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Riding Mower Won't Start?

Scot S16/42 Riding Mower (Kohler engine) won't turn over. I have a good battery, new starter motor, new ignition switch, new starter solenoid, good gas, good spark plug, clean air filter, all safety switches work properly - all the normal stuff that prevents a riding mower gas engine from starting checked.

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When I turn the key, (yes gas valve is turned on: throttle lever in start/chock position), nothing happens, no click...nothing.

If I use a jumper cable from the positive battery post and touch it to the positive electric starter motor (key in run position), the starter motor will turn over and start the engine.

Sometimes, when turning the key normally to start the engine, nothing happens until I start moving the throttle lever back and forth from the start/fast to normal run rpm's position simultaneously whilst holding the key in the start position - then starter motor turns over, and starts the engine. This is weird!

I have a walk behind mower that wouldn't start and I finally figured out that the safety kill lever cable was stretched and kept the engine grounded. Once I changed out the stretched cable with a new one, the mower started on the first pull every time.

So my question is - does this throttle cable on my SCOT's riding mower also work as a cut-off the electricity ground like the walk behind mower has? if so, the problem might be the same - stretched cable? Or something else going on?

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
July 18, 20210 found this helpful

Sometimes there is a safety switch under the seat that Is malfunctioning. You might want to check that.

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August 9, 20210 found this helpful

Yeah, I "jumped" that safety switch under the seat along time ago, so when the mower gets stuck in the mud, I could get off and push it from the rear as the tires keep going.

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
July 19, 20210 found this helpful

It sounds like you have tried several options and it is possible the safety switch is malfunctioning or there could be a wiring problem. If it is a wiring problem it may take someone with a lot of knowledge about this line of mowers.

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If there is anyway for you to take your mower to a local auto parts store it's possible they could run some checks to see if they can find the problem. Not all auto parts stores can do this so check first but I feel sure your local Scott dealer could do the check and tell you what is wrong but they will probably charge you for the information.

You can also try posting your information on several of the lawn mower forums and receive useful information.
This may be a little trouble but they usually always try to help. They will also know what questions to ask to get to the real cause of your problem.
Some of the posts may seem 'old' but these are just some sort-of related answers as the members usually answer right away.
www.gardentractortalk.com/.../
www.mylawnmowerforum.com/.../
www.mytractorforum.com/.../
www.lawnmowerforum.com/.../
www.tractordata.com/.../contact.html

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This is a YouTube video but the poster will also answer questions:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHcVIXt4KM8

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July 22, 20210 found this helpful

Check ALL safety mechanisms. Any one of them will not allow the engine to start.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 140 Posts
July 24, 20210 found this helpful

How about checking battery connectors, sometimes they get loose or become worn. This keeps your engine from getting the proper charge.

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August 9, 20210 found this helpful

Yeah, all battery connections have been cleaned and are tight!

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Bronze Post Medal for 2021. 31 Posts
August 3, 20210 found this helpful

Have you checked the wires?

One guy had a similar problem with Scott's S1642 riding lawn mower with a Kohler 16 HP - "When you turn the key over, nothing happens.": www.lawnmowerforum.com/.../ The problem turned out to be broken wires and a defective solenoid.

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"Followed the line from the starter back to the battery and found the solenoid. Lifted the seat, removed the battery and after I got all the old grass piled up in there, found what looks to be about a 14 ga. Wire with a quick disconnect... broken. It was red and went to one side of the solenoid. When I repaired that wire and turned the key, I heard the familiar audible click (which is the solenoid that goes to the underside of the bowl on the carburetor). I turned further to start and nothing. Left the key on and jump started the mower and Viola! It started. So... now I believe I do have a defective starter solenoid."
"I did get a universal starter solenoid and installed it and it did correct my problem. In addition to this problem, I did find two wires, one up front and one in the back by the battery that was severed. Corrected those wires with the solenoid and am back up and running just fine." www.lawnmowerforum.com/.../
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Perhaps this discussion will help you too: www.mytractorforum.com/.../

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August 9, 20210 found this helpful

A couple of days ago it started nice and normal with the ignition key on the first try.

Later it stalled, and I had to get the jumper cables to get it started again!!!

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