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Old 03-04-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
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Bad Battery Cables? Ground? Terminals?

Hello Forum…I have just spent the last couple of hours on here researching my issue but my head started spinning so I have decided to just ask.

This problem started a couple months ago. I hopped in, put the key in the ignition as always, turn the key, and just an electrical sounding “click” happened, almost a half-click. The dash lights all went completely dead. I place the key in the off position, pop the hood, give all the terminal cables a good tugging, hop back in and it fires right up nice and strong. I went home, removed all the battery cables and gave everything a good scrubbing. Reconnected everything nice and tight and the problem was seemingly fixed until about a week ago. Now what is happening is completely sporadic. It will fire up 10 times in a row then two times it will give that same “click”, I walk over, loosen the negative cable with a wrench, wiggle it a little, then the Jeep starts-up nice and strong. Then it’ll be fine for a while then it needs the wiggle, then fine 10x, then wiggle, fine, wiggle, fine, wiggle.. etc etc…completely sporadic and random! Before I start changing out battery cables I wanted to know if you guys might have any insight. Thanks in advance for any help. It is much appreciated.

Oh, in the attached picture, all the wing-nuts have been swapped out for regular nuts and I'm using a socket wrench to tighten/loosen.



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Old 03-04-2014, 09:46 PM   #2
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Hard to say, what's in that big black box? Is that a battery isolator or are both batteries simply wired in parallel? Wiring batteries through some isolators can cause problems for the alternator which often doesn't know when the batteries are adequately charged because they can't see or monitor the battery voltage on the other side of the isolator.

I gave up using isolators, they just caused too many problems for me when I tried to run dual batteries on my trailer. I won't run dual batteries in my TJ due to that problem. The only way I'd run dual batteries, not that I feel the need, would be with a marine style manual A-B-Both battery switch.

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Old 03-04-2014, 09:49 PM   #3
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Years ago on a Bronco 2:

It would be completely dead sometimes. Other times it was beautiful for days.

I kept searching and searching. FINALLY it turns out where the ground connected to the engine block, under the wire it was rusted and corroded and not making very good contact until I rattled stuff. It appeared fine from visual inspection, until I unbolted it at the block I had no idea. Relocated it somewhere else and never had another problem with it.

Not saying that's the cause, but I check the other end now whenever possible.
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:49 AM   #4
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Black box is the underhood fuse relay box, it's a funny angle but I promise it's normal size. The dual battery mod was installed by the previous owner but are run in parallel, there is an isolator switch in front of the gear shift. Thanks for your help.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:42 AM   #5
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Mine was doing the same thing a while back and i cleaned every thing on top of the battery and then did the starter which was the worst (corrosion wise) and other than a burnt out alternator and bad battery I haven't had a problem since because of it.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:19 AM   #6
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Okay so here's the update...Yesterday (Saturday) I completely replaced the negative battery ground cables with brand spanking new cables both from the battery to the engine block and the battery to the one on the firewall with brand spanking new cables, cleaned everything up and buttoned it all down. I put the key in the ignition, try to turn it on and that same electrical-sounding-half-click happened. I walk over to the battery, give the negative terminal post where all the negative cables connect about a complete lefty-losey turn, and VROOM! fires right up! It's been firing right up nice and solid ever since. It's seems as though the cables didn't like being over-tightened, but could that really be the problem?? I'm starting to wonder if it could possibly be the battery...but can a bad battery start a jeep nice and solid sometimes? Ugh! Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:32 AM   #7
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Many years ago I had a similar problem with intermittent starting problems. I finally found the positive battery cable was corroded inside the insulation. I couldn't see it until I cut open the insulation as the cable and its connections looked just fine. Pulling the cables and checking for high resistance would be a good start.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off Pavement View Post
Many years ago I had a similar problem with intermittent starting problems. I finally found the positive battery cable was corroded inside the insulation. I couldn't see it until I cut open the insulation as the cable and its connections looked just fine. Pulling the cables and checking for high resistance would be a good start.
This is why I solder all my cables, the manual crimping tool was only $20.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tucson_Desert_Ninja View Post
Okay so here's the update...Yesterday (Saturday) I completely replaced the negative battery ground cables with brand spanking new cables both from the battery to the engine block and the battery to the one on the firewall with brand spanking new cables, cleaned everything up and buttoned it all down. I put the key in the ignition, try to turn it on and that same electrical-sounding-half-click happened. I walk over to the battery, give the negative terminal post where all the negative cables connect about a complete lefty-losey turn, and VROOM! fires right up! It's been firing right up nice and solid ever since. It's seems as though the cables didn't like being over-tightened, but could that really be the problem?? I'm starting to wonder if it could possibly be the battery...but can a bad battery start a jeep nice and solid sometimes? Ugh! Thanks for your help!
After reading this part, you reminded me of something.

I had a friend call me one day that she was stuck at Dari-Mart (our version of 7-11). She told me she had NO power at all. When I got there I turned on her parking lights and she was like wth. But all it did was click. Tried the lights again and nothing. Finally Jump started her and had her come back to my house to check things. While running, everything was ok (14.3 volts from alt). Checked her cable connections and couldn't find anything wrong. So I figured it must be the battery somehow. While I was disconnecting her Negative terminal, the Negative stud fell off the battery lol.

Yours COULD be just lose enough to not make a good contact and when you jiggled it, it could have seated it again.
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #10
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Just a throw it out there kind of thing....Could it be that one of the two batteries is dead, and that there is a connection issue between one of your jumper leads (possibly on the terminal you've been playing with)?
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:09 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone. So far so good while running a bunch of errands yesterday and this morning…but I cringe every time I have to start the Jeep. But this battery issue has been happening ever since I bought the Jeep about four years ago. In the past though, a good wire-brushing and tightening of terminals would fix the problem for about six months or so. The wire brushing/cleaning trick only fixed it for about a week this time which led to the start of this thread.

Off_Pavement: Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll change out the positive cables next. I figured the problem was with the grounding since the no-start was solved by wiggling only the negative cables.

Ravenworks: I agree that is a better long-term solution.

Lucruid: Good point, I’ve tightened it down pretty good but maybe the entire terminal needs changing out.

Water_Dog: When I took the Jeep to Sears to have them check the battery, they only checked the battery which connects to the starter. They connected their little jumpers, and within a few seconds the guy said “battery’s good”. I always thought it took longer to check a battery for goodness. I wonder if their reading was erroneous because somehow the dual-battery-setup threw off their battery tester??

It’s possible though that this may have been exactly the problem… when I changed out the ground cables to the block and body, I also changed out the negative jumper lead that connects the negative terminal to the two batteries, so far so good, fingers crossed while squeezing a rabbit’s foot.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:41 PM   #12
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Well fellas...just wanted to give an update. It’s been almost a month now and so far so good. Turns out it was a bad ground either from body, engine block, or from battery one to battery two…but those three were changed out a month ago and Jeep has been starting nice and strong ever since. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
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Old 04-05-2014, 02:59 PM   #13
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Thanks for the update!
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:53 PM   #14
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Makes you feel good when you fix it the first time doesn't it.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:40 PM   #15
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Mine did that when the positive wire to the starter was corroded. Replaced the wire and terminals and when I reconnected to the starter it snapped off the little plastic piece. Changed starter and it's been perfect since then.

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