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Old 07-19-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Battery Related Questions

Okay, so the dang heep failed to start up on Monday, causing me to miss a day of work. (I live 60 miles from work, so it is a little bit hard to find a neighbor to give me a ride, heh, heh, heh...)

I did some experimenting. Most of it was weird symptoms that I did not understand.

• green fog lamp indicator glowing on dash at full intensity
• no lights of any kind
• hazard light button netted me a fast, loud clicking under the dash
• turned key does not give normal low battery clicking from starter
• dash gauges did nothing with on but did the two needle jumps at off

Sounded like a nearly drained battery to me.

However, for a few days after removing the negative terminal for a computer reset I had been noting that the trip odo was reset to 0 and the codes were wiped again. Once in a parking lot away from home I turned the key and got the same symptoms as bulleted above. I uttered a manly "WTF" and tried again. Started perfectly.

Then I got in a few day ago and the above list happened, repeatedly, for a few days.

Yesterday I was free and I decided to try to jump it. (My wife has been out of town in the only working vehicle for about a week, which is why I could not try this on Monday or any other time since.)

I had the Sport parked next to my dead SE, which has not turned over since May 11 when it threw a rod on the Interstate. Since about two weeks ago the Optima red top has been disconnected.

(Note: both jeeps have the issue with the fog indicator lamp on the dash being on permanently. Both have the fogs disconnected to save the battery. I will fix both switches soon.)

I hooked up the jumper cables to the Sport's battery cable clamps but directly to the SE's terminals, since it was disconnected.

It would not turn over. But it tried hard to do so. I only tried cranking it three times, fearing that I would somehow damage the Optima since the SE was not running. With the weak attempt I figured that the Optima had discharged too much to crank the Sport.

I went in the house sweaty and frustrated and pissed at my luck.

An hour later I decided to just swap the batteries and see what was up with that.

The Sport cranked strongly the first time like there had been no issue whatsoever.

The battery in question is a 2010 Super Start Extreme 34EXT (not the AGM version) from O'Reilly's. I just bought this vehicle and do not know anything about the history save that it was wheeled very hard and poorly maintained by the last owner, and someone in the past messed with the wiring, splicing in floor lights and a trailer connector. (Probably other stuff as well.)
_________________________________

So here are my questions:

1.) Could this be a funky battery?

It worked perfectly, then it failed once and worked perfectly again, then stopped working altogether a few days later. Enough current was present to light the one stuck-on dash light and to make something in the hazard light circuit loudly and quickly click.

2.) Could the cable have been loose?

I checked it three times and it seemed to be tight, but I have had battery connections that seemed to be tight that would suddenly shift a tiny bit and then be loose. These connectors seem to be a bit beat up (2003).

3.) Could it be a bad cable?

I removed the positive and negative cables several times recently and maybe something now has a break giving an intermittent connection. But running my hands along both cables as far as I could) and lightly flexing them did nothing to get juice to the starter. Also, as soon as I swapped the batteries it started up right away.
_________________________________

I can go out there and swap the batteries back to see if it fails to start again. Or I can go to O'Reilly's or AutoZone to have them look at the Super Start. But I am sick in bed today and would like to stay in bed if possible. However, I have no problem getting my fat butt up and doing something about this so that I have a reliable ride this weekend.

Sorry to clutter up the board with this problem, but even though things seem to be okay now, I want to make sure the cables are fine so that this does not happen to me when I am 60 miles away at work or someplace in between. Just because it is once again working does not mean that it is "solved" in my book. I want to know what was wrong. ;-)

Wade

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Old 07-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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I would look at your terminals and possibly replace them since they are "beat up" anyways. Also peel a little insulation back on the power and ground cables going to the battery and see if you find corrosion. These are two very typical problems with our Jeeps.

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Old 07-19-2013, 11:37 AM   #3
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Assuming your terminals are clean/tight, I would get the battery load tested at autozone to rule out the battery and also you might as well take the starter there to get it tested. If both tests out okay, the next area to test is your ignition switch.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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So I can replace the clamps only? Is that okay, or should I replace the entire cable assembly (if it is bad)?

I will take the questionable battery to AutoZone tomorrow to see what they say, and ask for them to also check my starter and such.

At least it is running well again. I hope it was just a stupid mistake of not clamping the neg terminal tightly...

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Old 07-20-2013, 07:32 AM   #5
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replacing the clamps is fine. You just have to snip the old ones off and strip back the insulation sleeve and make sure you clamp down on bare wire. A loose or dirty terminal will give you no start issues.
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