need help quick, dead truck - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
'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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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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need help quick, dead truck

Hello everyone,

Haven't been on here in a long time (no need, trucks been running great, no problems til now. And its a doozy, so I come here seeking knowledge from the fine members on this site. This is how it began.
First start of the day was ok, but when I started it to leave my workplace, it seemed to turn over just a bit slower. Went cross town to my surgeons (double hernia) office, go to leave, truck barely turns over, starts clicking That's when all the whistles and bells started going off, including the wipers taking one swipe. Called the wife who was just getting out of work to come jump me. Started right up, so I took off for home and about 3/4 of the way there, battery light came on (that was one of the lights flashing the first time), along with all the other dingers and bells. Got home, shut it down, tried to restart it and it just clicked. Let it set a bit, tried to start it again and it was dead. When I say dead, I mean DEAD. There is absolutely no power to anything, headlights, dash lights/gauges, nothing. So this is where I'm at and this is what I've done so far.

1. cleaned up battery post/terminals
2, cleaned up every ground I found
3. replaced solenoid (the one on the p. side inner fender)
4. swapped gem module with known working unit, still dead
5. pulled pcm out just to give it a once over, looking for possible water intrusion. I see absolutely no stains or any indication of water.

So now I'm at a standstill, waiting for a buddy and his son in law, who is suppose to be a wiz with these 7.3's., to come over Friday evening to look at it. And by coming over then, screws me out out sending away for whatever it takes to fix this beast. Oh, he took a stab in the dark thinking it's a wire harness/plug. To me, it sounds like something went haywire in the gem or pcm, we'll see.

A few things you should know, the batteries are a couple of years old and in good shape, all battery cables/terminals are original and in good shape, starter is a couple of years old and in good shape. This truck has never had the dreaded windshield or cab light leak, no wet carpet, ever. That's about all I can think of, let me know what you guys think. Thanks, Mike
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 09:23 AM
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need help quick, dead truck

Sounds like an internal short in one of the batteries or an alternator problem. Those really are the only possibilities. Pull your batteries and your alternator. When your buddy gets there, have him run you to the parts store for some testing. One of those is your problem.


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 12:44 PM
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First check should have been battery voltages. Those gremlins you describe are typical with low voltage.

As RT said, sounds like alternator.

“Good shape” is tricky with batteries & alternators & starters. The only way to know if they are in good shape is bench testing (load testing).

If your alternator is not charging then the batteries may need replacing. 2-3 years is average for lead-acid.

Good Luck.


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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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voltages

Yea, wish I would have checked that. So it could be the alt. or batteries, don't think its the gem or pcm at all? It would be awesome if it was one of the two.



Mike


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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 03:32 PM
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Like RT and Arcticdriver said --Batteries or Alternator.
Your basic toolbox should contain a voltmeter (even a cheap one). If you don't have 12.5 V on your batteries at rest, they're discharged. Since you were able to jump it to get running, I would suspect your alternator hasn't been charging. The battery light doesn't always come on if charging isn't up to snuff.

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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 04:52 PM
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Handy having a voltage gauge on the dash 😉

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Question

Appreciate the quick responses guys but I do have a question. If the alt. is bad and batteries good, wouldn't the lights and everything come on, and the truck start up and run even? Until the batteries are drained? And then it would just die again? Or is my thinking off here. Thanks



Mike


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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 09:08 AM
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9696, I went back and reread your original post, when you got the truck home did you hook up the batteries to a charger? Maybe not the same as others but my thought was the alternator may not be putting out “enough” of a charge (bad). My LED voltage gauge shows the initial drop from glow plugs- then the big drop from starter, and then while running quickly increases anywhere in the range of 13.8 to 14.0 volts and holds steady. Headlights and AC on it still maintains 13.7 or 13.8 My batteries are at least several years old (?) and when working on the truck with it turned off, but cycling the ignition power on and off and glow plugs and fuel pump cycling many times over the course of 45 minutes the batteries are barely able to start the truck because of the constant drain and no incoming charge.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 09:36 AM
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If a cell is shorted, it will drag the battery down. If the diode on the alternator is bad - that will also drag the battery down. In either case, you can get a jump and the batteries will discharge fairly quickly - running or not.

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9696 View Post
Appreciate the quick responses guys but I do have a question. If the alt. is bad and batteries good, wouldn't the lights and everything come on, and the truck start up and run even? Until the batteries are drained? And then it would just die again? Or is my thinking off here. Thanks

Mike
Yes, that is what is happening. The alternator is not producing peak voltage (around 14.2V) so the batteries are in a chronic weakened state. As the alternator output deteriorates further, the available reserve capacity of the batteries becomes less and less but the alternator might still be producing enough amperage to keep vehicle operating and allowing some voltage to be stored in the batteries...until demand increases or alternator fails further.

Add a change in routine such as rain requiring wipers or night requiring lights or even colder weather requiring longer GP cycle and those weakened batteries lose enough reserve to let the truck operate.

But batteries will regain some voltage after sitting. So the truck may start after it sits but quickly get depleted with GP and starter draw.

There is a minimum voltage required for the PCM to allow starting.

Prolonged charging with an alternator not able to provide peak voltage will ruin a battery.

As someone mentioned, a lead-acid starter battery (vs a deep cycle) will be considered a “dead battery” with even ~11V.


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SOLD:
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Last edited by ArcticDriver; 09-28-2019 at 09:29 AM.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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You guys were spot on, turns out the alt. was bad, batteries good. But, it didn't solve my problem, truck is still dead. batteries have 12.5v each. What do I do now? Still have my buddy and son in law coming over in a while, we'll see what they come up with. Thanks again



Mike


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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 05:10 PM
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Can you describe “dead” in more detail?
Headlights work?
Dashlights turn on when key is turned?
Starter cranks or no?

I would check all connections for the items you investigated originally.


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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Dead as a doorknob. No headlights, dash lights/dingers, dome light, starter, nothing


Mike.


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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 07:24 PM
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Probably burned a fusible link. Double check all your battery connections first.


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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 09-28-2019, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Went back thru all battery connections, cleaned and greased em up. I haven't checked fusible links, are they located by p.side battery?


Mike


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