Wheel Horse Garden Tractor Battery Issue??

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Status
Not open for further replies.

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Guys, bought a Wheel Horse GT14 this summer and had an event about a month ago with regard to electrical system. Just now getting around to troubleshooting it. Here is what happened. The bracket that holds the battery in place vibrated loose and I believe shorted the positive lead of the 12 volt battery at the at the solenoid to the frame of the tractor essentially shorting out the battery. Of course sparks were flying and I immediately shut off the tractor. Did not know initially what the problem was although I assumed some issue with the magneto or regulator with the sparks flying. Was very surprised when a few minutes later as I was taking the cover off more sparks appeared. Well it hit me when I finally got the cover off what had happened.

First thing I checked this morning is the battery and it reads a solid 12.4VDC with no load. Checked all wiring/fusing etc. with meter and everything appears to be intact electrically. Surprisingly to me only the accessory circuit is fused but again that fuse checked out good (by design in the manual). When the ignition switch in the OFF position I have 12.4VDC both at the battery terminal and at 'B' the terminal of the ignition switch. What I don't understand is that when I place the ignition switch either in the ON/ACC or START position I get no voltage at either the solenoid or any accessories (remember this wiring is intact and checked out continuity wise with the meter). Almost as if the battery is shorted to the frame but obviously this is not the case or I would see sparks. What further baffles me is that I even measure 0VDC at the Battery with the Ignition in any position other than OFF. At OFF I again measure 12.4VDC at the battery positive post. I'm thinking the battery is fried but am surprised that I read 12.4VDC. When a battery is fried can it read full voltage although it cannot drive absolutely any load? Any thoughts, suggestions, or confirmations. Thanks guys.
 

D9H

New Member
Nov 24, 2015
76
Colorado
Does your tester measure load in amps too? Or just volts.

If your tester only reads volts, I would take the battery to a CARQUEST or similar parts store and have them put a load meter on it.

Sounds to me like your battery is fried. I have had batteries read good static volts but fail the load test.

You could also try jumping, if you get power to the solenoid while jumping the battery with the key switch on, that would also tell you that your battery is fried.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Fred Wright

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Does your tester measure load in amps too? Or just volts.
No just a basic multimeter using it in voltage mode. I just presume that when the switch is closed for instance and in ACC mode that the lights would come on with switch on. Nothing. I called Advantage Auto and they said that when a battery is almost discharged or damaged that indeed the voltage can read full level then when under load down to about 2-3VDC. In my case the volts go to almost 0VDC. I am pretty sure the battery is dead but wanted to get your guys opinion as well.
 

D9H

New Member
Nov 24, 2015
76
Colorado
I was editing post number two while you were replying.
Sounds like your on the right track.
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
I was editing post number two while you were replying.
Sounds like your on the right track.
Thanks. Think that is what I am going to do.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,256
Northern IL
Yep - it needs a load test. I bet it is toast. I would not recommend trying to jump start a battery in this state. It could have some internal problem that could have bad consequences if power is supplied to it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TreePointer

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Well, i just got back from Advantage Auto and they load tested it and it checked out perfectly fine. Held voltage at 500-600CA load. Any other ideas anyone? Could this be a grounding issue? Still not sure why I would read 12VDC at the batter post with igntion switch in OFF position but 0 VDC at the positive battery post with ignition switch in ON/ACC or START positions. When measuring my meter negative lead was on Tractor frame. I will try it with meter lead on battery negative post. As the system negative is grounded through tractor frame did not think it mattered but will try. Why I thought maybe a frame grounding issue. I will have to re-check battery negative lead connection to tractor frame. See schematic below.

schematic.JPG
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,256
Northern IL
It would take a dead short to take a perfectly healthy battery to 0 volts. Other than possibly the battery cables, that kind of amperage would burn up any wire on that tractor and make them cherry red (if not blow up the battery). Something ain't figuring out here....

Looking at the wiring diagram, there could be another possibility - The solenoid, starter or clutch. That is really the only parts that would carry heavy enough wire to kill a battery without immediately cooking the wire.

ETA - possibly one of those components got fried during your shorting issue? Start isolating the parts, one by one.
 
Last edited:

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
It would take a dead short to take a perfectly healthy battery to 0 volts. Other than possibly the battery cables, that kind of amperage would burn up any wire on that tractor and make them cherry red (if not blow up the battery). Something ain't figuring out here....

Looking at the wiring diagram, there could be another possibility - The solenoid, starter or clutch. That is really the only parts that would carry heavy enough wire to kill a battery without immediately cooking the wire.

ETA - possibly one of those components got fried during your shorting issue? Start isolating the parts, one by one.

Yes. I am going to first isolate the solenoid and starter and see if I can get just the lights to work. The clutch is physically not installed so that can't be it.
 

greg13

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2012
907
CNY
Guys, bought a Wheel Horse GT14 this summer and had an event about a month ago with regard to electrical system. Just now getting around to troubleshooting it. Here is what happened. The bracket that holds the battery in place vibrated loose and I believe shorted the positive lead of the 12 volt battery at the at the solenoid to the frame of the tractor essentially shorting out the battery. Of course sparks were flying and I immediately shut off the tractor. Did not know initially what the problem was although I assumed some issue with the magneto or regulator with the sparks flying. Was very surprised when a few minutes later as I was taking the cover off more sparks appeared. Well it hit me when I finally got the cover off what had happened.

First thing I checked this morning is the battery and it reads a solid 12.4VDC with no load. Checked all wiring/fusing etc. with meter and everything appears to be intact electrically. Surprisingly to me only the accessory circuit is fused but again that fuse checked out good (by design in the manual). When the ignition switch in the OFF position I have 12.4VDC both at the battery terminal and at 'B' the terminal of the ignition switch. What I don't understand is that when I place the ignition switch either in the ON/ACC or START position I get no voltage at either the solenoid or any accessories (remember this wiring is intact and checked out continuity wise with the meter). Almost as if the battery is shorted to the frame but obviously this is not the case or I would see sparks. What further baffles me is that I even measure 0VDC at the Battery with the Ignition in any position other than OFF. At OFF I again measure 12.4VDC at the battery positive post. I'm thinking the battery is fried but am surprised that I read 12.4VDC. When a battery is fried can it read full voltage although it cannot drive absolutely any load? Any thoughts, suggestions, or confirmations. Thanks guys.

Where are you taking your voltage readings? it is very possible that you have a connection issue somewhere. I would check all of the major connections (hots & grounds) first. A test light will work easier than a volt meter in this case. Wiggle wires also, a bad connection usually momentarily correct themselves.
 

KenLockett

Minister of Fire
Dec 27, 2011
580
Eastern Upstate NY
Turned out to be poor grounding and loose connections. Initially thought solenoid was bad but took it out and it checked on the bench. When I hooked everything back up nice and tight including battery posts everything worked. Lesson learned hear. Thanks for the input guys.
 

Pat32rf

Member
Sep 23, 2012
107
Not that uncommon. With no load you get voltage but there is a very high resistance which gives NO voltage when under load. I have had the same thing on 110/220v house wiring with a bad crimp joint on the line in from the street. A meter showed full voltage until I close the main switch and put a 60 watt light bulb on the panel. Took a few minutes to convince the utilities man that HE had the problem, not me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: KenLockett

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,677
WI, Leroy
Ya those utility people at any level can be real buggers to deal with. Mostly requires rubbing their respective noses in it before they might condescendingly agree. Years ago at a different location I mysteriously developed problems with my welders and various heavy machine motors. Multiple single phase horse power units which are not cheap used, repaired, or new. A brand new McDonalds went up behind my shop, seems they didn't have enough juice so the utility upped the line voltage, guess who was on the same line. Nothing like your 110 lines reading close to 220 and the 220 reading close to 400 no load, and way over the 10%+/- variable spec they claimed. Getting them to admit that was a royal pain you no where, never did get any compensation for the several thousand dollars it cost me in repairs over several months. They finally did make a correction although you couldn't get a straight answer. If you are big enough to have some clout that's one thing but the little guy is just SOL.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.