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Old 04-25-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Lawn Tractor Battery


I have a run of the mill Toro (MTD) lawn tractor. The battery wouldn't turn the engine over last night, so I put a charger on it until it was full. Without running it today, the battery is again dead. If I buy a new one, this will be 3 batteries in 4 years. It seems that the only batteries available for lawn tractors are cheap $50 products. Are there better ones out there, do they just die like this, or is there something odd at work?

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:07 PM   #2
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I have a run of the mill Toro (MTD) lawn tractor. The battery wouldn't turn the engine over last night, so I put a charger on it until it was full. Without running it today, the battery is again dead. If I buy a new one, this will be 3 batteries in 4 years. It seems that the only batteries available for lawn tractors are cheap $50 products. Are there better ones out there, do they just die like this, or is there something odd at work?

My last tractor made it 15 years on 2 batteries. Are you sure your charger is working properly or is on the correct setting? If that checks out, I would buy a different brand of battery at least.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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Lawn Tractor Battery


For the most part, your off-the-shelf lawn tractor (and motorcycle) batteries are pretty crappy. Consider yourself VERY lucky if you get 2 years out of one.

But not all of them.

When my sons & I were doing our side-line lawn care business, we a John Deere F525, with a John Deere battery in it. The battery lasted (I believe) 6 years. I'm not sure if we were just really lucky, or what.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
I have a run of the mill Toro (MTD) lawn tractor. The battery wouldn't turn the engine over last night, so I put a charger on it until it was full. Without running it today, the battery is again dead.
Do you have a multi-meter where you can check the current draw from the battery when the switch is turned to the off position?http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain
If you have a current draw then you need to fix it first before you replace the battery.

Or do you have a hydrometer and is the battery the type where you can check the 6 cells for charge? If you can check the individual cells for charge, and one or more are shot then the battery needs replacing. http://www.ehow.com/how_4964575_use-...ydrometer.html


Either the battery is shot or there is a current draining the batteries.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:56 PM   #5
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Lawn Tractor Battery


I pretty much agree with DrHicks on this one, but three batteries in four years is a lot, under any circumstances. So, again, agreeing with DrHicks, I have always bought lawn and garden batteries from an implement dealer or auto parts store, and have not based my puchase decision on price, but on their recommendation for my application, and I have had good results doing so. I have heard others tell of "getting a deal at XXX" (local big box or whatever), but I have also heard the same ones tell the same thing in consecutive years, so, in my opinion, they are not saving a thing. The other thing that you need to look at, particularly on "price competitive" equipment, is the wire size, types of terminals they use, etc. I would suggest that while you have the battery out, look at the ignition switch, light switch, safety interlocks, cable connections, etc. Take the wires loose, examine them, clean the connections, and reinstall them. While they are not necessarily carrying full voltage to the starter, a little bit of excess voltage draw here and some more there can add up to enough to cause the charging system to struggle keeping up, and while it may be enough to appear that everything running fine, over the long haul, or short haul in this case, can mean that your battery is not adequately maintained.
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DexterII View Post
I pretty much agree with DrHicks on this one, but three batteries in four years is a lot, under any circumstances. So, again, agreeing with DrHicks, I have always bought lawn and garden batteries from an implement dealer or auto parts store, and have not based my puchase decision on price, but on their recommendation for my application, and I have had good results doing so. I have heard others tell of "getting a deal at XXX" (local big box or whatever), but I have also heard the same ones tell the same thing in consecutive years, so, in my opinion, they are not saving a thing.
Hey here's a kicker for ya...

I've got a Kawasaki Vulcan motorcycle. Bought it new in April of 2005. This will be my 7th season of riding it on the original battery. No idea how I've managed to pull that off, but this guy ain't complaining!
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Old 04-25-2011, 09:20 PM   #7
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Lawn Tractor Battery


Wireless,
Get yourself one of these and your batteries will live a lot longer. I normally get 5-6 years out of my batteries whether they're for the boat, atv', lawn tractor, etc.
http://www.chaparral-racing.com/Prod.../321-2100.aspx

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Old 04-25-2011, 10:40 PM   #8
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Lawn Tractor Battery


Thanks for the input all. I'll look into it when I get back in a couple days. I do have a multimeter and it's a piece of crap, but it might just be able to root out a current drain. Mike - I use a smart charger currently and it does a pretty good job (I assume that is what you meant by your post as opposed to your specific charger).
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:47 AM   #9
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Lawn Tractor Battery


Our battery was constantly being drained, even after we recharged it. We changed it 3 times, finally we found out it was a faulty Stator.

Good luck.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:20 AM   #10
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Lawn Tractor Battery


Current drains are sometimes very hard to find. I just traded my loved 1999 Chrysler Town and Country in because of that very problem. It had a small current being used that would over 4 days draw the battery down so it wouldn't start. I knew it was in the fuel system somewhere (when I removed that fuse the current draw stopped), but nothing I did would fix the problem.

So if the tractor doesn't have any phantom current draws, and all battery connections are good, and starter relay is good, maybe you have just gotten bad batteries. Speaking of starter relays, have you attempted to jump the tractor bypassing the starter relay? It could be bad especially if it has some age on it.

Good Luck and be safe
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Old 04-26-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by WirelessG View Post
I have a run of the mill Toro (MTD) lawn tractor. The battery wouldn't turn the engine over last night, so I put a charger on it until it was full. Without running it today, the battery is again dead. If I buy a new one, this will be 3 batteries in 4 years. It seems that the only batteries available for lawn tractors are cheap $50 products. Are there better ones out there, do they just die like this, or is there something odd at work?

Something is draining the battery. Lights, ignition switch, hour meter...something. My John Deere did the same thing. Take it to a dealer to have it fixed for sure.
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Old 04-26-2011, 02:49 PM   #12
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Lawn Tractor Battery


What are your winter storage conditions?

Try a battery supply store, not a factory brand name replacement, and explain your situation.

Last edited by user1007; 04-26-2011 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:01 PM   #13
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Lawn Tractor Battery


hi, one fellow here in savanna, illinois took a ride to o reillys in freeport,illinois and picked up a tractor battery with the most cold cranking amps and still fit the battery tray under the seat. $45.00 , and has used it 3 years now, no trouble.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:09 PM   #14
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Lawn Tractor Battery


I just bought a replacement for my tractor from Autozone, which came with a 3-year free replacement warranty. With the $10 core credit from giving them my old battery, the total cost was like $30.
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:30 PM   #15
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Lawn Tractor Battery


Well, it's drawing a 5 amp current when off. I guess I'll just take it to the shop, but I'll probably wait until it needs some other maintenance (hopefully not until fall).

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