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My craftsman riding mower will not attempt to crank.

Convinced myself it was the starter but a new one made no difference.

What is puzzling is that when I hook up a voltmeter to the battery and try to start, the voltage across the battery drops to about 5 volt from a non start value of about 12.5v, which seems to indicate current flowing somewhwere but the starter motor does not turn over.

The battery is fairly new and holds its charge well stays at 12.4v to 13.2v forever, it's only about 1 year old.
 

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Welcome to the forum prestoaa! :)

I would take the battery to an auto parts place and have them load test it. That kind of a current draw normally would cause something, wires, solenoid coil or starter windings to heat up real quick.

Have you tried jump starting it?

Can you turn the engine by hand?

Edit: Also make sure your connections on the battery are clean. Be sure to take your voltage measurement on the actual lugs of the battery and not the bolts or wire connectors.
 
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