap, and make sure they're clean. Sometime's they'll get some moisture built on them which cause them to intermitantly spark. Another small problem that makes a big problem is the condenser. If the condenser starts to fail, that also could cause the same troubles. Borrow the wifes nail file when she ain't lookin', and run it through the points gently if they look kinda crusty. Also, check the mag kill switch. Sometimes when they start to go bad, same thing will happen again. Disconnect it and try starting it, if the problem goes away, there's yer' culprit. Hope this helps...
Steve/B&B Custom Circuits

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