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ride on mower problems

I've just been cutting my grass and stopped the mower to empty the collector boxes. When I got on and tried to start it again it wouldn't start.

There is a high pitch whirring noise, but the engine doesn't actually start. If I was to hazzard a guess I'd say that the starter motor is working but what ever it does to start the engine doesn't work.

I'm not mechanically minded but I need this ride on mower 'cos it acts like a mini tractor for me.

Is this something major? Can I fix it or should I pay someone.

help. You all were really good with my strimmer problems and I need your help again.


Have you checked fuel ..obvious but easily forgotten.

Try putting it in gear and rocking it back and forth. Then try again. If that doesn't work ...........Try hitting the starter motor with a hammer

Seriously they sometimes jam with the coggy bits in the wrong position (you can see that I am good at this technical stuff :oops: )

Best I can offer sorry

Mmmh. With the strimmer, I usually forget to turn on the start switch... :oops: The same has happened to me with the quad - depending on who used it before me, as some folk turn it off at the switch, and others just turn off the key.

If it sounds like it's actually trying to start, it will engage the starter, and you should see something moving within the engine covers. If it just whirrs when you turn the key, but doesn't turn the engine over, then it's a starter fault. If this is the case, tapping the starter motor with a stout stick while trying to start it should free it, but will need cleaning out to solve the problem.- Quite an easy job if you can get to it - usually 2 or 3 bolts and an electrical plug or two. - no oil involved in there.

If it is trying to start, but just not firing, make sure that all the safety trip switches are working. On modern mowers, these can be a real pain in the :bootyshake: Find them located on any grassbox closing edge, bonnet and - under the seat. They often have specially shaped plastic parts which often get snapped off. If this does happen to you, all is not lost - you do not need a whole new bonnet (which the dealer will gladly sell you) you can replace the switch with a magnetic version, bonded onto the plastic with it's magnetic counterpart - which will never fail again.

If all seems ok on this score, but the thing just won't srart, try the car methods - check for a spark by removing sparkplug lead and stuffing a bit of wire in there, and touch this to the engine body while starting(wear gloves). Spark=fuel problem No spark= electrical problem. and trace from there.

All fun and games.

I did have one of these, but during the winter, I started to smell petrol near it. The mice had eaten through the fuel line, plus some electrical insulation
To solve this I used a replacement stainless steel braided hose available from Vehicle wiring products , who are my new best friends.


Hard to tell, but it sounds as if the starter is turning but not engageing with the engine. Some use silly starters found on Motorcycle engines that are chain driven and have a slipping worm gear to dissingage the starter.
These sometimes stick for the want of oil or the chain or the woodruf key on the shaft brakes.
Listen to see if the starter motor is turning but not the engine.

there is definitely something happening. I turn the key and something spins madly, but the bit of the engine that usually spins, just flexs a couple of time and that's that.

The problem is that I don't know what a starter motor would look like so I don't know what to hit...


Check the belts maybe? - maybe one's come off and jammed?
I'm sure we can get to the bottom of this between us.

So to recap.......
Starter turns but does not crank engine.
Engine moves a little during this, but does not rotate.

Still sounds like you need the starter off to try it. :?
The starter is nearly always parallel to the main output shaft of the engine, and acts on the outside of a big gear on the output shaft of the engine. On a mower I would expect it to be a cylinder sitting vertically near the base of the engine, with a big red (possibly black)insulator boot on it onnected to your starter switch.

Like this on a briggs

What Engine / model is this - maybe we could pull the drawings off the net?

Sounds as if the starter is turning and not engaging with the engine.
Whip it out and see if the engaging sprocket in free on the shaft of the starter motor. When you have it out put a small drop of oil on the shaft, but not a lot.

oooh, I have something similar to that on the side of the engine.

Should I give it a smack? How big of a smack?

If that doesn't work I'll take it off and drop a bit of oil in to it and put it back and see what happens.

wish me luck.

but not tonight 'cos I'm fighting wasps tonight.


PS If I get this sorted, the beers are on me.

Good luck.
Don't lop any fingers off

Do you think this might be the problem?

The cog is so worn that it no longer links in with the engine cog. (can you tell I'm not a mechanic?)

Do I buy a replacement starter motor or cog.

And any ideas how I get the cog off. For a short term fix, I could turn it upside down and it'd allow me to start the mower and get it back in the barn.

thanks for your help. I would never have dared to take it apart without your guidance.


Looks like you got your moneys worth out of it

Scotia Mutt

Hiya pete in the Hills

I'm no mechanic either but I know my way round an engine and tinker about with cars etc

Erm, I would say that you would be better looking for a replacement starter as you would need a specialised tool to remove the cog (ie a bearing puller) even then not sure if it would come off it may need heat on it as well. What would be worth a try would be checking out local scrap merchants see if you can see anything similar, or take the old starter motor with you and ask if they have anything the same.

hope this helps a wee bit

I wonder what state the engine gear is in?
Check as best as you can before investing in a starter.
Watch your fingers!

A new or second hand starter will be needed, I think you will fine the cog is just not designed to come off.

If you want one, I'll get one posted out to you tomorrow - just send me a postal order by return of post.

Try to get the cog off by soaking the working end with WD40. Grip the cog with mole grips or a wrench of some sort, and try to loosen the end screw. - If it only moves a fraction, then siezes, it may be an unusual left hand thread. In that case it will undo the opposite direction. These are common on parts that rotate the wrong way for standard fixings ( i.e will undo themselves) - just something else to watch for.

Keep a tub for all the bits, and a close-up photo would be good before you have a box of bits and no diagram

the problem is that split pin thing at the top. If I could get that off, then replacing the cog would be simple. Will it screw off?

Any hints or websites with simple instructions and diagrams?


I've Emailed the supplier of the spare gear, and this was his reply -
Its very easy, once you have removed the starter motor you will see the gear.
It is held in place by an E clip or a circlip.
Simply remove the clip, take off the gear then replace both the gear and clip and your done.
It will probably take longer to remove the starter motor than change the gears.
Best Regards

I can't see it on your starter picture, but a clean with WD 40 won't hurt. - use a stiff paintbrush for stubborn areas, and a non-fluffy cloth to wipe clean.

There is a type that uses a roll pin pushed into the shaft to lock the end piece on. Use a piece of steel (or a pin punch) to tap it all the way through.
I think this looks more like it.....Read the description.

This has a good piccie - Just find a cheapish one with the bits you need from the listings.

it's fixed! hurrah.

there was a little barrel pin that you have to knock out, that releases the top section, you just take off the cog replace it with a new one, knock the pin back in and its fixed.

thanks to everyone who posted on this thread. If I ever bump in to you in the pub, I'll buy you a pint.


Great to know you got it fixed and that you can replace the worn gear on that starter. Nice to know they make them that way
Hope it is a sign of things to come where things are not just thrown away because one small part has worn.

YaY !!!

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