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Unread 10-09-2014, 06:14 PM   #1
plentyofenergy
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Bad battery or bad connection somewhere?

About a month ago, my TJ first showed this problem. When starting the engine, the starter would turn on but just a split-second later, the jeep would cut off all electricity completely. Removing the key and trying again, it would typically start right up. Another time this happened, I jiggled the battery cables and it seemed to start just fine. I figured there was some corrosion at the battery terminals, so I scuffed them up a bit with a wire brush, wiped clean any gunk, and applied dielectric grease when reattaching the battery cables. That seemed to solve the problem, until today. Turned the key, the starter turned on for just a fraction of a second and then lost all electricity. Jiggled battery, no change, no electric. Had to take the bus home. Does it sounds like a battery problem or a connection problem? If a connection problem, where should I check?

Not sure of the age of the battery, it could be ancient. Owned this TJ for a year, haven't replaced it. I know sometimes there will be a date sticker on it, but I'm home now so I can't look and my gut says there is no sticker.

Thanks!

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Unread 10-09-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
nickkick
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What is it measuring at the battery? I would measure it since you will not be sure how old the battery is.
Also check the ground.
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Unread 10-09-2014, 09:01 PM   #3
Andy5150
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I had they same problem about a month ago. Right as I was cranking the motor over, everything went dead. No lights,horn,radio, nothing, as if the battery was removed. After checking fuses and relays, I cleaned the battery cable connections until they were shining silver......problem solved.
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Unread 10-09-2014, 09:45 PM   #4
joe108
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Since you don't know how old the battery is, I would swap it out with a new one to eliminate that issue, then see what happens.
Some would say its throwing parts at the problem, but I consider battery replacement a regular maintenance item.
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Unread 10-10-2014, 04:08 AM   #5
GringoLoco
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My Harley did the same thing last summer. Ended up being invisible corrosion on one of the main ground cables (I think there's like 3 of them on my bike). Not sure which one it was, but after scuffing them all up and reattaching them it was cured. I'd try that, cables corrode on the battery end usually but I guess they can corrode where they ground to the engine, etc.
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Unread 10-10-2014, 05:51 AM   #6
lloydsmale
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check your cables real well. Twice in my life ive actually had cables so corroded on the inside that they did exactly that.
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Unread 10-10-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
jski701
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I talked to the mechanic who maintained my jeep for the previous owner and he said at different times he replaced both the positive and the negative cables. Explained that the symptoms were the same as a dead battery. Just throwing this in so you don't get frustrated if a new battery isn't the fix.
As far as corrosion goes, I have to clean the battery terminals on my bucket truck at work at least once a year or it won't power up the inverter, even though it starts the truck. If it gets to the point that the truck won't start, there's usually a pile of build up on the terminals
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Unread 10-11-2014, 10:45 AM   #8
plentyofenergy
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Hey all, thanks for the replies. I'm going to drive down to where the Jeep is stranded, polish the terminals again, and take a look at the frame and engine grounds.

I don't have a multimeter--any suggestions on good products that aren't too spendy?
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Unread 10-11-2014, 03:12 PM   #9
Iceman_RNR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickkick View Post
Also check the ground.
this ...
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Unread 10-13-2014, 07:52 PM   #10
plentyofenergy
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Cleaned up the battery terminals with baking soda and water, scrubbed with my wire brush, and reattached with dielectric grease. There was a little bit of white corrosion on the positive terminal. Started up strong after that.

I just cleaned the terminals this summer. Other than the grease, is there anything I can do to prevent more corrosion? I'm not looking forward to worrying about this once a month forever.
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Unread 10-13-2014, 11:17 PM   #11
Knuckelhead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plentyofenergy View Post
I just cleaned the terminals this summer. Other than the grease, is there anything I can do to prevent more corrosion? I'm not looking forward to worrying about this once a month forever.
Get an AGM battery?...
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Unread 10-13-2014, 11:36 PM   #12
GringoLoco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plentyofenergy View Post
Cleaned up the battery terminals with baking soda and water, scrubbed with my wire brush, and reattached with dielectric grease. There was a little bit of white corrosion on the positive terminal. Started up strong after that.

I just cleaned the terminals this summer. Other than the grease, is there anything I can do to prevent more corrosion? I'm not looking forward to worrying about this once a month forever.
Did you use dielectric grease the last time? That might have done the trick. Wish I could be of more help, I usually just scrub them with a wire brush and they're good to go.
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No hi-lift on the hood (yet)
Odd noises
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Unread 10-27-2014, 09:03 PM   #13
plentyofenergy
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I did use dielectric grease before, but maybe not enough. I slathered on a decent amount two weeks ago, and I'll monitor it every once in a while. I looked up the AGM battery option though. When it's time to replace, I'll definitely go that route if it means no vapors escaping the battery to cause corrosion.
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Unread 10-27-2014, 11:27 PM   #14
Knuckelhead
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Originally Posted by plentyofenergy View Post
When it's time to replace, I'll definitely go that route if it means no vapors escaping the battery to cause corrosion.
AGM batteries are vented, but they don't cause corrosion like the flooded (wet) cell batteries. I'm using 2 AGM batteries that are about 10 years old and they still look the same as the day I bought them.

Sears DieHard platinum seems to be the battery of choice these days...
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Unread 10-28-2014, 05:50 PM   #15
dave_dj1
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They make a battery terminal spray, it smells like lacquer paint but protects them.
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