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Old 01-28-2017, 10:52 PM
AlphaSierraCharlie AlphaSierraCharlie is offline
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Default Weird battery drain. Please help!.q



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I have a 98 Dodge Ram 1500, 4WD, single cab, with a 318

Sometimes it has a battery drain, sometimes it doesn't, although if I crank it and drive it for a while it's more likely to have the drain.

It's been doing this for years and until just now I've had no luck chasing it down so I installed a battery cut-off switch when it first started doing this. A few days ago I had the alternator checked to see if the diode was bad, and it was. I put a new alternator on but it didn't fix the problem. Since I had a multimeter connected I started pulling fuses and relays in the engine compartment fuse box. When I pulled a 50 amp fusible link marked "battery" the voltage jumped from 3.4 volts up to 8. It did this when I switched the disconnect on and off too, so I'm sure the problem is in this circuit, but even with the wiring diagrams I can't figure out what's on this circuit or what it does.

Any suggestions?
Old 01-29-2017, 05:37 AM
Trotline Trotline is offline
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Is the battery old ? Have you tested the battery or replaced it lately ? Sometimes a bad ground or battery connections can cause these problems. Check or replace the ground strap from the negative to engine block. Check the connections on the positive cable at the battery and the alternator or voltage regulator. It may be worth replacing, there not too much.
Old 01-29-2017, 02:43 PM
AlphaSierraCharlie AlphaSierraCharlie is offline
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The battery is new, less than 6 months old. I just checked the ground strap and other connections, they look fine and don't show any resistance on the meter.
 
Old 01-29-2017, 03:01 PM
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I had the same issue with an early 90's Suburban. Tried all the same solutions. Finally just installed a marine cutoff switch just as you did.
Old 01-29-2017, 05:36 PM
AlphaSierraCharlie AlphaSierraCharlie is offline
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I'd be content to leave it as-is but the drain has gotten so severe I can't crank it without jumping it. With the fuse in and the battery connected I'm only getting 3 to 3.5 volts. With the fuse out or the battery disconnected it's right at 11. It's effectively disabled the truck
Old 01-29-2017, 06:30 PM
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Disconnect the big red wire that goes from the battery to the starter then check again.

What happens when you pull fuse 2 ,a 30 amp, or the start relay in the power distribution center?
Old 01-29-2017, 10:08 PM
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I guess I'm confused about what kind of test you are doing?
Have you done a parasitic drain test?
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:13 AM
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Was having similar problems with the wife's 2005 Acura...

I was having to put a new battery in it every 8 months...I found out one day by accident that the bluetooth handsfree phone module had gone bad and was constantly in "booting mode" which was sucking the juice from the battery. It only took me a couple of minutes to remove it, I haven't bothered to install a new one. If she wants handsfree, I would go someplace that installed vehicle audio and have them install a new stereo with a built-in handsfree phone system instead of having a separate module like the one I took out...only because of the age of the vehicle, it just makes more sense to modernize the stereo system with newer tech than to replace the module that costs $125...
Old 01-30-2017, 02:17 PM
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I may have found the problem. I pulled the power seats fuse and the voltage stopped dropping. I'm guessing the seatime motor has an internal short or something like that. I had the battery tested even though it was new and it had dead cell. Hopefully I've gotten this thing beat, it's been doing this for years and this is the first time a leak down test has given any result.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:25 AM
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The old time test used to be taking the negative terminal off the battery and strike it against the post, get a spark and you have something on. Best to do the test in the dark. Now I would do it with a test light since all the cars now are computer controlled.

Remove 1 fuse at a time, run the test until you find the offending circuit.
Old 02-04-2017, 12:17 PM
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i hope you found it with the seat thing, i was gonna ask if you had some sort of radio/power amp that stayed on all the time. my brother had a problem with staying charged once and he tapped on the altenator and it started charging again while truck run.
Old 02-04-2017, 01:08 PM
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The truck doesn't even have a radio, I took all that out years ago when this problem started. For the past couple of days it's held steady at about 12.5 volts. So either it's in the power seat circuit, or whatever it is switched itself off again. But, since the drain stopped when I pulled that fuse, I think I have it nailed down.
Old 02-04-2017, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamfarticus View Post
The old time test used to be taking the negative terminal off the battery and strike it against the post, get a spark and you have something on. Best to do the test in the dark. Now I would do it with a test light since all the cars now are computer controlled.

Remove 1 fuse at a time, run the test until you find the offending circuit.
It is NEVER a good idea to make sparks around a battery!!!!!
Old 02-04-2017, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaSierraCharlie View Post
I'd be content to leave it as-is but the drain has gotten so severe I can't crank it without jumping it. With the fuse in and the battery connected I'm only getting 3 to 3.5 volts. With the fuse out or the battery disconnected it's right at 11. It's effectively disabled the truck
A fully charged battery is 12.6 Volts. You said it had a bad cell, even though new..........The bad diode in the alternator probably damaged the new battery.
Old 02-05-2017, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alv7722 View Post
It is NEVER a good idea to make sparks around a battery!!!!!
I used to drape a shop rag over the battery and never had a problem, which you shouldn't if the battery is not overcharging and gassing. Best way is to have a test light between the cable and battery post or use a meter.
Old 02-05-2017, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alv7722 View Post
It is NEVER a good idea to make sparks around a battery!!!!!
I can vouch for this. I had two 6 volt batteries in a series on a tractor that blew up in my face. I was hooking up the battery charger when the lead arced.

Yeah I didn't disconnect the terminals before putting the battery charger on. Just one of those things you do time after time without any consequences and then poof!
Old 02-06-2017, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaSierraCharlie View Post
I have a 98 Dodge Ram 1500, 4WD, single cab, with a 318

Sometimes it has a battery drain, sometimes it doesn't, although if I crank it and drive it for a while it's more likely to have the drain.

Any suggestions?
Helo, Land Rover driving British guy here..
Is this a Neg Earth vehicle?

Bad earth connections can cause this kind of effect too.
I have taken to disconnecting the LR battery completely when She is not in use.

Old 02-07-2017, 01:58 PM
AlphaSierraCharlie AlphaSierraCharlie is offline
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Swiss Brit, I'm not sure what you mean by negative earth. That's a nice machine you have, by the way.
Old 02-07-2017, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaSierraCharlie View Post
Swiss Brit, I'm not sure what you mean by negative earth. That's a nice machine you have, by the way.
Negative Earth = Negative ground.

True for most US vehicles.
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justme11 View Post
Negative Earth = Negative ground.

True for most US vehicles.
Right ...
So my problem was that as the vehicle was an old fire service truck and they had installed 2way radio in the back by just running a live wire and spiking to the chassis ... one of the brackets was still connected and created a drain.

Always worth checking the straps from the battery and look that the connection to the starter solenoid is firm.

Good luck

Simon
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