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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've used my 345 several times this spring. All has been fine. It fired right up this afternoon when I first started using it. Performed various tasks over several hours which entailed shutting the tractor off here and there, and there was never an issue.

After mowing was finished, I shut it off to take off the deck and clean it. I realized I forgot to lower the hydro deck to get it off so I went to turn the key to fire it up. Nothing. Checked to make sure the brake was engaged and it was. Turning the key again, I heard an odd noise from the engine area. Lifted the hood and, when turning the key, there is a faint electric noise coming from around the board where the fuses are on the side. The tractor did not attempt to crank at all.

Took voltage of the battery and it registered 12.8, which I realized is probably a bit low.

Hooked up a power pack jumper and the engine cranked slowly and it fired up. I took the pack off and measured the battery, which now registered 9.7 (how it goes down that much after starting is confusing to me!)

I let it run for a while and noticed that the battery light on the dash is NOT on. The bulb is not out..it lights up with the key at the "on" position.

Turned it off, and tried to restart it right away and I get nothing...just that faint electric noise again. Now, the battery registers 10.7 volts (again, why it went UP after I turned it off is beyond me).

Tried the jumper pack again and it started. While running, battery registers 9.7 again. Turning on the lights makes the tractor cough and voltage drops to 5-6ish. Turning on the blades isn't easy for it either, but it doesn't kill it.

I finally shut it off and gave up. The last thing, which may be relevant or not, was that when I turned the key off, after the engine just about stopped, it coughed and restarted for a few seconds, and then shut off completely. Odd.

The battery is from 2008, so it isn't exactly a spring chicken, however, from the symptoms I'm experiencing, I'm inclined to say it's not just the battery.

The main thing that really seems strange to me is how FAST this issue started. Like I said, I used the tractor for 6 hours today, on and off, and it started up just fine each time until that last time when...nothing except that faint board whine.

I'd love some feedback and thoughts. :) If it's definitively the alternator, I'm wondering if that's a DIY job for a novice to the tractor like me, or if that means a calls to the dealer.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ditto to the clean/tighten connections. If that's not it, take the battery down to the nearest auto parts and have a load test run on it.
Thanks guys. The clamps are on the terminals super tight. In fact, I tried to take the positive off to clean it and all, and I can't even get the darn thing off (with quick minimal effort).

So, Harryc are you saying this could still be just a battery issue, with what I described? And a load test will tell me?

I ran to Home Depot 2 minutes before they closed tonight but all they had were "wimpy" 300 CCA batteries (mine now is 435 and I see Sears has 465...I plow in the winter), plus the terminals were the "bolt through them" kind, not the clamp on that I need.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sure, what you described could be caused by a bad cell in the battery.
Harryc or others, what about the voltage regulator? ...thought of that since my battery reads low voltage (and lower than when not running!) when it's running.

If it's an easy check that would help narrow the issue, can you help me with where it is and how I test it?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Also, if I replace the battery as a first shot attempt (since it's a bit older anyway), how long would it likely go until I see the problem show up again? Meaning, if the battery comes charged up, then it will likely seem fine for a while regardless, even if the battery isn't the issue. Should I see a drop after one mowing, if I take a voltage after that? I don't see this tractor as using a lot of battery power once it's running, when you aren't using any lights, so I'm not sure how much drain there's going to actually be.
 

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(again, why it went UP after I turned it off is beyond me).
It went up because you stopped pulling current from it.

Sounds like the battery to me. I would get it load tested/replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Got a new battery from the dealer. Now it measures 14.1v running. Much better. Hopefully that was it.
Thanks all
 
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