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bad battery?? bad alternator??
#769446 January 08th 2021 12:16 pm
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hey yall! just picked up a 1977 dodge b100 yesterday for a solid deal. 600 bucks and drove it home! only issue is that it has to be jumped every time to get it started. once it starts though, it runs and drives really well. just has to be jumped every time i shut the engine off. im new to vans (mostly motorcycle guy). any insight would be much appreciated! thanks!

Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
No_Class #769447 January 08th 2021 12:43 pm
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Rust N Dents
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Congratulations on that deal.

Wait... It needs to be jumped every time you shut it off?
Oh, no! It's worthless, and I'll give you $700 for it.
lol

No, but seriously. That sounds like you got a great deal.

Vans, motorcycles, airplanes, tractors, boats...
They're all the same, only different.
The same common sense works on all of them, so if you know some stuff about bikes, you know some stuff about vans.
smile

If it was mine, I'd check the condition of the battery cables and terminals first.
Clean all that stuff up really good and then see what you get.
Sometimes, a poor connection will cause poor charging, poor starting, or both.

If the battery has been low for a while, it might not be able to come back up, so you might have to replace it.
If you have a good charger, throw that battery on for a while and see if it'll take a charge.
If you don't have a good charger, they are always worth the investment.

If it turns out that the battery is not the issue... Well, it is now, but it may be the symptom rather than the problem.
So if it's not the battery or the cables/connections, then it's the charging system.
Check the alternator wiring, make sure the belt's not slipping, have the alternator checked at a local auto parts store, or swap it with a known good one.

That's all I can think of off-hand.

Again, Congratulations on your new van!


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Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
Rusty_Pancelode #769448 January 08th 2021 12:48 pm
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thanks for the advice man! i plan on tinkering with it today after work. so ill defintely check that out! was also thinking the connections on alternator could just be super rusty. but also asking here would give me more of a solid direction since im new. appreciate it !

Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
No_Class #769450 January 08th 2021 1:46 pm
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A battery, needing a jumpstart, but then the vehicle runs fine, for more than say 20 minutes, is just a bad battery that is incapable of storing much juice.

A battery needing a jumpstart, and the engine only runs for a while before dying then requiring another jumpstart, is a depleted battery, AND an inoperable charging system. The battery if put on a charger for an extended period, might or might not be able to store energy.

After starting, the voltage, measured at the battery terminals should be in the 13's or 14's.
If one measures the battery before starting, and it is 12.4, then it is only 11.9 after starting, then the charging system is not working.

If the 12.4v battery shoots to 14.2v after engine starting, then the charging system is working.

Bad connections at the battery can present all sorts of results between the results listed above.
Bad grounds, like between battery (-) terminal and engine block, or battery (-) and firewall, can cause all sorts of weird, potentially intermittent electrical issues.

An battery which has been depleted for a long time, is likely heavily sulfated, and will not be able to store much energy.

An Aged battery is like a gas tank which keeps getting smaller. You can still fill the tank, but when new it might have been 30 gallons, but when aged it might only be able to store 2 gallons, and 1.9 gallons might be required to start the engine.

Not a perfect analogy.

Just know that an Aged battery, even one whose capacity has been well diminished, if it is well depleted of that diminished capacity, cannot be recharged to full, in less than 5.5 hours, and that assumes the charging source is holding 14.4+ volts for that 5.5 hours, which few do.
A healthy battery, 80% charged, cannot be truly 100% fully charged in less than 3.5 hours, and again, only if the charging source is maintaining 14.4+ volts the entire time.

The easiest way of killing a battery, short of opening the caps and pouring baking soda inside, is to fully deplete it and let it sit in a discharged state. Few batteries can be recovered when subjected to such abuse. It depends on just how low they got from parasitic draws AND self discharge, and how long they remained that way.

I have started my 318/ 5.2 liter v8 engine , on a 11 pound, 18 amp hour asian made AGM battery, which I estimate is about 170CCA. So a larger 550 amp hour group 34 or group 24 battery would need to degrade to about 160CCA, in mild ambient temperatures before it could not start the engine.

many people think as long as a battery can start the engine it is both fully charged, AND 'still going strong'.
In reality a 30% charged somewhat healthy battery can still likely easily start the engine above freezing ambient temps and that 'still going strong' battery, is severly capacity compromised, and could fail the next day.
A simple voltmeter can diagnose a lot.
Usually when a 12v nearly fully charged battery falls to 7.5v when trying to turn the starter, it is just about done.

A load tester is basically trying to replicate the load of the starter, and watching to see how low voltage falls.

One can perform the same 'test' every time they turn the key, by a voltmeter on the battery terminals read by another set of eyes is likely required in most instances.

Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
wrcsixeight #769461 January 08th 2021 4:11 pm
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Wow, thank you so much for all of that info. I’m not too good at electronic shit so all that is really good to know. Thanks for taking the time to type all that out. I really appreciate that

Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
No_Class #769466 January 08th 2021 8:42 pm
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Rust N Dents
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No problem.
Good luck.

Let us know what fixes it.


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Re: bad battery?? bad alternator??
Rusty_Pancelode #769490 January 09th 2021 1:36 pm
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Slapped a new battery in, checked all the voltage. Starts right up every time now! Runs strong. Drove it around all day yesterday. Thanks for all the advice!


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