Lawn mower won't even turn over
I have an orange Ariens riding lawn mower (doesn't have a serial number on it) with a twin 16hp engine that I mistakenly bought used from someone. I've since bought a new riding lawn mower (craftsman) but would like to diagnose the one that's not working.
Although the battery is holding over 12 volts and even holds up under load, when I turn the key, absolutely, positively NOTHING happens! It's as if I didn't turn the key.
While initially getting used to the mower, I was turning the key and the engine was turning over, but not starting (that was because I didn't have the choke pulled out enough). However, it seemed to start losing power (the cranking was getting weaker), then it stopped altogether. At that point, the battery was down to 11.5 volts or so, which is more than enough to at least hear the engine cranking.
Anyway, I charged the battery and was able to get it cranked and running again. However, it now won't start (again, won't even crank) even though the battery is reading 12.2 volts. 12.2 volts and I don't even hear the engine cranking? Nothing???
It doesn't seem like I need to even look at the spark plugs because it's not a problem getting the fuel to ignite. Even with zero gas, I'd at least hear the engine crank. I'm convinced that me charging the battery had nothing to do with me getting it to work at one point. Maybe I have a short somewhere? Anyway, any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.