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Sorry this got so long and I hope I can make this not confusing! I’ve got a John Deere L118, which I’ve had for ~4 years but it was bought used. Yearly oil and filter changes, changed the fuel filter a couple of times, make sure everything is greased, etc. Never done anything else to the engine, as I’m not too familiar with them, and I’ve never had a major problem.

Startup: The startup has always been a little slow. When you turn the key, it catches for a second (the engine turns briefly), then hangs for a couple of seconds, then the engine will turn a few times and then start up. Sometimes it will turn for several seconds before finally starting, sometimes with a puff of exhaust, which seems to be happening more often these days. It’s always worked, so I’ve never messed with it. While it is hanging, you can also sometimes hear a high pitched whine.

Battery: With my current battery, the positive terminal broke off while mowing one day. The terminal looks slightly melted, and I can’t get the positive engine lead connected with a bolt anymore. I used an alligator clip for a while, but then noticed the plastic on it was starting to melt so I took that off. The past few times, I’ve just held the lead against the terminal while starting the engine, which has always worked. Sometimes while doing this, I’ll hear a clicking sound. Also, the lead looks to have some corrosion near the connector, as I can see some green near the end.

I’d like to make sure everything will keep running smoothly, so I’m hoping for some guidance on what to do. First, for the startup. Is the way it starts up indicative of any particular problem? Is it something that needs to be fixed, or can I just leave it this way? It’s always done this, but I always hold my breath that one day it will just hang and not startup.

For the battery, is there a good way to connect the lead to the terminal? Am I doing any damage the way I’m starting it? What is the clicking sound I hear? I’d like to keep using the battery until it won’t hold a charge, or at least use it for the rest of this year and get a new one next spring. Since I can see corrosion, should I go ahead and change the lead? Is this a pretty simple procedure?

Like I said, I don’t work on engines, but I’m willing to give any repairs a try. If any pics or video would help just let me know!

Oh, one more thing! I’ve noticed rust on the bottom of the mower deck. This winter, I plan on taking it off and trying to fix this. Would that just be scraping what I can, then using a rust fixing spray, and then some kind of paint?

Thanks so much for any and all help! Love reading about everyone's machines here
 

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I think the first 2 questions can be answered by replacing the battery, replace the corroded battery cable and bolts and nuts. Also the engine hanging up and not turning could be it needs a valve adjustment or caused by bad battery connection. Whenever you start to melt battery cables it is generally caused by a bad connection. A bad connection causes heat. More heat than you think. Fix it before you melt it to the ground. .ie.. Fire.

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