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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    john deere 3130, universal

    Default need help fixin' vehicle

    My son has a 98 dodge dakota, recently it stopped charging and he barely made it home in the partial darkness. I checked the difference between battery voltages when shut off and when running and lo and behold it was charging again. He drives it to school and halfway there it stops charging. Back home and testing and it starts charging again. Right now I'm not sure what to start replacing, hopefully it's not the wiring which could be a real pain tracking but what would be the order of cheapest probable cause to most expensive hopefully last resort to change. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    4210 MFWD Ehydro--'89 JD 318

    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by rockinmywaypa View Post
    My son has a 98 dodge dakota, recently it stopped charging and he barely made it home in the partial darkness. I checked the difference between battery voltages when shut off and when running and lo and behold it was charging again. He drives it to school and halfway there it stops charging. Back home and testing and it starts charging again. Right now I'm not sure what to start replacing, hopefully it's not the wiring which could be a real pain tracking but what would be the order of cheapest probable cause to most expensive hopefully last resort to change. Thanks for any help.
    How old is the battery? Are the terminals clean and tight? Is the negative ground on the frame clean and tight? Are the connections on the alternator clean and tight? Is the alternator belt in good shape, or loose and slipping? Most charging problems are caused by these simple reasons, if these don't pan out check the voltage regulator...not sure if it is built into the alternator or not. May be a failing alternator...and just curious, how far is the commute to school? How far does the truck go before it acts up? Hope this helps.
    Rather than worry about the things you want but don't have, be grateful for the things you don't want and don't have.

    I didn't plan to do much of anything today, but by noon I was almost half done.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Kubota l3400

    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Not saying it cant happen, BUT I have NEVER seen an alternator charge and then quit and then charge again. It either works or it dont. So It doesnt sound like that is the issue to me.

    I would start by assuring that ALL the batter and alternator connections are tight AND clean. Also make sure the belt that drives the alternator is tight as well.

    Given the information you supplied us with, My money is on it being a loose/corroded connection somewhere.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
    "Ok, hold my beer and watch this.........."


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  4. #4
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    My dad had a starting/charging problem on his '77 F100, it drove him nuts...and it was a poor connection on the negative cable where it connected to the frame...loose and corroded.
    Rather than worry about the things you want but don't have, be grateful for the things you don't want and don't have.

    I didn't plan to do much of anything today, but by noon I was almost half done.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    You guys are quick, The connections on the battery are clean and tight, I don't know the age of the battery but it holds up for however long the truck is parked, sometimes a couple weeks this winter and still started right up despite Canadian low temperatures. The belt looks decent and is tightened with a spring loaded idler on a serpentine belt so I can't tighten it any more. I think the regulator is built into the alternator, There is fuse or solinoid or relay thingy near the fuse box that has a cloudy look but looks ok inside the glass case. The school commute is about ten miles or a fifteen minute drive whereas he got about halfway there when he noticed that the red light was on on the dash to let him know it wasn't charging. I will definetly check out the neg. cable to the frame and maybe remove it to make sure it hasn't built up with rust between the layers.

  6. #6
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by rockinmywaypa View Post
    You guys are quick, The connections on the battery are clean and tight, I don't know the age of the battery but it holds up for however long the truck is parked, sometimes a couple weeks this winter and still started right up despite Canadian low temperatures. The belt looks decent and is tightened with a spring loaded idler on a serpentine belt so I can't tighten it any more. I think the regulator is built into the alternator, There is fuse or solinoid or relay thingy near the fuse box that has a cloudy look but looks ok inside the glass case. The school commute is about ten miles or a fifteen minute drive whereas he got about halfway there when he noticed that the red light was on on the dash to let him know it wasn't charging. I will definetly check out the neg. cable to the frame and maybe remove it to make sure it hasn't built up with rust between the layers.
    Shoot, there go most of our easy fix solutions....
    Rather than worry about the things you want but don't have, be grateful for the things you don't want and don't have.

    I didn't plan to do much of anything today, but by noon I was almost half done.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member K7LN's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by rockinmywaypa View Post
    My son has a 98 dodge dakota,
    Very high mileage? Check internal brushes.
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  8. #8
    Elite Member Mace Canute's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Quote Originally Posted by K7LN View Post
    Very high mileage? Check internal brushes.
    X 2!

  9. #9
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Kubota l3400

    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    Well if you are sure all the connections are clean and tight, including the ground to the frame that you said you would check on...

    ...And if you are sure the battery is good (which it sounds like)

    ...And if it has an internal regulator in the alternator

    ...Just spend the $100 or so and replace the alternator. That is the only thing it can be at this time other than a faulty guage or sending wire to the guage. It could be that it is charging just fine but a loose connection to the guage could cause these problems.

    But I'd probabally start with the alternator. Especially if higher mileage, given that it is almost 15 years old.
    ".........there is only one way to find out."
    "Ok, hold my beer and watch this.........."


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    2005 Dodge 3500 4x4 Diesel
    8N Rebuilt and restored
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    Dolmar 6400 84cc ported
    Sachs-Dolmar 120SI Ported
    (4) Sachs-Dolmar 116SI Ported
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    Sachs-Dolmar 115i
    Sachs-Dolmar 117
    Sachs-Dolmar 112

  10. #10
    Super Member JDgreen227's Avatar
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    4210 MFWD Ehydro--'89 JD 318

    Default Re: need help fixin' vehicle

    "Sending wire to the gauge"...from what I interpret the truck has a warning light not a real ammeter. I hate working on vehicles that don't have real gauges just stupid idiot lights. An ammeter gauge would likely tell if things were charging or not.
    Rather than worry about the things you want but don't have, be grateful for the things you don't want and don't have.

    I didn't plan to do much of anything today, but by noon I was almost half done.

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