LT1000 craftsman mower not starting

I have a problem with my LT1000 not starting, when i say not starting, i mean no clicking whatsoever, prior to my current condition, the mower would click, click, click, then turn over to start, the starter didnt sound like it lagged, it just sounded like the power to the starter wasnt connecting good. the starter would turn over maybe just a little, then i'd have to click click click until it turned over again. but now it wont click at all. another note is: the last few times i got it to start, i had to fully depress the clutch instead of having it in the locked position. this is what ive done so far to check the cause. First i read the voltage coming from the solenoid to the starter when i turned the key, it read zero. i then read the voltage coming from the battery ( 2 year old battery, still full of water, has never been run down), it read a little over 12v, i then hooked the battery up to a charger (not the best charger, kinda old) and the meter only showed to be pulling 2~3 volts and was slowly reaching zero, so i assumed that the battery was good. Ive confirmed that i have 12v coming in to the battery terminal on the solenoid, upon turning the key to start, i have confirmed that i do not have 12v leaving the solenoid via starter cable. sooooo i then checked the hot wire that leads off the + battery terminal on the solenoid, it makes a stop at a 20a fuse (which is good), it then stops at the dc meter (which doesnt register the amps, but does have a charge on the + paddle connector), and finally makes a stop at the ignition switch. I then checked the two paddle terminals (one single white wire, and the other is a double black wire) on the solenoid for current when i turn the key to start, when i turn the key to start, i get 5 or 6 volts on each paddle connector, but when i reconnect them and read the battery terminal upon turning the key, i get nothing, so that lead me to believe that the solenoid was out, so i replaced it. well i hooked it up and i get the same results, so now i assume that my method of testing is all wrong to begin with. and now im lost like an easter egg. im at work now, but when i get home im gonna try and jump all the saftey switches at once, to see if one or more is out. cause if the clutch switch is out, will i be getting partial? or no voltage on the white and double black wires connecting to the solenoid? if ive left anything out please let me know, sorry this is the first time ive posted a question about small engines, im by no means a mechanic at all. but i do have a small supply of common sense, but it seems im out of that too. model number is 310707, type 0137-E1. OHV 17hp. thanks in advance, dale
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I stopped your post here as from what I get when you turn the key switch you get only 6 volts. Hook your voltmeter to the battery and then turn the key and see if the voltage of the battery stays at 12 volts or if it dropps to around 6 volts. If it dropps that low under load then the battery is in need of a charge (you did check for watter in the battery ) or it is bad and needs replacing. A battery can be bad and still show up as around 12 volts without a load on it, but putting a normal load on it will drop the voltage to a low value. A small drop (say to 10 volts) may be ok under heavy load such as starting, but not to 6 volts. You can also hook your car battery to it with some jumper cables and see what hapens. It is doubtful, but the starter could be locked up or the eingine could be locked up. Try turning it by hand with the switch off.
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wrote:

Hey thanks, yeah i found the problem, the hot wire from the battery was lose enough to not get a connection. i checked it earlier, but i just grabbed it and pulled on it to where it felt snug but i guess that much movement was enough to prevent it from getting juice. It was surprising to me how tight it seemed yet when i re-tightened it it fired right up. i guess it still had enough connection to read at the solenoid but not enough to give the power to turn it over. however now i have a new problem, it surges alot when its running, and then when i mow for a while it eventually dies, at first i thought it might be a clogged gas cap, so i unscrewed it while it was attempting to die but it still choked down. If i full choke the engine i can start it right back up, and it sounds like its running great, but when you start to put a load on it ( like engaging the mower) it dies again. so full scenario was: i started the mower, mowed for about 10 minutes, it started to die ( i disengaged the mower and full choked it to bring it back), while it was still surging and sputtering some i unscrewed the gas cap a little....got no improvements...then i unscrewed it completely...still no improvements, then i left it full choke and drove it back to where i was working on it. but during that10 minutes it was running ok, it still surges when the mower isnt engaged, im sure it really is, but i just cant hear it as well. i checked all the gas lines, from the filter to the carb is brandnew line, from the gas can to the filter is still very good line, i took the filter out and blew it out earlier this spring, so it should be clean. from here i dont know where to go to diagnose this mower.
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