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Old 04-21-2012, 12:45 PM
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charging woes

2004 F-350 chassis truck with a 140 amp alt.Couple weeks ago the new as of Dec batteries kept getting low. Slow crank, wasn't sure it was going to start, charge the batteries, starts fine most of the day, then cranks slow. Did this a couple days untill I could get a break from work to look at it. After a charge the batteries were reading 12.7 volts, after starting the motor,and waiting for the glow plugs to switch off I got 13.2-14.5 or 11.5. Jumped around a lot. Only place in town that stocked the alternator could not test my old one. Weekend, needed the truck monday, so took a gamble and stuck a new alt on it.All seemed well for a week and half.Yesterday Took a couple hundred mile trip, truck ran fine, started fine, but now have the battery idiot light coming on and off on the dash. Can't get over 12.3 volts now while it's running even after 15 minutes. Took the truck to Checker Auto and with their fancy tester told me the batteries were good but i was having a charging issue.I checked for codes, had none. Going to remove the alternator and take it to the auto parts to tested on it's own. My understanding is there is a relay or something similar that won't allow the alt to begin charging until the glow plugs shut off. Would that be the glow plug control mod? Battery cables look good, clean, tight on the batteries, tho haven't chased the other ends yet. Any ideas where to check if the alt checks out good? Odds of two bad alt in a couple weeks seems unlikely.
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Old 04-21-2012, 02:48 PM
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Took the alt off and took to auto parts to be tested. Said it tested ok. Ill go clean wires, check grounds, etc. Anything else to check?
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:16 PM
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put the alt back on. Had the battery charger on it for the last hour, now key on, lights on, volts are around 12.5,and slowly climes to 13.8-14 volts as it idles. I'll drive it this week see if the light comes on.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:08 AM
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grrrr, the dam battery light is back on. Seems to be random, any ideas what to check next? Charging voltage seems to hit or miss as to it's mood.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:38 AM
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Disconnect your battery negatives, pull your dash panel under the steering wheel, look under the dash just behind the fuse box. See if there is a powertrain control module mounted just behind it. That's where ours is on our '01 and apparently where my troubles are coming from. Ck a manual to make sure, it probably won't be plainly marked "PCM", just looks like a small computer. Disconnect the connector and spray it out with some Brakleen(put some towels in your floorboard, it will dis-color your mats/carpet) and blow it out with air. Pull and re-seat all of your fuses and relays under the dash and under the hood one at a time, be careful and don't horse them, they will break. Connect everything back up and try it again, let us know how it does. Seems like you've covered a lot of the bases already. Is this a California truck or a Federal emissions truck?
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:01 AM
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how do I tell if it is a Calif truck? I still have all the smog crap on it, tho running tunes and BPD oil cooler and EGR cooler.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:40 AM
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ID-A-Truck

There is an emissions sticker under the hood the will say something like "This vehicle meets(Federal/California) emissions regulations, etc, etc. for [I]model year[I] and it'll have a vaccum diagram and other info. I recall the book saying Feds used the glow plug relay and PCM timer and the Cali's used the glow plug module assembly mounted to the firewall. I think all later models use the module assembly. Big denaros if it's bad, I think AutoZone was 3 or 4 bills, I'd hunt a junk yard first if that turns out to be it. Exhaust all other resources first that don't cost you money before changing parts. Make sure your alt belt is good and tight and the tensioner spring isn't weak. On serp belts the tensioners wear out over time and won't keep the belt tight, esp. at higher RPM's and under load. It's a normal maint item but most folks wait till a bearing fails or they start throwing the belt off repeatedly before they change them. I'm not saying it's bad, just ck it. Unfortunately that's kind of one those things you develop a feel for over the years, save for out right failure. They make a gauge, but most mechanics can tell by the feel of the spring if it's worn out. Usually they are about 40-60 bucks, but some are very expensive. Haven't priced one for a PSD yet, but did just put one on my daughter's LeBaron convertible.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:49 AM
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Het JIMMM, I'm wrong on that emission sticker under the hood. I went out and re-checked ours, they're different stickers. Ck your driver's side door post sticker, see what that says. I'll try to find out.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:39 PM
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Sorry for the delay, son came in off the road to re-supply and we went and put two tires on the F350 and two on his trailer. According to this Chilton's manual your PCM on a 2004 should be located behind the left side battery cover. Look up an Engine Control Computer and a Glow Plug Module on AutoZone's web site, it'll have pics so you can match it. As far as id'ing if it's a Federal or a Cali build I'm not sure now save for running the VIN through the system at a dealer to spec it, you'll also need your build date off the door post sticker. If you bought the truck new and you aren't in California it's most likely a Federal. Usually the difference is the requirements under the California Air Resources Board(CARB) that are more stringent than Federal Emissions regs. Without a Scan Tool or what's known as a Break Out Box, I'd don't know how you could field test that gp module to see if it is working correctly. You'd need to know the specs at each wire point and that's a lot to try and test in the two or three minutes the PCM cycles the glow plugs. Consumer grade manuals like Haynes and Chilton's don't provide that kind of info, usually only factory manuals, Mitchell and AllData if you subscribe to it. Know anybody with an 04 like yours that would let you swap parts to check it out?
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:32 AM
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Hey, ran across this, might help. http://www.thedieselgarage.com/forum...6&d=1201892575
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