Lawn tractor - battery not holding a charge


Old 05-02-10, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Lawn tractor - battery not holding a charge

Hello all,

I own a Craftsman LT1000 lawn tractor. It's approximately 10-15 years old (a guess - I bought it used). It has a Kohler Command OHV 16 hp motor, with a model number of CV460S.

About two years ago, it seemed like the battery wasn't holding a charge. I cleaned the connections on the battery, and it seemed to get a little better. A year later, the problem was back. Cleaned things again, no luck. Put a new battery in, and the problem seemed to go away.

Now it's happening again - the battery that's in there is barely a year old, so I doubt it's bad. When the motor is running, I only measure 12.5v at the battery, which seems way too low. So I'm guessing there's a problem in the charging circuit and the battery isn't getting charged.

I'm comfortable troubleshooting electrical systems on modern cars, but have never done anything like this on a small engine. Clearly it doesn't have a traditional alternator, so I'm not even sure how the battery is supposed to get a charge in the first place, much less how to troubleshoot the issue.

Any pointers would be appreciated. As it is now, I jumpstart the mower every week, and it runs fine for the hour or so that it takes to mow the lawn, but even an hour later and it won't start on it's own.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Ohio
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Kohler Engine Battery won't hold charge

You can download a Service Manual with your Engine model and serial number from Kohler family of sites. Kohler will help you trouble shoot the problem in the manual. My guess is that you have a bad voltage regulator, but test its output before you replace it. Good Luck!
Old 05-02-10, 11:27 PM
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Check for AC voltage coming from the 2 wires from under the flywheel with the engine running. If there is somewhere around 28 volts there, check for dc voltage at the third wire on the regulator connector with the regulator plugged in. It should have 14.5 or so vdc with the engine at full throttle.
Old 05-03-10, 05:20 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Thanks both of you for the advice. Looked for the appropriate service manual based on my engine's model number but it's not listed on the Kohler site:

Kohler Engines: Owners & Service Manuals: Manuals & Maintenance

In lieu of a service manual, can someone tell me an approximate appearance or placement for the voltage regulator?
Old 05-03-10, 06:36 AM
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Can you post the model number of the tractor?
Old 05-03-10, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Voltage Regulator

On my Kohler twin, the regulator is located on the shroud that covers the flywheel. The 3 wires that cheese is talking about are connected right out in the open. May be different on your tractor, but without a manual I cannot tell at this point.
Old 05-03-10, 08:11 AM
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Service manual

Section 8.11 has troubleshooting steps for battery charging and schematics.

Your engine is included in the manual listed for the Command Pro CV493

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