What is normal 'parked 'battery drain current for 2003 FX/4? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 11-17-2015
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What is normal 'parked 'battery drain current for 2003 FX/4?

I've been having some odd battery/electrical problems the last two weeks or so, culminating finally in battery failure of the 6 year old battery. I say odd because when the problem started - truck electrical was dead (not even door locks) after 2-3 days parked - the battery was not much discharged (based on the external charger only taking a couple of minutes to terminate), and load-tested OK (20 seconds of load). I cleaned and tightened the heavily oxidized terminals, and it was fine for several days of about once-daily use - no obvious weakness in the starter motor. However, yesterday it had been sitting about 36 hours and couldn't turn the motor. I put the charger on it, which again terminated quickly - but the motor still wouldn't turn over, and the load tester went completely to 0V seconds after I threw the switch.

I'm replacing the battery but wanted to ask about a couple of things, to keep in mind should a starting problem persist with a new battery.

I measure 300mA drain with the truck turned off. By pulling a few fuses I found that about 100mA is going through fuse 17 which the manual shows as Cigar Lighter, Data Link Connector (DLC). I have a ScanGaugeII plugged into the DLC. I didn't check the drain with the ScanGauge unplugged so I'm just assuming it's due to the added gauge and not something else in that circuit.

About 200mA goes through fuse 26, which is Battery saver relay, Auxilliary relay box, Restraint Control Module (RCM), Generic Electronic Module (GCM), Instrument cluster. Pulling those two fuses drops the drain from 300mA to 20mA. Are these normal levels of drain? 4W does not seem like a large static drain, but both battery terminals have always had what seem to me like bad corrosion problems and I'm wondering if the constant current flow is the cause. This is my 3rd Ranger and I don't recall seeing anywhere near the amount of blue fluff on the previous models, or any other car, motorcycle, or boat I've owned. This is also the first vehicle that I've used a ScanGauge with. I guess I should check to see if the gauge is drawing current when the truck is off.

The thin clamp around the negative battery terminal has stretched to the point that while I can still tighten it for the moment, I'm considering replacing or fixing it. Has anyone tried those terminal end replacements that clamp to the cut cable end with a set-screw? I don't have crimpers, can something like that be soldered together satisfactorily?

While the terminal corrosion has long seemed excessive, the clamps don't seem rotted, so I'm thinking maybe the cable ends aren't either, but is there a way to check or test them adequately to see if I've got a high-resistance spot in the cabling?
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Old 11-17-2015
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Baring your battery is 6 years old, its served you well and time for a new one. The terminal fuzz is more than likely caused by electrolyte from the battery. DB after setting a few days (not holding a charge). All signs its time for a new battery.

Just for giggles, take a volt meter set to 12V. Connect the negative probe to to the battery negative post and take the positive probe and move it around the top of the battery and watch the meter.

If you want to check the condition of the cables (hidden corrosion) you can conduct a volt drop test. Watch the youtub videos on this...LINK

Not a big fan of those bolt on battery terminals. They'll work in a pinch but, I'd recommend factory replacement or equal grade in the long run.
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Old 11-18-2015
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Ford battery saver relay takes 20-30 minutes before it cuts power, this makes testing for parasitic drain harder.
You have to hook up amp meter and then turn off the key then wait 20-30 mins until amps drop, "normal" drain at this time would be .03-.07amps, from clock/radio preset, GEM/RAP module(keyless entry), and alarm system if so equipped

As Rev says, yours does simply read like a battery issue, short charging cycle means a cell is probably shorted and self draining.
And load test would need to be done after battery sat for a few hours after charging.
Normally a new battery will have 2.13volts per cell, with 6 cells that make new fully charged battery, read 12.8volts
As the battery gets older the cell voltages drop, when battery gets down to 12.2volts fully charged that means it is only able to hold 50% of its original amps, which is usually enough to start an engine on first try, but time to shop for battery sale, lol.

Disconnect battery from vehicle, put volt meter on battery and watch voltage, if it is slowly dropping you have a shorted cell, volt meter doesn't draw enough power to drain a good 400+ amp battery, voltage would remain steady for hours with volt meter connected.


Some newer model battery's test at 2.2v per cell so 13.2 volts when new, these are fine to use but same rules apply, when they drop down .6v to 12.6 volts they are at 50% of original amps.

To test alternator, measure battery voltage first, say it is 12.6volts
When engine is first started, battery voltage will show +2volts so 12.6 + 2 = 14.6volts at battery, this is the voltage regulator in the alternator recharging the battery after it was drained by starting engine.
After a few minutes battery will be recharged and voltage regulator will lower the added voltage to about +1volts, so you would see 13.6volt at battery, this is a maintenance charge.
Above this +1volts means battery fluid will be "boiling"(venting) this is bad long term and will shorten the life of the battery, but +2v is needed short term to recharge battery.
Draining and recharging car batteries causes the plates in the cells to degenerate and lose coating, this can cause shorts between plates which causes the self draining.


Ford added Smart Charging on some Rangers, this uses battery temperature(based on air temp and engine temp sensors) to vary the recharging voltage and maintenance voltage.
So colder days may see above 15volts recharge and 14volts maintenance

Last edited by RonD; 11-18-2015 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 11-18-2015
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the corrosion on your battery terminals indicates out gassing which is caused by a battery not properly taking a charge or a alternator issue. normal in a 6 year old battery. can reduce issue somewhat by spraying terminals with a silicone spray on terminals. long term only solution is to regularly replace terminals. the bolt on variety work but require yearly replacement. normal fully charged battery should have 13.2 volts. when cranking battery volts should not drop under 10 volts. anything less means battery replacement required. i have changed to a side terminal battery to get away from corrosion problems. requires modding to get it to fit.
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Old 11-19-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev View Post
...All signs its time for a new battery.

Just for giggles, take a volt meter set to 12V. Connect the negative probe to to the battery negative post and take the positive probe and move it around the top of the battery and watch the meter.
Giggles indeed! I wonder if this could have been a factor in some of the readings and odd charging behavior? I could get as much as 11V vs the negative terminal at different points around the top of the old battery. I hosed and scrubbed it off and those readings dropped to 300mV or less, the same as on the new clean battery. I kind of doubt the surface crap would support much current flow, but I wonder if it confused the termination signal for my external charger?

Quote:
If you want to check the condition of the cables (hidden corrosion) you can conduct a volt drop test. Watch the youtub videos on this...LINK
Those are great, thanks. I'll try that when I can grab a couple of helpers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonD View Post
Ford battery saver relay takes 20-30 minutes before it cuts power, this makes testing for parasitic drain harder.
You have to hook up amp meter and then turn off the key then wait 20-30 mins until amps drop, "normal" drain at this time would be .03-.07amps, from clock/radio preset, GEM/RAP module(keyless entry), and alarm system if so equipped
I'm still getting 300mA at one hour. Tried two different meters, two different tests. I see 1.8-2.0A for the first 10 secs after closing the door (actually, even when I just apply the meter in-line; neg cable is sitting off the terminal the whole time of the wait and test), then 300mA. An hour later, it's still the same (10secs at 1.8A, goes to 300mA). I found a couple of posts over at explorerforum.com where they saw similar current drain, including with a Ranger. One guy reported the same as me - 200mA drops to 20mA when you pull that GEM fuse.
Quote:
As Rev says, yours does simply read like a battery issue, short charging cycle means a cell is probably shorted and self draining.
And load test would need to be done after battery sat for a few hours after charging.
Normally a new battery will have 2.13volts per cell, with 6 cells that make new fully charged battery, read 12.8volts
As the battery gets older the cell voltages drop, when battery gets down to 12.2volts fully charged that means it is only able to hold 50% of its original amps, which is usually enough to start an engine on first try, but time to shop for battery sale, lol.
I've replaced the battery and will watch to see how things go. The part that threw me was the good 20sec load test (also, batt was reading 12.8-13.2V, but that was right after charging; voltage was still around 12.4-12.5 after running and sitting). I didn't know a weak battery would do that. Since the tester says to only apply the load for 10 sec, it seems like kind of a poor test - this battery doesn't budge a bit at 10s. Even now, it takes 30s before the voltage drops much below minimum pass on the meter, but then it tanks.

Quote:
...

To test alternator, measure battery voltage first, say it is 12.6volts
When engine is first started, battery voltage will show +2volts so 12.6 + 2 = 14.6volts at battery, this is the voltage regulator in the alternator recharging the battery after it was drained by starting engine.
After a few minutes battery will be recharged and voltage regulator will lower the added voltage to about +1volts, so you would see 13.6volt at battery, this is a maintenance charge.
Above this +1volts means battery fluid will be "boiling"(venting) this is bad long term and will shorten the life of the battery, but +2v is needed short term to recharge battery.
...
Ford added Smart Charging on some Rangers, this uses battery temperature(based on air temp and engine temp sensors) to vary the recharging voltage and maintenance voltage.
So colder days may see above 15volts recharge and 14volts maintenance
I'll do a check of the alternator now with the new battery in place. I was seeing 14.7-15.1 when messing with the old one recently. I thought 15.1 seemed high but it was just one reading, didn't know about the Smart Charging.
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