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KeysCapt
FAQ Master
join:2001-07-11
Carson City, NV
kudos:1

What's Killing my Batteries?

2008 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel, two batteries, 2500 miles. This truck sits a lot because I take my Harley to work every day. After about three days, the truck is stone, and I mean stone dead. Even the locks won't work, both batteries are totally dead. Charging them brings them back, with no apparent damage. The question is, what's eating them? Three days doesn't seem like a very long time to me. I thought maybe the audio receiver might be doing it, but maybe the more informed here have a better idea.

Ideas?


tcope
Premium
join:2003-05-07
Sandy, UT
kudos:2

1 recommendation

First, if the battery goes below 10 volts (the point where it won't start the engine) it _is_ incurring damage. Cranking batteries are not designed to loose charge and be charged back up.

Here is how you can test the system:

»www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic···ry-Drain

Also, look into buying a float charger and leaving it on the battery. This is what I do on my truck which sits for weeks on end. Harbor Freight sells them for $7. They don't charge the battery... only maintain the charge (I think they put out about 1 amp).


sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6
reply to KeysCapt

Three days and dead as a door nail sounds like something is screwy but I am the last one that should be replying here as I don't have a clue. But with that said, do you have any aftermarket installed gadgets that could be causing the drain? A remote start for example that is acting up?



KeysCapt
FAQ Master
join:2001-07-11
Carson City, NV
kudos:1

Thanks to both for your replies. tcope See Profile, I wasn't aware that there was a potential for damage due to charging ... one more reason I ask these things here. Thanks.

There are no aftermarket add-ons that use power, other than the audio unit. I think maybe a trip to my local dodge dealer might be in order.



Grumpy
Premium
join:2001-07-28
NW CT
Reviews:
·Comcast
·AT&T Yahoo
·Callcentric

4 edits
reply to KeysCapt

I would question the glove box lamp, and an under hood lamp, if it has one.
Be careful you don't pinch your nose trying to find out.
The interior lighting circuitry in some late model vehicles is fairly whiz bang, ( old people talk) with the dimming and delayed off features. I wonder if the lamps go down to a trickle only, as a result of a faulty whiz bang controller.

Any glow plugs?

If none of that helps, it might be the grill paint

Seriously though, I wonder if anything got nudged during the grill removal, like a hood light switch?


sailor
Premium
join:2003-10-21
Long Island
kudos:6

1 edit
reply to KeysCapt

Don't know if this will be helpful to you or not.

»www.justanswer.com/questions/15b···-cummins

»dodgetruckworld.tenmagazines.com···d=288233



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18
reply to KeysCapt

Draining a lead acid battery below 10.5 Volts does permanent damage to them.

»www.phoenixchargers.com/Benefits.html

quote:
4. At what voltage is a battery ‘dead’?

· It’s important to understand that, although batteries are described as 12-volt, in reality a fully charged battery measures 12.6 volts after 24 hours of rest. A battery with a voltage of about 12.2 volt is only 50% charged and one reading 11.7 volts is, to all intents and purposes, fully discharged or dead.

6. Do I need to completely discharge my lead acid battery before recharging it?

· No, in fact you should never discharge your lead acid battery below 80% of its rated capacity. Discharging below 10.5 volts can damage the battery and cause the battery to die.
You may have a parasitic drain somewhere.

Reading this may help.

downloadAutomobile E···stem.pdf 30424 bytes
Automobile Electrics - The Battery & Starting System

--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


THUD300
Part Of A Complete Breakfast
Premium
join:2002-06-07
Decatur, IL
reply to KeysCapt

Your warranty should cover diagnosis and repair of an electrical drain, provided the cause is not found to be something added to the vehicle.

Sapping two big batteries, must be a healthy drain.
--
Illinois: where the governors make the license plates!


Langning
Premium
join:2003-04-28
Marlborough, MA
reply to KeysCapt

Can someone hook up an amp meter and pull out the fuse one by one and watch for current flow?



aurgathor

join:2002-12-01
Lynnwood, WA
kudos:1

Well, this is exactly what I wanted to post.
--
And the winner is:



Doctor Olds
I Need A Remedy For What's Ailing Me.
Premium,VIP
join:2001-04-19
1970 442 W30
kudos:18

1 edit

You can post this next time. That was the first reply by tcope See Profile

How to Find a Parasitic Battery Drain
»www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic···ry-Drain

quote:
When your car battery goes dead overnight, usually either the battery is at the end of its life span, or you left something on, such as a light. Occasionally something is drawing power that’s not of your doing. This is a parasitic draw, and it can cause the same result as leaving the headlights on: a dead battery in the morning.
--
What’s the point of owning a supercar if you can’t scare yourself stupid from time to time?


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to KeysCapt

My 2006 Grand Cherokee has an "IOD" (Ignition Off Draw) fuse that it recommends pulling if you're going to be leaving the car sit idle for more than a couple of weeks. It might be worthwhile for you to see if your truck has one, and pull it when you're not driving it until you get the problem fixed.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.



KeysCapt
FAQ Master
join:2001-07-11
Carson City, NV
kudos:1

1 edit

Thanks to everyone for some great posts and info. I'm still following up on this. I can't locate any lamps on, including the under-hood one ... I check when it's very dark out. However, I agree there has to be some current drain somewhere. I just don't see any visual indications.

I like the current-draw test ... but I do beleive I'll let the dealer take a shot at that. I agree it should be a warranty thing, I just have to get it to the dealer.

Glow plugs ... yeah, the truck has glow plugs. No clue how to troubleshoot that, but I would think a constant-on situation would kill one before too long.

I charged the batteries for about six hours each, started the truck and drove it for about a half hour with two shut-offs. No problem, except the check-engine light is on, and that's "normal" until the batteries are at full charge, at least going by past experience. But I've had a "battery tender" on one of the batteries for almost 24 hours now, and it's still indicating charge. These things are supposed to go into 'maintenance' mode after the battery is 80% charged.

The Jeep storage info is good. I'll be looking to see if there is something similar for this truck.

Thanks all!

Edit: Doctor Olds See Profile, the wiki link was good, and I'm comfortable with meters, but the two-battery issue makes that process a little difficult, as does the risk to the PCM. I think I'll let the dealer handle this.



KeysCapt
FAQ Master
join:2001-07-11
Carson City, NV
kudos:1
reply to sailor

Thanks for those links too. Interesting, no help, but appreciated anyway.

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to KeysCapt

A friend of mine had a similar problem with his Ford LTD quite a few years ago. Went through the same routine, keeping the battery float charged, etc.

He finally found the cause to be a shorted relay that energizes the A/C clutch when the vehicle is turned off in an effort to stop dieseling.

I would start by measuring the current going through the various fuses. If one seems to have a "high" current going through it when everything is off (I would rate "high" as anything over 0.2 A), that's where to start. Even suspect the alternator, as a defective voltage regulator or bad rectifier can sap battery power when the vehicle is off.

When you drain the battery that deep, and not recharged quickly, sulphurfication occurs on the plates, and chances are you cannot reverse it. Instantaneous available current and reserve capacity die.



McSummation
Mmmm, Zeebas Are Tastee.
Premium,MVM
join:2003-08-13
Fort Worth, TX
kudos:2
reply to KeysCapt

said by KeysCapt:

Edit: Doctor Olds See Profile, the wiki link was good, and I'm comfortable with meters, but the two-battery issue makes that process a little difficult, as does the risk to the PCM. I think I'll let the dealer handle this.
Just disconnect the "off side" battery and do the testing. "Off side" being the one that is only connected to the other battery. On my Chevy, that's the one on the driver side, don't know about your Dodge.


KeysCapt
FAQ Master
join:2001-07-11
Carson City, NV
kudos:1

I'll try that, thanks.


vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
reply to KeysCapt

Woah! Just reread the first line. 2008??? That little puppy is still under warranty!!



koma3504
Advocate
Premium
join:2004-06-22
North Richland Hills, TX

1 edit
reply to KeysCapt

Could be that the alternator is over charging.
with it running at idle put meter leads on each battery and see what the voltage is. shouldnt be above say 14 volts.

which would be causing a dead cell in the batteries.

another test would be to take the batterys out and charge them fully let them sit on a block of wood for a couple of days and see if they still lose their voltage. If so they have dead cells in them.