Slow crank - Batteries or starter? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Slow crank - Batteries or starter?

My wife's 2000 PSD has had an extremely slow crank since we purchased it about 2 months ago. It always starts but cranks very slow, even after a long drive. I have put a battery tester on the batteries (yes, this tester does apply a load to the batteries) and both batteries were in the green "Good" range but fairly close to the red. This makes me think that the starter is the culprit. I have read several threads where people have had similar symptoms and it turns out to be the starter. My question is, how do I know for sure whether it's the batteries or the starter without using the trial and error method? I don't want to spend a lot of money on the batteries and find out the problem was the starter and i don't want to spend a lot of money on the starter and find out the problem was the batteries. So, what kind of test can I perform that will tell me who the real culprit is? I know I can remove the starter and take it to Napa and have them test it but I really don't trust those bench testers because they don't apply a load to the starter.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nobody knows?
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am not an electrical expert, but how old are the batteries? How many miles on the truck? When you load tested the batteries, were both cables off both batteries? The cables need to be off, otherwise one will draw off of the other. I would check the starter cables, and make sure the starter mounting bolts are tight. My first guess is a weak battery. The alternator is charging properly, and the tensioner is in good condition. A tensioner getting weak can really fool you. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, when I load tested the batteries I disconnected a cable from one of them. What effect would the tensioner have on the electrical system? Not sure what you're getting at here unless you are saying the tensioner squeak can sound like and alternator sqeuak.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Exclamation Charge, charge, charge...

The best advice I ever got regarding electical systems of cars & trucks is to fully charge the battery (in this case, batteries, separately and disconnected from the engine) before performing any other test. Twelve hours should do it unless you have some nuclear charger, and anyway, slower is better.

If you can check the specific gravity, do so after charging. Should be above 1.25 and really should be 1.26 or higher.

When you have proven that both batteries are good, hook everything back up and immediately try the starter. If it spins good, then start on the charging system--belt, then voltage with engine running.

One bad diode in the alternator can really louse things up and is hard to diagnose without accurate and precise voltmeter. DAMHIKT.

Chemical batteries suck, but not as BAD as hand cranks and gas lights.

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A weak tensioner will not make the alternator charge properly. The belt may not be getting the "bite" on the alternator properly. One member on here went thru a similar situation. He replaced batteries, starter etc. to find out a weak tensioner was the cause of the problem. All of the battery cables need to be disconnected to get an accurate reading. The tensioner can be quiet, or acting normal, but may have lost it's normal performance. How many miles, and the age of the batteries? I would check the voltage output of the alternator, at the back of the alternator with a voltmeter. Try the load test again etc.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My '95 cranked slow for a while too. Pulled starter and did a bench test. Starter pulled 80 amps on the bench!!! Put a new gear reduction starter in, never looked back.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordsforever73 View Post
My '95 cranked slow for a while too. Pulled starter and did a bench test. Starter pulled 80 amps on the bench!!! Put a new gear reduction starter in, never looked back.
Pardon my ignorance, but is 80 amps low? I know the batteries usually have 700-800 cranking amps, but is that what the starter actually draws?
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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80 amps on the bench is very high, as it's not actually cranking the engine over. The starter was basically seized up...or real close to it.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fordsforever73 View Post
80 amps on the bench is very high, as it's not actually cranking the engine over. The starter was basically seized up...or real close to it.
Ah, this mkaes sense. I thought 80 amps sounded really high without a real load. Thanks for clearing that up.
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