Issue With My John Deere Riding Mower

davers

12 pointer
Jul 14, 2014
4,926
Kentucky
I have a three year old John Deere riding mower (E170), which all of a sudden developed a starting problem. I was mowing my lawn, with it this past Saturday, and it performed well until I stopped mowing and turned off the engine. When I returned to finish my mowing I turned the key and it only made a "Rattling" sound and didn't turn over. At first I thought it was the battery so I bought a new one but it made the same rattling noise. Then my Brother said it sounded like the Solenoid so I removed it and took it in to see if it was the cause of my problem. The Solenoid turned out to be bad so I bought a new one from Lowes. I installed the new Solenoid but my John Deere still wouldn't start just made that "Rattling" noise. I've checked the wiring but everything seems normal, so I am baffled as to why this three year old John Deere riding mower won't start. It has plenty of gasoline and the oil level is at normal. Anyone have an idea what's wrong with my riding mower?? <Thanks>
 

bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,153
Is the motor turning when you try and start it? May be the plastic Bendix on the starter.
Did the mower backfire when you shut it off? May be bent push rods.

If the motor does not turn and it make a rattling noise then it may be the Bendix on the starter . About any small engine repair shop will have those
 

carnivore

12 pointer
Nov 17, 2007
10,399
Ky
I replaced the starter in mine when it was doing that. (I had 2 doners in my boneyard at the time, so no risk as they were free)
 
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davers

12 pointer
Jul 14, 2014
4,926
Kentucky
Is the motor turning when you try and start it? May be the plastic Bendix on the starter.
Did the mower backfire when you shut it off? May be bent push rods.

If the motor does not turn and it make a rattling noise then it may be the Bendix on the starter . About any small engine repair shop will have those
No, the engine doesn't turn over when I try to start it. Just makes that rattling sound, no backfires either. Might be the starter though. Never had any problems with this mower until Saturday.
 

davers

12 pointer
Jul 14, 2014
4,926
Kentucky
I replaced the starter in mine when it was doing that. (I had 2 doners in my boneyard at the time)
Might be the starter, however I once again ran the wiring and found nothing bare or bad wiring, even checked the sparkplugs and cleaned them.
 

carnivore

12 pointer
Nov 17, 2007
10,399
Ky
Might be the starter, however I once again ran the wiring and found nothing bare or bad wiring, even checked the sparkplugs and cleaned them.
Looks like all 100 series may use the same starter. Buy from a place that accepts returns or keep it on your shelf.
 

bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,153
You say it makes a rattling sound when you try and start the mower, This pretty much tells me it is the starter bendix which is more than likely plastic.
You won't need a whole new starter, just replace the bendix on the starter. Bendix is the gear on top the starter that engages the flywheel and turn your motor. The Bendix kicks in when you start it and pulls back down after you let off the key. It is simple to do.

Take the top cover off and try and start the mower and watch the start Bendix it is probably chewed up.
 

bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,153
I forgot to mention that number 2 is the Bendix gear is is probably your problem and you can buy them cheaper and are really easy to change.
 

davers

12 pointer
Jul 14, 2014
4,926
Kentucky
Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I tried to start my John Deere mower, and "Out-of-the-blue" it started!! So, I agree this issue has something to do with a "Worn" Bendix; as if were a complete starter issue the mower wouldn't start at all. If this happens again I will remove the housing and check the "Bendix". I can't believe they would place a plastic one instead of a Bendix made of metal. Examining the engine, looks like most if not all the parts are made in China, which explains a lot. 🙁 Thanks for all the advice and help!!
 

Little FR

12 pointer
Nov 10, 2021
2,599
West Kentucky
Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I tried to start my John Deere mower, and "Out-of-the-blue" it started!! So, I agree this issue has something to do with a "Worn" Bendix; as if were a complete starter issue the mower wouldn't start at all. If this happens again I will remove the housing and check the "Bendix". I can't believe they would place a plastic one instead of a Bendix made of metal. Examining the engine, looks like most if not all the parts are made in China, which explains a lot. 🙁 Thanks for all the advice and help!!
Those bendix have been plastic for years. You better order a spare because, I doubt we’ll be getting many things from China soon.
 

bigbonner

12 pointer
Aug 5, 2015
4,153
Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I tried to start my John Deere mower, and "Out-of-the-blue" it started!! So, I agree this issue has something to do with a "Worn" Bendix; as if were a complete starter issue the mower wouldn't start at all. If this happens again I will remove the housing and check the "Bendix". I can't believe they would place a plastic one instead of a Bendix made of metal. Examining the engine, looks like most if not all the parts are made in China, which explains a lot. 🙁 Thanks for all the advice and help!!
Plastic may be better than you think, Because if it were metal like cars and truck and it spins without engaging the mower flywheel It could chew the flywheel and bendix gear up.
Remember the older chevy cars and trucks when the flywheel would mess up. They made the awfullest rip pit sound.
 

HuntressOfLight

12 pointer
Nov 23, 2019
11,305
Guarding my lovely bluebirds
Plastic may be better than you think, Because if it were metal like cars and truck and it spins without engaging the mower flywheel It could chew the flywheel and bendix gear up.
Remember the older chevy cars and trucks when the flywheel would mess up. They made the awfullest rip pit sound.

Been there done that but saved before flywheel damage, Yamaha stand-up jet ski.
 


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