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Dead Battery....Please Help!!!

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by oatka, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. oatka

    oatka Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    so i have a car that i'm trying to get running and i have a battery issue. at least i think it's the battery. the car has been sitting for about 6 months. in that time it's been started/jumped only a few times. what is happening today is when i hook up the jumper cables it starts and will run, but the moment one of the cables is removed the car dies, right then, right there. my brother in law thinks it's a dead battery and so dead that it wont charge enough to work. his solution is a new battery. i can't really afford a battery so i figured "hey, plowsiters will know what to do." so, you guys got any good ideas? i know that the battery was replaced in the last year. so it's not an old battery. will a trickle charger bring it back to life? will leaving the jumper cables on for 1/2 hour or more do it? i don't have a trickle charger, but can get one if i absolutely have to. help!
  2. Crash935

    Crash935 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Your best bet is to try the trickle charger for about 12 hours, if that doesnt work, your going to need a new battery.
  3. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    sounds like it needs to be replaced to me.
  4. Mowerpan

    Mowerpan Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    I'm sure the batterys dead but even on a yard truck we have, once jumped it runs on the alternator, just needs to be jumped everytime to start it:p
  5. jrm123180

    jrm123180 Senior Member
    Messages: 156

    it may still be under warrenty....also, if u do need a new one, try a junk yard if your short on cash...bought a die hard at a j/y for $20 a few years ago and it's still going
  6. paynter2

    paynter2 Member
    Messages: 41

    Remove the battery cables and clean them good. Go to an auto parts store and get a tool to clean them with - they are cheap. With this tool you can clean the battery posts and the inside of the cable connections.

    Charge your battery - as posted above. Even a good charge will not push juice through severly corroded cable connections.
  7. R Thomas

    R Thomas Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    sounds as if you two problems, if the alternator is not working it will not run if the battery is dead. If the alternator is working it sould stay running. Take a battery out of another car and try it ,if it runs then pull one battery cable off if it quits then you have a bad charging system
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  8. 84deisel

    84deisel Senior Member
    Messages: 697

    depending on the year of the vehicle it is a very bad idea to remove a battery cable from a vehicle as most of them sence battery voltage and pulling the cable will put a damaging voltage spike into the computer.It is alot less costly and more accurate to use a voltmeter.
  9. john-boy

    john-boy Member
    Messages: 56

    if the battery has sulfated from long term sitting, it wont run on the alternator. has the battery froze?? if so its toast!! i think the warranty is ur best bet.
  10. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Yet another possibility is that a battery can have a cell reversal when the voltage is let go too low- leaving the battery and car unrun as you describe is a death sentance for the battery.

    If the cells voltage get's too low a cell (or multiple cells) can reverse polarity, 6 cells in a 12v battery, if one reverses polarity you loose it's 2volts, PLUS it takes down the remaining battery's current- less than 10v will never start the car and it will not likely take a charge.

    Many junk yards here sell used batteries relatiuvly cheap (about $10)- low cost alturnative.
  11. R Thomas

    R Thomas Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    I assummed it was a older car, I agree it could be a bad idea on some cars. It would help if he told us the make and year of the car. It kind of sounded like he was limited on stuff to check it out so I was going the poor mans route for checking things.
  12. GetMore

    GetMore Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    You might find this info useful:
    I have had cars sit for long periods of time, to the point where the green "eye" on the battery would not show. All I do is charge the battery with a charger or jump start the car and drive it for a while.
    I never had the patience to trickle charge the batteries, it was always at full power, even if the battery wouldn't take the charge for a while. (Sometimes the needle barely moved when I connected the charger.) I have found that after an hour or so at 10 amps the battery will start to accept a charge.
    As for the driving experience, I have found that driving for a half hour or so worked.

    Keep in mind that these solutions work on batteries that really aren't all that old, but have died because they have not been used in 6 months or so.

  13. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    but he said it dies when he takes off the jumper cables. Makes it hard to drive when still attached to the other vehicle. If the battery was any good it would circulate electricity from the alternator and still run without battery. But it doesnt so either alternator isnt working properly or battery is total junk.
  14. oatka

    oatka Junior Member
    Messages: 16


    well, i did say it dies when the jumper cables are taken off. dies right away. i got a charger from a friend and it's been charging for about 5 hours and seems to have held a charge a bit. it started once and without the charger on it will still run the hood light. so, i'm still going the cheep route, but hopefully it will pay out and i wont have to buy a new battery.

    thanks for all the help!
  15. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    If you've been charging for five hours and it's not holding enough of a charge to start the car, I'd guess it's not going to. I've got a Saturn that I'm babying along right now. Sat out back for eight months. Then I jumped it for half an hour to get it started. If I let it sit in the cold for two days now, it won't start. Hook it to a charger for five minutes and it's good to go.

    Good luck on that battery. Hopefully it's not the alternator, though.
  16. paynter2

    paynter2 Member
    Messages: 41

    If you've been charging for 5 hours and your battery won't take a charge - your battery is shot OR the charge isn't getting through your cable ends. As I posted above, they may be corroded to the point of restricting electrical flow.

    Don't worry about removing the cables (Hint: You'll have to remove them to replace the battery if you buy a new one. Dah!). Remove the negative end first and replace it (negative end) last.

    Clean your battery terminals and charge the battery BEFORE you re-install the cables. If it holds a charge, then re-attach the cables. Give your alternator a little tap with the handle of a hammer - it's cast so be careful. But, alternators will build up dust from use that will limit their output. I once had a Toyota with 250K miles on it. I was fishing in Canada when it stopped charging. I tapped the alt. and it worked for another 25K miles.

    I'm thinking maybe your battery IS bad. But, I'll bet your cable ends are bad too.,
  17. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    I would say batt is dead. But more importantly alt is also dead. Becuase like was said once started it is alt that keeps it running. So if wont stay running once cables are removed it is alt. You can probably get both cheap at junk yard. If your that broke and can't afford to fix you can't afford the fuel so why bother. Also you never know batt might still be under warrenty. I had to bring 2 batts in to have them checked even though I already new answer. When went to pay for 2 new found still under warrenty:D
  18. oatka

    oatka Junior Member
    Messages: 16


    well, we hooked up a volt meter and it read 12 volts, right after starting it went to 10 volts. that (i'm told) is a sign that the alternator is bad. if the alternator was good it would go from 12 to 13, but it went from 12 to 10. maybe i'll tap the alternator to de-dust it. as far as too cheap to pay for gas, well i hate paying for gas, but i'm unemployed, but starting a job next week. so i'll have more money for gas in a week or two, but today, i'm still broke.

    any suggestions on how to test the alternator? other than the voltmeter and starting the car thing?
  19. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    Sorry if I offended you. Didn't say to cheap said can't afford.

    But back to your ? take alt out bring to parts store they will test for you.
  20. oarwhat

    oarwhat Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    one last test

    with the test you did with a volt meter theres only one more thing to check out. make sure theres power at the alt. theres a heavy wire on your alt thats hooked to your battery . if theres no power there you have a bad connection someplace.if there's power there your alt is shot end of story .