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post #1 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

First some background. I own a '99 JD 345 and a 2013 JD Z710A Ztrak. I'm a one owner on the 345 and I know it's history. Yesterday, I was mowing around the wife's flower beds and ran out of gas. Didn't have any in the garage, so, I had to make a trip to the service station. When I returned and refiled the tank and tried to start, it made a few starter turns and quit. Nothing. no dash lights came on and no fire to the coils, to starter solenoid. Knowing past problems with a 345, it is the infamous "Time Delay Module" or the "Interlock Circuit Board" which is famous for a "no start" on a 345. With some help from a neighbor I got the tractor back in the garage to be checked out.

If any of you members here own a JD 345, it is wise to have a few extra parts on hand, like a TDM and Interlock Circuit Board, which I have. I first installed a new TDM, same "No start" nor any dash lights, and no voltage to the coils, and starter solenoid. So, I installed a new Circuit Board. same "no start" or dash lights. Well!. lets check the battery voltage. 12.7 volts it shows. So, I removed the battery and put it on a charger for about two hours. Re-installed the battery and BANG. tractor fired right up as it should.

So, here's the story on the battery. It's a Exide brand and it is 9 months old. In March 2018 I bought a Exide Model 51C from Tractor Supply. In October 2018 I had to replace the Exide battery due to low voltage and a "no start" on the 345. This Exide #51C is the replacement on from Tractor Supply. It appears to have failed the same as the other one for TSC. Over the last thirty years I've never had any problems with Exide batteries like I have the past 1-1/2 years. It may be that Tractor Supply is buying Exide culled batteries
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 09:48 AM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

I've been having great luck with Walmart on batterys.
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 10:21 AM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

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Originally Posted by Cranman View Post
I've been having great luck with Walmart on batterys.
Me too -------- just buy the biggest battery that will fit in the tray.
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 10:25 AM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

Was it 12.7 with the key in the start position ? IMO, it wasn't and isn't the battery.

I use the cheapest Wally U1 batts in all my machines including my GX and GT. The oldest one is from 2015 iirc. At less than $25 it's a no brainer to throw a new one in when needed.

When my PCBs eventually fail they will be thrown away and a simple wiring harness installed. None if my machines have a TDM either.
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 10:34 AM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

12.7 volts and not even a click. Wonder what the battery voltage was if a load were applied. 12.7v should have give a response of some type.

You might consider getting a load type battery tester, one that will apply at least a 100 amp load to the battery. HF sometimes has them on sale for around $20. I'm a electrician and electronic tech with all kinds of electrical testers but I quite often reach for the old load type battery tester. The load type 100 amp testers are really good for testing tractor batteries, especially for doing a quick test of the lawn tractors batteries which have a tendency to be ok one day and bad or weak the next day.

AND I've had good luck with the wally world tractor type bats, like the one guy says, buy the biggest one CCA wise that will fit into the rig.
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 11:47 AM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

A couple of thoughts:
I've read a lot of instances that seem to indicate that Exide is making a cheaper battery for some customers, farm store chains have been mentioned. This seems to be supported by comparing their prices with other retailers for similar batteries.

That battery group is not a 'normal' lawn tractor battery. Like a lot of JD's better machines, they use a smaller auto battery in the 345.
But, the vibration in a tractor type machine is much higher than a car.

That, along with the suspect cheaper battery type may account for the high failure rate.

I was in Walmart a few days ago looking at batteries. They have a 1 year free replacement warranty and a 3 year warranty. In the same group size, there is a near doubling of price for that 2 year warranty increase. Just by feeling the weight, it is apparent that there is less material in the cheaper one.

What is the warranty on the Exide you are using?
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 12:45 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

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Originally Posted by antiqueetc View Post
A couple of thoughts:
I've read a lot of instances that seem to indicate that Exide is making a cheaper battery for some customers, farm store chains have been mentioned. This seems to be supported by comparing their prices with other retailers for similar batteries.

That battery group is not a 'normal' lawn tractor battery. Like a lot of JD's better machines, they use a smaller auto battery in the 345.
But, the vibration in a tractor type machine is much higher than a car.

That, along with the suspect cheaper battery type may account for the high failure rate.

I was in Walmart a few days ago looking at batteries. They have a 1 year free replacement warranty and a 3 year warranty. In the same group size, there is a near doubling of price for that 2 year warranty increase. Just by feeling the weight, it is apparent that there is less material in the cheaper one.

What is the warranty on the Exide you are using?
Sure is. did not realize such until I looked a the 51C specs. (450 CCA) Some auto stores such as O-Reillys will do a free battery load test if you take it in. I would definitely further test that expensive type Battery before trading it in for a core.

(and then later determine the issue was not the battery)
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 02:58 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

all I will say is that the battery in my 2003 GT235 is still the factory battery. I don't think the cheap walmart ones are necessarily always the best bang for the buck.
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 04:00 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

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all I will say is that the battery in my 2003 GT235 is still the factory battery. I don't think the cheap walmart ones are necessarily always the best bang for the buck.
What would that battery cost from a JD dealer ? $150 ??? If the Wally batts last 5 years they only cost you $75 or so. I've also noticed that on every GX I've owned the battery tray was super rusty due to the factory batt leaking acid.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 04:58 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

Did you leave the key in the run position when it ran out of gas? That could have drained the battery, especially if the points happened to be closed.

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post #11 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 05:47 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

I have a hole in my wallet and it's called a GEM electric car. I recently had no range and the depletion meter showed that the full charge was down in no time. I went to the crooks at HF and bought a battery load tester with up to 500 amps load. The instructions say to multiply the AH rating by 3 and that will give you the load to use for the test. I went home and checked all six of my batteries and they all tested good with the voltmeter. Then I applied the load tester to them and boy what a difference! All but two are bad out of six. As the load goes up the meter went down into the red zone. With the 20% off coupon, I paid about $35 for the tester. Voltage on a battery is not much of a test since it does not tell you if there is any amperage available. The other thing that determines a battery's power is weight. There are no short cuts for the lead in the battery. Light battery, low lead content, poor battery. As I have said before, I do not want to really need a parachute or a battery and know I bought the cheapest. I agree with Bruce, buy the biggest that will fit in the tractor.
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post #12 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 06:46 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

If a car battery will fit in my garden tractor, thats what I put in....lasts for years.

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post #13 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 06:50 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Gump View Post
Sure is. did not realize such until I looked a the 51C specs. (450 CCA) Some auto stores such as O-Reillys will do a free battery load test if you take it in. I would definitely further test that expensive type Battery before trading it in for a core.

(and then later determine the issue was not the battery)
Yup... Last statement rings true. Remove/reinstall of battery could have taken care of or at least cleverly disguised connection issue. Could also be charging system issue, intermittent (oddly coincidental) key or safety switch issue, or any number of other electrical gremlins.

Or it could simply be a fluke bum battery.


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post #14 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

Thanks to all for your comments.

Here is the latest to complete the problem. The Exide #51C is history.... Junk pile it goes. My load tester proves that a battery that shows 12.7 volts, doesn't mean it is good and will start a John Deere 345 20 hp Kawasaki V-twin with 897 hours. Those CCA's is what starts the tractor, not the volts.

So, I made a trip ..67 miles both ways to Tractor Supply to exchange for another...replacement under warranty. Bad luck will have it's day...TSC no longer carries/sells Exide, and there goes the free replacement policy.
So, it' to O'Rielly's I will go tomorrow and get a Super Start one that has 660 CCA. I put one in my 2013 John Deere Z710A this spring. It will fit in the 345, but, it's going to be a tight fit I might say.

The member here that mentioned that Exide was making "special" batteries for sellers like Tractor Supply had better change their idea as they will be down and out making such bad batteries.

BTW: Just for thought.. I'm a wizard on knowledge regarding the in's and out's on a JD 345 and it's electrical components.
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post #15 of 25 Old 06-12-2019, 08:26 PM
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Re: What Is Wrong With The Lawn Tractor Batteries:

You should be getting a lot more than 9 months out of a battery, plus you only got 7 months out of the previous battery. Makes me think something else is wrong, either lack of charging or something is drawing current when it's not supposed to.

For what it's worth, Exide batteries have completely disappeared in my area. They used to have a good reputation, but now they seem to be gone or almost gone. Something bad must have happened there. There's a box store here called Farm and Fleet, which is similar to Tractor Supply. I don't know who makes F&F house-brand batteries, but I've had pretty good luck with them.

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