Old tractors and new electronics


Senior Member
Hello all,

May be a dumb series of questions, but I don't know what I don't know, lol.

My Tecumseh HH120 has the Delco/Remy starter/generator and voltage regulator, would modern electronics mesh with the older charging system?

I saw some replacement PAR 36 LED headlights and an LED rear light, but I know they will create issues with older vehicles. I tried new rear bulbs when I had my '01 tundra, the brake bulbs worked, but the tail/turn lights wouldn't work. I assume that was due to the flasher, but I'm not sure.

Let me preface the next part by saying I top my batteries off once a month with a NOCO Genius G7200 charger and do a "battery recovery" cycle at the beginning of spring and fall. I don't know if it helps, but the trolling motor battery in my boat is 7 years old and I stomp on it 12 hours a day.

How about modern AGM batteries? I know to charge them, you have to use a special mode on the charger. I kinda figured it should be fine since your charging similar to a vehicle but once again, I'm not sure.

On lead acid batteries, instead of going with a standard lawn/garden battery that doesn't seem to last more than 2-3 years, I have the room to put a group 26 automotive battery in it for about $5 more. I'd have to use different terminals, but that isn't a big deal. I wasn't sure if it would work the charging system harder trying to maintain a larger battery.

From what I've read about these older systems, preventive maintenance is the key, keeping things clean, lubricated, and properly adjusted.

I'm getting ready to do my first cleaning/adjusting on a voltage regulator thanks to Kenny for posting the service manual, I would've cleaned the contact points with emory cloth but luckily I read to NOT do that, so I ordered a set of riffler files.

I tore the starter/generator down, repacked the bearings, cleaned up the brushes, made sure they were adjusted properly, gave the whole inside a bath in contact cleaner and bench tested it. I thought it was junk at first, it sounded like it had a bad bearing, but after my service, it's about as quiet and smooth as I imagine it can be.

Also wanted to thank you all for making me feel welcome here and having a great site. I've been on forums that would rather run someone off than help them, I haven't seen that here.



I don't see any reason the LED lights would be a problem on your tractor. Electronic flasher relays and other electronics on modern vehicles often see LEDs as a bad lamp because they don't draw enough current. Something like that was probably the reason you had trouble on your Tundra.

As far as your batteries go - I generally get 10 years or more from a lawn tractor battery. I suggest you thoroughly check out your charging system and reconsider your battery maintenance program. All my batteries get is a bit of distilled water spring and fall (if they need it!) and hooked to a maintainer during storage. Otherwise the equipment charging system takes care of them.

The charging system won't care if you have a larger capacity battery. You can look at a battery as a bucket that stores electricity. If you use a gallon from the bucket the charging system needs to put a gallon back. It doesn't matter what size the bucket is.