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Old 05-14-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
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Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Hello,

My wife and I will be taking a trip to SMB West on the first week of June -- we are having a pop-top PH installed. We plan to take a seven day trip in our van after having the top installed. Before we leave I wanted to give the vans starting batteries a thorough charge using my Ctek smart charger.

I've looked in the Ford manual that describes how to attach cables for jump starting: positive to the positive battery stud and ground the the large steel stud on the frame chassis. Presumably attaching the smart charger, I should use the same procedure for connecting the chargers leads. Somewhat of an obvious answer, but thought it prudent to ask first since we are talking about two starter batteries with the Diesel.

Thanks,
DJM
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:07 PM   #2
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Connect direct to the battery. You will notice the ground cable goes direct from the NEG side of the battery to the the post on the van. The main reason they do this is to avoid a spark at the battery when you connect to it as there is often Hydrogen present and there is some risk of a "POP". Since millions of people have connected directly to batteries for decades, you can surmise that risk is low.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Charging a 6.0 diesel van would be the same as jumping it...
Using the positive post and the recomended ground should be fine...
I am not sure about your smart charger but I would go easy on the amps unless you remove the batteries and checked the electrolyte level before charging...
To service the battries is a bit of a job (you need a jack and just an FIY you do not have to remove all of the bolts) but I feel it should be done about once a year unless you just want to leave them until they completely fail and the replace both at tbe same time...
The acid could be low and or there could be corrosion on the terminals...
I assume since you just got the van you don't really know anything about the batteries...
Enjoy your new top...

Jamie
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Thanks for the reply Jamie.

I would be quite convenient to able to attach the charger to the Ford prescribed jump points. My charger is pretty high-tech -- it is a higher end "ctek" which was suggested to me for use with my Porsche. It has many safe guards and a de-sulfination cycle.

You are correct, as I have just got the van not so long ago, I do not know the state of the batteries. Probably a good thing to inspect before our trip.

Cheers,
DJM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrasport12
Charging a 6.0 diesel van would be the same as jumping it...
Using the positive post and the recomended ground should be fine...
I am not sure about your smart charger but I would go easy on the amps unless you remove the batteries and checked the electrolyte level before charging...
To service the battries is a bit of a job (you need a jack and just an FIY you do not have to remove all of the bolts) but I feel it should be done about once a year unless you just want to leave them until they completely fail and the replace both at tbe same time...
The acid could be low and or there could be corrosion on the terminals...
I assume since you just got the van you don't really know anything about the batteries...
Enjoy your new top...

Jamie
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:40 PM   #5
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

DJM...since you mentioned Porsche I was a technical trainer for Porsche until a few years ago... at all of the training centers we used these chargers...

http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-VEC1 ... 382&sr=8-1

They used to be made by Vector but Black and Decker bought them a while back and made a few improvements...we had at least 20 in our center...they work great and I have one for my battery charging needs...they have an adjustable amp settings which is why I asked that...when you are uncertain of the battery(s) try not to charge too fast...
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:26 AM   #6
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

When you charge, you'll be charging both at once. Most high end multi stage chargers will have an amp meter on it. If your charger fails to move into the float mode after a good charge, it's possible one or both of the batteries could be bad or going bad. Even with a bad battery your vehicle might start fine after you have put a good charge to them. The best way to check sealed batteries is to single each one out and do a timed load test on it. If they have caps doing specific gravity test is best plus you can see the water level. It's also a good idea to look over the connections as well.
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:48 AM   #7
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Dave is exactly correct...since you are charging both together its hard to know what is going on each individual battery...the float charge is a really good tip...

If they are wet type specific gravity is really the best check....be sure to charge fully before checking them unless you want to know where they were before charging...load testing is really good but harder to do at home...remeber to fully charge batteries can take many, many hours...

Also ALWAYS be very carefully when working with batteries acid is not forgiving to skin and eyes...
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:03 AM   #8
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Wow, I appreciate all the information. I looked up my charger -- it is a ctek 7002:

http://www.amazon.com/CTEK-Multi-700...7090063&sr=1-2

Ctek is actually the OEM for the Porsche branded charger. My charger does not have a manual amp setting, but does charge in 8 stages. The URL above has a detailed description of the charge cycle.

It would seem then, I am better off charging them separately.

Thanks again for all the input.

DJM
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Old 05-15-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Curious, does the charger stage steps light up to indicate what stage it's in?

If so you won't have a problem indicating there is a possibe problem and the charger might even have the capability of seeing there is a problem anyway...you might ask the manufacture. It's easy to fool a smart charger when one battery in a bank of batteries has a problem.

I charge all my batteries as one; 2-starting and 2-house batteries but I have gone to all AGM's (even my starting batteries).
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:17 PM   #10
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Re: Smart charging starting batteries on an E350 diesel

Dave,

Yes, the step lights to light-up to indicate what stage the charger is in.

I think, for this first try at charging, I will open up the battery boxes and charge the batteries separately. The van is new to me and I've only changed the oil thus far; would be prudent to check the batteries before our first trip. Would not hurt for me to familiarize myself with the 'ships' systems.

Like the idea of the AGM batteries throughout.

Thanks,
DJM

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Curious, does the charger stage steps light up to indicate what stage it's in?

If so you won't have a problem indicating there is a possibe problem and the charger might even have the capability of seeing there is a problem anyway...you might ask the manufacture. It's easy to fool a smart charger when one battery in a bank of batteries has a problem.

I charge all my batteries as one; 2-starting and 2-house batteries but I have gone to all AGM's (even my starting batteries).
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