Its a 1995 Toro wheelhorse 38xl with a 12.5 Briggs single engine. Over the past few weeks its been taking longer to start, and eventually I had to jump start it to get it to start. Once running, it runs fine. But the following week, again, it would have to be jumped to get it started.
Anyway, last night I finished mowing and decided to lawn sweep. Knowing it didnt want to start without a jump, I left it running, added more gas, hitched up the sweeper and started to sweep.
Within a pass or two on the lawn, it started to smell like rubber burning. It also sounded as if the PTO (mower) was trying to engage, even though it wasnt engaged.
I shut it off, and looked it over and found nothing burning, leaking, broken. When I went to restart it, it didnt start, so, I tried to jump from the car, nothing... just a few clicks, like the solenoid is clicking. The engine would not turn over. I put the battery charger on it, and it showed weak. So I left it charging for a few hrs, came back, it hadnt improved.
Is this battery dead to the point that its preventing me from even jumping it to start or causing strange reactions from the PTO circuit?
Or does it sound like solenoid or the PTO switch is faulty?
Is it possible to remove the battery, and try to jump the mower without the battery? (I wouldnt use it that way, I just want to get it to turn over to appease my mind that the engines not seized or anything.) The engine had plenty of oil, so it wouldnt have seized up and acted like that, would it?
Tonight I plan on getting a new battery, cleaning the cables, grounds, (I was putting off getting a new battery as we're shopping for a new/larger mower anyway and didnt want to spend more money on this mower Ill be selling or giving away).
If the new battery doesnt make a difference.. I guess the next step is solenoid? Starter? PTO circuit? Safety circuit? I checked the fuses and they were all fine.
They warn against running an engine without the battery because it will destroy the voltage regulator. I don't know if you have a regulator or a simple rectifier. A regulator contains a rectifier.
A regulator will not operate without battery voltage so to me that is the same as no battery. A simple check for this is with the key on and not running see if the regulator +12volt DC terminal has battery voltage.
If the solenoid is just clicking, check the cable connections between the solenoid and starter.
If it still just clicks, connect the cables to your car battery, and the ground to the mowers engine block, and the positive, straight to the starter cable stud. To avoid arcing at the starter terminal, connect the ground to the block last. It should turn over as soon as you make the connections, if the starter is good.
I first got the multimeter and tested the battery..good.
Tested the negative cable to frame ground...good.
Tested positve battery cable from solenoid to starter..good.
Tested positive battery cable from battery to solenoid..good.
Tested the positive battery cable to starter with switch on..bad
Tested solenoid post to post with power on...bad. Interesting is that it made the clicking sound that it was engaging the magnet, but, no conductivity was registered.
At one point I bypassed the solenoid and hot wired directly to the starter and got the engine to turn over. So I had no doubt it was the solenoid.
After going to the local tractor place and not finding a replacement, I was going to wait and order one the next day. But, after rummaging around in my old car parts, I came across a 12-volt, 4 post solenoid. I then rewired the attaching clips to match the solenoid, tested, and it worked. I finished making it all solid and tight, tightened it down to the frame, retested and it worked.