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Author Topic: Bad battery cable?  (Read 841 times)

jsbusness

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Bad battery cable?
« on: November 12, 2013, 10:38:54 AM »
When I turn ignition switch on, battery clicks once, then nothing.  When I use auxiliary switch to coach batteries, the engine cranks fine and runs fine, except I have no headlights, and no dash lights.  Anyone know likely problem?  Thanks.
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Jeff

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 11:07:30 AM »
I would suggest checking the chassis starting battery voltage before you use the auxiliary switch. Your battery may be bad.

John From Detroit

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2013, 11:31:29 AM »
Usually when that happens to me it is the starting battery cable (positive) that needs cleaning.. More in a second.. Once the engine is runnign I have lights though which leads me down a different path for you..

Why the positive. Because the idiots replaced the cable end at the battery with the wrong type..  One of these days (next time I crawl under I suspect) I will replace it with the RIGHT type and see if it lasts longer.

In your case, since you said "Except I have no lights" I suspect the alternator.
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jsbusness

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2013, 12:35:24 PM »
Thanks for the responses.  Sorry that I didn't mention many details.  I was about 4 hours away from home when problem first occurred.  I just assumed that the alternator was bad and not charging the starting battery and that it was too weak to start.  So when I was able to use the aux battery to start and it ran o.k., and I had running lights (but no headlights, no tail lights, no dash lights), I started my generator thinking that it might keep a minimum trickle charge enough to limp home.  Fortunately, my directional signal lights and brake lights worked, so I turned on my flashers and made it home safely.  This morning, I checked the starting battery and it shows fully charged (go figure), but again, when I try to start with the ignition, I get nothing.  It is all puzzling to me, so I guess I will depend on the mechanics to figure it out.
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Just Lou

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2013, 12:39:17 PM »
When I turn ignition switch on, battery clicks once, then nothing.  When I use auxiliary switch to coach batteries, the engine cranks fine and runs fine, except I have no headlights, and no dash lights.  Anyone know likely problem?  Thanks.
It might help to know what chassis the rig is built on.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

jsbusness

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2013, 12:44:59 PM »
Sorry - 99 Bounder on Ford chassis, V10.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2013, 01:11:23 PM »
Corrosion blocks electrical flow.  If there's corrosion on the battery posts, it can block the electrical flow in or out of the battery.  If you see corrosion, you have to remove the clamp from the battery and clean it.  If you don't, you can clean off the external corrosion but still have blockage where it counts - between the post and the clamp.

You can also get corrosion where the battery cable meets the clamp - especially if someone just put a new clamp on the end of the cable.  Acid spray gets into the gaps between the clamp and the cable and before you know it you have corrosion there. It's best to have  molded clamps, which means replacing the cable along with the clamp.

weewun

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 04:43:47 PM »
Don't rule out the Ground Cable for the Chassis Battery. 
Walt Williams

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Alfa38User

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 10:29:34 PM »
..... Nor the heavy battery connections at the starter relay and starter motor....I know the same connections are used when jumping the battery but the additional current available can cause a somewhat dirty connection to become ok (but warm/hot) temporarily.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 10:32:39 PM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montreal, Canada
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mistere

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2013, 06:28:07 AM »
You'll have to check the entire length of both the positive and negative cables.  Using a test light or multimeter  you may be able to find a point where there is a voltage drop in the positive cable.  I wouldn't rely on a visual inspection of the negative cable, there could be corrosion where it attaches  the frame.  There should be fusible links attached to the positive lug at the starter.  If one of those has failed it would knock out anything that link provided power for.  If you are going to work on the positive wiring, disconnect the battery to prevent an arc.  Wear safety glasses.
Ed
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2013 Toyota 4Runner

Jeff

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2013, 10:11:59 AM »
Wouldn't it be easier to check the integrity of the cables by unhooking them at each end and then test for continuity to ground? If there is a path to ground you'll know the cable has been compromised. :(

Just Lou

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2013, 10:49:24 AM »
Quote from: mistere
You'll have to check the entire length of both the positive and negative cables.  Using a test light or multimeter  you may be able to find a point where there is a voltage drop in the positive cable.
I'd be interested to know how you propose doing this.
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

Just Lou

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2013, 11:37:13 AM »
Attached is a simplified diagram of how Ford F53 starting systems are wired.  I have the actual Ford wiring diagrams for the '97 F53, which is probably identical to the '99, if you understand the concept and want me to post them.  The fuse links, mentioned earlier, will be attached to the HOT side of the starter relay or the starter solenoid.  The small starter relay (actually a can shaped solenoid) is located on the inside (left side) of the doghouse on mine.  It may be there on yours, as well.

I'm suspecting loose or corroded connections at the point of fusable links connections.  Let me know if I can be of any further help.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 11:39:24 AM by Just Lou »
'97 Bounder 34V (F53 w/tag), '99 Honda Accord EX

John From Detroit

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2013, 11:47:47 AM »
How to test cables. using nothing more than a volt meter and a partner.

First, Measure voltage AT THE BATTERY TERMINALS.

now move the positive lead to the Chassis battery disconnect or to the starter solenoid battery terminal. Should show battery voltage. Keep the negative on the battery,  Have partner crank (or rather attempt to) the engine,, Voltage goes down.. You have narrowed it to that cable or cables (See note), Voltage remains high.
Move positive back to battery, Move negative to chassis. Should show battery voltage.

Repeat cranking experment, Voltage drops, you have narrowed it down

NOW. Move the negative probe to the battery cable (not the post but the cable)

Try again, if it drops, clean battery terminal  If it remains high find other end of cable and clean THAT connection.. ALso place the meter lead on the lug there and try again, Should start but if not did voltage drop?  Replace cable.

I have had to replace two wires in my MH due to deteroation, One was a 10ga line to a power strip for the radios and such in the cockpit. the other was one of the inverter cables.. Both were very clearly bad.   The cable. NOT the lugs.  (on the 40 amp I was able to fix it (Excise the bad part, Solder and seal) but on the Inverter cable.. I had a replacement in stock.

NOTE, if you go to the disconect solenoid you need to check both sides of it. (Solenoid could be the problem) I do not think the cable from it to starter is bad else Aux start would likely not work.. But check it anyway.,
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

John From Detroit

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2013, 11:48:58 AM »
One person version using a test lamp.

Hook up a test lamp as above, then climb into the cockpit and try starting.

LIGHT BRIGHT, cables you are testing are good
Light goes out, Same as a low voltage (no voltage) above.

NOTE: a big enough test lamp (Mine is betwen 50 and 100 watts without looking, at least the one I'd use for this job) might just find the wire or connection problem WITHOUT need for cranking.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

jsbusness

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2013, 04:16:01 PM »
Just to let everyone know what the problem was.  I observed some corrosion on the negative battery connection, so I asked the mechanic to replace the cable.  The cable was long enough to cut off the end and put on a new connection.  Walla!  Engine started right up.
As for the other problem - no headlights or dash lights:  It was a totally seperate problem.  The dash switch housing somehow came apart beneath the dash - the headlight stem could not reach into the housing far enough to turn the mechanism.  So even though the headlight switch was turning on the dash, it was not making contact with the housing.  So when I reconnected the housing to the dash switch (with a zip tie, lol), all lights worked well.
Thanks for all the comments and help.
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Gary RV Roamer

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Re: Bad battery cable?
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2013, 10:01:52 AM »
Glad to hear you got both problems solved. Now it's time to have some fun in that RV!
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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