So I've read a bunch of threads regarding dead batteries and failing alternators. I've drained the battery pretty low over the past couple years and I think it might be time for a new one. Booster pack won't touch it and jumping takes a good ten minutes sometimes. Two days ago I got the fast clicking noise under the dash when I left the doors open for fifteen minutes while packing for a road trip. Today, fter a 90 minute highway drive I went groc shopping. Came out and went to crank her over and got the clicking noise from the (starter?). The gauge reads close to 14 when I'm driving, she's never quit on me while driving, and I don't have any aftermarket electronics.
Just want to confirm the checklist of things I should look at before the real head scratching starts:
-clean and check tightness of battery terminal connections
-check belt tension
-Have NAPA, Advanced, etc check battery and Alt for voltage/charge
What else? As I now have a two week old newborn, I need the rig to be reliable as often as possible
If you don't want to test it yourself, an Advance auto or store similar to it should have a battery load tester they can do free of charge. They can run alt output tests, all the good stuff. Otherwise, the problem on mine was an issue of corrosion in the alternator cable...may be helpful to measure resistance between the alt. output post and the battery B+ terminal. Should be a low number with everything still connected. By the sounds of it, I'd wager on the battery being the issue, but definitely double check first.
Took the Rig to NAPA for a quick battery check. They gave it the okay, but commented on the corrosion I had on the terminals and connections. So I picked up a new terminal brush and some protectant. Then went to Advanced for a more thorough diagnosis (and a second opinion). Again, I was told the battery was the ugliest he'd seen in a while, but was good and the alternator was charging fine. The guy did comment on the starter though. He thought that there might be something that isn't working 100% when the starter gets warm from engine heat(?). Other than that, there were no mystery amps being drawn when the Rig is off, so I guess I'll keep an eye on the starter. Got home, cleaned everything with baking soda-water and a brush, freshened up the terminals and connections and sprayed on the protectant. She fired right up and gauge was right around 14. But I'll have to monitor everything for a couple more days before I'm convinced it's fixed. Thanks for the input everyone...
First off get some baking soda and water, mix it to a somewhat liquidy-paste, more liquid than paste. I used an old tin can to make the mixture. Detach the positive and negative leads from your battery. Through on some latex or nitrile gloves to avoid Then get an old tooth brush to apply the baking soda mix to your battery terminals. The fizzing is a good thing, it means the baking soda is neutralizing the acids in the corrosion. Next do the battery leads and all connecting hardware(nuts, bults). Wipe everything down with a wet rag or paper towels, as you want to really clean all the surface of the battery, especially where the terminals are. Next take a battery brush and really clean up the termainals and leads again. The brush will knock off any of the heavy stuff not removed by the baking soda. Careful not to breath in any of the dust from brushing, as it burns a little. Wipe those down and then reattach leads to terminals, making sure they are tight! I bought some battery terminal protectant from NAPA, regular sized aerosol can, to spray on the terminals and leads. I've never used the stuff before, but it should probably do the trick. I guess I never new how much corrosion could draw off your battery. I have not had any problems since thoroughly cleaning my battery.
Another thing that may be needed is a new positive battery cable. I found this out with an older truck. I was having starting problems even with a good battery. Was told it was the starter. Replaced starter still problems. Replaced the positive cable, problems gone. The cable can become acid corroded on the inside which is not visible unless cut open to see. For the price of the cable it is worth replacing after a few years of service; especially if you're experiencing battery post corrosion.
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