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Dead Short?

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#1 threehole700 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 25, 2014 - 04:01 PM

Hey all, newbie here. I have a problem with my old Johnny and I am hoping to find some help. 1989 185 lawn tractor with the 17 hp Kawasaki. Something is drawing the battery so dead the pto will shut off while mowing and then shortly after the engine will die. Hook it up to the truck with jumper cables and it takes right off and the pto will engage the deck and it will mow for 10-15 minutes before dieing again. Could it be the pto itself or possibly a voltage regulator or maybe the starter? I'm more of a nuts and bolts guy and kind of a dummy when it comes to electrical testers, ohms meters and the like. Anyone ever experienced this?

#2 DougT ONLINE  


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Posted June 25, 2014 - 04:17 PM

Welcome to the forum. I'm not familiar with the tractor in question but I'd put my money on the charging system not working. You should have somewhere in the area of 14v at the battery with it running. Think more along the lines of regulator or stator. Hopefully some of the JD guys will be along to give you better testing advice.

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#3 threehole700 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 25, 2014 - 04:58 PM

Thanks DougT. I am a member on a snowmobile forum as well as a GM truck forum and an ATV forum, I've learned a lot of things and made some good friends on those forums, so I did a search for one like this and here I am. I bought my John Deere brand new and have always babied it even though its mowed almost 2 acres once a week for 25 yrs. I also just inherited a 1964 110 after my father passed last winter which he had owned since new, It's a restoration project I plan on starting this winter, so I will probably be visiting here often with questions and maybe showing off my project. For now I need to get this charging problem sorted.

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#4 Bill 76 ONLINE  

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Posted June 25, 2014 - 05:20 PM

I'am with DougT on this one    :iagree:



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Posted June 25, 2014 - 05:24 PM

I agree, sounds like a charging issue.
Do you have a digital volt meter?

#6 HDWildBill OFFLINE  


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Posted June 25, 2014 - 05:31 PM

I think I would check the connections first, check not only at the battery but also where they connect to the tractor.  Make sure the connections are clean and corrosion free.  As suggested check to see if you are getting around 14 volts at the batter while it is running.  Do you have to jump it off after it has been sitting a while?


By the way welcome to GTtalk.

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#7 superaben OFFLINE  


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Posted June 25, 2014 - 07:24 PM

Sounds like a charging issue to me, too.


Ben W.

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Posted June 25, 2014 - 07:41 PM

Thank goodness, he's a GM guy. Everyone put the torches and pitchforks away, it's okay.


How long are you putting the cables on for? How old is the battery?

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#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted June 25, 2014 - 07:53 PM

Welcome to GTTalk. The battery may be giving up on you, or it's not being charged.  The 185 is a very well made lawn tractor. You have gotten good service from it mowing 2 acres for 25 years. 

#10 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted June 26, 2014 - 05:53 AM

Welcome to GTT. It does sound like a charging problem. My JD111 does exactly the same. I know that I need to fix the stator when I get the time.


Test the voltage across the battery with it running. If the voltage is less than 13, the charging system isn't working. Shut it  down. Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the battery. Charge the battery. Put a test light between the terminal and the cable. If it lights, you have a short. It could be a short that caused the charging problem. Look for a wire that has rubbed its insulation off against the steel of the tractor.

Good Luck, Rick

Edited by boyscout862, June 26, 2014 - 05:55 AM.