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Unread 11-03-2004, 11:10 AM   #1
mchlwise
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Utah
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WON'T START! Fried battery? Big 'ol short?

I went to start my 1990 XJ Limited this morning, and nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. No lights, no horn, nothin. It's dead. No juice at all from the battery, an dit was just driven last night with no problems.

So I get out my battery charger and hook it up. Lots of pretty sparks, and the amp meter on the charger SPIKES stays there for a couple seconds, and then the built-in safety in the charger cuts it off.

First thought is it looks like there's a SERIOUS short somewhere that drained the battery and is still shorting out, causing the huge draw when I hook up the charger.

So I disconnected the negative (ground) cable from the battery. I hooked the charger back up to the battery, negative to the negative post and positive to the positive cable (which was still hooked up). Exactly the same thing happened. Pretty sparks, spikes amp meter for a couple seconds, then automatic cut-off.

I was already late for work so I couldn't mess with it any more, but as I'm thinking about it, it doesn't make sense. If it's a short, with my ground cable disconnected from the battery and not touching anything, how is it completing the circuit from the positive charger cable to the negative battery post without the ground cable? It is the battery itself that's fried?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Unread 11-03-2004, 11:46 AM   #2
ctavel
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
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Yeah I would trace all grounds and make sure they are wired where they are supposed to be. I would also go ahead and replace the terminals, and the cables attatched to the terminals. I was having power issues a while back and they were due to a bad ground at the battery, so that may be your problem
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Unread 11-03-2004, 03:06 PM   #3
mchlwise
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Update

The battery's fried.

I went home at lunch and disconnected the positive cable, removed the battery from the Jeep, and hooked up the charger to the battery. It acted the same way, amp meter pegged off the dial. I pulled a battery off another car, hooked it up, and the Jeep started right up and did everything else it was doing before (There's still stuff not working, but that's another post)

Has anybody heard of a battery doing this before? I've seen batteries "go bad" and not hold a charge, but I've never seen one short itself out like that before.

I'm thinking a new battery after work and it should be just fine.
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Unread 11-03-2004, 03:37 PM   #4
ctavel
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Thats crazy, what kind was it? You could try changing the termanials themselves, its easy and if it doesn't fix anything then your only out like 10 bucks.
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Unread 11-03-2004, 03:39 PM   #5
xj4play
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2004 KJ Liberty 
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Newark, Delaware
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mchlwise
The battery's fried.

I went home at lunch and disconnected the positive cable, removed the battery from the Jeep, and hooked up the charger to the battery. It acted the same way, amp meter pegged off the dial. I pulled a battery off another car, hooked it up, and the Jeep started right up and did everything else it was doing before (There's still stuff not working, but that's another post)

Has anybody heard of a battery doing this before? I've seen batteries "go bad" and not hold a charge, but I've never seen one short itself out like that before.

I'm thinking a new battery after work and it should be just fine.
Yup, it's fried alright. The plates inside the battery become corroded, deteriorate and pieces fall across the others and short the battery out bigtime.

While you have the battery out, do yourself a favor and check out the battery cables - replace them if they look like they need it.
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Unread 11-03-2004, 03:42 PM   #6
CODE
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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The battery can have an Internal Short, it happens from time to time. So when you put the charger on it you will pull rediculous power from the charger (equivelant to shorting).

It is not an overly special situation. Although it usually doesn't go to that extream in my experience.

I hope the new battery serves you well!

DaveH.
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Unread 11-03-2004, 04:18 PM   #7
mchlwise
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Utah
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Thanks for the replies

I've never seen a battery do that before, but there's a first time for everything. It was a Diehard, and since I've only had the Jeep a few weeks, I have no idea how old it is.

When I pulled the battery, I noticed that whatever was supposed to be securing it was missing, so it was just sitting there loose, free to bump around. I'm betting that's what happened - it took a hard jolt, a plate came loose inside and is shorting everything out.

I'm glad it was just a battery - replacing it is a lot easier than chasing down and replacing half my wiring. I will be taking a look at things, though, and make sure there aren't any other problems.

Jeep on!
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Unread 11-04-2004, 10:02 AM   #8
mchlwise
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Just to close out the post:

A new battery and a home-brewed battery restraint (since the stock one was missing) to keep it from bouncing around, and it's better than ever!

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