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Unread 10-09-2019, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

2002 FE 290

Got to do maintenance on the Golf Cart. It is giving me fits. I use it to spray fields and spread a layer of dirt over fresh seed in Wildlife Food Plots.

It has started to "stagger" in its operating, won't get itself up the slightest incline or through undulations in the fields, and part of it is the battery.

If the battery is not fully charged, and when is it really(?), it is hard to start, takes up to 10 seconds to engage the generator/starter (I mean it just sits there with the pedal to the floor doing nothing), then wir-wir-wir's itself into spinning the motor over before lighting off, surging, then stopping (but still wir-ing), then surging to lumber away at a slow roll before it gains speed.

The battery is new, a Marine Deep Cranking, 12V, that is supported there (larger than the original).

I half think it is time for a new driven clutch belt, but that alone is not going to solve the starting problem(s). The generator belt appears "fine" and is correctly tensioned.

I had some carburetor problems a while ago, but worked through those to a satisfactory solution. Now this...
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Unread 10-09-2019, 08:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

First thing is first, pull the seat off and try to start it. Might help to pull the cover off the fuse box as well. Hit the pedal and observe carefully what happens. Does the solenoid click or just the microswitches? If the solenoid DOES click, then does the starter/generator start to spin and get "hung up" on the compression stroke before it finally musters up enough strength to turn the engine or does it not do anything or even attempt to turn at all?

If it does nothing and doesn't even attempt to turn at all, then pull it out and check the brushes and commutator for wear. If you search in here there's a lot of pictures of what is good or bad. If you're still not sure, then post some pictures of yours. Just pull off the rubber plugs (there's 4 of them) and snap a picture and post it here.

If it starts to turn but gets "stuck" after just a little tiny bit of spinning, brushes may help but likely a different story all together.

IF the microswitches click, but the solenoid does NOT, then yet another story.


You'll just have to look carefully and see exactly what is and is not happening. Sometimes it can be hard to hear the solenoid click, if so then put your fingers on it. You should be able to feel it click pretty easily if you touch it.
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Unread 10-09-2019, 08:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

As for the hill climbing (sorry missed that part) this is usually a result of clutch or belt wear. Where does the belt sit on the rear clutch when the engine is shut off? It should be about flush with the top edge of the clutch. IF it sits down inside of it more than 1/8-1/4" then belt is worn and I would replace it with a new (OEM) belt before digging too much deeper. A new belt can make a HUGE difference.

Inspect the clutch sheaves as well, where the belt rides. They should be ruler-flat. IF there's wavyness (known as being "Dished out") then the clutch is worn and should be replaced.

It takes a long time to wear out a good OEM belt, and even longer for a clutch to wear out. I would try a new belt first, they're not very expensive. Clutches cost a lot more but sometimes they're the only fix.
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Unread 10-09-2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Thoughts on starting...microswitches engage...solenoid engages...engine turns a little bit and stops...sits for a while (~10 seconds)...and then turns over....like your
Quote:
get "hung up" on the compression stroke before it finally musters up enough strength to turn the engine
I will get a new OEM belt this morning. It is going to rain proverbial "cats and dogs" today, and there is no "shop" in which to drive the cart for dryness. So, tomorrow morning I suspect before I can get to it. Plus, it is currently loaded on the trailer in the light rain in the yard.

By way of BGW Post "Generator 101", I am THOROUGHLY aware of generator brushes, but doubt the cart has been driven "enough" to warrant replacement (so soon). Yeah, that was June 2010, but the cart mainly sits (97.5% of the time) rather than gets used much. Could brushes make it hesitate like this?

Perhaps VALVE LASH is something to consider...
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Unread 10-09-2019, 10:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Valve lash could make it hard to start... like extended cranking before it "catches" but it's not going to make the starter/generator get stuck on the compression stroke.

First remove the cables and clean the battery terminals and the battery terminal lugs/ring terminals/whatever you have connecting the cables to the battery really well with a wire brush. Sometimes dirt can get in between the cables and the battery and cause issues.

My carryall was doing the same thing REALLY bad for a long time. like almost every start it would do that. Replaced brushes with brand new OEM, no difference at all. Replaced starter/generator with a spare I had laying around that I know was good on the cart I removed it from. No difference. So, I replaced the cables... battery (-) to chassis ground. Battery + to solenoid, Solenoid to starter/generator, and replaced the starter/generator ground to the frame all with new 4awg cables and fresh terminals. It still did it "some", like once every 10 or 15 starts, but would only "get stuck" for maybe 2 or 3 seconds that one time. The rest of the time it was fine, replacing the cables made a huge difference. I had quite a voltage drop and new cables fixed that, it was much better. I've since sold my carryall, and the DS's I have now are both perfectly fine. Start spinning the instant you hit the pedal. I never was able to 100% fix it, but it was fixed enough it wasn't a big deal. I was also sure to tell the guy that bought it from me about it, funny he said they used to have a carryall at the fire department he retired from that did the exact same thing. This is a very common issue with the club cars, and I have yet to find a definitive answer as to "how to fix it" or "what causes it". This is just what I've tried personally, I'm sure that there's a lot of potential causes, all you can do is keep trying things one at a time until something makes a difference. For me, it was cables.

I'd grab a meter. Measure battery voltage just between battery + and battery - terminals. It shouldn't drop much when starting. If it does drop a lot then it's either a battery problem, or the starter/generator itself may be bad. If that checks out good, then check voltage at the starter/generator itself during cranking and see what kind of voltage is making it to the starter.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 04:17 AM   #6
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Long term aluminum "corrosion" builds up between dissimilar metals (not unlike the white carp that surrounds the + battery terminal), which will reduce or eliminate the free flow of electrons...so eliminating that with new cables, new connectors, and freshly prepared mating surfaces should improve matters - as it did for you.

The underside of the buggy gets wet and dirty driving through fields. That "cycle" of heat, dampness, drying, and repeat (even condensation drying when it is not even being driven) adds up over time and contributes to "corrosion" between parts.

While in there I will check voltage drops and see if new brushes are in order. Maybe just wiping the stator clear with a pencil eraser will help. Plus, I will adjust for valve lash too.

I will report my findings when I am through with the above...and it might take a week, so don't hold your breath.
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Unread 10-10-2019, 11:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Quote:
The battery is new, a Marine Deep Cranking, 12V, that is supported there (larger than the original).
Whats the Cold Cranking Amps rating of the battery?
Deep cycle batteries don't produce the same cranking output as a normal starting battery.
Depending on the battery and its intended use, a deep cycle CAN be used as a starting battery, but you often need to upsize the battery by about 30% to get the same CCA.
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Unread 10-12-2019, 04:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

When the cart was removed yesterday from the trailer, the battery started the motor "just fine". A "cold" battery on initial start and there was very little (but still some) hesitation to start.

In a few minutes I will begin to:

1.) disconnect electrical cables
2.) clean connections
3.) wire brush connection locations
4.) add electrically conductive "grease" to connections
5.) remake connections
6.) charge the battery (answer Fairtax's question)
7.) check the generator brushes for wear
8.) adjust valve lash
9.) change belts on the generator and driven clutch
10.) replace three micro switches (which three I am not yet certain)
11.) investigate voltage at battery and generator while at rest and when starting to answer CP241's questions
12.) report findings.

The micro switch replacements are a cheap "peace of mind" to combat any unforeseen internal corrosion.

Standby for results...
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Unread 10-12-2019, 04:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Land Owner View Post
9.) change belts on the generator...
Not too tight... just tight enough so the belt doesn't slip on the S/G pulley.

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Unread 10-12-2019, 05:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Slow to start. Won't go up an incline.

Thanks Lockman ==> good advice I will heed.

Initial results:

Cold Marine battery AT REST - 12.52V
Voltage to battery when cranking - 14.72V

Cold Cranking Amps
New Marine Battery - 405
Old (smaller) battery - 340

Depress pedal, cart lurches-stops-no sound (3 X), engine fires, engine revs, fair revs (delays to full revs), enough revs ordinarily to GO, cart DOES NOT GO, get out (with one leg) while depressing pedal, push cart forward, cart rolls, jump in, and go. hell-of-a-way to runs a cart. All this BEFORE "improvements".

We shall see...standby for more results.

Cart reacts and moves in REVERSE better than forward. Thinking about changing seat locations and driving it in reverse from the BACK SEAT (jk).
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