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I've got a Stanley riding mower with a 17 horse motor and I can't get it to run. I got this from a neighbor, he had some problems and burnt the starter solenoid trying to get it started. I have put power direct to the starter and it will barely turn the motor over. If I remove the spark plug it spins over no problem, but if you hold your finger over the spark plug hole, the rpms drop sharply and it eventually stops turning. I assumed that the starter was shot so I removed it and disassembled it and I don't see anything wrong with it. Brushes look fine, bearing spins freely. Reassembled and it does the same thing. I realize that it could still be the starter, but I'd have to buy another one in order to find out and I'm sure they're not cheap. If anybody out there has any other ideas of what might cause this condition please let me know. Thanks.
 

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I've got a Stanley riding mower with a 17 horse motor and I can't get it to run. I got this from a neighbor, he had some problems and burnt the starter solenoid trying to get it started. I have put power direct to the starter and it will barely turn the motor over. If I remove the spark plug it spins over no problem, but if you hold your finger over the spark plug hole, the rpms drop sharply and it eventually stops turning. I assumed that the starter was shot so I removed it and disassembled it and I don't see anything wrong with it. Brushes look fine, bearing spins freely. Reassembled and it does the same thing. I realize that it could still be the starter, but I'd have to buy another one in order to find out and I'm sure they're not cheap. If anybody out there has any other ideas of what might cause this condition please let me know. Thanks.
I think this should go in one of the other catagories. In any event,it does sound like the starter. I take it the battery was tested good? A bad battery could do it. (Is it 12v or 6v,if jumper it to a car battery) What the fact that it spins freely with the plug out but stops when the plug is in suggests you have compression. If you have spark,fuel,air and compression and the valve and ignition timing is correct then an engine will run.

When you have the plug in,does it take excessive torque to turn over the motor with a wrench. Disconnect the battery when trying this. If you turn it with a wrench and it starts,you could be seriously injured. If that seems normal,thats one more reason to suspect the starter.

Is there a bolt you can put a socket on to start the engine. If it was me,and there was such a bolt I would take a 3/8 " extension and chop off the end. (I actually keep one around like this for other uses on a power drill) so that it still can clip into a socket but can mount into the drill. Id put a very long extension on that one and an appropriate socket and Id use THAT to start the engine. A robust 1/2" drill should have enough oomph. If its starts,its your starter.
 
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