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Hard/ No Start Problem


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Hey all. I have been poking around different threads asking questions but I figured this is a big enough problem that I should start my own.

 

Over the last month or so I have been having a problem with my batteries running dead in short amounts of time. I blamed it on the cold and put 2 brand new 850 CCA batteries in and changed out the alternator after having the light come on multiple times for it. I was having fuel gel issues and left it parked overnight (the block heater WAS plugged in) and came back the next day, batteries were to low to crank over. I know for a fact the block heater is working correctly, block stays nice and warm in the -30 weather we have.

 

I checked for amperage drawing on the batteries when the truck is off and at most there is only a .15 amp draw. Not enough to bring 2 batteries down over night. Just sitting, both batteries showed about 12.4 volts.

 

The other weird part is even plugged in all night, the grids still run every time. Should they run at all if the truck was plugged in?

 

The only thing I can think of is either the grids are pulling way to much power, my starter is drawing to much power, or maybe I have a faulty battery.

 

I am going to have the batteries load tested this week if I can get it to a shop.

 

Please help!! Any suggestion is wanted. This is our only vehicle and I dont have the means to work on it right now because of the cold and no where to get it inside for free.

 

:ahhh: :ahhh: :ahhh: :ahhh: :ahhh: :ahhh: :banghead: :banghead:

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I had this problem with my first gen. The starter was shorting out and pulling the one good battery down in one single attempt to start it.

 

I hooked up the second gen with jumper cables and in one try it pulled both those batteries almost all the way down also. I stopped trying and went and bought a rebuilt starter. It's been fine ever since.

 

I imagine it's something about the starter contacts going out. I think that's why Larry B's special starter contacts for our Dodges are selling for him. It's a mod some guys are doing even before the problem comes up.

 

I hope this helps :)

Edited by JAG1
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My wait to start light wont come on when i have the truck plugged in. My coolant temp is usually 50+ degrees warmer than ambient temp.

 

Any reason why you think mine would still want to come on? They come on like I dont even have the truck plugged in. I double checked that the block heater was still working. Radiator hoses are all nice and warm.

 

 

I had this problem with my first gen. The starter was shorting out and pulling the one good battery down in one single attempt to start it.

 

I hooked up the second gen with jumper cables and in one try it pulled both those batteries almost all the way down also. I stopped trying and went and bought a rebuilt starter. It's been fine ever since.

Apart from actually measuring the amperage the starter is drawing, is there any other way you could tell you had a problem? I am very limited in what I can do outside right now.

 

Thanks so much for the quick replies guys. Very much appreciated.

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What happens when the truck has been running and up to temp? The easiest thing to do is have the batteries load tested again. Any auto parts store can do it for you. I just bought a new battery for the VW Beetle, got it all installed, went to crank it and it was flat out dead. I put my voltmeter on it and it was showing a little low (about 11.8 volts) but as soon as I had someone hit the key it flat lined my meter. Took it back to the store and they load tested it and it was flat shorted. I made them load test the new one before it left the counter, installing a battery in a TDI Beetle is not a fun job.

If they check out fine then connections and cables would be my next suspect. I am planning on changing mine out when the weather breaks just to be proactive. 16 years of high load cranking, salt, and humidity is probably starting to ask alot out of a set of cables.

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I am going to get them load tested this week. Maybe one of them is shorted out. Thanks again so much for the help. If they check out I will start looking at replacing the starter.

 

This wouldnt be so bad if this wasnt my only vehicle haha! Guess I will have to borrow a work truck for a couple days.

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The wait to start light comes on on my truck when plugged in, but only for a few seconds. What would happen if you unplugged one of the small wires on the solenoids for the grid heaters, besides the heaters not coming on. Would it set a DTC?

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I can have mine plugged in inside my garage and the grids cycle for a second or 2 depending on how cold it is but if it sits outside plugged in same conditions with wind blowing they will come on like a normal cold start with a longer cycle interval.

 

Double check the batteries, if they test good then as posted above do an amp draw test on the starter and battery cables for corrosion migrating inside the insulation.

 

You stated batteries were to low to turn it over..............what was the voltage and what does it do when trying to start it specifically, just click, or clunk like as in starter drive engages but engine doesn't turn over or does it turn over but just really slow?

 

Things like this really help in narrowing it down.

Edited by Wild and Free
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This is just going by the gauge in the dash...

 

I just unhooked one of the big cables going to the grids for now, dont really care if it throws a light. Before cranking the gauge shows 12 volts. It does crank very slowly at first. After it turns over about 3-4 times it wont crank anymore. With each crank, the voltmeter in the dash drops about an 1/4 of the gauge. When it gets to 0 volts, thats when it doesnt crank anymore. It does not matter if I cycle the grids or if I have them completely unhooked, it cranks over the same amount of times and stops.

 

Because of that, I am leaning toward a starter problem but not going to throw one at it until I know for sure. I will load test the batteries at my store this week and get a hold of an amp clamp to test the starter draw.

 

I am not concerned about the grids cycling then if others do as well. Whenever I test the starter draw, I will test the grid draw as well to make sure they aren't drawing to much.

 

Hope this helps explain things..

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Sounds like a Battery issue to me, If the batteries were good it should turn over for a while even if it is that cold and plugged in. If it was a starter issue it would turn over really slow for a longer period of time.

Try to unhook the negative on both batts when you park at night just as a simple check for parasitic draws if you know they are charged up good.

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If you have an auto parts near you, like an O'reilly's, they can load test and test all of your electrical by just hooking it up to your battery. They will do it for free. I would start there with it. Chances are, they could tell you whats wrong just from that.

 

Also, just my .02 cents here, but with the truck plugged in, and seeing those temps, I bet the grids would still cycle. The lowest the temp can be for the grids NOT to cylce is 66 degrees. 65 and colder, those grids will cycle. Yes, if you were to say plug your truck in at 65 degrees then I'm sure the grids would not cycle. But you are in sub zero temps!

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are your battery lugs making good contact? ohm meter the terminal to the lug to be sure. one of my lugs on the passenger side is a bit worn out and makes poor contact every so often causing the exact same problems you are having.

This was one of the first things I had checked. I ohm tested everything while I wiggled the cables real good and never lost a connection anywhere.

 

I will pull the batteries when it gets a bit warmer this week and make sure they have a good charge. Then I will load test them and see where we stand.

 

Thanks all for the help. This has been driving me nuts.

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I have an idea. Disconnect the right battery and charge the left one. Plugged in it should be enough to crank it over (hopefullly). If it won't, charge the right battey and try it on just that one. You may be able to tell which battery it is like that.

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Any reason why you think mine would still want to come on? They come on like I dont even have the truck plugged in. I double checked that the block heater was still working. Radiator hoses are all nice and warm.

 

 

Apart from actually measuring the amperage the starter is drawing, is there any other way you could tell you had a problem? I am very limited in what I can do outside right now.

 

Thanks so much for the quick replies guys. Very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

I somehow sensed this was the problem since the starter has the highest amp draw anyways.... I figured it was shorting out/ sucking the batterie(s) dry in a split second of trying to start the truck.

Edited by JAG1
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I somehow sensed this was the problem since the starter has the highest amp draw anyways.... I figured it was shorting out/ sucking the batterie(s) dry in a split second of trying to start the truck.

I would think if it sucked the batteries down that quick it would have showed itself by way of smoke.

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