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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Tractor
    pt422

    Default Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Myself and a friend both bought a 422s and are using them in the Pittsburgh area. Both refused to start around freezing or below, which has been a huge PIA.

    Here is what we have learned as we pursued this in parrallel-

    Changed to Autolite 64 plugs - small improvement.

    Initally Robin America told us it was the starter. I got a 1 kw starter under warranty to replace the stock 0.8 kw starter. Pulled the engine and put it on. This did not fix the problem. It did help a little.

    Then Robin told us that after engine serial number 1016365, their coil manufacturer gave them weak coils. Replacing the weak coils solved the problem in their tests at a temp of -4 C. I just pulled both hydraulic pumps off and pulled the engine to put the good coils on. These seem to have made a huge difference. The "good" part number is 263-7820101. The good coil is larger and has more laminated core. Robin provided these under warranty. Robin would have paid to have someone else put them on, but I don't like others working on my equipment. If you have an engine lift, it is about a three hour job.

    I added syntetic oil to the hydraulics and the engine (ouch). This also seems to help significantly.

    The bottom line is cranking speed and spark strength seem to be the key. Calling Robin and getting the good coils is a must.



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  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    945
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Tractor
    PT425, Kubota L2050, 3 hydrostatic Exmark mowers. Z21D Kubota ZTR, 2 Kunz acrease wing mowers, 1 rough cut kunz mower, one vintage grasshopper ztr, one vintage gravely ztr, various large garden tracto

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Can't add too much to solve your problem/s but like to welcome you aboard the pt saga ...wish you better luck in the future

  3. #3
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,207
    Location
    Montana (Near Bozeman)
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 425 (September 2003)

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Welcome to the wonderful world of PowerTrac owners and hopeful owners. Would appreciate any comments regarding the 422 and Robin engines. The price for the 422 is very enticing against the 425 so any comments would be very appreciated.
    PJ

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Tractor
    pt422

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    The 422 sure seemed like a bargain at $6k. Now after a few weeks of use, it is not so clear.

    The Robin engine will stall out on hills before the reliefs lift, and I have gotten stalled out on steep inclines. Pushing stuff up a 10 or 15% incline is out of the question. Even independant of the starting problems, this would be reason enough for me to get the Kohler. But when I bought it, I reasoned that for the price difference if I was unhappy, I could buy a Kohler and end up with a spare Robin engine waiting for a new use.

    Right now, I plan to wait and see. If the Robin engine does not start later in the week when it is around 10 degrees, I will replace it with a Kohler, one way or another. If after a season of use, I cannot work around the lower torque and power of the Robin, I will also replace it with a Kohler.

    It is a remarkable machine and I do enjoy using it when it finally gets running. Just in retrospect, I chose the wrong model for my needs.




  5. #5
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    22,865
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Welcome to TBN! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Sorry to hear of your problems. However, it seems you have a great understanding of it and are on the road to success. Probably frustrating as heck, though. Good to hear they are considering it warranty. That probably eases things a little.

    You seem to have an upbeat attitude. A new Kohler engine is around $1500.00 +- and the current price of a PT422 is about $2500.00 less than the PT425. So you could, in theory at least, buy a PT422, pull the engine, purchase a 25HP Kohler and stick it in and still come out $1000.00 ahead( assuming your labor is free and everything bolts up). Then, you have the spare 22HP engine for other projects. Very interesting. I wonder if everything would just bolt up or if there would be many different brackets, fittings, hoses and electrical changes that would negate the $1000.00 savings.

    Good luck and keep us up to date on your progress.

    Again, welcome to TBN [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    463
    Location
    Bolivar, pa.
    Tractor
    power trac 422, and agco-allis 5660, john deere 550 dozer ,1845 power trac

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Bullitt
    welcome aboard. Where in the Pittsburgh area are you located? I am near Ligonier and I have had a 422 for 3 years, I agree this last cold spell we have been having makes it difficult to start the 422. I had my gas filter plugged with a combination of dirt and water I think, first time I have replaced it in 400 hours. Mine would not start but it was because it was not getting fuel. I have found in the past it helps to put the battery on charge for a while before starting.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    28
    Location
    Pittsburgh PA
    Tractor
    pt422

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Its great to have another owner real close. I live in Murrysville, and gave my old Gravely tractor to a friend in Ligioner.

    The battery charger would help both with the cranking speed and spark. I have used a charger on the 50 ampere start setting on occasion to give me that little extra for starting. I have also used an oil heater on the hydraulic tank and front pump.

    Have you used yours on any steep slopes (about 20%)? Does it just quit going forward or stall the engine?

  8. #8
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,207
    Location
    Montana (Near Bozeman)
    Tractor
    PowerTrac 425 (September 2003)

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    I was going to ask if you had used the oil heater on the tank. I talked with PowerTrac about using a magnetic heater and they said that was the way to go to heat up the hydraulic fluids.
    The hill problem does not sound good, wonder if other 422 owners are having the same problem?
    PJ

  9. #9
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    463
    Location
    Bolivar, pa.
    Tractor
    power trac 422, and agco-allis 5660, john deere 550 dozer ,1845 power trac

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    Most of my property is steep ,. The steepist slope I mow with it is a little over 22 degrees . I usually mow across slope as the pt does not have enough power to mow up the slope with the mower running. It will climb up that slope with the bucket with no problem but with the mower running on the same slope it dies out. I have never stalled the engine but forward progress is very slow as you have to almost leave the forward treddle out the whole way.
    Last spring I bought a gravely L8 off a guy in Murrysville that lived just off route 286. I spend a lot of time in that way as my daughter just bought a house in University park and I have been doing a lot of work on it.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    17
    Location
    Saltsburg, PA
    Tractor
    PowerTrac PT422 & Ford 1910

    Default Re: Robin engine failure to start when cold - 422

    bullitt & ernemats, et al.,

    It looks like I'm not the only one who has had this same vexing problem! I've had my PT422 for just about a year and a half and it has generally refused to start when the temperature has been below about 45F. The guy who delivered it said that they had trouble getting it started at the factory (that was in August) when they were loading it, but it did start. And I know it's never been easy starting.

    I contacted both Robin-Subaru and PowerTrac, but with no luck. And never any mention of the coil issue. (How did you become aware of this???) Between PowerTrac and Robin-Subaru I was told of five different spark plugs to try. I tried them all, but no luck. I also tried a new higher cranking power battery, but this did not do any good. I have struggled along till now, but had just made arrangements to take the PT422 to a Robin-authorized warranty dealer to have it looked at when I thought I would check this board. I have to check my engine serial number, but I'm betting I'm in the same range as you note. So, its off to a dealer I go with this thread in-hand.

    I also wanted to note that I'm about half-way between you two. I live near Saltsburg and work in Delmont. Nice to know there are others close by if I ever need somebody to talk to locally. Now, if Robin would only get someone authorized to work on the engine locally! The closest dealers I've been able to find with Robin's help are in Johnstown, Washington (PA), and Clearfield. I'm probably going to Washington, PA, with mine.

    As to the stalling issue, I've not noticed this as a major problem. As previously noted, at times I've had to ease up on the treadle (i.e., slow down) when going uphill with a load to avoid this, but I've never failed had a stalling problem. If the engine starting problem is addressed, I'm probably going to be very happy with the PT422 (even though when I bought it it was more money than I could get one now!!!)

    Anyway, thanks for the info! Oh, and let us know how it starts now that the weather is getting a bit colder. I'd certainly appreciate knowing if the new coils solved that problem before I take it to the dealer!

    Brent

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