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  #1  
Old 10-02-2006
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alternator or battery?

Over the weekend I left the radar detector in my truck on for a day and a half. The truck started just fine, but about 2/3 of the way home the engine stopped giving me any power. If I held the pedal down it would randomly accelorate. I thought I was running out of gas since my guage is off a little, so I filled her up, and again, it started just fine, but two blocks down the road it started doing it again. I pulled over, shut it off, and tried starting it again and it wouldn't start. It was trying to crank, and the starter was clicking rapidly. I called my friend for a jump, but the jumper cables he brought were nasty and corroded so I couldn't even jump it. I left it there over night and went back at lunch today with a friend who was gonna tow me to Advanced Auto. But the truck started. So I made it to Advanced and had them try testing the alternator, but once we had it started for a few minutes it just completely died. It did this a few times before we decided to just charge the battery. I have an electronic distributorless ignition system so I think that's why it won't stay on with no battery power. The battery and my truck are still at Advanced. I have to go back after work. Does this sound like a battery problem or an alternator problem?
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Old 10-02-2006
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most likely a bad battery..........if it still does it then it will be the alternator not charging, but i would say battery, my truck did the same thing after i bought it, and a new battery fixed the problem...
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Old 10-02-2006
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could it be a good battery with barely anny charge in it? if it's a bad battery and I get it fully charged how long will I have to switch it out before it goes dead again? I need about a week, maybe two before i have the money to buy a new battery.
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Old 10-02-2006
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It is hard to say. If you can bring the truck home, charge the battery then get it tested because you need a fully charged battery to test it properly. Also you need at least 9.6 volts for your electronic distributorless ignition system to work properly.

Chad
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Old 10-02-2006
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check it out since you already have it at advance see if you can get that battery charged have it tested, if it passes good, next get it started and get the alternator tested, if that passes then your next step is to start checking some wires, you stated that the starter was clicking which happens when there is not enough power getting to the starter, so with that being said, and if the battery is good then, check the battery ground wire and terminal make sure no visible damage or corrosion in wire, make sure contact is good with the cable, if ok check the positive wire, make sure no visible damage or corrosion exists on that cable, if there isnt the wire is possibly good, make sure you have a good contact on the battery terminal, if so trace it down to the starter and make sure everything is making good contact, but this is only taking care of your starting issue that you have stated but first get that battery and alternator tested.
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Old 10-02-2006
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True, it is hard to say.

Likely scenarios though are dead battery but battery is recoverable, and dead battery but battery is NOT recoverable. Chances are your alternator was completely unaffected - draining the batter wouldn't generally stress it, though the initial surge to charge your battery after startup would be pretty large.

Now, this brings up something important: everytime you take a 12 volt lead-acid battery much below 10 volts you damage it. The deeper you take it down, the more severe the injury. Depending on your battery's age, this may be the "end".

No matter what, this battery won't hold as much charge as it once did. If you've every done this before, it's bad news now. If you ever do it again, it's bad news then. Generally, fully run down batteries are a problem waiting to spring itself.

If you were in the winter weather belt like I am, I'd suggest changing it before cold weather.
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Old 10-02-2006
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I suggest pulling the alt and batt out and bench test them. If they are fine the problem is your trucks wiring. If one is bad the other may be soon to follow. Either way check all wiring in the charging/starting system.
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Old 10-02-2006
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ok, i had the battery fully recharged, and it works. I had the alternator tested and the diode pattern was showing 12.43V, so that's good. My alternator is fine, and with my next paycheck and possibly some of my birthday money, I plan on buying a new Optima Redtop. The truck works, and runs great right now, I just gotta remember to turn off my damn radar detector. Thanks guys.
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  #9  
Old 10-04-2006
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ok, sorry to reopen this post, but I had a problem last night. same thing happened to my recently recharged battery. I didn't leave anything on, and it died while I was moving. I had to push my truck into a Best Buy parking lot. (talk about feeling stupid). So I walked two blocks, bought a new battery, and it worked. The alternator test I got said the alternator was good. so was this just a case of the battery being bad and not wanting to take a charge from the alternator?
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  #10  
Old 10-04-2006
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Yes, that was the degeneration I was talking about.
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  #11  
Old 10-04-2006
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Ok, thanks. If I have a battery problem in the next month I'm getting a better alternator.
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