JD L120 Not Starting
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    JD L120 Not Starting

    My inherited John Deere L120 with the 20hp Briggs engine. In the past year, it's always been a pain in the rear to get it started. Wasn't maintained real well previously. Started up fine last week, but when I went to mow yesterday I got nothing. A couple of clicks and lights coming on were all I got. I was able to jump it and get her moving, but couldn't start on her own. From what I've seen ppl say it could be the solenoid or maybe it's shorting somewhere. I'm brand new to trying to fix this stuff, would an amateur be able to install a new solenoid without blowing the damn thing up? Anything else I can do to try and diagnose?

    Any help is appreciated, thanks!

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    It is much more likely that you simply have a bad battery. If it is the original battery it is well past it's expected life. I had to replace the battery in my D160 earlier this summer due to the exact same symptoms you described. If you can jump it and it starts, the solenoid is fine.
    D160 Mower/Bagger.
    2014 2032R tractor/H130 FEL w/Bolt-On Hooks/54" Snow Plow/iMatch Quick-Hitch/County Line 5' Scraper blade/County Line Carry-All/Artillian 42" Forks & QH Adapter/JD Ballast Box/Frontier SB1164 3PH Blower/Leinbach PHD/Wallenstien BX42 Chipper

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    ChickenMan (07-06-2017)

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    I had to replace the battery in my '04 L130 too, new one cranks so much better now.
    2004-L130

    2013-2032r, Curtis Hard side cab (project), H130 FEL & 61"bucket, Artillian Modular Grapple on HD frame with Diverter, 2300# Artillian frame w/ 36" x 3" tines, 46BH 9" & 13" bucket, Frontier RB1060, HLA 1000 series 60" JDQA Snow plow, JD ballast box, RK QH, Homemade 3pt multi purpose hitch, 117W of extra LED lights on ROPS and side Brush guards, Ken's bolt on hooks-3x, Ideal Knife grooved R-4's.

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    ChickenMan (07-06-2017)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post
    My inherited John Deere L120 with the 20hp Briggs engine. In the past year, it's always been a pain in the rear to get it started. Wasn't maintained real well previously. Started up fine last week, but when I went to mow yesterday I got nothing. A couple of clicks and lights coming on were all I got. I was able to jump it and get her moving, but couldn't start on her own. From what I've seen ppl say it could be the solenoid or maybe it's shorting somewhere. I'm brand new to trying to fix this stuff, would an amateur be able to install a new solenoid without blowing the damn thing up? Anything else I can do to try and diagnose?

    Any help is appreciated, thanks!
    First thing to check with any electrical problem is the battery and connections. From what you described it sounds like a bad battery. The starter works when you jumped it so it's probably okay. Most parts stores will check it for free.

    Whatever you do don't jump start your tractor. Kind of late now. Tractor electronics don't do well with voltage spikes. Best bet is to leave it sit until you get a new battery.
    2014 X540 with HDAP tires, 54" deck, brush guard, arm rests and cargo bag.
    JD 48" plow with angle from seat kit & heavy duty skid shoes.
    4 suitcase weights and chains.
    JD tow behind spreader.
    JD 42" lawn sweeper.
    JD 10P cart.
    JD JS61 RWD walk behind mower.
    Stihl KM110 power head with pole saw, shaft extension, power scythe, curved shaft edger, 2 straight shaft cutters (string & blade).
    Stihl MS180-CBE 16" saw.
    Stihl SH86C hand held blower vac.

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    ChickenMan (07-06-2017)

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    Thanks for all the replies! The thing is, I've replaced the battery on this thing like 4 times already. This one is only a month old. Could I be using the wrong type, or could it be something in the tractor is messing the battery up? Guess I'll take a trip to HD, they've taken all the other batteries back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post
    Thanks for all the replies! The thing is, I've replaced the battery on this thing like 4 times already. This one is only a month old. Could I be using the wrong type, or could it be something in the tractor is messing the battery up? Guess I'll take a trip to HD, they've taken all the other batteries back.
    You may have something draining the battery. I keep getting mice nesting in mine over the winter while it's sitting in the shed un-used and every spring I need to check all the wiring and tape up whatever they've chewed on. They seem to REALLY like moving in under the engine shroud. There is a space on top of the muffler that is hidden by the shroud and they build nests on both sides right in there. It just so happens that the high-voltage ignition wires run right through that area too. They also love to build nests right behind the battery.

    If you have access to one, a clamp on ammeter is very handy for this sort of thing. The one I linked to is a cheapo but... it's better than nothing.
    D160 Mower/Bagger.
    2014 2032R tractor/H130 FEL w/Bolt-On Hooks/54" Snow Plow/iMatch Quick-Hitch/County Line 5' Scraper blade/County Line Carry-All/Artillian 42" Forks & QH Adapter/JD Ballast Box/Frontier SB1164 3PH Blower/Leinbach PHD/Wallenstien BX42 Chipper

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post
    Thanks for all the replies! The thing is, I've replaced the battery on this thing like 4 times already. This one is only a month old. Could I be using the wrong type, or could it be something in the tractor is messing the battery up? Guess I'll take a trip to HD, they've taken all the other batteries back.
    Until you diagnose your drain on the battery it might be wise to put on a trickle charger. It'll keep you in shape to mow, avoid continuing to have to jump it and repeatedly removing and obtaining replacement batteries, etc.

    That'll give you time to troubleshoot, diagnose and repair any electrical issues you may have.
    2004-L130

    2013-2032r, Curtis Hard side cab (project), H130 FEL & 61"bucket, Artillian Modular Grapple on HD frame with Diverter, 2300# Artillian frame w/ 36" x 3" tines, 46BH 9" & 13" bucket, Frontier RB1060, HLA 1000 series 60" JDQA Snow plow, JD ballast box, RK QH, Homemade 3pt multi purpose hitch, 117W of extra LED lights on ROPS and side Brush guards, Ken's bolt on hooks-3x, Ideal Knife grooved R-4's.

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    Thanks guys I'll have to check that out. We have had some mice trying to get to our chicken food, so I'll check under the shroud and see if I have any nests. I'll take a look at a trickle charger.

    Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenMan View Post
    Thanks guys I'll have to check that out. We have had some mice trying to get to our chicken food, so I'll check under the shroud and see if I have any nests. I'll take a look at a trickle charger.

    Thanks again!


    You want a battery tender not a trickle charger. The BT will self regulate and not overcharge the battery.

    You didn't mention all the replacement batteries. Yes you need to be sure that you have the correct size & load rating. The cheep batteries look the same but don't have as much lead inside. The plates are not as thick or deep inside the case.

    Once you fully charge the correct battery see if it starts the engine correctly. Then you have to figure out one of the 2 following problems.

    Does the electrical system have a key off draw that is draining the otherwise good battery between uses?

    Is the charging system working correctly? This could be not at all or at a diminished capacity.
    Tractor ignition systems normally use magnetos. They don't require battery voltage to produce spark too fire the plugs while the engine is running. However everything else does. Starter, headlights, safety systems and electric PTO all drain the battery if the charging system is not working correctly. Then next time you go to use the tractor it won't start. Even though the battery is new.

    Do you have access to a volt meter? You will need one to properly diagnose your problem.
    The above link that was posted for the meter. This one won't work for checking direct current amps. (What you would need to do) This is the plastic finger looking thing at the top. A regular volt meter will be sufficient.
    Last edited by H-D dealer dude; 07-06-2017 at 03:57 PM.
    johnH123 likes this.
    2014 X540 with HDAP tires, 54" deck, brush guard, arm rests and cargo bag.
    JD 48" plow with angle from seat kit & heavy duty skid shoes.
    4 suitcase weights and chains.
    JD tow behind spreader.
    JD 42" lawn sweeper.
    JD 10P cart.
    JD JS61 RWD walk behind mower.
    Stihl KM110 power head with pole saw, shaft extension, power scythe, curved shaft edger, 2 straight shaft cutters (string & blade).
    Stihl MS180-CBE 16" saw.
    Stihl SH86C hand held blower vac.

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    Good video on checking your charging system, either too high or too low a voltage will kill your battery: https://youtu.be/sb1bVmnIqHk


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