This Start Problem....

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
I still can’t make sense of this start problem.

12.8 volts on battery after sitting for two hours. Zero parasitic amp draw. All right and new connections. 13.6 volts while running.

But 25% of the time, it simply won’t start. The relays all click. But nothing happens. Jolting or knocking on the starter does nothing. Then just as of this morning and today after driving no-stop for an hour, it slow-cranks like a bad battery.

Last night I checked everything, and tested the start 20 times in two hours with no problem at all. This was after sitting several times during the day, waiting for it to decide to start in store parking lots and such. But since the problem never happens when I want it to, I can’t track down issues or replicate.

I’m on the road for overnight. I could get a new battery, but it would not be the type I would want if I had the choice right now. What would you do?
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
UPDATE: I just stopped at Napa and got a CCA test done. The battery did fail. Are the type of problems I’m seeing the type of thing that could be caused by a bad battery?
 

BarryO

Well-known member
I think a marginal battery could cause this. Depending on state of charge, temperature, etc., you may or may not have a problem.
 

MountainD

Well-known member
Yes—A bad battery can show proper voltage but have a very shallow reserve and show these symptoms. My coworker went through same thing. If the battery seemed fairly new like his, I’d suggest you also check the alternator for leaking AC current (bad Zener diodes most likely cause) or another element that may have some frequency output that may have caused premature degradation. I’ve virtually restored a damaged battery to new (and got many more years use) by using a good battery reconditioner like CTEK makes.
 

Uncle Douglas

Well-known member
do you have a gooloo or other jumper pack ?
Does the truck start with additional amperage ?

If not I would suspect the switch, cable connection @ starter lug, or starter solenoid.
 

Napalm00

Well-known member
My truck had a strange non start that would pop up every once in a while. Turns out the positive wire INSIDE the starter had rubbed through its insulation. depending on how the started stopped in its rotation it would ever so slightly touch the case and short out. replaced it and was gtg...starter was only 2 years old
 

jymmiejamz

Founding Member
Callsign: KN4JHI
I've seen faulty starters cause intermittent slow cranks, but I would definitely check the engine ground. If you have a volt meter, set it to DC volts. Put one lead on the block and one lead on the negative battery terminal. You shouldn't see much voltage at all when cranking. In a perfect world you would see 0V indicating a good ground. Ideally you should perform this test when it is faulting, but I would expect you to see some voltage drop if you had an intermittent ground issue.
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Thanks for all the response. I'm back from the camping trip, and only had it not start once.

What I did for the moment while on the road was I bought a battery for my son's Disco back home. I knew his truck needed a new battery, I wasn't sure if mine did (or if that is the reason for the bad starting issue) so I decided to buy his battery, and just carry it with me for the rest of the trip so that I could jump start myself if I needed to. I did end up hooking it up once, but I'm not sure if the extra amps were why it started or not. The problem is so random that unless I can start recreating a pattern, I don't know if one thing or another is solving or causing it.

Since getting home yesterday:
I let it sit for two hours. 13v. Started perfectly fine.
Let it sit for overnight, 50 degrees ambient. 12.8v. Started perfectly fine.
Ran errands around town for an hour or so, started perfectly fine five times.

The battery tested for only 370 CCA, so I know it is technically a fail, but it starts the engine on first crank.... or nothing.... or super slow to start. By the way, this is a deep cell that I put on a smart charger about once a month.

I'm just living with the frustration so that I don't spend money on something only to find out that something wasn't the problem in the first place.
 

RDavisinVA

Well-known member
Disconnect the negative post and put a volt meter that can detect low voltage between the negative battery post while it is loose, but not grounded, and the ground cable. Does it show voltage?
BTW, you cannot use a deep cycle battery for your "car battery" for long as the charging needs are different and at different rates, which will ruin most deep cycle batteries when used in the "car battery" role.
 

Napalm00

Well-known member
cant say i agree with that. I had a sears platinum die hard marine deep cycle in my truck for almost a decade before it died! Now i have a Duracell marine.

in all fairness i prefer the marine batteries just because they have the extra posts built in, even tho they can be easily added
 

rocky

Well-known member
Dual posts aren't unusual. About half the napa batteries for a 95 Defender are dual posts.
 

MountainD

Well-known member
I love old cars. They constantly keep you on your toes. Before getting a new battery I’d consider a good battery charger/tender/reconditioner. An example is Ctek 7002 which I found a good compromise between quality strength and price and works on most battery types. The science is sound and if you have sulfication (soft not hard sulfication) on your plates then it can refurb them. Brought my ODYSSEY glass mat 2150/back and used it for 14 years. Still in my garage and I test stuff with it. The CTEK is currently in my trailer tending the batteries.
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Yeah. I think you are correct. In other words, using a marine deep cell can ruin it, but only because you are not properly charging it. So if you use a tender (I have a $30 Duracell smart charger) that does charge it right, you can make them last. I do think I need to get a better charger though.
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
I’m not sure, but I may be narrowing in on a solution with all this battery talk. The fact that the truck has stopped and started flawlessly about 12 times today, warm or cold; and the fact that this has been going on (but very randomly, and with enough time between that I just forget about it) for a month or so now, tells me that it really can’t be a loose cable, or bad switch, those things would have gotten worse; and I think the starter would have completely failed by now.

So although I do charge the battery once a month, I think it needs more. Also, this is my daily driver, but that means I’m starting it cold, driving six miles, then shutting down. Starting cold, then driving 6 miles, then shutting down. I think this cycle is not so good for any battery, let alone a deep cell.

Today’s success (no bad starts) might be because I just drove 250 miles with only one stop-start in the middle of that. Meaning that I think it charged the battery back up enough to regain the CCA that it needs to light up the starter. Which, I assume, takes about 350 amps, and the battery tested right at 350 amps CCA.

I’ll report back after a few days of driving and charging.
 

NPT90

Well-known member
I’ve been running an AGM 800CCA for years on my 300TDI without issue. I had an interesting problem recently:

A failed alternator

Caused some of the issues you are describing, slow turnovers, eventually when it failed I couldn't even crank the engine.

New alternator fixed the issue, bought mine from a local place and it fit right in, they switched the pulley for me, think I spent like $150 on it.

Other than that I’d be concerned with the grounding straps/frame ground, even the terminals on the cables if they are questionable.
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
The thing that is really bugging me about this is that I can’t get it to replicate when I need to.

I charged the battery while it was disconnected from the truck, and left it for three weeks. I then charged it again (smart charger) and when I started the truck it was great. But then today it seemed to hesitate when I turned the key. Then just a bit more. Then it hesitated for a full second. Then it wouldn’t start at all.

When I hooked up and got a jump from my dad’s truck, it started right up.

Now I’m sitting in parking lot at Costco, and before I go buy a new battery I think I’ll just see what happens—starts right up.

So I leave the lights for a bit, and it starts and restarts without problem multiple times.

Then I decide to just drive home, and now it won’t start.

The alternator is pretty consistent in voltage. And it only has 12k on the rebuild. The starter only has 10k or so. The battery keeps coming back as the culprit, even though it is very inconsistent.
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
Not the battery. Although my last one was at half CCAs, the problem is still the same.

I have to wait ten minutes or so, then it will start like normal without me doing anything. Bumping the truck or the starter makes no difference.

The start relay under the dash does click every time. That, and the start switch therefore must be good.

The alternator tested fine.

The starter tested fine. But what else could it be?
 

RBBailey

NAS-ROW Addict
Callsign: KF7KFZ
OK, but if I turn the key, then the relay clicks, and then the starter solenoid clicks, and the fuel pump runs and the instruments come on....?
 
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