Ok I live in MI and we are about to get 14" of snow and my old reliable JD 316 with snow thrower died out on me yesterday. It has been hard to start this winter but it has also been very cold this year, I was cranking it over yesterday and then something went wrong and the motor stopped spinning and instead of cranking it makes a bad spinning noise like some gears are stripped out or something.
Can anyone offer up some information to what is wrong?
Welcome to the forum JD! I have a 316 my self and they are great machines. Sounds like the starter is not engaging the flywheel. I'd pull it and take a peek at the condition of the teeth on the starter and the flyweel itself to be sure there are no broken or worn teeth.
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Do you have plenty of pizza coupons? Because if you also have plenty of hungry friends, the chances are good you will be shoveling snow instead of playing in it with your 316. Battery? Starter? Starter teeth? Solenoid? Flywheel teeth? Cable/ground connections? When was the last time you cleaned/changed the air filter? How old is the spark plug? How many hours are on the engine? Do you perform regular oil changes and maintenance checks? Based on your descriptions, it sounds like the starter is bad, or the teeth on the starter and/or the flywheel are ground down. In any case, the starter and flywheel will have to be inspected. Hopefully it is just the starter.
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I agree with TB- sounds like the starter gear teeth finally stripped off - you can buy a whole new gear end assembly at NAPA autoparts store for under $15 - its easy to change with a bench vise- use a small drift punch to push the roll pin out carefully- i put a dab of never seize on the roll pin when i put it back together.
itll be easier to just totally remove the starter motor- its a common problem and are actually designed to do that.