HF2417 Honda Riding Mower electrical problem


Forum Newbie
May 15, 2020
Honda HF2417K2 HME year 2012
I suspect the trouble began with a battery charging issue which grew to involve the starting system. Complicating the picture is the fact that the battery was removed for the winter, but not left on a trickle charger.
After charging, the battery cranked strong enough to start the mower. After about two hours of moving, the engine died with no warning lights. The battery was dead. After charging, it did not develop enough power to crank the engine.
New battery with 28AH instead of 24. Started up and ran until the 4th time I stopped it in about 90 minutes. 5 minutes later, it would not crank at all. Charged the new battery, no crank. Put a 160AH 12v forklift battery on it. No crank. I hear relay click when the key is turned to the on position, but nothing happens when going from on to start.

Who ever took the original battery out may have disconnected a small black wire, with a white connection on one end, attached to the battery negative leads. Any idea where this cable is supposed to attach and could it explain what has happened so far? If the regulator failed, would that explain these symptoms?

Lastly, how can I put the tractor in neutral for towing? We had to pull it out of a field very slowly because it would not free-wheel.