In Reply to: Re: Old Girl Needs Some Electrosity posted by Tim Daley(MI) on March 15, 2019 at 15:42:06:
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 helpful; not a trickle charger, but a float charger, i.e/e.g. 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)