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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mowing this eve. I stopped to move a rock. Disengaged the blades, left the engine at WOT, hopped off, moved the rock, back on, turned on the PTO and the engine started surging. Disengage, surging stopped. Re-engage = surging. Throttle down, no surging. Raise it back up, surging.

Drove it to the shed, blew it off, checked the air filter = dirty from it being pollen time but nothing scary. Blew everything off, still surging at WOT. only.

Pulled the air filter. A little dust was in there so turned the engine off, choked it, blew it sideways. Fired it up, no more surging. Finished mowing. No surging.

¯\(ツ)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This happened again. Turned off the PTO, left engine running, won't turn back on.

The seat safety switch works, so loaded it with some weight, turned the PTO on, flexed, pulled and pushed on the wires at the PTO pig tail. No change. Pulled the batt, pulled the switch. Nothing obviously wrong. Nothing looks burnt, loose, rusty etc.

Did a continuity test and the results do change, whether off or on but don't know which should be which.

Is there a diagnostic schematic for these? 1997 3016.

Otherwise, I'll clean it and the connectors and if necessary, swap the one out of the 1998 4018.

Ordering a new one, is not an issue but I'd like to finish mowing today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cleaned everything and it works better but still intermittently fails. The current oddity, is that if I turn it on at an idle and throttle up to WOT, somewhere on the way it engages but if engine is already at WOT, it fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just realized I combined issues in this thread. Sorry. The surging problem must have been some piece of debris that somehow made it beyond the air filter but now the issue is in the electrical portions of the PTO.

The next diagnostic, will be to check the air gap and if in spec, swap out the PTO switch from the 4018 and see if that nails it down.. I'll be rebuilding an RM 48 later this summer and would like to combine any parts shipments if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi guys. Been busy with other stuff lately. Hope all are well.

Anyway, this intermittent problem with the PTO, showed itself again last eve.

I think it might be heat related, as when I started it today, the PTO functioned properly and I was able to finish the mowing.

What that heat problem is exactly, I don't know. In the switch, the clutch, or the engine, which runs fine but does seem hot.

The air pre cleaner is blown out each use, oil is fine. The engine tins were stripped and everything thoroughly cleaned last winter. No oil leaks collecting gunk etc. No idea why it would be hot but thinking about getting one of those temp guns. I can compare it to the 4018, see if there is material difference between the 2.

I'll probably swap out the PTO switches, see if the one from the 4018 fails. If so, check to see that the clutch is in specs.

Anything else?
 

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I would check your battery voltage and charging system just to rule them out. Most likely they are fine since the tractor is starting. You could also check voltage at the clutch pigtail. Perhaps a loose or corroded ground. Honestly it sounds like the clutch itself is failing but you want to rule out the free stuff first.

I have seen a few electric clutches cut out after the motor warms up. The heat from the engine eventually warms the clutch up enough to cause a weak clutch to cut out. I have also seen the bearings in the clutch get rough which causes excessive heat.

Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I would check your battery voltage and charging system just to rule them out. Most likely they are fine since the tractor is starting. You could also check voltage at the clutch pigtail. Perhaps a loose or corroded ground. Honestly it sounds like the clutch itself is failing but you want to rule out the free stuff first.

I have seen a few electric clutches cut out after the motor warms up. The heat from the engine eventually warms the clutch up enough to cause a weak clutch to cut out. I have also seen the bearings in the clutch get rough which causes excessive heat.

Keep us posted.
I think you might be on to something there Coby.

I've checked the charging system and its fine as for output back to the batt and the tractor doesn't act like a weak batt at startup but when running the PTO, the batt light comes on.

In the long past, on a couple different machines, I've experienced the PTO cutting out after warm up. That was always the switch. This one isn't cutting out but won't turn back on, if hot.

I still think my easiest diagnostic, is to swap the switch with the one from the 4018. Checking for any voltage drop, before and after the swap, when the PTO is engaged, might lend a clue as well.

I may get a chance to try that today.
 

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Dave, when the problem is showing itself, will the tractor shut off if the pto switch is on and you lift your butt off the seat?

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dave, when the problem is showing itself, will the tractor shut off if the pto switch is on and you lift your butt off the seat?

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Yep. Seat safety remains operational.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
4016 VDC at the batt WOT = 14.75
PTO engaged but no load (no mower) = 14.70

3016 = 14.00
PTO engaged (with mower) = 13.10

I'll swap out the switches but I suspect a new clutch is in my future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I swapped the switches yesterday and Frybie loaned me a temp gun. So, I'll retake voltage readings and some side by side temp measurements between the 4018 and the 3016. If the rain holds off, I'll also see if I can reproduce the failure, to rule out the switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, new measurements.
Swapped the PTO switches between a 1998 VG powered 4018 and a 1997 VG 3016.
VDC at the Batt. WOT 4018, 14.25 (was 14.75) PTO on but not loaded, 14.75 (higher?)
Same conditions on 3016 = 14.15 (was 14.00) PTO on (loaded) 13.40, sinking pretty quickly to 13.00 (was 13.10 and I noticed a falling off then too but thought it an anomaly)

Temps.

4018 Tailpipe =580. 3016 = 535
Exhaust pipe at the head,4016 (from the seat) L, 420, R 420.
3016 = L, 420, R, 402 (?)
Engine oil filter, near top, 4018 = 231. 3016 = 243.
PTO to crank bolt. 4018 = 173. 3016 = 187

So, electrically, some differences between machines and before and after swapping switches. Seems odd that PTO on, would read higher than off, on the 4018. The main constant is the falling voltage with the PTO on, on the 3016. Seems an important clue but without a load on the other. ???

Temp wise, the oil filter and PTO bolt, are hotter on the 3016 but I don't know if its enough to be material.
 

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Sounds like the clutch is failing inside and it is drawing more amps. What is the ohm reading on the clutch? Have the clutches been off recently to where you could easily swap them between the 2. I know they can be very hard to remove if they haven't been removed before.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sounds like the clutch is failing inside and it is drawing more amps. What is the ohm reading on the clutch? Have the clutches been off recently to where you could easily swap them between the 2. I know they can be very hard to remove if they haven't been removed before.

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I'll need to re-read the diagnostic instructions of the clutch and haven't gotten to that yet. Miserable hot n humid here today.

As for swapping them out. The one on the 4018 is fairly new and I used never seize, when I installed it but no way of knowing on the 3016. I'd have to check if they're compatible anyway.
 
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