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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. Mower in question is a 1985 WH 211-5 w/11 hp B&S motor.

I picked the mower up in spring 2009 and put a new battery and cables in it. Recently, it started acting up. Upon first attempting to start it cold, it cranks slow for a moment then dies. Only way to start it is with the starting mode on the charger. After that, I can mow and it will restart easily if I stop it for a bit.

I removed it and tried charging it but the charger either indicates it's charged or sometimes it indicates the battery is "sulfated". However, my multimeter shows 12.5 volts at rest and 13.5-15.4 volts when running, depending on throttle setting. I also tested for current drain when off but didn't detect anything. All connections are tight and clean.

Seems it is indeed a bad battery but why so soon? And why is it showing over 12 volts? Do dead cells cause this? Thanks.
 

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the at rest voltage is about right a 12.5 and running voltage is good 12 volt battery should be at least 13.5
It not the battery your starter is going bad if not a weak ground
did you remove the connections at the battery and clean them ?
that starter mode on your charger will kill a battery if used a lot
 

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Is the top of the battery clean and dry? If it is wet it is acid and very corrosive plus a perfect conductor. The battery will discharge between the posts and cells constantly. Neutralize it with a mixture of baking soda and water and flush well. Do the tractor also if it is wet to prevent corrosion.

Check the cells and make sure they are covered with liquid. If not add distilled water till they are covered plus a bit - cheap at a drug store. Then charge it for a day at a 2 amp trickle charge.

Garry
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cells are all filled. Everything is clean and tight. Its only a year old. Perhaps leaving it out this past winter messed it up. Although I still ran it once a week or so but the cold still might have zapped it. I charged it for several hours and it still can't start it. I suspect bad cells. Time for a new one I guess. I'd bring it in for the winter but I use it to snowblow so I'll try using a battery maintainer this winter.
 

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Picked up a new battery from Napa today. Works perfect. Starts right up. Checked the voltages while running and it is now a more reasonable 14 volts at full throttle and around 13 at low idle. I think I was getting 15.4 at full throttle before because there were shorted/dead cells in the battery.
 
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