Electrical problems in truck. Now what???

   #1  

namesray

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Dec 31, 2011
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726
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nc PA.
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kubota rtv900: kubota mx5200
I bought a f 350 dump truck last year. Its a 2003 with 6.0 diesel. Has 135000 miles. Engine has delete kit and stud kit done. After I had the crank position sensor fixed, it ran great all last year. Over the winter it developed some electrical issues. First the battery would drain. I put a trickle charger on it. That dealt with the problem. Next it wouldn't send power to the starter when the key switch was turned but would start if selinoid was crossed at starter. The exciter wire connection was corroded. I cleaned and this fixed that problem. I wanred to fix the parasitic drain on battery. This was above me so went to a garage. Long story short, they can't find the problem and it has developed new problems, such as lights not shutting off with switch or even when corresponding fuse was pulled. A new fuse box did not fix the problem.

So now I have a truck that drains the batteries, takes forever to jump start, the lights have a mind of their own and mechanics can't find the problem. They were not a Ford garage, but the local Ford garages couldn't find the crank position sensor issue when I first bought truck. So I don't have much faith in the local Ford garages.

I feel lost and have no idea what would be a wise decision. I pretty much have a big investment in a piece of junk nobody would want to buy if I tried selling it. Worried taking it to other garages is going to end up a wild expensive goose chase that never finds the problem.

Anybody have any ideas or suggestions. I would greatly appreciate them even if its just decision advice. I am at a loss of thinking on my end. Thanks.
 
   #2  

1stDeuce

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Mancos, CO
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Massey Ferguson 1455v
Ahhh, I don't miss living where road salt is used all winter. Sounds like there are very likely more corrosion issues elsewhere in the wiring. Negative wiring usually doesn't corrode, so start by looking at all things that get positive 12v power.

I would disconnect EVERY connector outside the cab and inspect. If it looks good, add some dielectric grease and re-assemble. If suspect, clean as good as you can, replace any really nasty green pins if necessary, and again, dielectric on everything. If you find water inside a sealed connector, blow it out, clean it out, and then use LOTS of dielectric grease. Sometimes just plugging/unplugging several times after adding some dielectric grease will resolve contact issues and prevent them from re-occurring.

If you want not to spend a lot of money, this is something that's easy to do yourself. Just take your time and go through everything. Spray stubborn connectors with WD40 if they don't want to unplug easily.

For the continuous draw, turn the key off, disconnect the negative battery cable and put a decent multimeter in the circuit. Set it to monitor amp draw on a 10A scale. How much draw you see should correspond to how quickly it runs down. A 1A draw will run a normal truck sized battery dead in a few days. 0.25A might take a week. Most new vehicles have ~0.1A of draw all the time, and can't be left to sit unstarted for long periods of time like older vehicles. If you're under .1A, then your problem is either intermittent, and harder to find, or you've got a battery with a partially shorted cell. If there's a draw, start pulling fuses one at a time, checking to see if the amp draw goes away after each one. When it drops to near zero, you at least know what circuit is causing the draw.
If the draw is really low, disconnect the battery and let it sit. If it's dead the next time you hook it up, you need a new battery...

I should also say that if there's any aftermarket accessory that was wired in along the truck's life, you should immediately suspect it as the draw... If you see non-factory wiring at the battery or fuse box, disconnect that first and see if the problem goes away.

And I'll add that batteries do not like to be run to zero volts. If it's gone flat a few times, it's not going to hold much of a charge, and you will need to replace it. If you can't get the draw fixed before you put in a new battery, put in a disconnect at the same time, and disconnect the battery when you're done using the truck. At least that way you won't have to buy a new battery again... I've found that this style disconnect is cheap, easy to install, and easy to use. I would suggest putting it on the negative side, so you don't have to worry about anything metal touching it and arcing out to ground. Once you solve the problem, you can remove it.

Good Luck!!
 
   #3  

rustydollar

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Ca
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Satoh S650G
A friend of mine recently had his new car towed into the dealership to have the wiring replaced, dealer told him the new plastic used to insulate the wiring on new vehicles is soy based and the Asian roof rat has added this to his diet.

The dealer is having the same problem with new cars on the lot, the rat from Asia is costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep ahead of the invasion from China.

These Asian roof rats have hitch hiked a ride from Asia on cargo ships entering the Canadian port in Vancouver, you fellows south of the 49th have the same problem.


PROTECT YOUR CAR: Rodents eating wires in newer vehicles | WSB-TV
 
   #4  

Egon

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For unknown battery draw you might try pulling one fuse at a time in hopes of isolating the bad circuit.
 
   #5  

Stimw

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N. E. Florida
I had a low draw problem so I pulled the battery cable off, put a test light from cable to post and pulled fuses until I found the problem/light went out.
I had passenger seat switch problem. I cycled it a few times and haven't had a problem since.
 
   #6  

KYErik

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South central IL
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1977 AC 7000, 1980 JD 2840, 1963 Case 930, 1963 Ford 4000, 1943 Case SC, Case 530CK backhoe
I have seen a battery cable clamp that has a heavy duty switch built in- that would be a temporary fix for the parasitic drain issue. Your headlight issue might be a relay that is sticking closed- but the switched battery cable clamp would sort of take care of that too (if you don't mind driving everywhere with your lights on).
 
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namesray

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nc PA.
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kubota rtv900: kubota mx5200
Thanks everyone. To tell you the truth, looking at this 6.0 diesel engine compartment is very daunting to me. I really wouldn't know where to begin. When I get it back home, I will try to check connections but you would think the garage would have done that as an easy way to dismiss problem areas.

There is a snow plow, and a brake controller was added last summer. The block heater cord was also worked on. Maybe I will double check these areas. Is there any way they could mess with the lights not shutting off even when fuse is pulled?

I could "deal" with the parasitic draw and I like the shut off/kill switch idea. But the lights having a mind of their own worries me. I am concerned about a fire risk. Or if they quit working all together when I need them. Where could the problem be if the lights still stay on after fuse is pulled? Seems like this could be a clue where to narrow down the problem area?

About a "relay sticking" causing lights to stay on , where would I even look? Maybe I talk with the garage about this. Thanks for some sence of direction here. I will keep you posted.
 
   #8  

Sysop

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Fairmont, WV
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Mahindra 4035HST purchased 2013 - Husqvarna TS348-D purchased 2019 - Craftsman 42" HST purchased 2003
I feel your pain in sorting out a vehicle wiring issue. Wiring only, I can handle. Mechanical only, I can handle. Start mixing the two, it gets intimidating fast.

If you area is like mine, there are lots of mechanic shops, but not all have good diagnostic techs and the ones that do, only specialize in certain things. Out of probably 50 shops in my tiny town, only one is good at electric diagnosis, only one is good with locating AC leaks, only one is good at getting a leaky sunroof repaired, etc.... You just have to find the right shop with the right diagnostic tech.
 
   #9  

rustydollar

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Jan 28, 2017
Messages
185
Location
Ca
Tractor
Satoh S650G
Thanks everyone. To tell you the truth, looking at this 6.0 diesel engine compartment is very daunting to me. I really wouldn't know where to begin. When I get it back home, I will try to check connections but you would think the garage would have done that as an easy way to dismiss problem areas.

There is a snow plow, and a brake controller was added last summer. The block heater cord was also worked on. Maybe I will double check these areas. Is there any way they could mess with the lights not shutting off even when fuse is pulled?

I could "deal" with the parasitic draw and I like the shut off/kill switch idea. But the lights having a mind of their own worries me. I am concerned about a fire risk. Or if they quit working all together when I need them. Where could the problem be if the lights still stay on after fuse is pulled? Seems like this could be a clue where to narrow down the problem area?

About a "relay sticking" causing lights to stay on , where would I even look? Maybe I talk with the garage about this. Thanks for some sence of direction here. I will keep you posted.

Lights staying on after the fuse is pulled would indicate a short inside the wiring harness where power and service wires run parallel to each other inside the harness. Rodents.

If you did not have the problem with the lights coming on with a mind of their own I would have suspected a bad alternator diode in the rectifier pack which contains three positive and three negative diodes to convert three phase AC current into DC.

Most common failure with alternator diodes is from boosting the vehicle to start it or giving a boost to another.
 

aczlan

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Northern Fingerlakes region of NY, USA
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Case 480F LL, Kubota L3830GST, B7500HST, BX2660
There is a snow plow, and a brake controller was added last summer. The block heater cord was also worked on. Maybe I will double check these areas.
I would bet on the problem being with the snow plow light controller. That is what is used to switch from your normal headlights to the headlights on the plow headgear and on the plow trucks I used to work on when I worked for a landscaper, those control boxes were notorious for shorting out and having a draw that just kept going because they had unswitched power as well as the power from the stock headlights.

Aaron Z
 
 
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