So my old battery was gone. I got a new one with 750 cold cranking amps. It worked okay when just installed the battery, I suppose this was because of the pre charge. I drove it around a little bit. That night, I tried to start it again. The gauges all turned on but as soon as I tried to crank the engine it clicked then all the lights went out. So I hooked it up to my other vehicle and the lights and gauges came on. However, when I tried to crank the vehicle, it clicked and all the lights went out again. So I got my dedicated battery jumper out and the vehicle cranked very slowly and weakly, but it turned on. So I went driving again for about twenty minutes and parked it in the driveway. But when I was about to turn it off, I saw the check gauges light come on and I saw that the battery gauge said the battery was completely full. So I waited a little bit to think of what the problem might be and then the battery gauge went back to normal, which was half. I turned the vehicle off. I decided to crank it again to see if the battery got any buildup of charge. This time I just turned the gauges on and then right before I was about to crank the engine, the lights went out. Could this be a bad alternator? I have heard of parasitic draw, but the battery wouldn't die immediately if this was the case. Thanks.
Loose or faulty battery/starter wires would be the first thing to suspect. Did you fully charge the new battery ? A fully charged battery should show 12.3 volts or greater when tested with a volts/ohms multi-meter.
Clicking and not starting is usually a low voltage issue from:
leaving the lights on
a failing battery
a failing alternator
dirty or loose wire connections
internally corroded battery wires
Perform routine maintenance of the start and charge systems. Remove, clean, and firmly reconnect all the wires and cables to the battery, starter, and alternator. Look for corroded or damaged cables or connectors and replace as needed. Copper wires should be copper color, not black or green. Do the same for the grounding wires from the starter to engine block, and from the battery and engine to the Jeep's frame/body. You must remove, scrape, and clean until shiny, the cable/wire ends, and whatever they bolt to. Jeeps do not tolerate low voltage, bad connections, or poor grounds.
Place your DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Multi-Meter) on the 20 volt scale. First check battery voltage by placing your multi-meter's positive lead on the battery's positive post ( the actual post, not the clamp) and the negative lead on the negative post. You need a minimum of 12 volts to continue testing. Next, leave your meter connected and take a reading while the engine is cranking. Record this voltage reading. Now connect your positive lead to the battery terminal stud on the starter and the negative lead to the starter housing. Again, crank the engine and record the voltage reading. If the voltage reading at the starter is not within 1 volt of battery voltage then we have excessive voltage drop in the starter circuit.
Typical voltage drop maximums:
• starter circuit (including starter solenoid) = 0.60 volt
• battery post to battery terminal end = zero volts
• battery main cable (measured end to end) 0.20 volt
• starter solenoid = 0.20 volt
• battery negative post to alternator metal frame = 0.20 volt
• negative main cable to engine block = 0.20 volt
• negative battery post to starter metal frame = 0.30
• battery positive post to alternator b+ stud = 0.5 volt with maximum charging load applied (all accessories turned on)
Test the output at the alternator. You should be measuring 13.8-14.4 volts. Load testing the alternator is still recommended.
Have the battery, starter, and the alternator Load Tested for proper function in a test machine that applies a simulated work load. Handheld testers are inaccurate and will often pass faulty parts.
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