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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. New here, first post.

Background: I have an '07 F250, 148,000. Bought it in '11 with 89,000. I've had the FICM fixed (by FicmFixer), and recently put in a Motorcraft reman'd alternator and new GPCM.

Problem is, I have a set of Motorcraft BXT-65-850 batts that I bought in Oct 2013, but they never seemed to start the truck like I think they should. So, in April 2014 (after having them warranty load-tested by my dealer, and getting nowhere), I bought a set of Diehard Platinum AGM 950 CCA (Odyssey) batts, and the difference has been night and day.

I've repeatedly taken the Motorcraft batts to the dealer to have them load tested, because--when trying them periodically--they just don't start the truck like the Diehards. I've even shown the service manager (with a NAPA temperature-compensating, specific-gravity tester) that every single cell shows recharge--AFTER being tested and while sitting on his cart.

I have done a parasitic drain test, and after an hour or so, the draw is 10 mA. The Motorcrafts are at 12.6-12.7 after sitting overnight, and before key on. With the instrument cluster in *TEST* mode, they're at mid-11s while cranking and until the GPCM finishes running. Once the alt starts charging, they're at 13.1-13.9.

My worry is, that voltage is with everything else off, and not even driving it until the GPCM has finished. If I turn on the AC fan or lights before the GPCM finishes, the voltage goes to 11-11.1. Is this normal? Is this safe for the FICM? The Diehards keep the voltage in the mid-12s, even with accessories running and before the alt starts charging. If this is not normal for the Motorcrafts, how can I get them replaced? I've had them warranty load tested 4 times, and by two different dealers. Any advice/insight is welcome.

Thanks in advance.

-Ed
 

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The MC battery warranty is available online, but all the dealerships I worked at (including Ford) were required to use this style of tester:



When you installed this alternator, did you clean all the mounting points?

. .

What do the terminals look like?



Have you ever cleaned the high-current terminals (starter relay, starter, block ground, etc.)?

.

Any one of those can cause the symptoms you're describing, but I've never found a vehicle that has only 1. Most are more like this:

 

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Not sure if your model years characteristics are the same as the 2003-2004's, but I had similar issues with my '04 with early build '03 engine. Immediately after firing the engine, the batts would drop to like 10.5V and stay there until the GPCM shut the glow plugs off... If the engine stalled during that time period, I often didn't have enough batt power to start the truck, especially in cold weather... After my stock Motorcraft's died, I had Optima's for 3 years but they didn't last... I resolved the issue by going to better batts (Duralast Gold 65-DLG), a DC Power 270 amp alt, and parallel 1/0 gauge Pos and Neg battery wiring... The DC Power Alt now starts charging the batts immediately after fire up, and the gauge reads 14.3 - 14.9 within seconds of firing the engine... My batts are always at 12.7 V at rest, even after short drives with minimal charging... When I run my WARN winch, the alt keeps the batts charging at 14+V at all times and I never have Voltage issues anymore... I also can run 2 sets of LED forward facing lights, 1 set of backup LED Lights, and the Headlights, stereo, heater, and not drop battery voltage...
 

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I got two years out of my factory batteries. I probably could have gotten them replaced under warranty, but I decided enough was enough and bough a set of Interstate Megatron IIs for $213 for the local Interstate place. I got 5 years from them, and replaced them with another set. I only got 3 years from the next set and had to argue with the guy to get them warrantied. He tested them in the vehicle and said they were good. I pulled the terminals and he tested them individually and they both failed. That's the level of IQ you're dealing with most of the time.

FWIW, I ran Optimas in various vehicles for years and they were great, but in the past 10 years I feel their quality has slipped while their price has skyrocketted.

The factory alternator is only rated at 130 amps, which is really too low for the demands placed on it by the 6.0 starting system. Its the same alternator used on the Ford Fusion if you can believe it. Upgrading the alternator is a wise decision. One day I'll wise up...
 

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I am on my third set of Ford batteries, replaced twice under warranty. As long as they get close to used up before the warranty runs I don't mind replacing them. If I had to pay for them I would get something else.

I have been wondering if one of the new micro sized jump boxes couldn't be installed inline with the batteries to provide that extra umph during startup without working the batteries so hard. It would recharge just like the batteries do. It may be a crazy idea, and I hope someone will let me know if it won't work.
 

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The problem isn't the amps needed for start up. The problem is that the GPs drag the batteries down and suck up all the alternators output and then some until they go out. You are constantly draining the battery, using its reserve capacity. That wears them out. Normal batteries are just not made to be constantly discharged to that extent. Maybe deep cycle batteries would be better, but the cost is considerably more than regular batteries. If you want to improve starts you need to start with fresh batteries, and to keep them that way for as long as possible I would also upgrade the alternator to at least the DC Power 185 amp.

Bottom line, if the batteries ever don't have enough juice to start the truck they are bad. Continuing to run bad batteries is a surefire way to kill your FICM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The tester used by my Ford house is this (according to the little printouts they give me every time I've had them tested):

Rotunda GR1 Charger, V3.1
(c) Midtronics Inc. 2007

On the print, it states this:

Battery Test
Rated: 850CCA
Good Battery
12.60V
Mode: Top-Off Charging
AH:0.2
Charge Time: 0:01:42 (first battery)
Charge Time: 0:01:46 (second battery)

Both batteries were off the truck when tested. I explained, right after I'd purchased the alt and GPCM from them, that I wanted to make sure these batts were good, and wanted them warranty tested before putting them on the truck, as I'd recently had to have my FICM repaired, and wasn't going risk it again.

I did clean all the terminal clamps and terminals VERY well, as well as the cables attaching to the terminals and to the alternator. I didn't clean the mounting points between the alternator and engine, or to the high current areas (starter relay, starter or ground points). I didn't do this because, all things being equal, the Diehards ALWAYS start the truck so much better than the Motorcrafts, leading me to believe the only difference is in the batteries themselves.

For instance, after-overnight resting voltage between the two sets are very similar: about 12.7. But, when cranking, the MCs go to mid- to low-11s, while the DHs are in the mid- to low-12s. The MCs are rated at 850cca/1090mca, with 165 mins reserve capacity, versus the DHs which are 950cca/1070mca/1350hca/1750 pulse amps, and 145 mins reserve capacity. I couldn't find any info relating to the MCs hca or pulse amps, but for a the best batteries Ford sells for this specific truck, they pale compared to the DHs.

Now, in all fairness, maybe the DHs are just that much better. The ones I have are no longer sold by Sears. They are the Diehard Platinum AGM 51065, made by Odyssey and sold as the 65-PC1750. Sears had a contract with Odyssey for this battery, which apparently is up, as Sears was selling them quite a bit cheaper than Odyssey sells them (mid-$200s). FWIW, the Sears site had 930cca/135 mins RC, whereas the battery itself states 950cca. Not sure what's up with that...

The DHs are a phenomenal set of batteries, and maybe my expectations are too high for the MCs, but after having already fixed my FICM once, I just can't take any chances with bad batteries, but I hate to have an expensive set of MCs laying around, still under warranty, that I can't use or get replaced...
 

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All you're seeing though is voltage. You can charge a bad battery and get it to hold 12.6V. That doesn't mean anything. Whether its good or not is determined by what happens when you put a load on it. I've seen batteries drop from 12.6V to 8V the minute you hit the key to crank it. Those batteries were bad; they have no strength left. They can be charged to 12.6V, but they fail a load test. The test they're showing you isn't testing anything. They need to be load tested.
 
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