Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor Cranks But Won’t Start: Causes & Fixes

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By Marvin Tucker

Farming Equipment

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One of the most frustrating issues that can occur with a Cub Cadet lawn tractor is when it cranks but won’t start. It’s especially aggravating when you know the engine has gas and spark because something else must be at play if your appliance won’t fire up and get to work as usual.

If this happens to you, we’re here to help. We’ll discuss some common causes for this issue as well as potential fixes so that your Cub Cadet lawn tractor will be up and running again in no time.

Why does your Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor Cranks but won’t Start?

The Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor is a reliable and powerful garden tractor for any lawn care job. This heavy-duty machine is designed to easily tackle big projects, making it the ideal choice for large yards or commercial landscaping applications.

It features a 42-inch cutting deck with an adjustable mowing height ranging from 1.5” to 4”. The large 10-gauge steel fabricated frame provides enhanced durability, while the 16HP Kohler engine delivers plenty of power to mow through thick grass and challenging terrain.

Additional features include a wide range of attachments, such as a snow blower, bagger, and mulching kit to take on any job. With its exceptional performance, the Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor will certainly make any garden look its best.

Whether you’re tackling big or small projects, this tractor can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. In addition, its user-friendly features make it easy to use for everyone, from first-time users to experienced landscapers.

With its unbeatable performance and reliable design, the Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor is an excellent choice for any lawn care job.

However, even reliable machines such as this can encounter certain issues. Let’s see what could be causing your Cub Cadet lawn tractor to crank while it’s unable to start.

Faulty or Loose Valve

When a Cub Cadet lawn tractor cranks but won’t start, it may be because of an issue with the valves. Valves are an essential part of the working order of any engine and must remain in good condition for the engine to function correctly.

If the intake or exhaust valve becomes faulty or loose, it could cause starting problems. Valves can become faulty when bent or damaged, leading to air being trapped inside the cylinder.

This trapped air makes it difficult for fuel and spark to ignite properly, resulting in difficulty starting the engine. In addition, if a valve is loose, it can prevent the necessary compression needed for combustion to occur.

Flywheel Key Issues

The flywheel key is an important part of the cranking system, as it serves to ensure a secure connection between the engine and the starter. When this key fails or becomes misaligned, it can prevent the cranking system from working efficiently.

A damaged or worn flywheel key may cause your Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor to crank but not start. This is because the key helps transfer the energy from the starter to the engine, and if it fails to do so effectively, then your Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor will struggle to fire up.

It’s important to inspect the flywheel key regularly as part of your lawn tractor maintenance. This will help to ensure that it is in good working order and not prevent the cranking system from getting the engine started.

If your flywheel key is worn or damaged, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible to get your Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor running again.

Fuel Solenoid Problem

One of the most common reasons a Cub Cadet lawn tractor may crank but won’t start is due to a faulty fuel solenoid. The fuel solenoid is an electrical component that regulates the flow of gasoline from the tank to the carburetor.

If it becomes faulty, it can cause the engine to not receive the necessary fuel it needs to start. In this case, the fuel solenoid will need in order to be replaced or repaired for the engine to function properly.

Broken or Damaged Spark Plug

The spark plug is a critical component of the Cub Cadet lawn tractor’s ignition system. When it gets damaged or broken, it can cause the tractor to crank but not start.

A broken spark plug can be identified by the sound of your engine failing to turn over and stalling out. Additionally, when you take off the spark plug cover, you may notice that the spark plug has cracked or is missing.

If a broken spark plug is to blame for your tractor not starting, replacing it should fix the issue. Detailed troubleshooting will definitely help you get to the bottom of this issue and fix your Cub Cadet tractor once and for all. Here are the most efficient methods of making sure the tractor starts properly.

How to Fix a Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor That Crank but won’t Start

Inspect the Valves

Inspecting the valves is important when attempting to diagnose why your Cub Cadet lawn tractor won’t start.

To thoroughly inspect the valves, you’ll need to check that all four valves are opening and closing properly. If one or more of the valves is not working correctly, it could be preventing your engine from starting.

Start by removing the spark plug wire and valve cover, then carefully inspect each of the four valves to ensure they open and close properly. If any of them appear stuck or have too much gap between them, you’ll need to adjust them per your engine’s specifications.

Once all four valves are adjusted correctly, replace the valve cover and spark plug wire. However, if you need to replace any of the valves,  you may need to consult a professional mechanic.

Before attempting to replace the valves, check the other components of your lawn tractor, such as the spark plug, fuel filter, and fuel lines.

If any of these components are faulty or damaged, they can prevent your engine from starting correctly. Additionally, you should also inspect all electrical connections and make sure that they are functioning properly.

Check the Flywheel Key

The flywheel key is a small, rectangular-shaped piece of metal that connects the crankshaft to the flywheel.

It’s designed to keep the two components in sync and allow them to rotate together when the engine is running. If the flywheel key breaks or becomes worn out, it can cause the engine not to start.

First, shut off the engine and disconnect the spark plug to check the flywheel key. Then remove the flywheel cover to access the key.

Inspect it for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks, chips, or corrosion. If the key is in poor condition, replace it with a new one. Ensure you get the correct key for your specific lawn tractor model.

When installing the new flywheel key, make sure that it is properly aligned and seated in both the crankshaft and flywheel.

If it’s not properly seated, the engine may not start or run correctly. Once you have installed the new key, replace the flywheel cover and re-connect the spark plug.

Make sure that all of the bolts are tightened securely before restarting the engine.

Inspect the Fuel Solenoid

The fuel solenoid is an important component in a Cub Cadet lawn tractor that prevents the engine from running when the ignition switch is off.

If it is not working properly, it can cause your tractor to crank but not start. To inspect the fuel solenoid, first, locate it on the side of the carburetor. It will be a metal cylinder with two wires coming from it.

If the fuel solenoid is damaged, then it will need to be replaced. To do this, disconnect both wires and remove the old fuel solenoid.

Then, install the new one with the same two wires connected back in place and secure it with screws or bolts. Once the new fuel solenoid is in place, test it to make sure it is working correctly by turning on the ignition switch and seeing if the engine starts.

If the fuel solenoid is not damaged but continues to cause your tractor to crank but not start, then there may be a power issue. To test for this, check the battery for enough power, ensuring the connections are secure and free from corrosion.

You should also check all fuses to make sure they aren’t blown. If any of these components is not functioning correctly, it could be the cause of your tractor cranking but not starting.

Check the Spark Plug

The spark plug is a key component of the engine’s ignition system. It connects to an electrical system that provides the necessary spark for the fuel to ignite and create combustion, which powers the engine.

A faulty spark plug can cause your Cub Cadet lawn tractor to crank but not start. To check if this is what’s causing your issue, you can remove the spark plug and inspect it for damage or signs of wear.

If the spark plug looks fine, you should test it to ensure it is producing a spark. To do this, start by disconnecting the lead wire from the spark plug cap.

Then, attach one end of a spark tester to the spark plug wire, and attach the other end to a strong metal surface on the engine.

Next, crank the engine for ten seconds and observe if any sparks are coming from the spark tester. If you see sparks, your spark plug is fine, and something else is causing your Cub Cadet lawn tractor not to start.

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