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Old 06-05-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Battery Problems

I have a 2005 PSD 6.0 SMB that is having battery problems. I don't have any house batteries. I've replaced the 2 starter batteries last year. Les Schawb has pulled them off the rail for me twice to check them (individually) and they are both good. The volts drop to around 9 when the glow plugs are on and then after starting it goes back up between 13-14. Sometimes the battereis completely discharge so it won't start or turn over. 2 days ago it barely started and I was able to drive home from work and it would start once I got home. It was at 9vt and started climbing towards 12 and then would drop back down. I have charged the battereis on a trickle charger overnight and it still won't start. The dealer has looked at it and found nothing wrong with the alternator and thus thinks the batteries are at fault. The battery shop checks the batteries, finds nothing wrong with them, and thus thinks its the charging system. What is my next step?
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: Battery Problems

Short Answer: You need new batteries, regardless of what Les Schawb says.

Try this test. Run it until you have a "charge". Now shut down and turn on the headlights for 30 sec. I'll bet your 13-14 volts just turned into about 12 or 11.5 or worse.

Once a storage battery has been drawn down severely, it won't hold a charge. It'll come up to 13v with a surface charge but it will disappear as soon as you put a load on it.

Someone who actually knows for sure what they're talking about will probably jump in with a better explanation, but I think my short answer will stand.
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: Battery Problems

Are they putting a timed load on the batteries? I don't know what some of the shops are using to check batteries nowdays. Ford (2 shops) claimed my starting batteries were fine when I had problems a few years back. Took it to a friend who has a shop and after we checked all the connections, we dropped both starting batteries and found one bad. We used an old carbon pile load tester and it showed the battery bad quickly. What Ford was using is beyond me but in my case I really doubt they ever separated and tested each battery on its own.

When batteries go flat, a trickle charger isn't enough and you should hit them with at least 10 amps for a day. Check to see if one or both gets hot or gives off any smell and if so stop the charge.

If the batteries test out OK, Have the shop look at all the connections points on both ends. On my 06, the alterator hot wire runs to the fuse block so you really need to look over any place there is a connection point on the negative and positive leads. Even the battery post leads can be bad, so you need to look it over closely.

Also make sure you have not left something on in the van or see if there if there an extra draw off something that might be failing like a short. An amp gauge is a pretty handy meter to have for trouble shooting. I had an alternator that cause a problem for me years ago. It still charged but pulled about a amp or so at rest. Killed the battery within a week. If you don't have a house battery system, then anything in the cab that's 12vdc can be the problem.

Good Luck
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Old 06-06-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: Battery Problems

Thanks guys for responding. Les Schawb is putting in 2 new batteries as I type this. Hopefully this will solve my problem. I do have a penthouse top that has 2 lights in it, but those are rarely used, if at all. GB
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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Re: Battery Problems

Keep a close eye on it See if the started drags after sitting a few days. Adding new batteries always works until the van sits and the real cause rears its ugly head. I'm not saying this will happen...more than likely it is a faulty battery but you never know unless the true problem has been found and dealt with.

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Old 06-07-2011, 01:42 AM   #6
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Re: Battery Problems

I second daveb's comments. A bad connection would cause your system to act this way - good voltage when the system is at rest, poor voltage when under load such as during starting or with glow plugs on, then returning to good voltage when the load is removed. Check all connections carefully.

Good luck
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