Bad luck with my Ram

Discussion in 'Auto Talk' started by dereksbicycles, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    The other day, I was driving the Ram to Goodwill and I was stranded. The truck would not start. What I had to do was tighten battery cable and it worked fine. Off I go, no problem until yestersday.

    Yestersday, I made the mistake of leaving lights on for 3 hours on my truck. My neighbor warned me and I went right away to turn them off. Seems like damage was done. The truck would start, but not hold charge. Obviously, I'll need a new battery. What I would like to know is can a person ruin alternator by leaving light on truck??

    Truck does run but won't run unless my foot is on gas. Would a poor battery force a person to have to keep foot on gas to hold battery charge??
     
  2. Jiro

    Jiro If You Know What I Mean Premium Member

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    how would it ruin your alternator?
     
  3. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    I hope it did not ruin the alternator, but I am not exactly a mechanic so I am asking here.
     
  4. VacationGuy234

    VacationGuy234 Active Member

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    A lose battery cable will cause a bad connection so the truck will not start, but will not drain a batter because no amperage is being used.

    When you drain the battery by keeping your lights on you hare using up all the battery energy. The truck's alternator is supposed to charge the battery again, but this depends on how long you run the truck. If you only run it for five minutes, you still have drained battery. The amount of gas (engine power) you use does not change the time the battery takes to charge so giving more gas does not help.

    It might be that neither the connection or the lights are the problem. Your alternator may be broken. You can't just check this will a meter because an alternator needs to be checked under load and you need a special tester for it.

    I would take it to Sears or the dealer and have the alternator checked as well as the battery. They should do the check for free, but ask first.

    If the truck is new the battery and alternator will be under warranty so don't buy a new alternator or battery if this is the case. Take it to the dealer if it is a new truck.
     
  5. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    Thank you very much for your feedback. Truck is 1998.

    What I would like to know is can an alternator be ruined in any circumstance by leaving lights on?
     
  6. radioman

    radioman farming for love! Premium Member

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    in a simple one word.... NO.

    You can ruin the BATTERY if you cannot keep battery topped off from alternator if the alternator is bad. Reason is the engine spark plugs draws alot power and if you are relying on battery to keep engine running, the plates in battery will warp from severe discharging and charging and eventually it will be a bad battery shorting out a cell or more.


    Chances are you had a bad alternator and ruined the battery. You stated you had to step on gas more to keep it running as its trying to pull current through a bad battery but its not putting out the amps to charge battery AND run engine.

    All the alternator does is put out a charge. Technically you should be able to disconnect the battery once its started and drive.

    Did you try to put the battery on a charger all night ? is it a maintenance free battery? does it have caps to remove to check water level? If you connect a charger all night and check in morning, is the cells have bubbles rising to surface in all 6 cells? If maintenance free, is the eye green or dark after charging all night?

    Chances are if your battery is NOT getting a charge from alternator, chances are its shot. The easiest way to tell is to remove the alternator from truck and take it to the autostore like autozone/advanced auto- etc and have them test it. They will do it for free.

    I'd replace the alternator first if it tests bad from store. Try to start ( you may have to jump it the first time if battery is weak and you have no charger and run around town and back home and see if the battery will hold a charge, chances are the battery might still be ok- not good but ok enough. Be prepared to shell out the bucks for battery.

    One more caution here--- I am not familar with YOUR ram but there are a few odd balls vehicles out there that has the voltage regulator NOT built in the alternator which makes it more expensive as some is built in car computer.:aw:. Just a simple check in autostores while you are there with your old alternator to check it out will tell you the rest of the story.

    troubleshooting your battery/alternator is not hard other then wiring, but your truck is not old enough to fall in that category.
     
  7. VacationGuy234

    VacationGuy234 Active Member

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    No, but this does not mean the alternator is not bad, it must be checked.
     
  8. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    I did not charge it all night. I can try to charge it up for 10 to 15 minutes and see if it helps battery.

    I don't think it is maintainence free battery.
     
  9. Beowulf

    Beowulf Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Don't get a replacement alternator from a junk yard. Chances are they're no good and it's exasperating after hours and hours of effort.
     
  10. Tousi

    Tousi Well-Known Member

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    Beo, they make remanufactured alternators, don't they?
     
  11. sequoias

    sequoias Active Member Premium Member

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    Wirelessly posted (sent from a smartphone. )

    Just go to auto parts store and they are willing to do a free test to see if the alternator is bad or not. They do a voltage test with a small device.
     
  12. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    Jump started truck for like 15, 20 minutes. Does run, but won't hold charge.
     
  13. diehardbiker

    diehardbiker Active Member

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    No, you can't ruin alternator. Alternator works or not work, not in between. Alternator is very difficult to break. Simple as is. If your headlight dims when motor running. Sorry to break news, need new alternator. If headlight stay bright when running then it is battery issue.

    Go to AutoZone and they will tell you if it is Alt or Battery.
     
  14. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    Battery tested good at Autozone. They doesn't seem to think it is alternator. If it was, the truck wouldn't start.
     
  15. Jiro

    Jiro If You Know What I Mean Premium Member

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    then everything's ok and there's nothing to worry about.
     
  16. dereksbicycles

    dereksbicycles Active Member

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    Tightened cables again. Not enough charge until I pressed on gas for a longer time. Now I can go anywhere. Looks like it was loose connection all along.
     
  17. Jiro

    Jiro If You Know What I Mean Premium Member

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    make sure those cables (metal tips) are clean.

    I had similar problem with my motorcycle so I cleaned the metal tips with WD-40 and sandpapered it. all perfect.
     
  18. The Highlander

    The Highlander New Member

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    Light on for 3 hours? Then your battery need recharger at slow mode for overnight.
     
  19. Grummer

    Grummer Active Member

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    i repaired my own alternators for $6 instead of buying a brand new one for $1200 or a second hand one from the wreckers at $400.... yes folks SIX DOLLARS ...
    AND i swapped it out by taking out radiators, belts drained ofc and installed back the alternators IN THE RAIN.......AND it started and was able to travel another 500Km back home....
     
  20. The Highlander

    The Highlander New Member

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    I am agreed with you.

    10-15 minutes is not enough. Just do for overnight.

    It's call digital multimeter. It's great tool for everything.

    Do your battery terminals/posts have corrosion?

    It's looks like that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then you need to clean with right tool as post terminal cleaner or wire brush

    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac...N-25rr?itemIdentifier=96001&_requestid=390182
    Use tool to clean

    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac.../_/N-25tb?counter=0&itemIdentifier=95997_0_0_
    Then use spray to clean it out with shop towel.

    http://www.autozone.com/autozone/ac..._/N-25jo?counter=0&itemIdentifier=118314_0_0_
    Then put it between post and terminal. It's help to avoid from the corrosion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012

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