Got a call from Neighbor D yesterday…

His tractor wouldn’t start, …


…and he was convinced that something cataclysmic had happened to the electrical system because when he tried to crank the starter there was a SNAP and everything went dark.

To mollify him I checked all the fuses – they were all fine – and then I checked the actual symptoms myself. Because sometimes the starter motor/starter solenoid can make some pretty serious sounding noises when there’s nothing wrong with the whole thing beyond a dead battery. And after a few mid-teens nights, a dead battery in an unheated barn wouldn’t surprise me at all. Plus I know that they principally use the tractor to move horse manure out to their far fenceline, and that’s not enough running time to keep a battery charged.

The battery was in fact dead. So…


Almost audibly repressing an “I told you so,” because I asked them when they ran water out to their barn why they didn’t do the same with electricity, we dusted two years’ worth of barn dust off his generator* which to my very great surprise started up with only a little extra prompting. And it turned out that the battery didn’t want to take a charge, so I’ll probably be going back later today to help him get it off the tractor so they can get a new one in town.

But at least it wasn’t anything serious. Bucket’s already full of horse poo.

—–
*And may I say that this particular Chinesium Champion generator is the proverbial exception that proves the rule: I hate the things but this one has run for going on 20 years, sometimes involved in serious construction work with long intervals of inactivity when it should have quietly died, and it has needed repair only three times: A starter rope, a carb overhaul, and a new voltage regulator. I know because I did all those things to it.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Got a call from Neighbor D yesterday…

  1. Tree Mike says:

    EVERY grade of reliability and quality comes out of China. Sometimes ya get the the good stuff.

  2. Robert says:

    Perhaps a good application for a solar panel?

    A friend has my Champion on long-term loan (OK, fine, I’m storing it at her place) with a tank of treated gas. After three years sitting unstarted, it lit right up with two or three pulls. Amazing.

  3. Mike says:

    Champion generators may be Chinesium, but the corporate headquarters are in Santa Fe. So the Chinese manufacturing facilities are forced to keep their quality control up to American standards or face losing the manufacturing contract.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A glass mat battery is more expensive but much more reliable than lead acid, especially in temperature extremes or intermittant use.

  5. Goober says:

    Chinese small engine stuff seems surprisingly good. I also have a champion gennie that appears to be immortal and impervious to all sorts of abuse. Their Predator series engines, which are a rip off of Honda and Yamaha models, are gaining a reputation for being pretty awesome.

To the stake with the heretic!