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Old 11-24-2012, 11:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
BIF1
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Help! Battery being drained periodically, can't figure it out

I need help, auto electric issues are like black magic to me. I'm not sure if I'm even describing the issue correctly in the title, but here's a rundown of what's happening with my truck.
  • Going back 9 months ago or even longer, at a frequency of about every 3-6 weeks, I would get in the truck and the clock would be off and radio on different station.
  • About 4-6 months ago, it would continue to do above at the same frequency, but in addition to that, and usually about a week later, it wouldn't start and I would have to throw the charger or jump it to get it started.
  • About 1-2 months ago, the frequency of the clock being off and followed shortly by what seemed like dead batteries, increased to about once every week, where the frequency is currently, but sometimes can be up to 2 times per week.
Here are some observations or things that have happened in the last 2 weeks;
  • When it did the dead battery/no start thing 2 weeks ago (click-click-click-click) I turned the key back off and then tried it one more time, and it fired right up. Made me wonder if its not the batteries at all, but something else like the ignition switch or starter issues? However, I've tried that trick again and it only worked that time.
  • A week ago when it wouldn't start the CEL came on and my code reader indicated it was a P0674- Glow Plug 4 Control Circuit.
  • A couple days ago it wouldn't start, I tested the voltage of the batteries, they were both at 12.5-12.6. Isn't that normal? However, I put the charger on the high amp setting and it fired up.
Questions;
  1. Does it sound like battery issues? Why do they have 12.5 volts, but won't start? But then again it starts when you "charge" them?
  2. Could it be a poor connection somewhere- ground, battery terminals, etc? If this is the case though, why does charging or jumping work? Poor connection should be poor connection no matter the voltage, right?
  3. Could it be ignition switch, starter issue?
  4. Could it be relocated the Glow Plug CEL?
Thanks!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
heymccall
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Dude, the batteries are sulphated (ie...past their service life).

My electronic (capacitance/ high frequency) battery tester will show how many CCA's are left in each battery. Shirley, someone in your neck of the woods has a "non old-school" battery tester. Most, if not all, auto parts stores do.

The more times a battery is drawn below normal, the shorter it's service life. And each time, it loses a little more capacity.

BTW, I like the consistent performance from DEKA batteries, and the extended service life that I receive from them.

Search DEKA on here for plenty more on batteries.
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
diesail
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There is voltage and there is capacity. You can take 8 AAA batteries and make 12 volts, but sure won't start your truck! As a battery gets old it looses capacity and likely they are shot. If in doubt, give them a full charge and have them capacity tested. And yes, a weak battery could explain all your symtoms, but so could a poor connections. The batteries would be the first place to start though.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
BIF1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heymccall View Post
Dude, the batteries are sulphated (ie...past their service life).

My electronic (capacitance/ high frequency) battery tester will show how many CCA's are left in each battery. Shirley, someone in your neck of the woods has a "non old-school" battery tester. Most, if not all, auto parts stores do.

The more times a battery is drawn below normal, the shorter it's service life. And each time, it loses a little more capacity.

BTW, I like the consistent performance from DEKA batteries, and the extended service life that I receive from them.

Search DEKA on here for plenty more on batteries.
Hmmm.......... seeing how the batteries are only 20 months old, that would indicate an incredibly $hitty service life (Les Schwab X-treme batteries, 1000 CCC). Based on their age and the fact it turned over once, after being seemingly dead, I've been reluctant to think it was the batteries.

I thought I had the latest/greatest Black and Decker Smart Charger with all the bells and whistles, but it doesn't test capacity. I'll have to call the local auto parts store and see if their's does.
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EFI Live tune by Idaho Rob with DPS5 switch
Nicktane OEM adaptor w/Cat 2micron, Nicktane secondary fuel filter w/Cat 2micron,
Pareto Top Dog oil bypass filter,
PPE Airbox mod
Kennedy twin lift pumps,
EGR blocker
Tony's PCV re-route,
Amsoil fluids
Cognito UCAs, Fox 2.0 shocks, Cognito steering braces, Cognito tie rods, limit straps, NAPA upper & lower ball joints, Energy Suspension LCA bushings, 1" blocks in rear, Sulastic Shackles
KMC XD black 18x9 4.71"bs Ambush wheels w/Nitto Trail Grapplers 285/65/18

Last edited by BIF1; 11-24-2012 at 01:58 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
diesail
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It could easily be a loose / corroded cable as well. Batteries are always the first place to look, but both will give you the same symptoms
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Take em to auto zone. They'll test your batteries and your alternator for free.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You mention 1000 CCC batteries.....should that be cold cranking amps?

I tend to like the smaller capacity ( 680 CCA) batteries. The plates are thicker and stand up to the vibration better.

And as said above, one bad draw down can be the end.

Also, fully charged, and idle over night, the voltage should still be about 12.8 volts, and stay above 10.5 cranking, and come up to 14.3 charging. In cold sub zero weather the charge voltage should peak about 14.8. If that doesn't fully charge the batteries according to a hydrometer test, something has to be fixed. From my read of your OP, it sounds more like a bad/corroded/burnt connection between the batteries, starter, and/or alternator. You may have a periodic drain that may be part of a bad connection.
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Old 11-25-2012, 12:51 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIF1 View Post
When it did the dead battery/no start thing 2 weeks ago (click-click-click-click) I turned the key back off and then tried it one more time, and it fired right up. Made me wonder if its not the batteries at all, but something else like the ignition switch or starter issues? However, I've tried that trick again and it only worked that time.
  • A couple days ago it wouldn't start, I tested the voltage of the batteries, they were both at 12.5-12.6. Isn't that normal? However, I put the charger on the high amp setting and it fired up.
this sounds like bad connections or grounds
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
BIF1
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I still need your help, but a little update.

I don't know if its correct statement to say that the batteries are dead, but in any case just about every day now, the truck does the "click-click-click" thing and won't start. That's if the engine is cold, if I've driven it recently (within the last couple hours) it starts.

I have however been able to get it to start either by continually trying, or as in today I popped the hood and wiggled the positive terminal connection on the driver's side battery, and it started. In either case this has made me feel pretty sure its a connection or cable issue, not the batteries!

However..........today I also finally got around to taking it to O'Reilly Auto and having them put their tester on it. Kid puts his tester on each battery and his tester tells him each battery is bad. I confirm what he's testing and he says the tester puts a load on the battery then tests. He says they are shot.

So now I am thoroughly confused. On one hand I'm able to get the truck started by continually cranking on it or jiggling the cable, which makes me think its not a battery issue, and on the other hand a load tester is telling me they are shot. Suggestions?!
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EFI Live tune by Idaho Rob with DPS5 switch
Nicktane OEM adaptor w/Cat 2micron, Nicktane secondary fuel filter w/Cat 2micron,
Pareto Top Dog oil bypass filter,
PPE Airbox mod
Kennedy twin lift pumps,
EGR blocker
Tony's PCV re-route,
Amsoil fluids
Cognito UCAs, Fox 2.0 shocks, Cognito steering braces, Cognito tie rods, limit straps, NAPA upper & lower ball joints, Energy Suspension LCA bushings, 1" blocks in rear, Sulastic Shackles
KMC XD black 18x9 4.71"bs Ambush wheels w/Nitto Trail Grapplers 285/65/18
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
diesail
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Have you checked the voltages as I suggested?
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