March 1, 2017

How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

This DIY riding mower repair guide gives step-by-step instructions for replacing the starter motor on a riding lawn mower. The starter motor spins the flywheel to start the engine when you turn the start key. If you hear the starter solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor run, watch this riding mower troubleshooting video to help you diagnose the problem. If the starter motor doesn't spin when you turn the key, install a manufacturer-approved replacement part.

Replace the starter motor on Craftsman, Husqvarna, MTD, Troybilt, Murray, Poulan, Ariens, Snapper, Murray and John Deere lawn tractors and riding mowers using the steps in this repair guide and video.

Quick links
Tools required
Wrench set
Nut driver set
Work gloves
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Repair difficulty
Time required
30 minutes or less
Replacing a starter motor on a riding lawn mower

This video explains how to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower.

Instructions

  1. 01.

    Disconnect the battery

    Let the engine cool.

    Park the tractor on a level surface and set the parking brake.

    Wear work gloves to protect your hands.

    Park the tractor on a level surface and set the parking brake.

    Turn the ignition switch off and remove the key.

    Lift the seat.

    Remove the bolt connecting the negative cable to the battery and tuck the cable away from the battery so it doesn't touch the battery post.

    Disconnect the negative battery cable.

    Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  2. 02.

    Remove the engine blower housing

    Lift the tractor hood.

    Remove the air duct mounting screws and pull off the air duct.

    Turn each air filter cover retaining knob counterclockwise and pull off the air filter cover.

    Remove the air filter.

    Remove the air filter housing screw.

    Remove the front and rear blower housing mounting bolts and lift off the blower housing.

    Lift off the blower housing.

    Lift off the blower housing.

  3. 03.

    Remove the old starter motor

    Remove the lower dash fastener and pull off the lower dash.

    Remove the starter motor wire mounting nut and pull off the starter motor wire.

    Remove the starter motor mounting bolts. A wire retainer comes off when you remove the left bolt.

    Pull off the starter motor.

    Remove the starter motor.

    Remove the starter motor.

  4. 04.

    Install the new starter motor

    Position the new starter motor on the engine and attach it with the right mounting bolt.

    Position the wire retainer and the left bolt and then route the wires through the retainer. Install and tighten the left mounting bolt.

    Attach the starter motor wire and connect it with the mounting nut.

    Reinstall the lower dash and secure it with the fastener.

    Install the new starter motor.

    Install the new starter motor.

  5. 05.

    Reinstall the engine blower housing

    Position the blower housing on the engine and align the air diverter in the housing.

    Reinstall the blower housing mounting bolts.

    Reinstall the air filter housing screw.

    Reinstall the air filter and air filter cover.

    Reinstall the air duct and attach it with the mounting screws.

    Lower the tractor hood.

    Tip: The rear blower housing bolts are longer than the front ones.
    Reinstall the air filter housing screw.

    Reinstall the air filter housing screw.

  6. 06.

    Reconnect the battery

    Reconnect the negative cable to the negative battery terminal.

    Lower the seat.

Warning: Undertaking repairs or maintenance to appliances or power equipment can be hazardous. Should you choose to undertake repairs or maintenance, you are assuming the risk of injury to your person or property. In an effort to reduce the risk, use the proper tools and safety equipment noted in the applicable guide and follow all instructions. Do not proceed until you are confident that you understand all of the steps and are capable of completing the repair. Some repairs or maintenance, however, should only be performed by a qualified technician.

Symptoms common to all riding mowers & tractors

Choose a symptom to see related riding mower and lawn tractor repairs.

Main causes: dead battery, stale fuel, bad starter solenoid, ignition system problem, bad ignition interlock switch, clogged carburetor
Main causes: damaged cutting blade, worn deck pulley, damaged mandrel pulley, loose fasteners on mower deck components
Main causes: shift lever needs adjustment, neutral control needs adjustment
Main causes: engine overfilled with oil, leaky head gasket or sump gasket, damaged carburetor seals, cracked fuel pump, broken fuel line
Main causes: punctured tire or inner tube, leaky valve stem, damaged wheel rim
Main causes: worn or broken ground drive belt, bad seat switch, transaxle freewheel control engaged, transaxle failure, dirty carburetor
Main causes: unlevel mower deck, dull or damaged cutting blades, worn mandrel pulleys, bent mower deck, engine needs tune up
Main causes: worn or broken blade belt, broken belt idler pulley, blade clutch cable failure, bad PTO switch, damaged mandrel pulleys
Main causes: clogged carburetor, damaged flywheel key, dirty spark plug, stale fuel, improper valve lash, engine needs a tune up

Repair guides common to all riding mowers & tractors

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your riding mower or lawn tractor.

How to replace the air filter on a riding lawn mower

Get your mower running smoothly again by replacing the air filter—it's a quick job you can do yourself, following these steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
How to replace the starter motor on a riding lawn mower

If you hear the solenoid click but don’t hear the starter motor spin when you turn the key, follow these steps to replace it.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
January 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a riding lawn mower blade

If a blade on your mower is dull or bent, replace it following the steps in this repair guide.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less

Articles and videos common to all riding mowers & tractors

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your riding mower or lawn tractor.

May 1, 2017

Riding lawn mower engine spins but won't start video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Troubleshoot fuel, spark and compression issues.

May 1, 2017

How to repair a riding lawn mower tire video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn when you can use sealant to fix a flat tire.

June 1, 2016

How to mow a lawn for healthier grass

By Erin Hynes

How often and tall you mow your lawn has a big impact on its health. Check out these 3 rules.