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Old 10-30-2018, 10:54 PM   #1
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Power leak

My VAN is not happy when starting.

It has 2 Red Top 50ah batteries that previous owner installed within the last 18
months.

For now I ordered a 12v plug volt meter and will attach a (stationary) solar panel to improve/maintain the charge. But I am looking for other ideas.
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Old 10-31-2018, 05:37 AM   #2
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What ideas are you looking for?
And what motor what year what make and model would help everybody to help you.
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:05 AM   #3
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Looking for any potentially known problems or how to identify. Could also be alternator. I do have a traditional Voltmeter (multitool). Will tinker with it later today.
There is nothing plugged into plugs and all sPOD switches are off.
04 Ford V10
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:41 AM   #4
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What's your resting battery voltage, and voltage during cranking? Did you clean the terminals?

Edit: I just saw your reply about it being a V10. Only one battery is a starting battery. But still need to know voltages.... The V10 should not have any trouble starting, and and alternator won't normally affect start-ability. When the V10 alternator goes out, it's kinda a one-and-done deal. It'll turn on the battery light, and you can keep driving until you get home (5 hours when mine went out), and then it'll be dead when you try to restart.
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Old 10-31-2018, 07:46 AM   #5
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Edit: One additional note, while the van has been mostly sitting for past 1.5 week.
I recall startup seemed weak next morning after a 100mi/3h trip through the mountains


11.3V this morning after sitting overnight (ran it maybe 10 mins last night)
14.6V while engine running
11.6V after a few mins of running
10:00am ET attached 85W solar panel, currently rather shaded.
11:20am ET 12V, at full "winter" sun (pretty sharp angle)

Edit: What is 2nd battery for if not for startup?
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:05 PM   #6
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It really sounds like a dead battery, despite it's young age. That, or something is putting a draw on it when it sits over night. Since the alternator voltage comes up when you get it started, the alternator is fine. I would have the battery load tested. The second battery is probably the house battery to run all the accessories when camped. If it's defective, it could draw down the start battery depending on how and when the two are connected together.
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:20 PM   #7
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You have a dead short or a bad battery. Don't go adding solar just yet to a system that is not working properly. You'll only confuse the situation.

You've only given one voltage which is good, running. That should be about 14.6 as stated. Usually it will sit about 13.2-13.4 while running but your alternator is working hard to put juice back in this compromised system.

11.3 after sitting overnight should be about 12.6 or 12.8 to 13.0 if absolutely nothing is drawing power overnight.

11.6 after a few minutes of running (with van turned off or still idling????)
That is very bad. Pull both batteries and have them tested, or if this isn't convenient just pull BOTH leads (pos and neg) off both batteries still in the truck and let them sit overnight. See what your base voltage is the next morning.

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Old 10-31-2018, 12:28 PM   #8
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To clarify, Solar was added as trickle charger to top off the batteries.
My battery maintainer is on other duty.
11.6 was after van was turned off.
I agree disconnecting batteries overnight and see what happens. If they're bad voltage would drop, if I have a leak it probably should stay ok.

I was assuming batteries were OK, because they're supposedly young and van was ran frequently,

Curious why you recommend disconnecting all leads. I would have though neg would have been enough.

I did hear a very high pitch but faint sound from under the hood as if something is working (when key was out). Couldn't figure out the source. Could have been pressure difference due to night/day temp difference, but the pitch was unusually high for that and haven't gone away as day progressed. If it goes away when I disconnect power would definetely tell me something.
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Old 10-31-2018, 12:43 PM   #9
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"Portable" solar
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Old 10-31-2018, 01:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
The second battery is probably the house battery to run all the accessories when camped. If it's defective, it could draw down the start battery depending on how and when the two are connected together.
Assuming house batteries are done on SMB and similar setup. This van is not an SMB. Working to turn it into a transformable camper vehicle. There is a factory sticker that makes you aware of 2 batteries and that both need to be disconnected. Still not clear why 2 batteries. Thought that was a diesel thing, but maybe V10 gets a 2nd one too. My old HD gas truck had 2 batteries, but 2nd one was obviously a bolt on (for the plow). The battery box and appears to be original as well. Wiring from it is along the frame under the hood, but haven't traced it beyond that yet.

I agree it's unlikely alternator and either bad battery, dead short or unidentified load.
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