Cub Cadet FAQ's

Starter Rebuild

Info by Matt Gonitzke


I got sick of playing endless games with the starter on the KT-17/M18. Every single one I had would either stick,
engage once and then not when hot, and also screech a lot.

 The IH 682 I got recently started doing this to me, and here's what I did to fix it:

1. Disconnect the battery, set the brake, and remove the left side panel. Unbolt and remove sheet metal surrounding the left cylinder head. This may require removal of the top muffler shield.

2. Now you have the starter exposed. Remove the positive (+) cable from the starter.

3. Here's the secret to removing the starter without unbolting or pulling the engine:

Get yourself a crappy Taiwanese or whatever short 7/16" wrench, and heat with a torch and bend like the one in the picture.
The wrench is bent once, and you access the nut from the top. I'm not sure that's a 45 degree angle,
 you might have to find an angle that works for you by trial and error.
 It would work better if the wrench was slightly shorter and if it were bent a bit more.

 Now you'll be able to access that bottom nut without pulling the motor. Remove the starter from the tractor.

4. Here are the tools you'll need to disassemble and reassemble the starter. A 13/16" wrench, 9/16" wrench, 3/8" wrench, Brass wire brush, small piece of emery cloth and two small pieces of thin metal. A service manual is also handy, and would help clarify things in the next several steps.

    5. Remove the nut holding the spring, washers, and bendix gear on the shaft. Be careful not to lose any parts and lay them out on the workbench in the order that they are removed.

6. Scribe marks into the ends and the main case so that when you reassemble it you put it back together right. Some starters have match marks, some don't. Take out the 2 long bolts holding the starter together. Carefully lift off the end cover on the bendix side, then lift out the rotor CAREFULLY. Be sure not to lose any of the brush springs when you do this. Remove the main case from the end cover. Now you have this:

   7. Thoroughly clean all moving parts, particularly the bushings in the end covers, the bearing surfaces on the rotors, and the bendix drive spline and outer portion of the shaft. Inspect the brushes for wear, and use the emery cloth to clean the commutator, and wipe it off with a clean cloth when you are done to remove abrasive particles.

       8. Now it's time to begin reassembly. Wipe a light coating of grease onto the areas of the shaft where it rotates in the bronze bushings, and also    put a light coat into the bushings and on the thrust washer between the armature and the bushing on the drive end cap. Lack of lubrication on those bushings causes that horrible squealing sound, and the friction slows the starter down. Take care not to get any on the commutator.

    9. Hold the brushes in position with the two small pieces of sheet metal, put the armature into the Commutator end cap, and remove the sheet metal pieces. Put the main case back onto the end cap, and place the drive end cap in position. Insert the thru bolts and tighten to spec in the manual.

   10. Get out your favorite dry lubricant (I used GDL garage door lubricant, made by the same company that makes PB blaster) and thoroughly lubricate the bendix drive spline and drive pinion.

      11. Reassemble the bendix drive assembly, taking care not to pinch the spring between the washer at the top and the armature shaft. Torque the nut to 160 in. lb.

12. Re-install the starter on the tractor, put the sheet metal back where it belongs, and reconnect everything.

This should work wonders for starting your IH 682, 782 or later Cub Cadet with the Magnum twin. After doing this to two of my starters, both rotate faster, and engage every time. Not to mention they are extremely quiet. These tractors now start much easier, and less cranking time is required. I could probably use these in the winter if I wanted to; before I'd have difficulty cranking them when it was below 70 degrees. I would recommend doing this once a year or so. I took the time to write this all down with the hope that it'll help someone else.