broken down on my wife... is this correct voltage??? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:33 AM
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broken down on my wife... is this correct voltage???

hey all, I've been around for a while and gleaned a lot of knowledge even though I've had my 05 superduty for only a few months.

I'm out of town in new york, and my poor wife had to drive my truck since her car broke down, and she called me today saying that now MY truck won't start.

she's not terribly car savvy, and said that it was just clicking when she tried to start it. then she tells me that the battery light has been flickering on for a little while, but disregarded it because it kept running. ugh.

anyway, she got it jumped and drove the short distance back to work (she was shopping on her lunch), and got a ride home. at this point the abs light also came on (i figure due to low voltage).

at least one of the two batteries is new, so I didn't think it was a battery issue, and could only assume/remote diagnose it as the alternator. it SUPPOSEDLY has a single alt set up, but honestly, I didn't even know a dual set up was an option.
the dealer ran the vin over the phone and said it should be a single alt set up, and held one for me.

i called the only person i know who was anywhere close who can work on cars, a kid who doesn't tend to believe in diagnosing, just replacing.

I basically hired him to try and fix the truck and had him pick up the alt. I told him to first check voltage, then get it started and re-check voltage to confirm that it wasn't charging before replacing the alt.

he didn't, he just checked voltage before (11v ish) and right after trying to start (it wouldn't crank) and said that the voltage dropped and then rose back

so he swapped out the alt and i had him check voltage. it seemed to be idling, and he said voltage at each battery was 12.8.
i was really bummed (expecting him to say 13.5ish) and told him to check at the alternator and he said it was the same.
i told him to rev it up and check it and he said it went up to 13 at about 2k rpm.


he let it run for 25 minutes, shut it off for 10, and then checked battery voltage and it was 12.5, started it and it was back to the 12.8, climbing to 13, maybe a little higher, when revved.

I don't have much faith in his ability to use the multimeter, but i dont' know that he could really mess it up.

so i have a few questions... is it possible that this is a dual alternator setup considering it is supposed to be a single, and the single set-up alternator bolted in? is the 2nd alt on an equipped truck up top or on the bottom?

do these numbers sound like it's working? there are no warning lights on the dash any more...

ugh. how i wish i was back there to test thing myself.

any thoughts/advice ANYone can offer would be great

Last edited by jfryjfry; 05-22-2009 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:48 AM
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It's possible but not probable that you vin# doesn't correspond with what you have. I think problem is solved. Be sure and tell your wife to make sure and let the glow plug light go off before she cranks. My wife drained my batteries overcranking, not letting the glowplugs do their job.
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:34 AM
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alternator light flashing means the alternator was probably the culprit for sure , problem should be fixed if alternator replaced
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:52 AM
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sounds like alt to me
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCUFFY828 View Post
alternator light flashing means the alternator was probably the culprit for sure , problem should be fixed if alternator replaced
I agree with scuffy...but I am also curious as to why one battery is new ...not both. Sometimes batteries die an early death and replacing "one only" makes sense. If the battery died due to normal wear and tear..you can count on the second battery dieing shortly afterward.
Under some circumstances a dieing battery can lead to premature alternator failure.(designed duty cycle exceeded)
Normal charging voltage ,for charged batteries, is 13.6 to 14.3 volts.If your charging system cannot achieve this after a couple days normal use...
you should be suspicious of the "non-new" battery.

Last edited by mrnecsteve; 05-22-2009 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:35 PM
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not sure why one is new and the other isn't, or even if that's true. i got it used through a buddy at a ford dealership and his paperwork showed one recent new battery, but the other could be new(er) too.

the charging voltage sounds low, but it does seem to be charging. she drove it as little as she needed to today and it seemed to be okay, so hopefully we're okay -- at least until i get home and can take a look at it!

can someone direct me towards a description of how the dual battery system is set up? or are they just wired together???
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfryjfry View Post
not sure why one is new and the other isn't, or even if that's true. i got it used through a buddy at a ford dealership and his paperwork showed one recent new battery, but the other could be new(er) too.

the charging voltage sounds low, but it does seem to be charging. she drove it as little as she needed to today and it seemed to be okay, so hopefully we're okay -- at least until i get home and can take a look at it!

can someone direct me towards a description of how the dual battery system is set up? or are they just wired together???
If there is an issue with the not so new battery, it will show up most when the truck is not running. I'll explain as best as I can.
The batteries are in parallel ,with no switches whatsoever. The batteries always attempt to "level "with each other. There is always a trickle (microamps)
flowing between one battery to the other ,as no two batteries are identical,even when new.This is perfectly normal. As batteries age,they dont age equally ,because of differances in ambient temperature,differances in cable length,and slight differances in battery manufacture,or even differances in the electrolyte(acid). THIS is normal
and unnoticeable. Problems arise when the leveling current gets too great,usually because of a cell in one battery beginning to short.When this happens,a full cell short will cause one battery to become a theorectical 10 volt battery while the good one is a still a 12 volt battery. The shorting is caused by normal flakeing of the battery plates onto the bottom of the cell.
You can have a situation where a battery is approaching end of life. It will discharge during downtime but still seem to work fine...BUT the alternator is constantly having to recharge at 100 percent duty cycle over and over and over....combine that with some alternator rebuilders using
imported CRAP electrical components... beware of what to suspect if
your new alternator fails prematurely.
IF possible,until you return home, is it practicle to have someone connect a trickle charger to the truck between uses??? A simple cigarette lighter charger would be good.....or even a cheap solar charger would help.
When you get home.....determine first if your battery has removeable caps.. If so proceeed to Walmarts or an automotive store and buy a hydrometer.That will cost maybe a grand total of five bucks. Its a simple glass device with 5 floating balls designed to measure the specific gravity
of each cell's electrolyte.A perfectly good cell will float all 5 balls.(when charged) Usually , as a battery starts to fade,the POST cells will show a change first and still has life left in it. In a single battery setup this is no cause for alarm. In a dual battery ,parallel setup,this is a cause for alarm, if both batteries are not similar . In fact the battery with the end cells showing 4 balls floating could probably be successfully used in another vehicle for a couple years BUT not a dual battery setup.
If you batteries pass the hydrometer test ,the batteries are probably ok for now and you wont need to have lifted them out of the truck.Its a reliable means of checking on the health of your batteries.(been using this method for 41 years.)
If one of the cells is low on acid...myself I use battery acid.If i am out on the highway...I will and have used TAP water...(It will last long enough for me to get home.... The battery is probably doomed to die anyhow)

The hydrometer measurement will NOT help you to isolate batteries with high plate resistance.....but the symptoms you describe are not a high resistance fault. A LOAD test is needed for that issue. That condition is usually probable when the charging system appears to be charging (13.6-14.3) ,all the connections are good,but the battery just isnt "putting out" High plate resistance usually occurs after a battery has sat DEAD for weeks.(A battery sitting dead builds a sulfide coating on the plates ...as on someones weekend boat or jetski.
Battery replacement on Superduties should be done similar to tires.Always try to have a matched set......unless you want the headache of keeping track of them. can you imagine the headache of 4 trips to a tire dealer to replace a set of tires..one by one??? A dealer should know better than to replace just one...but it happens ($$$$)
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:08 AM
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Always replace batteries in a pair. If one is bad replace them both.

Reason being is the older battery can cause the newer battery to fail prematurely.

I also aggree that your problem should be solved.

Although when my alternator goes out. I always replace both batteries at the time of alternator replacement.
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