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The Gate Keeper
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Discussion Starter #1
OK, we have had the battery light on for quite a while now and it is getting to a point where we have to plug the battery in every couple of weeks otherwise the 318 will not start. I have been ok with it, but the wife is starting to get annoyed by it. Once it gets a little cooler outside, I was going to check the electrical connections and make sure they are getting good contact. I have a voltmeter, but do not really know how to use it. I am somewhat mechanical, but do not know hardly anything about electrical work. What would be my next step in troubleshooting the issue? I am also sure this has been mentioned on here before, but it would be a good reminder for everyone and possibly help others as well. Thanks guys.
 

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Where abouts in Iowa are you? I'm in eastern Iowa, near the Quad Cities.

If you have a volt meter, as opposed to a multi-meter, you'll be limited on what you can check. A digital multi-meter is the preferred tool of the two.

The first thing I would do, which won't take a whole lot of effort, is to pull the battery and take it to an auto parts store, and have them load test it. This will indicate if there are any bad or weak cells in the battery.

Cleaning the connections at the battery, ground, and starter are also important. There's also a system ground under or behind the battery on a lot of 318s, so while you have the battery out, it would be a good time to make sure that is clean and free of any corrosion, grease, and "paint".

Connections clean, battery in good condtion, everything back together. Locate the voltage regulator. It's mounted to the black engine shroud (can't remember if it's on the left side or the right side of the tractor). It has three terminals. The middle terminal is the DC voltage terminal that charges the battery and supplies voltage to the system. The outer two terminals are the AC voltage terminals that accept the AC voltage from the Stator. The stator is a series of magnets mounted at the flywheel. A pickup coil is pulsed by the magnets, generating the AC voltage. The regulator, which is actually a rectifier/regulator, converts the AC voltage to DC voltage.

So there are two issues to check after the battery is known to be in good condition and the connections are clean and tight:

1. Is the stator output providing enough AC voltage?

2. Is the rectifier/regulator output providing enough DC voltage?

The meter you have, should have a black probe and a red probe. Set the meter to read within a range so 12 volts DC will be easliy determined.

Remove the wire from the middle terminal to the voltage regulator. This will expose the DC output terminal.

Start the tractor and run at full throttle. Touch the BLACK probe from the meter to the engine block, and hold contact. Now touch the RED probe from the meter to the exposed middle terminal on the voltage regulator.

What is the reading?

Go ahead and check that and then post back if you will.
 

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The Gate Keeper
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1,181 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I am in Center Point, near Cedar Rapids.

Shows you what I know about electricity. I have a Fluke digital multimeter.
 

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Super Moderator
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I'm betting that it's your regulator, they tend to go out. Replaced the regulator on my 212, 216, and 318, but have never had a stator cause an issue. But do everything suggested to narrow it down!
 
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