Question about 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD

2 Answers

Battery drawn dead over night.

1. Bought new battery and still overnight I come out in morning and brand new fully charged battery is completely dead. 2. I was told if something electrical was drawing too much juice it would blow a fuse every time I went to turn truck over. 3. Was told could be alternator rectifer diode being bad because old battery kept getting jumped many of times by prior owner. 4. I just bought used alternator from junk yard looks in great shape and put it onto truck today for overnight to check in morning to see if the battery is dead or not. A. I was told an starter that turns truck over with no noise or problem could still draw battery dead overnight, is this so that a starter could do such? B.Now when I had old alternator and new battery in truck it did not draw dead until it sat for beyond 10 hours. So I believe that this indicates the draw is an small draw since it takes so long to draw battery dead am I correct? C. What other things besides an starter or alternator draw an battery dead? Since old alternator did charge battery once I had battery jumped with a boost. I thought bad alternator would kill battery and not charge. I am being told however that the rectifer diode its self draws juice from battery once engine is off. I am worried about this problem since I need to get truck inspected before the 13th of this month because I have court. I got an non inspected motor vehicle ticket. I took truck to auto repair shop to get inspected and he told me that if I had to keep taking battery terminals off in order to keep charge over night is the reason why my computer is not reading codes etc. so he could inspect my truck. He told me to drive truck 20-50 miles to clear the computer memory so the battery terminals being taken off wouldn't interfere the inspection again. But because I have no inspection in truck NY state I cant just head ut and drive it so many miles to reset the computer. I was told idling truck in yard for good 4-8 hrs would reset memory in which I dont understand how that would work when the auto inspection place told me it has to be driven. So since I have changed alternator and battery and have once again disconnected the battery terminals how can I reset the computer memory so it does not show that battery terminals were taken off? Is there any other option to do this without having to drive it since I don't want to get caught again with no inspection. What things do NY state mechanics/inspection places look for when inspecting a vehicle that has to be plugged into their computer? One of the things also was when I didnt boost truck after leaving battery terminals on then got a boost and drove on my 10 day I got no check engine light on but now I am being told the truck had no option to throw check engine light on just because of either taking battery terminals off every night or because I have not driven it enough to read if there are any codes being thrown off my computer. I am so worried about this issue I have no idea what was the problem that kept past owners having to keep boosting my dodge when it were theirs. I know the battery was not the same battery that they did have in it when they sold it to me that they did change it out with a battery that kept buckling so that is why I went and bought a new battery. I am wondering if their battery was no good and from all boosts they needed if that could had caused the rectifer diode to die that is aka if it is actual alternator that is wrong with my truck. Please answer my questions ASAP. I would appreciate fast answers from someone who is an mechanic or who has or does work on vehicles/autos. Thanks.

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  • 67 Answers

You have a current draw, so you need to isolate the problem. It could be bad diode(s) in the Alternator, but it could also be something else.

If you don't already have one, I would get a DC AMP Clamp Meter (around $50 from Sears) connect it and take note of the current draw reading. Then start pulling fuses one at a time until the current draw goes away. Once you have isolated the fuse that made the draw go away, find a wiring diagram, there might be one here
Then reinstall the fuse and start unplugging items on that circuit until you find the culprit.
hope this helps!

Posted on Nov 14, 2014

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There are a lot of things it could be, like you said. You could try testing them one by one with a short circuit/continuity tester like this:
Or a multimeter at the continuity setting (looks like: ))).
For the inspection, I disconnected my battery and it reset the computer. However, they told me I needed at least 50 miles of history on it before they could pass it. Just make sure you have driven it for a few days after you disconnect the battery so the computer has some emissions history and you should be fine.

Posted on Feb 11, 2014

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  • Marie Hayes
    Marie Hayes Feb 11, 2014

    Okay so the only thing to get the emissions reader to read my emissions is to drive it, I couldn't just idle it in drive way? Does driving give my truck emissions, I'm sorry I don't know what emissions are unless they are the things that could be for whats wrong with truck since I know 02 sensor is an emission faulty or something if that code gets read on reader at advance? So when you said to check the issues one by one, did you mean that I am on the right track as for what the problem could be such as alternator and or starter? How much would it usually cost to get spring hanger put onto truck I have the part that came with my truck the prior owner has chain holding in bk of truck underneath since all other 3 he said are good? Could I get NY inspection if spring hanger is bad , do they look around truck? I ask because I thought as long as their reader they put in under my dash reads good threw NYS and all my lights work then I could get an inspection? Please answer all my questions if you have an response for each really really pretty please, I know it seems like alot which they are but DA not giving me deal he said unless I have Dodge inspected by court. I heard that there is a way to rest brain or truck computer by using I think it's called OBD reader the tool advance allows you to plug into your auto to check for codes. Is there a way to use OBD reader to get emissions to read? Or is there a scan tool like I read of from other peoples comments, if so whats it called, where can I get one bc I have no time to order offline, and how much does it usually cost? As well my ball joint another mechanic who did my brake pads etc said is loose wobbly that he can take my pass. tire and wobble it a bit up and down but he is the type who tries to make extra dough so I dont always believe him when he says something is wrong bc hes money hungry. If my ball joint was bad wouldnt I shimmy or something on the rd while driving? What would be signs of bad ball joint? Is there anything I could buy to seal muffler crack? It is not all that bad for wasting mo9neyh on bad one but I am the type to get new parts when I know truck will need them sooner than later etc. Please inform me about how to tell if starter or alternator was problem for draining battery? I really need your help plz help me since guys around here try take advantage of me being a woman. Plz Plz help:( Thanks so far:)

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    1. No you need to drive it

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    2. If the sensor is bad and it turns on the engine light, they will fail it

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    3. Thats the right way to look at it.

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    I don't know about the cost of a spring hanger, I would look at a junkyard

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    5. It depends on who is looking, but probably not

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    6. You can get sensor data from an OBD2 reader

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    7. Yes, Amazon, OBD2 bluetooth reader, $11.99,

  • Wasatch Techies
    Wasatch Techies Feb 11, 2014

    8. Find a mechanic you can trust.


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Sounds like a dead battery and possibly a malfunctioning charging system to me. Trust me, I have seen weirder tings happen as the result of a shorted cell in a battery. It needs to be tested with a battery tester that can test the impedance of the battery cells. Please note that an old-fashioned battery "carbon pile" load tester cannot do this.

I have even seen engines that would crank normally and not start because the shorted cell was giving reverse polarity feedback to the computer system during cranking. Just because your lights are coming on, does not mean that your battery is in good condition or that it is fully charged.

I have also seen many Engine Control Modules and Body Control Modules replaced by mechanics that failed to properly test the charging system before making such a judgement. Module failures do happen, but they are RARE.

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