Lawn Tractor Troubleshooting needed please.


I have a 10 year old Sears Craftsman Lawn Tractor with the 15.5 hp Kohler engine.
The last couple of times that I have mowed the engine would start and run fine for quite a while, then it would miss briefly and then quit.
It would however start back up for me when I jumped it off.
I have always had trouble keeping the battery charged and have jumped it off using the car for years.
The last time I attempted to mow, I jumped the mower off as usual. After it started, I disconnected the jumper cables and closed the hood of my car. The mower ran fine for about a minute then it started missing and quit running.
At this point I would only get clicking from the solenoid when I turned the key. I was advised to replace the solenoid. After doing so, It started fine. However, the moment I removed the positive cable from the battery, the engine shut off.
Now when I attempt to start it I don't get anything.
I am sure that this is an electrical problem but do not think that it is isolated to one specific cause.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
markc
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On Mar 5, 12:08 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Okay, given the paucity of info provided, how about a SWAG?
Not only is the charging circuit not working, but the battery is number than a pounded thumb. My crystal ball says that you have a non-magneto ignition- plain old "Kettering", with a supply voltage that decays rapidly on starting to zero. There's your one specific cause- no volts.
You need a charged battery, which is the obvious purpose of charging circuitry. A voltmeter could help diagnosis.
Not bad for crystal ball, eh? :')
BTW, never heard usage "jumped it off."
HTH, J
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On Mar 5, 11:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Quit farting around and buy a new battery!!!
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I was thinking that, but some what more polite usage. If you need to jump start the mower every time it's long past time for a battery.
Remove the battery from the mower, and see if you can see the electrolyte level through the side. It is very possible the battery is low on water, I had that happen last year. Only ad distilled water, as the minerals in tap water will damage the battery. A turkey baster makes a fairly good battery filler.
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Steve Barker




"Stormin Mormon" <cayoung61-&spamblock*-@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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NO, he needs to fix the CHARGING system.
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Steve Barker




"Stormin Mormon" <cayoung61-&spamblock*-@hotmail.com> wrote in message
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What if the only problem is a failed generator?
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Lead-acid batteries don't last long when stored in a discharged state. The plates build up insulating deposits (sulfates) and pretty soon the battery can no longer take a charge no matter how good the generator or charger. That's why trickle chargers and those little dashboard solar cells are so popular for motorcycles and RVs that are parked during their off season -- if you keep the battery charged, it will not sulfate (much).
I'd be surprised if a lawn equipment battery lasted more than 2 years when stored discharged. If this guy has been doing it for several years, I don't hold much hope for it.
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On Mar 6, 8:13 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It still comes down to something in the electrics anyhow. Once started by jumping, it should run until shut off. Obviously there is no electricity being generated or properly distributed if the generator is OK. I've been wrong before but given his symptoms, replacing the battery will not do any good. Of course he probably does need a new battery.
Harry K
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You need to fix the charging system.. The ignition system can't make sparks without a properly charged battery.
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Steve Barker




< snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com> wrote in message
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As Red said, get a new battery. If the problem returns, fix the charging system.
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Yep.
Also, I've found this to be a helpful forum for small engine problems: http://perr.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2
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Why does everyone always want to replace a perfectly good battery, THEN fix the charging system? It's obvious this guys machine is not charging. Hell, if it were, he wouldn't even need a battery to run the fokin thing.
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Steve Barker




"Charles Schuler" < snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
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Yeah! Once started, it should run forever even with a dead battery.
Harry K
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On Mon, 5 Mar 2007 18:48:47 -0600, "Steve Barker"
Because it's obvious to them. The same reason that the guy here yesterday with the bad light in his garage door opener replaced the bulb and the light socket when the light woudln't go on.
The same reason every customer I had with a tv with no picture thought it was the PICTURE tube. Because that's where the picture is, from their pov. They don't think about the other parts.
I don't know about lawn tractors and don't know if they use alternators or generators. I think they still use generators, so I don't know if they will run at low speeds without a charged battery.
But before one buys a battery, he should always check the output of the charging circuit. Hard to do I guess when you can't disconnect the jumper battery or the engine will stall, but it does run for a minute. IIRC, the voltage of the generator or alternator shoudl be at least 13.2 or is it 13.6? It must be greater than a normal battery which is 12.6 or it won't charge the battery.
A bad charging system would account for why he's "always had trouble keepign the battery charged".
Also, put the battery on a trickle charger for a day or two and see if it gets up to 12.6.

Good to know. That's the way cars are, but I don't track of lawn stuff.
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Law of probabilities. I've had 5 sears riding mowers and have never had a bad charging system. But I have had to change batteries about every 2 years, and usually after jumping thru the same hoops the OP did. Yes, a charging system can fail, but odds are greatly in favor of battery failure.
You said "it's obvious the guy's machine is not charging". How in the hell do you know?? After thousands of posts to this forum, do you honestly believe all OP's accurately explain all symptons? If you do, I've got some prime real estate I need to sell you!
Red
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How do we know? Because the thing dies as soon as the jumpers are taken off. If it were charging at all, it would keep running. His symptoms -start and run awhile (15 minutes IIRC) then die and the run time decreasing over time until it is now down to zero is pretty much classical for a 'heat caused' failure. Runs until something gets warm enough then opens a circuit somewhere gradually worsoning until the circuit remains open at all temperatures.
He should at least check the alternator or generator before getting a new battery. My bet is that a new battery isn't going to help.
Harry K
Harry K
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On Mar 5, 9:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

2 possibles.
1. fix your charging system - the tractor should run forever once started even with a dead battery.
2. Plugged fuel filter that has gradually gotten worse? The fact that it dies as soon as you remove the jumpers says it is most likely your electricals.
Harry K
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some kohler have fuel solinoid,it needs 12 volts to keep the gas flowing. put a volt meter on battery when running to check.also load test battery.a bad batt can stifle even a good charging system.lucas
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First bit of sense I've heard.

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