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f-250 power drain??

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by dookits13, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. dookits13

    dookits13 Junior Member
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 2

    i have a 2002 f-250 (5.4) with a boss plow. my problem and question are related to my charging system in relation to my plow. recently when i use the plow my dash lights will dim and the radio will shutt off as well as my headlights diming . however it seems to be random, some days worse than others( from completely stalling to just the radio shutting off and on ) and some days not at all . i took it to my local plow shop and they said the plow is fine , problem is somewhere in the truck ?? battery? alternator? combo.? they tested the battery and alternator said the battery failed and the alternator was only putting out 79 amps? however when i went to get a new battery the guy tested it and said it was charging at 14 volts and was fine? don't know much on the subject . but after doing some research i'm pretty sure my truck came with a 110 amp alt. is it possible for my alt. to be going bad .not puttin out what it use to or should? talked to Boss direct they said they like to see 140 amps to run the plows. with a 850 amp battery. or am i looking in the wrong place , could it be a short or a connection somewhere else??? any info at all greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!!!! joe:confused:
  2. no lead

    no lead PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,308

    you have a loose connection somewhere. ground likely. start at the plow motor. try to move all connections. motor batt solenoid. run the plow. do any get hot? very possible batt is bad/
  3. mikeyfff1011

    mikeyfff1011 Member
    Messages: 72

    could be a bad battery or a alternator it sounds like your not getting the proper voltage to run the plow and keep the truck electronic the way the should

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,304

    i think you can get an optional 145 amp alt. had a 05 f550 in my shop on thurs. we were able to upgrade from 110a-145a plus ran a heavier cable from battery to alt.

  5. 1. check all connections battery ground at frame or truck altenator connections, solinoid connections etc, check for corrision where endfitting is pressed or soldered onto wire sometimes hard to see.
    2. have battery load tested, saying its getting 14 v when the truck is running is not good enough. if any doubt occurs replace with a good name brand battery you are beating on it severly with a plow, this is not a place to save twenty dollars.
    3. Consider upgrading the altenator 80 amps is on the low side if its a 110 amp altenator then it is on its way out.
    4. consider running 2 batteries well worth the trouble,a plus is vastly improved starting even on cold days
    5. Check your belts i chased a non charging truck for two weeks that was intermittent, checked batteries replaced one that was borderline, replaced alenators, changed questionable conections, eneded up being a glazed belt slipping on the pulley when the altenator went under heavy load, ie blower motor, plow, put a $40 belt on and its back to like new
  6. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    Use the search function on the gray line at the top. Search: Charging, duel batteries, no power etc. There is hours of reading on the common plow truck problem.
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Have the battery checked again. I had the same problem and found out it was one cell in the battery. I bought a new one with 1000cc.
  8. Mebes

    Mebes Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    Sounds like battery to me.
    My 04 6.0 F350 was doing the exact same thing 2 seasons ago.
    I like to replace mine about every 3 years.
    How old is the Battery?
    How big (CCA)?

    Here are a couple of tricks to help get you by when your reserve has run out of your battery, and things start getting dim.

    1. Shut off unnecessary items like the radio, and turn your heater fan on lower setting.
    2. Try to position your blade for the next pass while you are backing up and your RPM's are higher, (With higher rpm's more amps are available) Or if you forget, back up a little further drop the blade hit the gas then adjust it.
    3. If you are not stacking snow (just moving it into position for stacking) put your truck in reverse hit the gas then raise the blade. (Again getting the RPM's up 1st).

    What I'm getting at here is that your plow's pump motor draws around 100 amps.
    Add to that your radio, cell charger, defrost fan, headlights, wipers, etc...
    You are draining your batteries reserves every time you operate the blade with engine at idle.
    Your engine probably needs at least 1500 RPM's to put out the rated amperage (110A)

    A few ideas about your intermittent problems.
    Having problems at night and not during the day?
    When you plow at night headlamps are on adding extra draw to the system.
    Cold VS Warm outside?
    Cold is harder on hydraulic system causing more amp draw on plow pump motor.
    Doing alot of back-dragging?
    All this up down side to side at idle (low RPM) is tough on a charging system.

    dookits13 I see this is your first post so let me be the first to welcome you to plowsite,

    If you are a noob to the plowing business then I hope this helps, and I wish you the best.
    If you are an experienced owner or operator........ I must now apologize for giving tips on plowing technique to you.

    Good luck/Sorry
  9. Snow2Go

    Snow2Go Senior Member
    from Chi
    Messages: 223

    What he said, check and clean and tighten all connections with the battery and altenator. Thats a start, also make sure the battery you have in your truck is the required battery and not some car battery. I want to say its a M75 Battery.
  10. Puddlejumper

    Puddlejumper Member
    Messages: 74

    You need to perform a voltage drop across the supply wire from the alternator to the battery. Checking terminals and tightening connections only gets you so far. I would perform a two volt test on the battery and check my voltage drops first. But it sounds like a battery issue.

    Batteries with deep reserve capacities are what are needed for plows. Batteries that have high CCA may also have a deep reserve. Two batteries are better than a bigger alternator.

    BTW -
    (CCA) is the maximum amperes that can be continuously removed from a battery for 30 seconds at 0°F before its voltage drops to unusable levels. A 550 CCA battery can supply 550 amperes for 30 seconds at 0°F.

    (Reserve capacity) is the number of minutes a battery can maintain a useful voltage under a 25 ampere discharge. The higher the minute rating, the greater the battery's ability to run lights, pumps, inverters, and electronics for a longer period before recharging is necessary. The 25 Amp. Reserve Capacity Rating is more realistic than Amp-Hour or CCA as a measurement of capacity for deep cycle service. Batteries promoted on their high Cold Cranking Ratings are easy and inexpensive to build. The market is flooded with them, however their Reserve Capacity, Cycle Life (the number of discharges and charges the battery can deliver) and Service life are poor. Reserve Capacity is difficult and costly to engineer into a battery and requires higher quality cell materials.

    This might help. I run the same batteries in my plow trucks as I do in my boat. They are a good mix of reserve capacity and have a ok CCA. they are more expensive but work ok.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  11. dookits13

    dookits13 Junior Member
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 2

    WOW! thanks

    a lot of info.. great yes i am newer to the buisness and all this info is much neede . i like to learn as much as possible.!! while reading your replys i thought of some things that might help narrow it down. i have noticed that while plowing bigger areas- parking lots- while my rpm's are higher . it does not lose power , however while doing drives it almost always does??? which may point to the alternator?? if i do upgrade my alt. is there any other modifications i need to make to my truck ??? thanks
  12. no lead

    no lead PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,308

    larger alt for sure. 2 batteries is the way to go. max power all the time.
  13. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    If you don't have a dash volt gage install one. Watch where it is when the truck is fully charged and not plowing. Keep an eye on the gage as you plow. Your battery / batteries can be huge but if the alternator is not putting out enough to maintain the voltage. You may have to upgrade it or replace it. Keep in mind an alternator only puts out it's rated amps at 2k rpm +. At near idle speeds it only puts out 1/3 of it's rating at best. If you can't afford to throw parts at it, consider plowing in low range for now. The RPM is a lot higher hence higher amp output. Put a white paint dot or line at the voltage on the gage that you notice the truck is about to stall. ( this is the voltage the computer & coil needs to operate ) When it reaches this voltage you know you need to ride around the place and recharge a while. Maybe doing a lot of long pushes without using the pump all the time.
    Do radius plowing, push toward the end and lift and go around without stopping. Clean it all up after you have charged up.
    Like I said above search charging, there are hours of reading on it.