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  1. #1
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    66
    Location
    Fallston , Maryland
    Tractor
    PT-425

    Default Cold Weather Starting

    My PT since day one in 04' has ALWAYS had difficulty and struggles starting in the cold below 35-40degrees. I have gas powered engine, Robin, PT 425. Are there any heater's dipstick or magnetic other than a electric heater that I can help solve this issue. I'm tired of jump starting and worn out batteries below the listed temperatures.
    Thanks for suggestions

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,327
    Location
    West Cascades, Washington State USA
    Tractor
    PT 422

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    Scotchers,

    Sorry for your starting problems. I think there have been many threads on starting and warming hydraulics.

    My PT is a 2003 422 w/robin engine and i had a fair amount of colder 20-30 temp starting this year plowing snow for the first time. So far the only time i've had trouble starting is when the PT has sat for awhile. I"m assuming because the fuel has evaporated out of the bowl.

    That said, i've used a shot or two of carb cleaner or i've heard the same with starter fluid when the PT has been sitting for awhile. Now im thinking that it's possible that if i had just left the switch on thus energizing the fuel shutoff solenoid letting the fuel into the carb, that i may have had the same result.

    I was having starting problems early on and ended up cleaning all the junk out of the the whole fuel system including clean out the fuel tank, fittings, fuel lines, pump all the way thru the carb. I took the carburetor completely apart and blew out everthing after removing the fuel shutoff solenoid. Now the tractor runs much better and doesn't seem to have starting or over heating problems.

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    29,127
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    So many folks have reported problems with the Robin engines and cold starting. I feel for you guys. This is a real problem. I'm not going to expound on the virtues of my Kohler engine, but this is what I do to it year round. It seems to work and may be worth a try on the Robin engines.

    1. I always keep a trickle charger on the battery, year round, so it is always topped off. I use a small, 500ma motorcycle battery charger. I installed a cigarette lighter socket in the engine compartment and a 12v male plug on the charger, so it is just plug-and-go each time I return the PT to the garage. I drape the cord across the seat so I do not forget to unplug it.

    2. I always use Mobil1 in the engine oil. I think the very light weight of it when cold really helps the engine crank easier. I have no scientific proof of this, but the stuff pours pretty easily out of the can even in winter.

    3. I usually go 3/4 to full throttle and full choke when cranking the engine when cold. I crank for no more than 10 seconds. If it does not fire by then, I let off the key and wait a minute or two so I do not cook the starter. Then I try it a second time. If it fires up, I start adjusting the choke to get it to run smoothly. Sometimes I have to sit there and back the choke out for close to a minute, but usually by the time I get to 1/2 choke, it will continue to run on its own. I shovel the area around the garage doors and sidewalk by hand, listening to the PT. If I hear it slow down, I go back and adjust the choke some more. I usually let it run at 1/2 throttle for at least 5 minutes to get the hydraulics warmed up a bit. Longer on very cold days.

    4. If the engine does not fire after two or three attempts, I do not keep attempting, as all that will do is get the engine flooded or the battery dead. Instead, I open the choke, open the air cleaner and give it a one-to-two second shot of starter fluid. Then I close the choke, 3/4 to full throttle and give it a crank. It fires immediately and keeps running. I have to back the choke out soon thereafter and follow the above procedure until it runs smoothly.

    If the engine does not even POP on a small squirt of starting fluid, there is most likely an ignition problem that will have to be addressed first.

    If the engine POPs on the starting fluid, but does not continue to run, there is most likely a fuel issue or problem with the carb.

    Our Kohler cranks really slow below 5 degrees and really, really slow when it hits 10 below zero. I can pretty much count on having to use starting fluid at that point. But it always fires up.
    MossRoad

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    To See Pictures And Videos
    Of It In Action!!!


  4. #4
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    73
    Location
    Charlton N.Y. (Albany)
    Tractor
    PT 425

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    hey scotchers, My pt was delivered 12/1/06....It was 5 degrees I truly believe it was a christmas miracle it started that day....albeit after many attempts. I absolutely love my pt, for me nothing else compares..but with that being said, starting in the cold stinks. For me the magical temperature is 20 degrees. I use mobil 1 in the engine, original oil in the hydraulic tank. I have found the best thing that works for me is from a fellow board member(maybe pajoub) one of those electric, oil filled radiators tipped on its side and placed under the hydraulic tank, then cover the tank completely with a blanket for about 45 minutes. Just thinking about it upsets me..nothing worse than 10" of snow and not being able to start the tractor.

    Kris

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    5,094
    Location
    North of Mtl,Que,Can (Ste Adele)
    Tractor
    MT180D

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    Auto supply houses sell 200 watt magnetic block heaters.
    Perhaps that is the answer.
    It sure helped start my Mitsubishi diezel a few times.

  6. #6
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    4,357
    Location
    Powhatan Va.
    Tractor
    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    Quote Originally Posted by PILOON View Post
    Auto supply houses sell 200 watt magnetic block heaters.
    Perhaps that is the answer.
    It sure helped start my Mitsubishi diezel a few times.

    I keep mine in a heated garage. I think the engine block heater on the hydraulic tank may help, but I gave up and just park it in the heated garage.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    73
    Location
    Charlton N.Y. (Albany)
    Tractor
    PT 425

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    I did buy a "katz" brand magnetic heater..I do believe it was a 200 watt unit , and while itself got very hot its surface area is only 30 sq inches, it just didnt cut it as well as radiant heat around the entire oil tank.
    I do consider it a huge minus to the robin engine , and I do blame the engine.
    I would however buy the same unit all over again, robin and all. The generall consenses on every forum ive read is that robin is a top notch product.

    Kris

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,327
    Location
    West Cascades, Washington State USA
    Tractor
    PT 422

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    My "cold" weather experience has always been positive, with the robin starting on the first or second attempt. Thing is, here next to the ocean, we call 20 degrees cold.

  9. #9
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    765
    Location
    N Central PA
    Tractor
    PT 422

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    I too have had problems below 20. What works for me in my unheated garage is lighting a kerosene heater and let it run near the PT for about 30 minutes or so....has the same effect as the oil filled radiator on it's side as mentioned above.
    If diamonds are a woman's best friend then why does man's best friend like to drink from the toilet??

  10. #10
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    309
    Tractor
    Toro 266H and PT422

    Default Re: Cold Weather Starting

    I really think the root cause of the difficult Robin engine cold starting is the rotational loads from the hydraulic pumps. Some high end OPE manufacturers have a release on the hydro pumps when starting in cold weather. When I first got my PT422, it would not start below 50F. Robin replaced the starter with a heavier duty version, and upgraded coils. Now it’s good without any heat down to 32F. (In a new post, ‘Potential Robin Engine Cold Start Remedy’, I post my procedure for under 32F.) When I finished with the new coils and starter, the temp was 0F (of course), and the Robin fired off no problem without the load of the hydro pumps. The Kohlers do better in the cold partly due to the compression release; my Robin engine does not have the compression release when starting.

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