Kubota Battery Basics

Ahhh yes, the battery. Really handy when it comes to starting your Kubota but after that just seems like its along for the ride. Still, it is important that we think about the battery every now and then to avoid a situation where we are 5 miles away, sun going down, wolves starting to come out… you know the drill. Let us look at some ways to make sure your battery is the best it can be.

Cold Cranking Amperes
The CCA rating, or cold cranking amperes, of your Kubota’s battery is a measure of its ability to deliver current at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) for 30 seconds – hence the reference to cold. We know that as the temperature decreases the efficiency of the battery decreases. This explains why the battery CCA rating is lower than its cranking amperes, or CA, rating measured at a warmer 32 degrees. Most cars have batteries around 500-600 CCA.

The engine in your Kubota is of high compression which means it takes a lot of muscle to get it going in the first place. We recommend at least a 850 CCA rated battery or even 1000 CCA if you live in a cooler climate. It is important to remember that even if the battery is fully charged and fresh, if it lacks the ability to deliver enough current to get that engine turning over your equipment will not start – especially on cold days.

A battery that we pulled during routine service. Although the battery was fully charged, the CCA rating here is 525 which is too low. Replacing the battery with one that offered higher CCAs will greatly decrease starting effort.

A battery that we pulled during routine service. Although the battery was fully charged, the CCA rating here is 525 which is too low. Replacing the battery with one that offered higher CCAs will greatly decrease starting effort.

Hold Down Bracket
Most of Kubota’s lineup ship from the factory with some sort of battery hold or tie mechanism. Usually it is just an angled bracket that holds the battery snug with a couple of long bolts. The purpose of this bracket is to reduce the amount of shock and vibration transferred to the battery during normal operation – and operating a tractor can be a bit rough sometimes.

A battery and hold down bracket.

A battery and hold down bracket.

The reason we want to reduce vibration to the battery is to prevent the parallel lead plates inside of the battery from colliding and destroying themselves. There are 6 cells in a standard battery. Each time a cell is destroyed expect a drop of 2.1V across the terminals – not good. Vibration is a quick way to destroy your new battery.

Does this mean you need to purchase an expensive anti vibration battery too? No. I do not think that the value is there for anti vibration batteries. Make use of your battery hold down bracket or get one if you have lost it and you are set.

Know Your Battery Terminals
Inspect your battery terminals. They should be free of chalky white corrosion and nice and snug on the battery posts. Make sure you have a solid ground connection to the frame. So far, easy right?

Comparison between old connectors that need replacement. The old connector had a crack all the way through its right side. This meant regardless of how tight the connector was closed around the post, a good connection would never be made.

Comparison between old connectors that need replacement. The old connector had a crack all the way through its right side. This meant regardless of how tight the connector was closed around the post, a good connection would never be made.

Something that is often overlooked is caused by the type of terminal connector itself. There are typically two types of battery terminal connectors:

  1. enclosed style – these have the terminal connector and wire lead as one piece
  2. clamp style – these sandwich the wire from the lead at the back of the connector

What can happen over time with enclosed connectors is the wire inside the sheath can wear and break at the base of the connector. Since everything is enclosed you cannot actually see that the wire is making poor contact with the end of the connector! You will pull your hair out testing everything else (battery, alternator, belts, regulator, etc) before you realize the base of the connector is at fault.

We prefer to use the open, clamp style connectors. It is plain and easy to see if the wire lead is making proper contact. Case closed.

Left - clamp-style connector. Right - enclosed-style connector where the wire can break at or inside the base of the connector leading to unexplainable electrical malfunction.

Left - clamp-style connector. Right - enclosed-style connector where the wire can break at or inside the base of the connector leading to unexplainable electrical malfunction.

Test the Voltage
As mentioned earlier, your Kubota’s battery has 6 cells in it producing 2.1V. When organized in series inside the battery the combined voltage is 12.6V. Take a volt meter across the terminals of your battery periodically and confirm that you are in the neighborhood.

Anything too far off 12.6V and start looking at the rest of your charging system to make sure everything is up to snuff. Unlike our road vehicles, when the battery is not being charged properly it can take months or even a year before that problem manifests itself as a failure to start. It simply takes that long to run the battery down when you do not have a radio, air conditioner or DVD player to power (with exception to the newer M and Grand L series of course!).

Using a volt meter to measure across the terminals. 12.5V reading here means this battery is well charged (but still not enough CCAs to be useful in our Kubota).

Using a volt meter to measure across the terminals. 12.5V reading here means this battery is well charged (but still not enough CCAs to be useful in our Kubota).

Battery Recommendation
Again, you do not need an expensive antishock battery here. We use Energizer batteries rated at 850+ CCA from WalMart. Others have had good luck with Exide or Allstate Mega-tron (sounds like a gun or something). All priced around $80-100 + battery disposal tax.

Summary
In short, some things you can do to make sure your battery is in good working order for when you need it:

  • use a battery rated at 850 CCA or higher
  • make use of the battery hold down bracket to prevent premature failure
  • make sure your battery terminals are clean and tight on the posts
  • use open, clamp-style terminals if you can opposed to enclosed terminals
  • periodically measure the voltage across the terminals – a properly charged battery should be around 12.6V

Having Other Problems?
Read through this article, checked your battery and starting to think it might be something else? We have segment coming up that looks a little deeper into your electrical and charging system. Stay tuned!

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