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  1. #1
    Silver Member
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    I have a Honda H3011H rear engine rider that occasionally won't start. What I mean is there's nothing wrong with the engine, ignition or fuel system, but the starter won't crank; I just hear a small relay clicking. (Before you jump to conclusions, he battery and connections are fine.) The previous owner mentioned this problem when I bought it and said he apparently fixed it by cleaning some connections, but clearly it was still intermittent, because otherwise he would have had no reason to mention it.

    The first time it happened to me I thought I fixed it by jiggling the shift lever sideways, actuating the neutral safety switch. The next time maybe it was the PTO lever (switch). Another time I thought it was the hand brake (buzzer switch). Sometimes I didn't know what fixed it after moving various controls. (The seat switch connection is shorted, so that's out of the question.) I have also been unplugging, spraying and re-plugging the various connectors and the last time it worked after I re-plugged the connector to the ignition switch. Today it wouldn't start again, so I again unplugged the ignition switch connector, sprayed WD-40 and reconnected it, but no dice.

    The only connectors I hadn't tackled were the ones to the combination relay box and regulator behind the battery (which I think are the ones the PO cleaned to fix the problem), so I pulled the battery and did them. Guess what? No joy. As far as I can tell, those are all the connectors in the harness, confirmed by the wiring diagram. One other connector is the one to the starter solenoid coil. It's too hard to reach to unplug and re-plug, but I've wiggled it. I've also banged on the solenoid while trying to start it, but that didn't help.

    Okay, I did get it started today. I dropped the deck to the lowest height and then raised it again and it started after that. I don't see any interlock switch on the diagram dependant on the deck position, but maybe the position of the deck affects the PTO switch somehow. Next tome I'll have to jack up the mower and find the PTO switch if it won't start. Meanwhile, do any of you with experience with these mowers have any bright ideas? (Too bad Honda didn't put a pull start on this thing.)

  2. #2
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    No bites, eh? Not even sympathy from someone with the same problem?

    It seems that whatever I did in the past that I thought made it start, the same thing didn't work next time. I kept thinking it was something to do with the starter solenoid because I have a friend who had a bad one on a Honda lawn tractor and ended up replacing it with the venerable Ford part. The reason I dismissed this earlier is because it never chattered or anything, just started or didn't start.

    However, I do hear clicking from the combination relay box when all the safety switches are satisfied, so the solenoid must be getting the voltage, just not kicking in every time. The trouble is you can't even see the solenoid connections because they're underneath and I'd have to jack the machine up and remove the cutter deck to get a better look. So what I did was reach around and under the solenoid to see if I can feel the connections and in the process gave then a good squeeze upwards. Well, lo and behold, the thing started right afterwards! I guess the connector to the solenoid coil was perhaps not making good contact (the high current cable from the battery is bolted on). Okay, so next time I have to mow I'll see if it starts and if it doesn't I'll try squeezing the connection again. If that works, the next step is to get at the connector and clean it and make sure it's plugged in tight.

    To be continued...

  3. #3
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    First of all, I said I'd report back to confirm that my starter-not-working problem was indeed due to a loosened connector under the starter solenoid. So far it's been starting every time after I reached down under the solenoid and pushed up on the wires. However, today an idler pulley on the deck seized and burned up the blade belt, so I had occasion to see if the solenoid was accessible with the deck removed. No dice, I can't even see it, so I guess the motor would have to be pulled to get to it. Anyway, I guess I've solved the starter problem and if it happens again, I'll just reach under the solenoid and re-seat the connector again.

    (BTW, I drilled out the spot welds on the idler pulley and will bolt it back together as son as I pick up another sealed 6200 bearing.)

  4. #4
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Just checking in here again to bring this topic to the top. My last diagnosis of a loose connector at the starter solenoid does not seem to be it. The non-cranking problem persists from time to time, usually after the mower has sat for a couple of weeks or more. First when I turn the key to "Start" I hear nothing. Next I move the shift and PTO lever back and forth to ensure the switches are activated and pull apart and replug all the connectors in the harness I can get at. Somewhere in the process I now hear a clicking relay each time I turn the key. Eventually it starts. I'm positive it's not the battery because I use a Battery Tender and it always cranks strong. The last time I tried, a week ago, I had no luck at all and had to use the JD instead, which only has a pull start. (Why would Honda not have a pull start? Even my 65 hp Merc outboard has one.) So the other day I opened up the steering column enclosure and unplugged, cleaned, and replugged the PTO switch connector, but still nothing. Then, after I buttoned up the steering column enclosure I gave it another shot and lo and behold it cranked and started. Maybe from now on I'll just hit the key every few days when I think of it to keep the connections "fresh". I just can't believe that something as reliable as a Honda would do this.

  5. #5
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Okay, just in case anyone is actually reading this soliloquy, a further development!

    The starter wouldn't work yesterday, so today I went through the routine again, unplugging and re-plugging all the connectors I could get at, even the ones on the bottom of the combination relay box behind the battery. The best I could get when turning the key to "start" was hearing 2 relays click. I was truly starting to suspect the combination relay (38450-763-D03). Finally I turned the key to "start" and whacked the relay box with a lug wrench and it started! Sadly, this part seems to be one of the more costly Honda parts ($111 - $162 on line, not including shipping) so I'm not going to be ordering one anytime soon. I the mower will start by giving the relay box a whack, that's good enough for me.

  6. #6
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    hihi

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    same problem

  7. #7
    Member EssexBoy's Avatar
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    South Wales UK
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    I don't have any tractors now, I just repair them..!

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    It seems that you a problem with the relay, pull the relay out and clean all connectors and the plug, look for any signs of heat or (green) and give them a good go with something like WD40, also before I would go out a buy a new relay I would take off the cover of relay to have a look, maybe again bad contact, and if I couldn't take the top off I would drill a 2-3mm hole into cover and give it some WD40 then cover drill hole with tape.
    If only farmers would look after they're tractor's, I wouldn't have to repair them so often..!

  8. #8
    Silver Member
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by callten061 View Post
    same problem
    Well, at least I found a makeshift "fix". I struggled with this intermittent problem for a couple of years bedore I pinpointed the culprit.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    John Deere 68, Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Quote Originally Posted by EssexBoy View Post
    It seems that you a problem with the relay, pull the relay out and clean all connectors and the plug, look for any signs of heat or (green) and give them a good go with something like WD40, also before I would go out a buy a new relay I would take off the cover of relay to have a look, maybe again bad contact, and if I couldn't take the top off I would drill a 2-3mm hole into cover and give it some WD40 then cover drill hole with tape.
    It's not simply an isolated relay, but a number of relays inside a 3"x3"x1" sealed plastic case with two harness plugs connected to it, a total of 10 wires, according to the wiring diagram. For now I'm content to just give the box a whack the odd time a relay in there won't function. Eventually I'll cut the box open and check out the individual relays before I ever think of spending $162 for a new part.

  10. #10
    New Member
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    Sudbury, MA
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    Honda H3011H

    Default Re: Honda RER H3011H starting problem

    Found this thread today, and just wanted to say I've been living with the exact same problem on the same riding mower for several years now. At the end of last year when it was back at the the servicing dealer for a tune-up, I even had them hold the tractor over the winter so they could witness the failure for themselves. Of course, at the shop it never failed. Now it finally seems to be completely dead.

    Like you, what I now believe were unrelated actions seemed to make it work. For a long time raising and lowering myself on the seat a number of times would seem to "fix" the problem. I was almost sure it was the seat switch or even the seat itself. The foam on the underside of the seat was slightly cut where the seat switch pad hits the foam. I figured the switch may have not actually been activating or maybe getting hung up because of the degraded foam. I used some Barge cement and glued a large rubber patch over the entire area where the switch contacts the foam. Still didn't fix the problem. I've also tested the ignition switch per the table in the owners manual. It seems fine.

    I just pulled the combination relay, and I'm going to check to make sure all the instrumented switches are operating properly. From looking at the wiring diagram, it also appears like the relay at the starter could be the other main point of failure. Is this the part you're saying is in a hard to reach location? Might just jumper this connection to see if the starter turns over. If this works, it leaves the combination relay as the most likely culprit. Electro-mechanical connections can always be a problem as well, but on my tractor the electrical connectors look to be in very good shape (no corrosion).

    Honestly, I'm starting to feel the problem is with the combination relay.

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