Last week Dave was mowing the lawn while I was at work. Partway through the day he called me and said ‘it’s sitting in the driveway smoldering…’ Hmm, that doesn’t seem like something you want your lawnmower to do! He had doused it with water, and parked it out in the driveway far away from anything else flammable, and left it there while he came to the shop and traded places so I could check it out. I was thinking a wheel bearing had gone bad, but it turned out some grass debris had gotten into the front frame member and caught fire from the muffler being so close. We dug all the grass out and determined it was good to go and he finished mowing the field that evening.
Now, the lawnmower is in pieces again.
This time I took it apart because it won’t recharge the battery during use, so everytime we want to use it we have to plug the charger in a few hours before to get the battery charged back up. I suspected the alternator.
Last year I bought a new battery for it after replacing the starter (which was major surgery) and stupidly plugged it in backwards (the posts were reversed from the previous battery) and fried a number of things including a fuse and the original red battery cable, which I replaced last year. But it’s inability to recharge properly was still related to that incident.
This is the alternator. There’s not really much to it to go bad, but it turns out there’s a diode in the connector that acts like a one-way valve for electricity. I think it got blown out. At least it would make sense, and there’s no way to tell without an expensive test meter. So I ordered a new alternator for it, $30 from the John Deere shop, and hopefully I’ll have it back and running again soon.