E450 7.3TD Battery Charging Problem - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
Powerstroke.org is the premier Diesel Truck Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-20-2011, 05:01 AM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
E450 7.3TD Battery Charging Problem

I have a 2003 E-450 Shuttle Bus (converting to RV) with 7.7L TD. On a 400 mile trip to KY I noticed that the voltage meeter started dropping, and lights were dimming. I turned off all unnecessary electric. Meter went down to bottom of scale (about 8vdc) I was about ready to call it quits when everything came back on. Lights bright, meter just above mid scale. Drove the last 100 miles with no trouble. When I got to my destination I checked with VOM and battery read 12.4vdc. With engine running it reads 13.3 - 13.8vdc. Figured it's OK. It did the EXACT Same Thing on the way back up!

It has 2 batteries (1 brand new) and 2 altanators.

Is it possible for both altanators to be bad and why does it only happen after about 150-200 miles of driving?

Last edited by Ralph44142; 07-20-2011 at 05:03 AM. Reason: left off info
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 07-21-2011, 12:52 PM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lansing
Posts: 27
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I think it is a loose wire, or a faulty regulator. Maybe they share a ground so when one alternator circute opens it doesn't allow the other a path to send its voltage. Total guess. This is how I'd go about checking.

This is what I would do. First inspect your belt for any problems and change it if you don't know its history, or if it looks shiny or the ribs are cracked. I like to reduce some of the variables before I begin. Next go to a place like "Battery Source" or Autozone that does free battery, alternator checks. Or buy a 2/10/15amp Vector batt/alternator charger/checker for about $50 at Meijer. I have used it a lot over the years well worth the money. Test at home with the Vector, maybe try poking the wire with a stick while it is running to see if something is loose.

If that did not help at least you have a new belt and a battery charger. Next, do you have a Harbor Freight tool place nearby? If not, go online and buy two cheapo volt meter gauges. Then using alligator clips, clip one volt meter to each alternator and run the wires so that they go down under the car and up through a door, use zip ties where nescessary. Drive around without much power draw and then turn everything on, one at a time and see if there is a difference. Hopefully you will see where the problem is, and you won't have spent too much to figure out the problem. To solve the problem, that may cost more.

Good Luck - report back.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #3  
Old 07-22-2011, 08:15 PM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I didn't have time to get to HarborFreight, so I just hooked up a vom thru the cig lighter. It stayed on 13.5 - 13.7 vdc for 400 miles. (I wanted to make sure I would get where I was going.) Then I started turning on everything, headlights on high, ac fan on high (AC clutch not working, but the condenser fans kick in) Rear ac fan on high, heater fan on high. Voltage dropped a little (12.9) when I turned each item on but went up again. Lowest steady reading 13.3. Now I'm trying to make it happen, so I stop at a rest stop about 12 miles out of my destination and turn the engine off. VOM reads 13.3vdc. When I re-start the engine it drops to about 10 while cranking and then goes up to 12.3. stays there the last 12 miles. Can't understand why it would charge for 400 miles and what happens when I turn the engine off for a few minuets that causes it to quit charging.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #4  
Old 07-29-2011, 09:20 AM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lansing
Posts: 27
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
It may be time to get a new alternator. Maybe you can go down to just one alternator by getting the smaller serpentine belt designed to accomodate one alternator. Seems to be the case with my 2003 E350 that I can add and subtract alternators if I buy the bigger/smaller belt. If you arn't using major electrical loads that might be an option. I'd still take it somewhere for the free alt check first. Also, make sure your belt and tensioner are working properly.

Maybe this happened, one alternator was kaput, so the remaining worked a few years on its own and now it is going kaput too. It was a nice thing on my mercedes that I could change out the voltage regulator and my 21 year old alternator began working like new for $14.99. Let us know what happens.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #5  
Old 08-01-2011, 01:14 PM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 4
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I have a 2000 E-350 with the ambulance package converted into an rv. A few years back, my alternator/starter rebuilder told me you could not test the alternators in place, you had to remove them and bench test them. I did so and found out one was not working (I had no signs). I just changed the other this spring because the housing was badly cracked on both sides. If you change the belt, keep the old, because dual alternator are rare and the belt has to be ordered. As for your batteries, I recommend having 2 new batteries because they will try to balance each other if they are not the same. I run with 2 regular batteries wired directly to the starter and one optima blue top for my accessories (fridge, lights, etc). I use a marine switch to change to the starting batteries when I want to recharge them, but I typically run everything from the optima (but the starter itself). Regular deep cycle batteries cannot handle the 100 amps extra the dual alternator give, and I found they don't last at all. My optima is a group 27 (70 a-h) and it will charge from empty to full in a one hour drive. I typically switch to charge the start batteries every 10 start or so.
Also the voltage regulator are part of the alternator, but removing them to bench test is quite easy and can be done in about half an hour each (you dont have to remove anything else but the belt and air filter assembly, the bottom one comes out even easier, 3 bolts each).
Good luck!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #6  
Old 08-02-2011, 07:34 AM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: East Lansing
Posts: 27
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I doubt you'd find good info like that in a manual. I hope he gets those Alts out and tested. One question about your battery setup, if you are not charging your Deep Cycle and your starting batteries are charged and you're not charging them either, then what are the alternators hooked to? Wont the alternators go full out if they don't have battery buffering the system or do they just go dormant until you flip a switch to charge something? Maybe 2 deep cycle batteries in paralle would be able to handle the 100amp alternator output and you wouldn't have to remember to switch them on and off. Interesting stuff.

Last edited by lovethydiesel; 08-02-2011 at 07:44 AM.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #7  
Old 08-02-2011, 04:37 PM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Montreal
Posts: 4
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I Have a round battery selector switch (rated 250 Amps) mounted in the engine compartment with 4 positions : Batt 1, Batt 1+2, Batt 2, Off. I never use the off position as it would reset my radio and transmission settings etc. So the switch output is connected to the main power of the van (starter relay, where the original bartterie were connected). I have always my selector to either Batt 1 or Batt 2 (witch is my 2 regular starting batteries in parallel). When the engine is running I can switch from Batt 2 to Batt 1+2 to Batt 1 without interrupting the power, as the batteries act as a buffer for alternator power. I don't stay in Batt 1+2 mode because they are different type and don't have the same full charge voltage. (And I also use a 85 W solar panel when camping, so I defenitely want to be connected to only one set of battery. Also Optima doesn't warranty my battery if I run it in parallel without a voltage control for each battery).
As for charging, every battery expert I talked to told me that deep cycle battery cannot handle more then 15 to 20% of their rated Amp-hour, so even two 120 A-h in parallel would not want more than a 50 Amp charge, so slow discharge=slow recharge! Stock twin alternator give out 110 Amps each and is sufficient to run everything, so I believe that is the cause my previous deep cycles failed, because when the battery is at 11.0 volts and the alternators give out 13.5 to 14.5 V, they just see a need to fill!
I hope this helps!

PS : I Once accidentally disconnected all batteries after startup and the stuck stalled , so that's a no-no. It seems also that the alternators wait until the glow plugs are off before switching on (to avoid burning them with too high voltage). Has anyone ever tried disconnecting all batteries on a running diesel?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
  #8  
Old 08-06-2011, 11:23 AM
Powerstroke.org Rookie
 

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 5
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I THINK IT's HAUNTED!

Thanks For all the INFO. I've learned to live with the battery problem. As long as I don't turn the engine off, it charges fine. Sometimes it charges after restarting, sometimes I have to wait a day. Very intermittent problem. (I hate them!)

NEW PROBLEM;
I THINK IT'S HAUNTED!!!

The "Service Engine Soon" light would come on when I accelerate onto the hi-way. then would go back off after a few miles. Figures not enough fuel so replaced fuel filter. (FUN to get to!) Still get check engine light under heavy load. Went to AutoZone they said light has to be on for them to check. On the way back up to OH it seemed to lose a little power and the light came on. I check GPS and there's an AutoZone just a mile away from where I was planning on fueling up anyway. I drive the 13 miles, and about a half a block from the store the light goes out! (I hear a slight Chuckle from Under the Cowling!) I turn around, fuel up and back on the hi-way. 20 miles up the road the light comes on again. Now I'm loosing power going up inclines and blowing black. Can barely do 30 with it floored. I get to the exit and pull into the friendly TA truck stop. " I'm sorry, Can't Help Ya. We don't work on them. I CHUG along to the next exit and the flying J gives me a card for a local repair shop. Repair guys come, It fires up fine and rev's well. (he he he) They say they don't know what's wrong and don't have the equipment at their shop to diagnose it. But, there's an AutoZone about 10 miles into town. Get there and the light is on. I go in and ask to have the codes read. "Sure he's doing another car right now. Be right with you." He's 5 feet from the bus.... The light goes OUT! I drive it around a bit to make the light come on and go back. They say I have to turn it off so they can hook up the OBD machine. Turn it back on... No Light and NO CODES. "Make it come on again and I'll hook up while it's running" Drive around again and it won't come on so I head north. Go about 90 miles with no problems... then... light comes on, lose power, blowing black. Creep to a rest stop. Wait a bit, check oil and add a quart. Fire it up, drive the last 150 miles with just one more power issue but I could keep it above 50mph. Got home. Did a complete oil change. Got an OBD reader from Harbor Freight. Drove around light came on so I hooked it up; status MIL=OFF (I'm looking at it ON) No Codes. Still looses power and blows black.

Rant Over. Any thought suggestions? Bad Fuel? (I've done injector cleaner) Anyone know a good excersist?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Tags
alternator, battery, charging

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
Garage Plus, Vendor Tools vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.

vB.Sponsors