'95 Dodge Van 3500 5.9 When connecting/disconnecting battery terminal, a sizeable spark occurs (must be 1-2 AMPS)There are no devices on except the remote door lock, which is always on standby. The charge system checks out,posts clean,etc, and the vehicle starts (and charges) well if not parked for more than 2 days. (2nd day it cranks slower) This unit is a class B motorhome with a 120 amp alternator and isolator, and the rear battery bank is unaffected. Does anyone have experience with this manufacturer/model that gives a clue to the likely power drain?
First off, how old is the battery? It is possible it might be stratified and its just no longer holding a charge well. I've had batteries that are 2 or 3 years old and then they just go dead if I don't start them up every day or so. (Some batteries are just made better than others) If the battery is brand new, then check for some possible wiring shorts. Try looking at the engine running in the dark and try moving around the wiring harness to see if by chance you see any sparks or arcs of electricity. Other than that, you might have to have a qualified auto electric mechanic to check it out for any abnormal power drains.
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Hi. Best way to find it is old fashioned leg work and an amp meter. You need a cheap multi meter with a 10 amp range. turn everything including ignition off and connect multi meter. You disconnect neg terminal and put amp/multimeter in line between the negative wire and battery. A good reading drain will be around 0.3 amps.
if it is higher than about 0.5 amps remove then refit one fuse at a time until the drain disappears, That's the guilty circuit. Jon
Seen this "mystery drain" many times. Check spark at the battery to see how big the drain is. For this simple test, blow away any (explosive) battery charging fumes. Leave one terminal on and gently touch the other to its post in fairly dark surroundings. Then try it again with the wires taken off the alternator. Your spark is now probably much less. Usually bad diodes leaking electricity backwards through the alternator cause this drain. Replace the alternator or the diode pack inside it. Some mechanics recommend actually measuring the drain.... hahaha. OK whatever.
How old is the battery? Is there any aftermarket alarms or stereos installed? And are the cables clean and tight? If the battery is new and the cables are tight you have a parasitic drain. you need a DMM, disconnect negative terminal and place one lead on cable, one on post. Set DMM to amps and compare reading to man. specs usually between 20 to 50 milliamps. If out of spec disconnect one fuse at a time looking for a fall in the reading and that will tell you what circuit has the issue
Yes, If you have a volt meter, jump and start engine, with engine running you should have approx 13.5 to 14.2volts that would tell me that batt is getting charged when engine is running. you said new batt would not hold a charge, I would be thinking about a parasitic draw(small amount of power) that in time will drain batt. things to look for are glove box lights, under hood lights that dont turn off. one easy way too see if you have a draw is to disconnect one batt cable, now use a regular (12volt non-self powered) test light and touch one end to batt cable and the other to empty batt terminal, with no light switches on and doors closed, this test light should not light and if it does then you have a drain on batt that will kill it say overnight.
Assuming you have a battery charger. Do not plug charger in until after it is connected.
1. Open hood & locate battery.
2. Identify the positive terminal of the battery (usyally has a red cover or red marking.
The battery has side terminals (not posts like nonGM batteries)
4. Connect the + red clamp the the positive terminal wiggle it a little to get good connection.
5. Connect the negative black clamp to the engine block, a handy bracket on engine or the negative terminal on the battery. DO NOT CONNECT TO ALTERNATOR
6. Be sure connections are secure.
7. Plug in charger it should show charging. Leave it over night
8. Before disconnecting charger disconnect power to the charger.
THE FUMES OF A BATTERY ARE EXPLOSIVE DO NOT USE FLAMES NEAR BATTERY
DO NOT ALLOW SPARKS NEAR BATTERY!
unhook ur negative battery terminal and take a voltmeter and set it on amperage. with the doors shut and the key off and EVERYTHING OFF. hook up the leads one to the battery terminal and the other to the cars battery end ( the one u disconnected) with the volt meter set on amperage u should now be connecting ground back o the car. verify by opening car door and make sure interior light lights up. look at ur volt meter and u should have a one amp reading or so. shut the door and when the light goes out the amps should go away. anything 0ver .10 amps on ur meter is too much. leave car alone for one hour. if the amperage is still over .10 u have a drain. start pulling fuses one at a time until the drain goes away. once it does then find out what the fuse goes too. ie... power seats, window,etc. start unplugging individual components on that circuit and u can narrow down which component is causing the drain
You need to check for something that is a constant drain on the battery.
Is the underhood light staying on?
Are the interior lights left on?
Is the glove box light staying on?
Has anything been added to the van recently like an alarm, radio, amplifier, etc?
Do you leave your GPS unit plugged in or cell phone charger plugged in?
I would start my search (since you have already had the alt output checked) looking for something that is draining the battery slowly.
The battery with vehicle off should read 12 volts using your power meter, if not its your problem. First I would make sure your power leads to the battery are on really tight, if its wiggles or moves its not tight enough and can casue a short that will drain your battery among other problems. Also never start a vehicle with a battery charger connected and yes, an over charge will damage a batter. Also remember to always take the battery leads off and on in this order: negative off first and on first. If there is excess acid corrosion on the power lead terminations at the battery, clean them with baking soda and water solution, make sure the leads have good connections to the alt. and the power distrabution panel (where are your engine fuses are). Check the negative power lead for proper grounding by using a continuity test: put one tester lead on the power lead termination and the other on a known good grounded source, if there is continuity than you are good, if not troubleshoot the negative lead for a short.
If you can get it started you and still have issues let me know and I can help more from there. Hope this helps, Oh and make sure your friend bought the proper battery with the right ratings for your truck.
Park van so that you can safely access the starter. I use ramps under front wheels and put it in park and set the parking brakes. Disconnect positive battery cable at battery, disconnect starter battery cable and ignition wires from starter solenoid (remember terminal locations as these will attach to new starter solenoid). Remove old starter. Replace with new starter. Re-attach wiring in reverse order.