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I've got a used John Deere LA145. After using it perfectly a few times, it started developing some issues that I am 99% sure has to do with the mower "thinking" the blades are engaged when they aren't.

Every time I try to start it after leaving it overnight, it gives one try, then sounds like it has a dead battery. Using a battery charger/jumper makes it start the first time.
Once it starts, you can flip the switch to start the blades fine, then it runs for 5-10 minutes, and eventually the blades cut out, but the mower keeps running. At this point, if I stop the engine, it will NOT start at all (even with the charger/jumper). It acts exactly like it does when it is in working condition and you try to start it with the blades on.
After I leave it out overnight, the next day this process repeats again.

I'm not a handy man, but I'd like to try to figure this out. Anyone have any advice?

migrated from diy.stackexchange.com May 7 '13 at 23:55

This question came from our site for contractors and serious DIYers.

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Could be the battery, especially if you have to jump-start it: a dead or dying battery can cause all sorts of peculiar electrical problems. Small batteries such as in motorcycles or (I'm assuming) small tractors often die prematurely due to cold storage and infrequent use in the winter. The battery may be working well enough to keep the engine running but not adequately power all the electronics. I would pull the battery and take it to an auto parts shop. They will usually do a quick battery test for free.

If it's not the battery, the list of possible problems gets a lot longer. If you're "not a handy man" you may have to take it in for repair. Quick things you could look for:

  • Blown fuses.
  • Are there any electrical components on the blades assembly? If so, you could check the contact points for corrosion, damaged wiring, stuff like that: anything that might cause a poor electrical signal.
  • I would agree. Sounds like you battery or alternator, or even a bad connection. – user2218 May 9 '13 at 21:29
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    Turns out the issue was battery related. Mice had chewed through the wire that allowed the battery to recharge while running, so jumping the mower gave it enough juice to start and start the blades one time. After turning the blades off, the battery didn't have enough juice to start them again. – James P. Wright May 15 '13 at 17:46
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Once you jump it let it get a full charge first, Take the key out of this model at night. Do you have a slight incline in your yard and if so do your blades stop when you are mowing tilted on the incline either towards the left or right? Batteries do not last long, seems like especially with this model and people have reported taking the batter out at night helps this. If blades are kicking out while you are mowing at an angle towards the left or right then it is happening because your oil reservoir is not lubricating the pistons well enough at this point causing either A. an auto shutoff B. extra work from the battery which drains it of what it has left. Top off your oil and try to never mow at this angle unless you have a commercial mower or a two stroke engine, which I think the EPA put a stop on manufacturing of two stroke mowers because of pollution. If none of this helps try kicking it.

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