Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/Starter does not engage


My John Deere 165 Lawn Mower with a Kawasaki engine Model FB460V (FB460223150)12.5 HP, the starter will not engage, and does not turn the engine over when turning the key to start (just clicks). I have to rotate the engine by hand many times, stopping at different positions because the starter just clicks until I rotate to a certain position that the starter engages and engine starts. Each time I rotate the engine several degrees, I turn the starter key to see if it will engage. In time I find the position that the starter will engage and then engine starts.
I installed a new starter with same results. Also I find that tapping the starter body helps to engage starter, but only if engine is in a certain rotation position. Engine is 25 years old, but runs great once started! Thanks for any suggestion, Jim

How old is the battery?  Have you dis-connected the battery cables and cleaned the battery cable ends and the battery terminals with a wirebrush?

Do you have a multimeter to measure voltage drop to check the condition of the battery cables and wires?  If not, I would buy one and save yourself some time and money.

You need to check the voltage drop across the cables to ensure they are still working well.  I have spent many dollars replacing parts until I learned about voltage drop and I have found bad cables...usually older ones like you have.

You can Google "How to measure voltage drop" and you will find many sites.  Here is a You Tube URL:

Let me know if you have a multimenter.

Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)

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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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