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Discussion Starter #1
Finally got my truck back from the body shop today after almost 2 months. When I picked her up the shop told me that they had been having problems getting her started so they disconnect the battery every time they moved her. I thought she just needed a good run. After getting her back to my warehouse to install the aftermarket bumpers I bought. I parked her in the back walked around to the front of the building opened up, unlocked rolling door, prepped the area to drive in and went to start her about 15-20 mins later. I got the dreaded ticking. How can I find out what is the root cause or at least eliminate what is not causing the problem. I forgot to mention that when we hooked up the battery at the body shop it sparked like there was a heavy draw of current.
 

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I'm curious if the body shop smashed a wiring harness when they were doing their thing. Put an ammeter on the battery, start pulling fuses until the draw goes away. That will show you what circuit you need to trace to find the problem.
 

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While this is a great theory, and I've certainly used it in the past, things have gotten a Lot More Complicated in trying to use this method...

You'll need to completely take one of the batteries out of the equation and work with the other one. You also have to realize that you have a myriad of electronics running when you turn on the key. All this stuff takes up to 1/2hr to shut-down so you'll be seeing the draw lessening as time goes on. Open a door, turn the key, mess with almost Anything and you start stuff back up.

It's a complicated thing to do now-a-days Plus, add to that, that the actual Amount of draw you're supposed to have (and you Always are going to have a draw) changes with how your truck is equipped..

Here's where I'd start, unplug the Alt from the truck. Pull the fuses for the Instrument Cluster & Radio. Then see if things improve, these have been the most likely culprits.

If it works, connect each thing One at a time and wait (for as long as it takes to show-up, overnight, a day, whatever you're seeing now) to find out where the problem lies.

If you get no change, thinks get harder :( You can simply remove all the Even # fuses and look for a change. Then the Odd #, then 1/2 of the problem ones then the other 1/2 (you get it, hit or miss)

You can of course use an ammeter in series with one of the cables of a single battery and, once settled down, you should see under 2-3 Amps certainly. Pulling each fuse will show some have an effect but, again, some are supposed to be drawing current at all times...

I guess it depends on how quickly you need this resolved ;)

Also, you could look to see that the GPR isn't stuck ON. If it were though you'd be seeing a HUGE spark and it would kill the batteries pretty quickly (under an hr to both be completely dead) so I've assumed you don't have That going on...
 

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Yes, doing it with one battery is definitely a help. I wasn't worried about all of the auxiliary systems, as interior lights pull minimal amps, and the issue is with key off drainage. By all means, disconnect the underhood light, and the interior lights to do this, but there will still be a significant enough drop in meter readings once he pulls the right fuse.

You bring up a good point about how so many things are interconnected, but that's why I said circuit, not wire. ;)

Nothing should be pulling a legitimate amount of current at all times, otherwise we would need a jump every morning. Sure, the radio and other memory circuits will pull power all the time, but that takes months to drain a battery. To drain it over night requires a significant draw. Something that should only be drawing current with the key on (as interior lights are on a timer).
 

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But wait, forget "doing it with one battery is definitely a help" though... If you do this on One battery while the other is still connected, the draw goes with the path of least resistance (which is Not through the meter ;) )

If you don't do it with the other battery disconnected you're introducing too many variables. When I talk about the constant draw, and the pre-1/2hr shutdown, It's actually significant if you're looking for a 24hr effect on less-then-healthy batteries (I'm still not clear on how long this is taking for him to have the problem). This Does actually become (after the 1/2hr) a sustainable draw that will not effect anything for some time (mine became @120mA as I remember) and I agree, although I'm not sure about the term "legitimate", that an overnight kill would be a significant amount of loss for it to kill 2, fully charged, healthy batteries.

As I said, I've tried using a meter in series Many times on Many different vehicles, I just found this to have gotten less useful as things get more complicated (and am not even considering things like lighting, there is a combined, significant draw from the various systems at first and you really do have to wait for them to settle-down to do this right)
 

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You are absolutely right. I think we're in agreement on principle, just not the way to figure it out. I have read many of your other posts and you definitely have more experience working on these than I do, so I will submit to that experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Ok, I took my multimeter to it and it pegged the neddle as soon as I put the red wire from the meter in series with the positive pole on the battery and the black wire to the positive cable. This truck was stolen and the ignition switch was replaced. I pulled both the 20 and 21 fuses for the ignition that are 50A waited over an hour and neddle still pegging. How to I check the glow plug relay?
 

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What made you choose those fuses? Just because they were 50A?

Disconnect the Alt.

Remove the Instrument Cluster & Radio fuses.

Disconnect either one of the Large wires going to the GP Relay.

What scale is your meter on? In most cases you're limited to no more than 10A on a MultiMeter. Digital ones often Less...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I started with the two ignition fuses because the ignition was broken and replaced. Since work was done in that area I started with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here is a picture of the setting on my multimeter while I take the reading. Do I have it set correctly?

 

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Discussion Starter #11
NoRalPh- Your a freaking genius! I pulled Instrument Cluster fuse #29 a 5A fuse and I am reading zero on my meter. NOW WHAT??? PS- I also replaced the headlight switch with a non oem unit, factory switch was stolen.
 

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OK, now Here is where the fun begins....

What else does that fuse protect? In my owners manual, fuse #29 says "Customers Access" look in your manual to see if there other stuff associated with that fuse (as a side note: this is an '01 - right? Some time during the '01 run there was a major electrical revision so, you have to know weather you're an '00 or an '02 electrical system. You can tell this by the presents of a Trans Temp Gauge in your cluster. If you have it, you have the '02 upgrade. If you don't you are the same as an '00)

Next thing is, your meter. You have it on the right setting BUT, you see it say's 250mA MAX. That's 1/4 of an AMP and you're actually supposed to draw more than that at first (remember me saying this wasn't so easy to do now-a-days ;) ).

By pulling that fuse, you may be powering down the PCM or other things that are drawing the power they normally do. The "test" should be now,,, are the batteries going to go dead like before? Time will tell I guess, let us know...

If it cures the issue you would now have to narrow it down to exactly where the problem exists. Is it a wire? Is it a component? If it's just the Instrument Cluster (unlikely) that #29 fuse is feeding, unplug the cluster itself on the back and retest. Anything else it protects you can do the same thing with, unplug and retest until you find the culprit! :wink[3]:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I love learning new things so here we go. I definitely have a 2000 style as it is the same as my 99 F350 (no tranny temp gauge).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok, that didn't work. With the batteries charged I started the truck (with fuse #29 removed) Ran it for a good 10 minutes shut it off and started to bolt on my front bumper. After about 30 minutes I went to start it and I got the damn ticking, dead battery. But I'm still reading zero on the multimeter with the ignition off. I'll kept at it this week and next week but after that I'm going to have to drive it to the stealership.
 

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Your batteries could also be dead from repeated drainage. After you fire it up on charged batts, fire the truck up, let it get nice and warm. Then kill it, wait just a couple of minutes and try again. If it doesn't start, I would guess dead batts.

If it is the alt as suggested above, hook up charged batts, wait a few minutes, touch alt. No need to let engine heat throw off your hands heat calibration.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Got another piece of the puzzle. One of my batteries had a dead cell. The other is still good but leaks acid as that one has always had a problem with corrosion.
 

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I would replace both. They should always be replaced in pairs anyhow.
 

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sounds like a bad battery? Low voltage causes the amps to spike. Maybe a short in one of the batteries or it is dead. Just trying to help.
 

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Did you find the cure yet?
 
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