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Old 12-01-2015, 12:22 PM
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MAC702 MAC702 is offline
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Default 96 Dodge Ram battery drain issue

Woke up to dead batteries in truck the other day. Finally looking at it today. Disconnect old batteries and put in a new one for testing purposes, but did not hook up the positive so I can use an inline ammeter to measure the current flow.

My cheap little ammeter maxes out at 250 mA (quarter Amp). When I put it inline, it starts at about half the scale, and then works its way to the top of the scale, but doesn't act like it's pegging out, so I'm thinking my leak is about a quarter amp. I'd put in a bigger ammeter if I had one, and will go get one if I need to.

I'm assuming there has to be an acceptable draw for things like the radio clock/memory, but I don't know how small it should be. A quarter amp seems like a lot, but I've never measured it when it was working.

I'm now online trying to track down the fuse box diagram because I can't find the door cover, even though I know I saved it for just this reason. It should even be in the truck somewhere, dammit. The current draw goes away when I pull the fuse at the top right of main section of fuses. Yes, I push the door switch while testing to make sure I'm not trying to read a dome light. However, with this fuse missing, I also don't get a draw when the door switch on, so either that's the fuse that includes that circuit, or I'm confused on what I'm doing.

Anyway, I'm getting this out there now to solicit ideas and experience while I continue my research on what should be normal, and what my affected circuit is.

EDIT: Even though I now get no needle movement on the ammeter, why does it still spark a little when I touch the terminal to the post? The second [dead] battery has the positive terminal removed and insulated, but is still connected to ground.
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Last edited by MAC702; 12-01-2015 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:13 PM
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Why can't they make battery terminals so they can be used more than a few times before they are fucking useless?
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Old 12-01-2015, 02:35 PM
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That is natural for a dodge, they just suck...
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Old 12-01-2015, 02:49 PM
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To update, at least I am on the road today. I put in one battery, and used screws to get a more solid connection at the terminal. I'll have to locate a big crimper so I can put some lugs on the cables and use military terminals.
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Old 12-01-2015, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
Woke up to dead batteries in truck the other day. Finally looking at it today. Disconnect old batteries and put in a new one for testing purposes, but did not hook up the positive so I can use an inline ammeter to measure the current flow. My cheap little ammeter maxes out at 250 mA (quarter Amp). When I put it inline, it starts at about half the scale, and then works its way to the top of the scale, but doesn't act like it's pegging out, so I'm thinking my leak is about a quarter amp. I'd put in a bigger ammeter if I had one, and will go get one if I need to. I'm assuming there has to be an acceptable draw for things like the radio clock/memory, but I don't know how small it should be. A quarter amp seems like a lot, but I've never measured it when it was working. I'm now online trying to track down the fuse box diagram because I can't find the door cover, even though I know I saved it for just this reason. It should even be in the truck somewhere, dammit. The current draw goes away when I pull the 15A fuse marked radio. Yes, I push the door switch while testing to make sure I'm not trying to read a dome light. However, with this fuse missing, I also don't get a draw when the door switch on, so either that's the fuse that includes that circuit, or I'm confused on what I'm doing. Anyway, I'm getting this out there now to solicit ideas and experience while I continue my research on what should be normal, and what my affected circuit is. EDIT: Even though I now get no needle movement on the ammeter, why does it still spark a little when I touch the terminal to the post? The second [dead] battery has the positive terminal removed and insulated, but is still connected to ground.
Maybe it's your ECM.




When i get home I'll get you a diagram for the fuses. Probably the reason your still getting draw is the abs controller.

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Old 12-01-2015, 08:57 PM
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On my '98 I had an ABS issue around the 300k mark and I had to replace it.
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Old 12-01-2015, 09:33 PM
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I've had a brake light on the dash for the last 300,000 miles so...

I now have two new batteries in the truck, and that one fuse is still out. I've not noticed anything not working yet, and that included driving home after coming off my last rooftop after dark.

I'll research it more later. I also found another meter that should allow me to measure more than 250 mA DC.
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:03 PM
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Here's the panel off my '96

You can have a battery develop an internal failure just all of a sudden and go to hell.

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Old 12-01-2015, 11:48 PM
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Yep, had the internal failure on one just a couple months ago, so one of the batteries was already fairly new anyway. I saved it to put back into the boat from whence it came, and put two new ones in the truck today.

THANK YOU for the diagram! Now that you have shown me one (and why was it impossible to find on Google?) I'll find mine first thing tomorrow morning, no doubt.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
Yep, had the internal failure on one just a couple months ago, so one of the batteries was already fairly new anyway. I saved it to put back into the boat from whence it came, and put two new ones in the truck today. THANK YOU for the diagram! Now that you have shown me one (and why was it impossible to find on Google?) I'll find mine first thing tomorrow morning, no doubt.
Your welcome.

So it's late and I'm tired, you replaced only one battery?

Not picking on you but it brings up something I'm shocked some folks don't know. Batteries are a set on a diesel and need to be replaced at the same to if you are going to expect the full service life out of your investment. If you only replace one the new battery is constantly trying to equal itself to the old battery and it greatly diminishes it's life.

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