I need hints...electrical gremlin...grrrr!
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Thread: I need hints...electrical gremlin...grrrr!

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Display Name: Randy

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    I need hints...electrical gremlin...grrrr!

    As many know I had the center of my 318 taken apart enough to change the fuel lines from the tank to the carb. I found one wire in one of the connects was loose so I pushed it in until it was solid with tension against pulling back out (I know that much about connectors). I looked for any more issues I may have cause and saw none so I put the battery tray in and finished the assembly to go for a test ride. But before i left I decided to use compressed air to blow out the inner frame rails and around the front of the engine and whatever I could get under the engine tins. Then I went for a ride. At some point the battery light came on.

    I made a copy of the electrical schematic and although I can read them I don't always fully understand why some things are the way they are.

    My tractor has all safeties disabled (jumpered), per my wishes. I did those years ago. (I'm one of those weirdo's that believes safety is a personal responsibility -as much as humanly possible anyway-, not a companies, or something to be mandated by the government).

    Anyway, all that aside... under the fender pan I found the rear lights common ground and placed it where the pan bolt would hold it, (I don't think that's the issue), other than that I can't see what I moved that might cause the battery light to come on.

    Any ideas? Never had a problem before...everything has always worked, including the rear lights.

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  3. #2
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    Display Name: Kelvin Gebhard
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    If it is a single wire connector more than likely it is either

    • the wire from pto switch to the front pto. My 83 318 had the connector in front of the oil filter between engine and right side frame.
      Mine is full of greasy gunk. Will clean it out with brake cleaner and compressed air. Connector can be released with a small electrical screwdriver press in above the connector spade.
      (Spade releases from larger end of connector ... screwdriver goes in opposite the bump on the connector and above the wire.
    • Lights use similar single connector but is located above and forward of engine in hood. Follow headlight wire back and you will find it.

    Neither of these however should cause dash light to illuminate. However with safety switches bypassed anything can happen. I recommend they be reconnected.

    Photos would really help us. Can you give us a photo of the connector you had issues with.
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  4. #3
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    Display Name: Chuck Van Dusen
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    Randy,

    Like Gabby, I also recommend that the safety interlocks be restored to factory condition...and it will help us verify that no other unintended hacks to the harness have crept into the equation. I don't like overzealous lawyer intrusion to machine design as much as the next fellow -- but at the same time I am not inclined to try to hack around the safeties on any of my firearms either.

    If you can, try to measure the voltage at the battery at idle and at full governed speed...just to verify the health of your charging system. The charge indication lamp is driven by a function inside the TDCM, so a poor ground at that module can cause the sorts of symptoms you describe.

    Here is the theory of how the charge indication on the 318 works -- note that it is a voltage level indicator and not a measure of current:
    charging circuit operation.jpg

    I highlighted the relevant section in this excerpt --
    charge light for Onan engines.jpg

    Chuck

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  6. #4
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    Thanks guys! I think that maybe both these things may have happened. I may have blown oily grunge into someplace it wasn't supposed to be. I also may have run the battery down. Easiest first is charge the battery. Then work from there. I was only running the engine at about 1/3 throttle on my jaunt around the field.

    As for the safeties. Never! They haven't caused an issue in five years, it would be too coincidental for them to cause any issues now.

    Chuck, I bypassed the safeties on one of my pistols but it's my test gun for working up odd 9mm loads. I rarely shoot it however. I have too many others I like shooting more, and they are too pricey for me to change them too drastically.
    Last edited by Randy-IA; 06-26-2020 at 10:20 PM.

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    Some of the more common issues I have found or read about are connections to the self resetting circuit breaker, starter switch, (I had a new OEM with a loose terminal) connections the the voltage regulator. Besides the wire going to the TDCM I think that is about all in that particular circuit. A service manual can tell you how to check the VR. I can never remember but the ac is checked on two outside connectors but what I cannot remember is do you measure this unplugged or connected. I do know you want to measure this at WOT with meter set to AC. DC volts come from center lug and plugged in it should read battery voltage plus what is coming from the VR, in other words at least 13.7VDC WOT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy-IA View Post
    Thanks guys! I think that maybe both these things may have happened. I may have blown oily grunge into someplace it wasn't supposed to be. I also may have run the battery down. Easiest first is charge the battery. Then work from there. I was only running the engine at about 1/3 throttle on my jaunt around the field.

    As for the safeties. Never! They haven't caused an issue in five years, it would be too coincidental for them to cause any issues now.

    Chuck, I bypassed the safeties on one of my pistols but it's my test gun for working up odd 9mm loads. I rarely shoot it however. I have too many others I like shooting more, and they are too pricey for me to change them too drastically.
    Your specified alternator output is usually at wide open throttle - mowing at 1/3 throttle would most likely drain your battery little by little because of the load from the clutch.

    What you do with safeties in the privacy of your own home is up to you. Although they don't have much to do with your charging circuit, I would check the jumper continuity every so often - corrosion and vibration have an impact on anything moveable and with good jumpers, you have in fact removed doubt whether the switches work or not.

  9. #7
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    Display Name: Chuck Van Dusen
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    Randy,

    Since your 318 is air cooled, it is important to run it at full governed speed when under load. I think your post above about your "jaunt" was not under any load other than moving the machine under its own power, so that is not nearly as critical to engine speed. I am sure CaptPete is thinking of this information from the operator's manual in his post directly above when speaking of wide open throttle...

    318 throttle recommendations from Deere.JPG

    Chuck

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    The air-cooled Onans and Kohlers in our GTs should be run at Fast Idle/WOT when working, mowing/tilling/etc., so the engine can cool itself. If everything is good with air flow on your 318, run the throttle up, tractor in N, and stand in front of the grille. You won't stay there for long because of the hot air exhaust. Down here in hot, humid NE Tejas I run my 212 with the right side panel off to keep the manual PTO cool in the summer months. It simply gets too hot with that panel on and the PTO get finicky about disengaging...even if it's been serviced to the T lately. From about November through May I can run it with the right side panel on if I want...but off it comes for the summer months.

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    Display Name: Jake M

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    I'm going to agree and second a couple of above posts.

    Air cooled engines should be at high RPM if they're working at all. The crankshaft essentially is the fan. They don't want to work with no fan.

    The charging system is also dependent on crankshaft RPM. At one third off of idle, the charging system is not able to make even a fraction of it's rated output. With the PTO turned on, that probably dragged the stabilized voltage down WELL below the set point for the charging light driver.

    Charge the battery, let it rest overnight, and take the tractor for another test burn with the engine speed up, and if you still have an issue, diagnose it from there.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jake M View Post
    I'm going to agree and second a couple of above posts.

    Air cooled engines should be at high RPM if they're working at all. The crankshaft essentially is the fan. They don't want to work with no fan.

    The charging system is also dependent on crankshaft RPM. At one third off of idle, the charging system is not able to make even a fraction of it's rated output. With the PTO turned on, that probably dragged the stabilized voltage down WELL below the set point for the charging light driver.

    Charge the battery, let it rest overnight, and take the tractor for another test burn with the engine speed up, and if you still have an issue, diagnose it from there.
    That sounds like the plan. I had the charger on the battery today since it was only at 80%. I just turned the charger to 'recondition' and will leave that on for as long as it takes or until I get outside tomorrow. I still have to sharpen the blades and put the deck back on anyway, if it's not healthy after at least 12 hours then I need a new battery I guess. It was at a full 100% charge when I switched 'recondition' on though. But a prolonged low amp soak shouldn't hurt it.

    I haven't had any electrical issues at all until I took everything apart, that's why I hate taking this stuff apart if it ain't broke.

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