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Slow Crank, won't start, Batt. good
2003 7.3L F250
So my batteries died in early December and I replaced them before heading off on a business trip for two months. It had been cranking slow and I wasn't sure how old the batteries were. After the replacement, it started much faster. I left town for two months and the person I charged with running it once a week failed to do so until around week 6 or 7 and it wouldn't start.
Week 8, I got back and put a charger on each battery. Only with the chargers boosted could I get it to start. I drove it about 60 miles, afraid to turn it off to put fresh diesel in it. At most lights it threatened to stall out. Once I turned it off in front of the house, it would not start again.
Yesterday, I took the batteries and exchanged them for new ones. With these in, it was cranking extremely slow and would not start. Both batteries had a normal output and were charged to 85 and 87%. I put them on a slow charge up to 100% and tried again today.
The starter sounded even worse. The temp is 18 degrees and I gave it ample time for the GPs to warm up. I tried plugging it in previously, but the element won't warm, which is another problem entirely.
I also noticed that one of the positive leads was very hot to the touch after trying to start the engine. This is leading me to believe that there may be a short in the starter.
Does anyone have advice on troubleshooting this issue to make sure it is the starter before I just replace it? I'm away all day at work, so I won't have daylight to really give it a good look until the weekend.
I searched around and couldn't find any problems quite the same as this; but if there is a thread you can reference me to I would appreciate it.