'98 Grand Cherokee - New battery, goes completely dead on cold nights - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 3 Old 12-26-2012, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sheridan
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'98 Grand Cherokee - New battery, goes completely dead on cold nights

Hey everyone...first of all, let me say that I am NOT mechanically inclined. I've never worked on vehicles and I don't particularly care to. I just want them to work, lol. That being said, I'll try to give you a good idea of what my situation is; if more info is needed, I'll be happy to provide to the best of my ability.

This summer, I bought a '98 Jeep Grand Cherokee off of Craigslist. My boyfriend (who has far more experience with buying/working on vehicles) gave it a good look over. We test drove it, looked at the engine, tires, brakes, etc.

This summer, I let it sit for about 9 days while we were on vacation. When I tried to start it up, the battery was dead. We jumpstarted it, and it held a charge for awhile, but gave signs of dying over the next few days (slow to crank over, weak idle, then would start back up fine after it had been driven around town). So, we figured it was an old battery (it looked old), and just needed to be replaced.

The new battery worked well for several months until winter came. After our first very cold night, the battery was completely dead. Thinking it might be the starter (in retrospect, it was obviously just a dead battery, we just assumed it had to have been something else since it was new), so we changed that. Then had to jump start it. We put it on a trickle charger over night. And it worked for a few weeks. Next cold night? Weak battery, so we just hooked it up to the trickle charger.

Long story short, over this winter, I have probably charged it on the trickle charger about 10 times. It's gone completely dead to the point of needing a jump start twice. Last night, it was completely dead, we jumpstarted it, moved it to the trickle charger, charged it over night, and this morning it barely started and still had a weak idle (it was below 0deg last night).

The alternator has been checked, and it was fine (done at a shop). I don't know enough to know of any other issues, but I'm not convinced that it's just the battery. My boyfriend thinks it's just a faulty battery. I have the receipt for the battery, but I'm not sure if Walmart would accept it 5 months after I purchased it. I'm just hesitant to pay another $100+ for a battery if it's not going to fix the problem.


prairienights is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 12-27-2012, 10:02 PM
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Coos Bay
Posts: 4
Unfortunately I don't have an answer but the same thing happened to me and I had to put it on a charger for a day... Don't know why. I even have a good NAPA 75 month waranty battery...
dhannan06 is offline  
post #3 of 3 Old 12-27-2012, 11:21 PM
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2005 LJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Dayton
Posts: 2,330
First are you sure it is a dead battery? Is your lights dim? Does it try to start? Any clicking... There are other causes for engines not starting. Any CEL lights on the dash?

Clean all battery connections and ground connections. Poor connections will act like a dead battery or keep it from being charged by the alternator. Include both ends of the connections not just the battery terminals. Inspect the wires for corrosion or abnormal ware or discoloration.
Then place a voltmeter across the battery to check battery voltage when the engine is off. A fully charged battery should be 12.6 V. With the engine running the voltage should be 14.4V. If not check the wiring to the alternator and take it to orillies or autozone to have it load tested. I see you had it tested but was it load tested?
Third look for additional circuits added to the battery like an amp or lights... These may be wired improperly causing continuous drain on the battery. To find out if you have a drain on the battery do this: With the engine off but key on ( no lights or radio) disconnect the battery ground and place a multimeter ( set to measure current) between the negative post on the battery and the terminal connector. You should read less than 50ma. If it is more start removing additional battery connections to see if the draw is lessened. If not than then start removing fuses (and replace) until you find the circuit causing a high drain.

Ps Walmart will accept it if the battery is load tested and fails. Most batteries they sell have some limited guarantee.

"Never look down on anyone unless your helping them up"- Jesse Jackson
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