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  1. #1
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    Default Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    I have a very old Bun ton walk behind mower that has a Ruggerini RD 80 V single cylinder diesel engine. Problem is it has an old rope pull starter on its top and after, for ever, I can never get it started. Winf and pull, wind and pull till I can't see straight. Has anyone ever converted this engine to any form of electric start? Or can a plate cover the rope pull start pulley and use some sort clutch/contact and use either a air impact or electric drill to get it revolving sufficiently to effect enough R PMs to get a start, safely?
    I forgot to take pictures and may add them tomorrow.
    Thanks...and didimau...

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    LS R4010 & Cub Cadet 7300

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    Maybe something like the starters they use in open wheel race cars could be rigged up fairly easily. You could use the bendix gear and starter from a car with long handles sticking out if the rotation is the right direction. Actually, that would probably spin way too fast without a gear reduction of some kind. Not many teeth on a starter bendix and lots of teeth on a flywheel.
    Last edited by Short Game; 08-23-2011 at 12:10 AM.
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  3. #3
    New Member
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    Puyallup, Washington
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    cub cadet 107,108,123

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    If it has a compression release you could adapt a starter/generator from an old Kohler powered Cub Cadet.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member alchemysa's Avatar
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    Kubota B1550HSD

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    Got a boat/outboard repair place anywhere nearby? They've probably got a few dozen old outboard motors lying around that are little more than scrap value. Many will have perfectly good 12v starters and bolt on ring gear/rope pulls that might be adaptable to your engine. I threw an old 60hp Merc Blue Band out the other day that possibly had most of what you need.
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  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Oliver 1655

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    I have used an old Mall drill which spins at 550 rpms to start old tired engines for years. As the engine starts to spin faster than the drill it will "throw" the socket off. This said, the drill has an 8" piece of 1/2 pipe on one side and a "T" handle on the other to allow for good control of the drill. I have also used my Ryobi 18 volt cordless drill. Keep a good grip on the drill.

    I would NOT use an impact gun/wrench to start an engine. The hammering action will stress the threads on the crank as well as the bearings.

    When I first started using a drill, I was not able to find an adapter to go from the drill to sockets. I had to make my own by cutting off the female end of an 4" 3/8" drive extension then grinding 3 flat surfaces for the drill to tighten against. Thankfully today the adapters are readily available.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Oldmax's Avatar
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    1996 - 1715 New Holland FWD 27 HP

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    You might try a setup like the early Gravleys had. Or have used a set up of an old worn out honda motorcycle engine CB350 to 450, ratchet drum and chain.
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  7. #7
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    Northern tool had a universal adapor that screwed onto the crank that accepted a heavy rubber bit that you put in a 1/2" drill. Simple to install and started Grandmas mower for 8-9 years.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    I to have used the Northern tool rubber into aluminum cup set up. Works well on small horsepower engines. The diesel will be to hard to turn over and the rubber will be torn off the part that goes into the drill. 3hp gas yes -diesel no. The rubber replacement cost the same as what I paid for the whole thing.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    Quote Originally Posted by docrocky View Post
    I have a very old Bun ton walk behind mower that has a Ruggerini RD 80 V single cylinder diesel engine. Problem is it has an old rope pull starter on its top and after, for ever, I can never get it started. Winf and pull, wind and pull till I can't see straight. Has anyone ever converted this engine to any form of electric start? Or can a plate cover the rope pull start pulley and use some sort clutch/contact and use either a air impact or electric drill to get it revolving sufficiently to effect enough R PMs to get a start, safely?
    I forgot to take pictures and may add them tomorrow.
    Thanks...and didimau...





    Starting fluid works wonders on diesel engines
    and a lower viscosity oil like a 10 weight helps too.

    Adding Seafoam to the diesel fuel helps too.

    Are you sure you do not have a manual
    compression release handle near the cowling? It
    opens the exhaust slightly to reduce the compression
    pressure created at all times to make the diesel fuel
    explode withiin the combustion chamber.

    After the diesel starts you push the decompresssion
    lever back in to allow the engine to work normally.

    I also forgot to add that you can cut the diesel
    fuel with a little gasoline at every tankfull to aid this
    along with a quick shot of ether in the air intake.
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________
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  10. #10
    Gold Member smiley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Convert old rope pull start to an electric start

    There's several good suggestions here already but I'll add what I have on a WWII surplus generator with a 9 hp briggs that takes 3 men and a boy to pull over. I simply attached about an 8" V pulley on the flywheel nut, mounted an outboard motor starter on a strap hinge, attached it to the frame and put a 2" V pulley on it. When I need to start it, just stick a v belt on it, step on the starter to tighten the belt and she fires right up. Then I just raise the starter to slack the belt way off and the motor throws the belt off. Simple but effective. It's in a place that's impossible to get a photo or I'd post it.

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