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Old 10-04-2009, 01:43 PM   #1
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Boiling Battery

Hi I'm new to this forum and to Jeeps...I hope you guys can give me some advice.

I was about 100 miles into deep sand in Botswana last week and the battery boiled on my 2006 wrangler. There was a lot of acid damage (vacuum tubes and body work). The ambient temp was around 35 centigrade and must have been much more below the bonnet/hood. After I had finished sh*tt*ing myself about how I was going to get back to civilisation, I managed to start the Jeep then disconnect the battery - I had to keep on the throttle otherwise the engine died. I was able to drive out of trouble on the alternator before replacing the battery in the first town, which was 200 miles away. Normally this would damage the alternator on most cars. Can you guys give me any ideas on what damage I could have caused driving out without the battery connected and what might have caused my battery to fry?

I don't want to go through that stress again...Thanks!

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Old 10-06-2009, 10:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by w507 View Post
Hi I'm new to this forum and to Jeeps...I hope you guys can give me some advice.

I was about 100 miles into deep sand in Botswana last week and the battery boiled on my 2006 wrangler. There was a lot of acid damage (vacuum tubes and body work). The ambient temp was around 35 centigrade and must have been much more below the bonnet/hood. After I had finished sh*tt*ing myself about how I was going to get back to civilisation, I managed to start the Jeep then disconnect the battery - I had to keep on the throttle otherwise the engine died. I was able to drive out of trouble on the alternator before replacing the battery in the first town, which was 200 miles away. Normally this would damage the alternator on most cars. Can you guys give me any ideas on what damage I could have caused driving out without the battery connected and what might have caused my battery to fry?

I don't want to go through that stress again...Thanks!
Boiling battery is sign of overcharging, voltage regulator is bad. I don't think you fried anything electically except the battery.

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Old 10-06-2009, 10:15 AM   #3
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What year Jeep do you have? An overheated battery is usually a sign of being overcharged but the temperature sensor directly underneath the battery in TJs is supposed to cut the alternator output when it senses an overheating battery.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:29 AM   #4
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yup Jerrys right, the battery temp sendor is located on the battery tray. the voltage regulation is controlled by the PCM.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:46 AM   #5
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Boiling Battery

Thanks for the replies....

Year is 2006 - it is a South African TJ Sahara, so maybe a little different to those in the States (they forgot to install ABS for example ). Engine temperatue was fine for whole episode. The temp on the rear-view mirror was +/-36 centigrade. Will have a look under the battery for the temp sensor there..

I checked the voltage off the alternator with the battery disconnected and it was showing a steady 14.84 volts at idle. How would I identify a bad regulator?
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:50 AM   #6
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The alternator requires the battery be connected for it to work properly, don't be disconnecting the battery from it. Contrary to some other vehicles, especially older ones with generators where they will run without problem with a dead or missing battery, current Jeep alternators require +12v from the battery to work. The alternator will only work for a few minutes max, if at all, with a dead or missing battery until the magnetic fields die out which will then cause the engine to immediately die.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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I thought that about the alternator too (I had no choice about disconecting) but the Jeep ran fine for 200 miles with the battery disconnected. I just thought it was a really clever & thoughtful Jeep engineering thing!!

I have a new battery in now, and she's run 300 miles this week with that. Alternator still looks like it's pumping out 14.84 volts...can't test the amps.

Ok, to sum up: I have to check why my Battery Temp cut-out didn't work, check the regulator and get an autoelectrician to check my alternator is happy and charging correctly.

Still don't understand why the alternator didn't die like Jerry says.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:23 AM   #8
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Perhaps export Jeeps have a different alternator but for sure with any TJ sold in the U.S., you'd be lucky to make it a couple miles with a completely dead battery. My wife's Grand Cherokee died a 7-8 times on the way to buy a new battery for it from a store only 3-4 miles away. I had to jump start it each time.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:11 PM   #9
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Perhaps export Jeeps have a different alternator but for sure with any TJ sold in the U.S., you'd be lucky to make it a couple miles with a completely dead battery. My wife's Grand Cherokee died a 7-8 times on the way to buy a new battery for it from a store only 3-4 miles away. I had to jump start it each time.
I recently rescued a jeep that was stranded on the trail with a completely dead battery. One of the plates in the battery was shorted open so the battery would no longer complete the circuit. I managed to get him jump started with cables. We then drove out 1.5 hours at night, him running his head lights the whole way. He managed to keep it running, but as noted above he had to keep it revved up or it would die. There was no damage to the jeeps electronics. We put a new battery in the next day and all has been fine ever since.
Jerry, I thought the same thing and warned the driver of the other jeep of possible damage to his vehicle. But nothing.(?)

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