Garden tractor battery question

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Sparticle, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,750
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    The battery in my garden tractor won't hold a charge. About every 3rd time or so, I have to hook it up to the battery charger, it charges up quickly and will start. Do you think just getting a new battery will fix this, or do you think I have bigger problems? I don't want to get a new battery if say, for example, it's my starter that's actually going out. What tests, if any, could I perform?
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,853
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    With the tractor stopped, disconnect the + lead at the battery and observe to see if you can see a weak spark when the cable end is touched to the + post. If you can see a spark then there is a constant draw which would discharge the battery. You can also disconnect the battery and leave the battery disconnected between uses and if the battery stays up the problem is in the wiring.
     

  3. Jim&Chele

    Jim&Chele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    134
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    That or your generator may be out too.With the tractor running disconnect the + cable (thats the one I always do) if the tractor stays running it is charging,if it dies then it isn't charging your battery.Possably a bad connection somewhere,could also be the cable ends and battery post need cleaned.
     
  4. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    This wont work on many small garden tractor as the fire for the spark plug comes from a coil under the flywheel seperate from the alternator stator .
     
  5. Jim&Chele

    Jim&Chele Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    134
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    My bad I must have overlooked "garden",I was reading it as a tractor.Sorry.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,180
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    What do you mean by 'every 3rd time'?????? That is not clear.

    If the mower will start the day after you charge it, but not 3 days after, something is drawing current or more likely the battery is bad.

    If the mower will start a week after you charge it (not used), but it will be weaker & weaker if you mow 3 days in a row - then the battery is good, but the charging alternator/ generator on your mower is bad.

    Not sure which way to take that.

    --->Paul
     
  7. ponyboy123

    ponyboy123 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Location:
    East coast, Canada
    Check elyctrolyte levels in ur battery. Fill to desired level with distilled water, I use water from my dehumidifier. recharge and check volt level with a meter. Each cell produces approx 2 volts each. one bad cell can drop voltage to 10 volts which can be quite a strain to turn the starter over.
     
  8. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,750
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    I'll charge it and it'll start, then throughout the day I have to stop it, when I go to start it back up about every 2nd or 3rd time it has a hard time starting. If I don't get it to the charger right then, it won't start that next time. When I charged it first thing in the morning, the charge was low and was in the red on the meter. When I charged it during the day either because it didn't want to start back up or because it was hard to start back up, it had lost power when connected to the meter by either being at the bottom of the green scale or beginning of the red scale.
     
  9. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,942
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Location:
    S.E. Ks.
    Sounds like the tractor isnt charging while running .
    this will kill a battery quick . the stator is under the flywheel .
    Could be as simple as a broken wire or the insulation rubbed off a wire .
    if it has an external voltage regulator thatcould be bad.
    A few questions .
    what type mower ?
    what model engine? HP, make ect
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,180
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    I too would suspect the charging circut of your lawn mower isn't working, & this has likely led to a bad battery - but the real problem is the bad alternator. If the battery were being charged while running, there would be no need to plug it in within a few minutes of it running.....

    --->Paul
     
  11. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    Messages:
    7,102
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    Pull the filler plugs, look down into the water cells, is there a fuzzy white coating? The normal color is grayish black, the white present indicates sulfating and need for a new battery. This is very common for small batteries as a means to fail. If you can obtain a voltage meter connect it to the battery's posts while running, the charge rate needs to be more than 12 volts, such as 13.2 or higher, but not way high like 16 or more.
     
  12. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,750
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri
    it's raining right now, (yay) so I'll check all of these things as soon as I can. The details on the garden tractor are:

    Craftsman LT 2000
    17 HP Kohler Pro

    I assume the battery is 12 Volt.