Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

General help and support for your Lindeman through 2010 John Deere crawler
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bookman51
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Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:26 am

I might know the answer to this but perhaps not. I went to start my 420 crawler yesterday. I just put in a new six volt Optima battery. I had put in an Optima from another tractor and started the crawler about a week ago. I got a new Optima and put it in the crawler and put the old one back in the other tractor. I tried starting the crawler and it would not start. Now one problem it was about 10 degrees (as compared to this morning when it was minus 10 when I got up. I held on to the starter too long and I melted the small wire near the starter that comes off the starter. I suppose there could be corrosion or poor connection there, but I cleaned it and reinstalled it just a week or so ago when I started the crawler then. Any other suggestions or thoughts? We have gotten a bunch of snow here in Central Nebraska (for us anyway) and it is supposed to be bitter cold (for us) with temperatures around zero and below. I would like to get the crawler started and push back the snow to widen my road to the county gravel road. Oh yes, I did use some starting fluid. The crawler fired but stopped as soon as the fluid ran out. Once I saw the wires smoking I stopped. Thanks in advance.

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E.Huffman
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by E.Huffman » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:33 am

So does it turn over? Do you know if you have spark? How about gas?

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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:50 am

I know it has spark because it turned over a bit with the starter fluid. May not be getting gas. Main issue is melting of the starter wire. At least that is what troubles me most. Thanks

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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by Jim B » Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:55 am

Is this still a 6 volt positive ground system with generator and the saddle mount starter switch on the starter? Is the wiring correct for a 420 or has it been modified? Things get changed over the years and I just want to be sure of what you have before guessing at what it is.

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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by hydrogeo » Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:11 pm

Check the carb and the points to make sure it's got fuel and strong spark. Sounds like you had a bad connection on the starter. My 40c is the best starting vehicle in my fleet. It can be zero out and even after sitting for weeks it will barely spin over twice before it fires and runs.

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E.Huffman
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by E.Huffman » Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:59 pm

If your not sure on if your getting gas, try to start it for a little and then pull your spark plugs out and see if it is wet. if so then i would clean the carb if not then I would check and make sure you have spark. (sounds like it is not spark since you said it fired on ether.) I had the same issue and pulled a carb off the 40 u tractor and it fired right up. so now I have a carb to work on too! :cry: + 1 on the post before this, my 420c starts first spin almost! (i just rebuilt it so it is tight too)

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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:14 pm

It was rebuilt about 15 years ago and it has always seemed to be hard starting. It never spuns over the engine very fast. It is pretty cold out today, and it is in the unheated part of my shop, so I probably will not work on it today. Thanks
Last edited by bookman51 on Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:16 pm

hydrogeo wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:11 pm
Check the carb and the points to make sure it's got fuel and strong spark. Sounds like you had a bad connection on the starter. My 40c is the best starting vehicle in my fleet. It can be zero out and even after sitting for weeks it will barely spin over twice before it fires and runs.
As I said in a separate message, it has always seem to be hard starting. It acts like it will barely turn over, and the starter will not turn it over very fast. I am amazed (and envious) that your 40c is the best starting vehicle in your fleet. Thanks

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E.Huffman
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by E.Huffman » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:29 pm

That is partly the nature of 6 volt how ever I am curious how old is your starter? There is always that chance of it needing rebuilt.

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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:40 pm

E.Huffman wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:29 pm
That is partly the nature of 6 volt how ever I am curious how old is your starter? There is always that chance of it needing rebuilt.
I don't know. It is possible it is original (1958). How difficult is it to take off? There is a good starter place nearby and I could take it off and have them check it out. They do good work but at a pretty good price. Thanks

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E.Huffman
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by E.Huffman » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:22 pm

They are very simple to take off, there is 2 studs with nuts that come out of the bell housing and the starter fastens to the 2 studs simply a matter unscrewing the 2 nuts and pulling it out. The reason i wondered is because we have a 40 utility tractor (1954) and it acted almost identical to what your describing and we had to get the starter rebuilt. Also it will make a difference if your terminals on the battery or starter side are dirty.

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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:45 pm

E.Huffman wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:22 pm
They are very simple to take off, there is 2 studs with nuts that come out of the bell housing and the starter fastens to the 2 studs simply a matter unscrewing the 2 nuts and pulling it out. The reason i wondered is because we have a 40 utility tractor (1954) and it acted almost identical to what your describing and we had to get the starter rebuilt. Also it will make a difference if your terminals on the battery or starter side are dirty.
I took a look at it. It is somewhat of tight fit between it and the battery box behind it. Perhaps there is enough room to get it out without taking out the battery box. The starter has a saddle switch, and I have had problems with them on my Farmalls. Looks like the starter comes out on the left side (as one is sitting in the crawlers seat---is that correct?) Single digit temperature here and not in the heated part of my shop but it is inside. Maybe I will tackle it tomorrow. Thanks much.

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E.Huffman
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by E.Huffman » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:16 pm

Depends but i think so yes as left side. My 420 is a crawler loader so it wouldnt be nice on either side!! How ever My crawler is missing battery box soooo...... Yes I for got about the battery box I cant recall very well but I believe I had to take the battery box and door off the 40 to get to the starter, which would be identical to a 420...

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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by Lavoy » Mon Feb 08, 2021 5:04 pm

If the small wire is burnt, you have a dead short some place and most likely have no power to the ignition switch .
Battery box must be removed or slid back past the RH side of the dash to remove the starter.
I would bet 90% of the problems people have with their crawler on 6 volts is a starter badly in need of rebuild, cheap small battery cables, and bad connections. I have never had a single one on 6 volts with a properly rebuilt starter, good heavy cables, and a good battery that would not turn over.
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bookman51
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Re: Crawler 420 not starting...and worse

Post by bookman51 » Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:02 pm

Lavoy wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 5:04 pm
If the small wire is burnt, you have a dead short some place and most likely have no power to the ignition switch .
Battery box must be removed or slid back past the RH side of the dash to remove the starter.
I would bet 90% of the problems people have with their crawler on 6 volts is a starter badly in need of rebuild, cheap small battery cables, and bad connections. I have never had a single one on 6 volts with a properly rebuilt starter, good heavy cables, and a good battery that would not turn over.
Lavoy
Lavoy, Usually I jump to the most expensive and inconvenient (and sometimes needless) repair without any nudging at all, but I think it may be a starter rebuild. About a year and half ago I put the biggest cable I could get from NAPA ($50) on the negative side of the battery, which, as you know, runs to the starter. And I cleaned all four connections when I put the Optima battery recently. Of course, that does not mean there is not a bad connection or corrosion, but I tried. So, I think it is time to take the starter off and get it rebuilt. Right now we are having some of that "invigorating" North Dakota/Minnesota weather with lows well below zero and the highs in single digits. Maybe about Thursday I will drag one of my torpedo heaters to that part my shop and try to warm it up enough so I can work on getting the starter off, and, hopefully, without dropping a bolt or nut down below between the tracks. Once I get it started I will check on the tach cable! Thanks much.

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