Re: Battery Time

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Posted by Tim Daley(MI) on November 29, 2019 at 06:47:34 [URL] [DELETE] :

In Reply to: Battery Time posted by Dn-N-Tn on November 28, 2019 at 17:48:00:

The comment about converting to 12V is a big myth and incorrectly thought of as a solution to electrical problems. It’s your tractor, do what you want but if the 6V setup isn't working now, a 12V may or may not, and most likely NOT fix anything. You've done half the battle by testing and isolating you have a battery that will no longer sustain a charge. Simply attaching a battery charger means nothing if the cells are depleted and specific gravity isn't met. A starter shop or auto parts store can bench test it. They will test and take your old battery in for the lead/core charge too on a new unit. There is a ton of archived info on batteries here. Most of the cheap, bargain house brands are not worth the time or money as they have poor lifespans. 7 years is a good run for a 6V battery. Briefly in a nutshell, you want a GP-1 6V AG battery -no Deep Cycle or RV/Gold cart type. I suggest you invest in one of the better brands. Those would be DEKA, INTERSTATE, EAST PENN/DURACELL, or EXIDE. I'm not sure who makes the NAPA one but I've heard good things about it and is the only one you listed I'd consider. Get at least a 550 - 650 CCA with the average cost at about $125. I buy from my local buddy who stocks DEKA and INTERSTATE but the last DEKA I bought was at my local no-brand/franchise Mom & Pop auto parts store. I don't know what your local places stock but wally-wonder-world and TSC house brands are junk in my opinion. May be OK for your riding lawn mower. Auto Zone brand is DURALAST I believe. The best thing you can do to prolong a battery is also invest in a float charger. DELTRAN BATTERY TENDER JR. is the 6V unit and priced about $30.

You need a strong battery to:
1. Spin the starter
2. Engage the Bendix
3. Provide voltage to the coil.

The following is courtesy of Bruce(VA), tips on battery care and performance:
As the battery gets weaker, the first thing to fail is your spark. The more current you use to spin the starter, the less you have for the ignition. If your starter pulls that battery down much below 5.2 volts (ref: 6-volt battery), the module in the EI will not fire. It doesn't really matter much if the battery is "fully charged" until you test it correctly. 4 Volts is an almost dead unit. Bench test under load and specific gravity must be tested. Your trusty local starter/alternator shop can bench test it on their special machine, usually at no charge –no pun intended. No matter what else you do, the battery must be fully charged.

A float charger is VERY helpful; and NOT a trickle charger, but a float charger, like the DELTRAN Battery Tender Jr.® ™ is a popular brand, available at Walmart. A battery charger, even a "trickle" charger, left unattended will eventually boil out a battery. I use float chargers for two reasons: battery longevity and a sure start. Battery sulfation occurs at a specific rate at "X" temperature. Over time, sulfation reduces battery performance and eventually its effects are irreversible. Sulfation of batteries starts when specific gravity falls below 1.225 or voltage measures less than 12.4 for a 12v battery, or 6.2 for a 6 volt battery. Sulfation hardens on the battery plates reducing and eventually destroying the ability of the battery to generate current. Using a float charger significantly reduces sulfation. Your battery loses 33 percent of its power when the temperature dips below freezing, and over 50 percent of its power when the temperature falls below zero. A fully charged battery will not freeze until -76°F; however, a fully discharged battery can start to freeze at 32°F. So……keep the battery fully charged! If you have a digital volt meter, 6.03 volts on a 6 volt battery and 12.06 volts on a 12 volt battery is only a 25% charge!

If you need to jump it, see tip # 43. No, it doesn’t need to be 12v. Plenty of N’s start just fine on 6v in below 0°F temps. Clean grounds & battery terminals are always important. Don’t forget to loosen the starter from the block (see tip # 36) and polish the block & all starter mating surfaces w/ sandpaper to insure a good electrical ground.

If you can’t remember the last time you replaced the battery cables, it’s time to do it. Just because the terminals are clean doesn’t mean there is no corrosion under the insulation. And, this is another case where size matters (see tip # 41)

A charged battery, clean grounds & new cables aren’t going to mean much if the tractor needs a tune-up. At a minimum, every fall, remove the cap, check the points for pitting or burning, re-gap them & put a dab of lube on the cam. (BTW…..if you’ve wondered why some folks get years of use out of a set of points…….this is one of the reasons). See tips 66, 67 & 68.

Things that aren’t all that important in warm weather become serious when it gets cold…like timing. A few degrees of timing either way at 60°F or 70°F isn’t likely to result in a “no-start” situation. Well, it can at 10°F or 20°F. Check the timing! Yes, you can set the timing on a front distributor.

Distributor gaskets are important on a sidemount & critical on a front mount, as is the gasket under the coil. Just like with the battery cables….if you can’t remember when you replaced the gaskets, do it this year.

*archived info from Bruce(VA)


Tim Daley(MI)

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