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Changed Negative Battery Cable - No Power

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Old 08-13-2018, 08:10 PM
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Changed Negative Battery Cable - No Power

So I'll start with the fact that my negative battery cable was all torn up and just generally worn out (bare cable in spots). I have had issues with it in the past where it wouldn't want to crank, so I'd have to adjust/tap/wiggle the negative terminal then it would fire right up. Well, a few days ago I hop in my truck to go for a ride, turn the key, and get nothing but fuel pump prime and solenoid click. So I go do my tap/wiggle/adjust and still nothing but prime and click. I hook up jumper cables; Power to power and negative to the empty smog pump bracket (maybe not the best idea). Nothing. So I move the negative jumper cable to the a/c compressor bracket (also possible bad idea). Still nothing. Finally, I hook up the negative jumper cable to the negative terminal/post and it fires up (this may be where I really F'd up). I let it idle for a while, then shut it off and tried to crank it again. Nothing without jumper cables. Battery read 12.somethingV before I went to bed. Next day I replaced negative battery cable and terminal. Battery now reads 2.6-2.8V. I now have no power anywhere. No dash lights, no solenoid click, no fuel pump prime. Nothing. I have continuity in all fuses under the dash and continuity on both side posts of starter solenoid. Any ideas out there? I know that's a lot of detail, but I wanted to include everything in case it's important. Thanks for any info.
 
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Old 08-13-2018, 10:30 PM
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Finally something i might be qualified to help with lol. Your battery only reads 2 to 3ish volts when you check it at the posts? If this is the case then you could have a bad battery or something is draining the battery. Also did you clean the posts, cables and other connections with a wire brush or similiar when you replaced the cable? You would be very surprised at how little corrosion can cause bad connections.
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 04:44 AM
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Your battery is considered fully discharged at 10.5 volts.
With a bad ground wire, your battery was most likely never really recharged and just died a slow death.

Get a new battery and have a store check out the charging system.
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Number4 View Post
Your battery is considered fully discharged at 10.5 volts.
With a bad ground wire, your battery was most likely never really recharged and just died a slow death.

Get a new battery and have a store check out the charging system.
That should be 12.5 volts fully charged not 10.5 volts.

If the negative side was that bad what are the other 2 cables like? I would just replace them so I know they are good.

Now wile you get the cables and replacing them charge the battery. Before you hook up the negative side last use a test light between battery cable and battery post. With everything turned off and doors closed you should not get the light to light up.

I would even leave the cable off over night and then check voltage on battery and if below 12.5 replace it.
Dave - - - -

edit: SORRY NUMBER4 I was on my phone in the sun and did not read DISCHARGED may bad
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:19 AM
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I'm going to try the test light between the negative cable and post method. I've read that if it glows bright, there's a power drain somewhere. The other cables were replaced when I first got the truck, along with the starter solenoid, so they're in pretty good shape. If everything checks out, I'm just going to get a new battery. When I read the battery at 12V, I took the negative cable off and left it off overnight. That's when it read 2.6-2.8V the next morning. Thanks for the responses. I have a rule for my truck; If anything gets replaced, it gets upgraded. So Optima Redtop it is!
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:25 AM
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kyle_christina, yes I did clean the posts with a terminal cleaner and have the new terminal on the negative side. But I actually didn't replace the positive side yet. I'm not too sure that would be it, seeing as to how much I've moved everything around and tightened everything up, but I'll definitely try that first. Thanks.
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 12:57 PM
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Like Number4 stated, check your charging system the next time you start this vehicle.
You shoud be getting 14vdc+ across the Pos & Neg terminals.
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CPow94 View Post
have the new terminal on the negative side.
​​​
Are you talking one of those "Emergency" battery terminals like this:



Last I heard, the Cleveland Browns were giving them out to season ticket holders, with the slogan: "One more thing to always let you down!"

If that's what you have, get rid of them. Either replace the whole cable or get some professional grade terminals crimped on there.

Also, from Electrical Troubleshooting 101:

Always begin any electrical troubleshooting with a fully charged battery. Use an automatic charger with at least 10A output. Don't waste time with a trickle charger, they just won't cut it. Charge the battery overnight, until the little green light on the charger is illuminated.
 
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CPow94 View Post
I'm going to try the test light between the negative cable and post method. I've read that if it glows bright, there's a power drain somewhere. The other cables were replaced when I first got the truck, along with the starter solenoid, so they're in pretty good shape. If everything checks out, I'm just going to get a new battery. When I read the battery at 12V, I took the negative cable off and left it off overnight. That's when it read 2.6-2.8V the next morning. Thanks for the responses. I have a rule for my truck; If anything gets replaced, it gets upgraded. So Optima Redtop it is!
If you had the battery disconnected over night and it dropped off to 2.6-2.8 the battery is NG.

I just replaced the battery on my garden tractor. It did not start just clicked. Cleaned the connections, topped up the water (was pretty low) and used my pro battery charger to start the tractor, ALT was putting out 14 volts.
Used it for 3+ hours cutting the grass, backed it into the shed started it 1 last time and put it to sleep. Next weekend no start again, had 4 volts, pulled battery and found 1 side bulged out.
That right there told me the battery was no good. New battery and the following weekend it started right up and run for 3+ hours cutting the grass again.
Dave ----
 
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:45 PM
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I just put tool-less terminals from advance on there. I'm getting a new battery in a couple days. Checked all the fusible links I could find and they all checked out good. Haven't had a lot of time after work to mess with it, but hopefully I'll get it figured out soon.
 
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:13 PM
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Make sure you have all your hoop connectors on the positive side where the battery cable hooks to the starter solenoid.
On my '83, there are two of them.

I had to replace my positive cable in the middle of nowhere when it suddenly stopped working due to corrosion on the solenoid contact.
I only put one of the hoop connectors back on, because I wasn't sure whether both of them were connected originally. I had no power whatsoever to anything on the truck till I wired it right. Now, it runs better than ever.
 
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:54 AM
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Funny you mention that. I had the exact same happen to me when I first got the truck. Replaced the starter solenoid and forgot one of those connectors (I think for the fuel pump?). I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. My dad (mechanic) came over, stuck the connector on the solenoid, "go start your truck dumb***." Had I taken any cables or connectors off of the solenoid I would definitely suspect that this time around. After all my testing, I'm really leaning toward the battery just being totally toast, and maybe a dirty block ground. I'll keep y'all updated. Thanks for all the ideas and insight.

PS -- I connected my test light (kind that has positive and negative alligator clips and lights up green or red for ground or power) between the negative post on the battery and the negative battery cable and it lit up red. Should this happen?
 
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:51 PM
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I donít think it should.

Iíd first make sure itís not something like the hood light or an interior light thatís causing the draw when you bridge the gap. Easy things first.

Beyond that, you probably have to start pulling fuses. Interested in what you find.
 
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:49 PM
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I don't know what that green light red light thing is all about???
Just a good old test light see them for $3.00 to $10.00 all for the same type of light and I cant see why?

I have 2 or 3, 1 I know is in a Rubber Maid bin that I have just my auto electrical stuff is, I can grab & go.
The other is in my tool box with my meters and some more jumper wires, just easier to get to than the bin.

Use the above test light between battery & cable, if glowing bright you have a big draw, dim glow little draw.
With either start pulling fuses till the light goes out, That circuit is where you need to look for the draw.
Dave ----
 
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Old 08-17-2018, 06:44 PM
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Any progress? Seems to be a lot going on, kinda all over the place. You've been getting some good advice, but first I'd suggest a little diagnostic time to really narrow down what's happening. We still don't know if you've got a bad cable, a worn-out battery, a discharged battery, a bad charging system, a battery drain, a combination thereof, or who knows what.

As previously mentioned, BEGIN TROUBLESHOOTING WITH A FULLY CHARGED BATTERY!!! I can't stress that strongly enough. If you don't have a charger and can't afford to buy one, put on a ski mask and hit your local parts store. Get one with at least a 10 amp output, NOT a trickle charger.

We'll wait until hearing back that you've got a charger going on the battery.
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Got one yet? Note my creative use of sly humor to stress the importance of charging the battery before doing anything else. Don't try to jump start the truck from your friend Bubba's 4-wheeler or your neighbor's riding mower. Disconnect the battery while charging in case you do have some sort of drain drawing it down. If you have any doubt about the overall health of the battery, take it to an auto parts store for (usually) free testing.

With a fully charged battery (notice I mentioned that again ), reconnect the cables. You can try the key, but I'm not especially worried about the control side of the starting circuit right now. If the key is no joy, look at the big starter relay on the fender, close to the battery. You should see a small terminal on the side. If more than one small terminal, look for the label S.

VERY IMPORTANT: Put the transmission in neutral and set the parking brake. If the parking brake doesn't work, slap yourself from me for ignoring that important repair, and put wheel chocks in position. Turn the ignition to the OFF position and remove the key. We aren't trying to actually start the engine. I just want to see what the battery, starter, and connecting cables can do.

Back to that little S terminal on the starter relay. Momentarily connect a small jumper wire from the battery (+) terminal. The starter relay should make a solid click and your starter should spin until you unhook the jumper wire. Obviously stay clear of the fan and drive belts, as the engine will spin. Remember, the engine won't actually start, so don't be concerned about that.

Try that and report back. Make note if the cranking speed is normal, slow, or none at all. This will be a big help in deciding the next steps for troubleshooting.
 
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