Battery Problems

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May 26, 2013
Thunder Bay, ON
Hey guys, my less than a year old battery died while I was out of town for a couple weeks and the truck was left sitting in the cold. I got a jump start, and everything was fine for a couple days, until I couldn't plug in the block heater one night, and the truck wouldn't start in the morning. Got a jump start, drove home, and checked the voltage... 11.3 volts with the engine off, 14.5 with it running. I gather from the 14.5 that it's not an alternator issue. My negative battery cable is extremely corroded (the cable, not the terminal connector, which I replaced with the battery last spring) Could a corroded negative cable somehow cause the battery not to charge, due to resistance? Could the corroded cable have caused the battery to fail in under a year? The battery this one replaced appeared to be the factory original form '98 so far the Die Hard isn't looking so good. I think I should probably swap out the cable regardless, and now this is going to sound like a lazy question, but it's currently -30 outside, and I don't have a garage to work in. Where does the negative cable ground to, aside from the fender. I assume it grounds to the engine block somewhere, but couldn't see. Do I need to get under the truck to access it? I really need a garage, laying in the snow is not fun.
Sounds like you may have a parasitic draw. Put a meter in series on the positive terminal with the LC off and see if you have a current draw. Make sure all your interior lights are turned off and any accessories.
I'm pretty sure a bad ground will prevent or decrease the charging rate. The charging circuit is just that- a circuit. A failure of any component in the circuit will reduce or prevent charging.
For sure replace the corroded battery cable. That can greatly diminish or stop charging, depending on how bad it is. I suspect many battery/electrical issues stem from corroded cables or connections. The good news is the negative cable runs to the rear of the engine on top, so you won't need to get down in the snow. The bad news is the negative cable runs to the back of the engine and is hard to get to. The end of the wire loom carrying both the + and - cables terminates in a yellow plastic covered connector I didn't take that off (really hard to get to and visible only with a mirror) to find the actual ground point, but it will be back there somewhere. Got a friend/neighbor/relative with a garage? Lastly, it's possible that new battery went bad. I had a Diehard Platinum Marine 31 die easy within a few months and at least one other Mud member had the same thing happen.
Thanks for all the info guys. Of course this all had to happen on a long weekend when nothing is open. I'll pick up a new cable and battery tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. Couldn't even jump it today, the battery was so dead.
So, I installed a new battery yesterday, but haven't replaced the ground cable yet. Today I was reading 12.4 volts, I wish I'd checked it yesterday when I installed it, to see if it came fully charged. I tested for drain and I'm reading 0.07 amps. It seems like most people on mud say 0.05 is normal, so I'm a bit high, but that wouldn't be enough to drain a battery, would it? It is -40 out, but still... Also, since putting the new battery in, the truck sounds like she's going to explode when I start her. It takes about 20-30 seconds to smooth out. Would that be an ECU thing from having the battery disconnected?
Yah I believe if you are right about the ECU relearning. So is that -40 C or F, seeing as you are from Canadia? 12.4 V isn't that bad.
Damn! So supposedly at -30 C your battery will only have 40% of its charge capacity available. So if it was a weak battery due to age or what not, it won't have enough amps to start the truck.

Have you looked at getting a battery tender? That way you can hook it up overnight to top off the battery.

If you do a search you can find some of the ones people have had success with. Off the top of my head, Noco is a good brand.

Some of the 80's guys rigged up this quick disconnect using Anderson Power Poles. Which I bought but haven't had time to hook up. Will try and find the thread and link it.
Oh wow, the power pole disconnect is a great idea. I'll try to find that thread. Fingers crossed my old battery just didn't have the guts for this weather, and the new one will be okay. Definitely going to change the negative cable as soon as I can borrow a garage; hopefully this weekend. Also, I guess I'll just need to see if the rough starts smooth out once the ECU adjusts. Incidentally, the shop exchanged my Diehard gold group 24 with a Diehard Heavy Duty Farm and Tractor group 27. Anyone ever heard of these? I can't find anything on google. Looks like it's a bit more old school, like you can open it up to top it off. Can't find anything on google.
Get a CTEK you wont regret it, I have used it many times in the past..... If you leave town for periods of time, you don't have to worry about disconnecting when finished charging, they have accessories that you install directly to the battery, so when you get home, just plug the charger, just like an electric car. CTEK has proprietary technology that no other charger has..... They also have the Polar which is rated to work -25 degrees F...

Good luck!!!!

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