Electrical gremlins strike again!

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Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
It had to happen. Been having a great run of form from the F150. Parked it at the airport on Sunday for a work trip, got back yesterday. Dead battery...

Wife picked me up, brought the jumpstart box and all I got was rapid clicking from the solenoid. So we left the truck there and went home. It is only 25 mins away.

Going back today with jump cables and a spare solenoid and I think I have a starter laying around, prob pack that just in case.

Very frustrating as I am not sure what could have caused the draw and I am going to have to hunt down what is happening. There was nothing obviously left on and this has not happened before!

Everything had been going so well with Eunice, but now I have to do a complete troubleshooting of the electrical system. I am thinking of starting with:

Solenoid continuity check
Alternator voltage check
Alternator AC voltage check
parasitic draw check (voltage drop on fuses)

As always, all and any advice is welcome, as are witty anecdotes!
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gary Lewis
Administrator
A clicking start relay indicates that the battery is so low that the starter draw drops the voltage below the pull-in value for the relay.  So it drops out and then comes back in as the draw goes away and the voltage comes back.

I'd put checking the relay/solenoid on the back burner.  I think the problem is one of:

The battery has a shorted cell

The alternator/regulator is bad and not charging

Something is draining the battery.  It could be the diode bridge is blown in the alternator and allowing current to flow in the "off" state.  Or it might be something else that has failed.

If you have a fully charged battery you can swap out and it'll probably run to get home.  That'll allow you to check the alternator's output, both DC awa AC, although finding ripple on a charged battery may not be easy.  And, you can test for parasitic draw.
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

grumpin
I agree with Gary, my first thought was the condition of the battery.
Dane
1986 F250HD SC XLT Lariat 4x4 460 C6
1992 Bronco XLT 4x4 351W E4OD
1997 Mazda 626 LX 2.0L G25M-R
1998 Suburban LT K2500 454 4L80E
Oregon
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
Thank you gentlemen. the battery is about 18months old and is fully discharged at this time. Need to work out how it got to that state I guess.

I will pack the multimeter and see if the alternator is giving any charge and whether it has an AC ripple. Good reminder, I need a decent multimeter...

Looks like I will be heading out to it in about an hour, so I will report back later...
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

1986F150Six
Have you recently added anything [i.e. stereo amplifier] to you truck?
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
In reply to this post by Gsmblue
Another thought, there is an external voltage regulator, could that be a gremlin source here?
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
In reply to this post by 1986F150Six
1986F150Six wrote
Have you recently added anything [i.e. stereo amplifier] to you truck?
That is a great question. Nothing has been changed on this truck for a very long time. I froze the build last fall :) That is partly why I am frustrated.

I have been running the AC a lot recently so that may have put a higher draw on the alternator maybe?

I have visions of swapping the alternator out in the parking lot with y wife helping me! lol!
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

1986F150Six
Is it possible the brake light switch is defective or the dome light was "on"?
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gary Lewis
Administrator
1986F150Six wrote
Is it possible the brake light switch is defective or the dome light was "on"?
Reminds me of two things.  First, my grandtwins' other grandfather texted me the other day as the Subie's battery was dead.  What could it be.  My answer: Your grandkids have not met a button they did not push, and they FREQUENTLY play with the dome light switches.  He texted back "That was it."

And, I'm working a text string in the background.  Bruno has a dome light that's on dimly.  What could it be?  A door pin switch is stuck almost closed?

Must be the season?
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
Yes and yes. Anything and everything is possible at this point!

Waiting for my wife to get back so we can go out and start trouble shooting. She is running late....
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Hope her car started.  
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
Gary Lewis wrote
Hope her car started.  
"Her" car is a 2013 Expedition. Great vehicle! I got it to tow our 25ft Airstream and it is now her daily driver. Never missed a beat.

Just got a text "car needs gas, should I get it now..."

Well, if it needs gas then get gas!!
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

1986F150Six
Gsmblue wrote
Just got a text "car needs gas, should I get it now..."

Well, if it needs gas then get gas!!
I have heard it said that a wife can remember every detail of your first date, but cannot remember how long the "check engine" light has been on.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
Ha! That is the truth!  She was over an hour late in the end.

Anyhow. Got to the truck, here is how it unfolded.

Check battery voltage = 0V
Grabbed jump leads and hooked up.
Getting 13.5v at the truck battery.
Started truck up and she ran great.
Checked DC voltage at truck battery with engine running13.5 ish
Checked AC voltage at truck battery with engine running 26.5 ish!

So the alternator is not a happy camper.

Got the truck home, parked her up, disconnected battery while I work out the next steps..
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gary Lewis
Administrator
More specifically, the diode bridge in the alternator is toast.  And that allows it to drain the battery.

Time for a 3G upgrade?
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
Gary Lewis wrote
Time for a 3G upgrade?
Exactly what I am debating... I did not do it with the Espy, but I am actually pretty reliant on Eunice so I may have to.

I am away for work again from Sunday so I have some time to think about it!

I am torn between a total lack of time and just replace the 1G so I have a running truck, or somehow make more time and do the 3G....
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gary Lewis
Administrator
When I had that choice to make on Big Blue I installed the 1G out of Dad's truck, bearing noise and all, and have driven it three years with no problems.

But, in the Transformation it'll get a 3G.
Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

Gsmblue
I will think i need to put a 1G in to get her back on the road, path of least resistance...
1985 F150 XL Explorer 5.0 EFI 4AOD 4x4 standard cab.
Daily Driver. I call her Eunice.
To do:  Rear fuel tank pump, replace door hinges, Front and rear windows need replacing, blue top steering box, front dampers, Interior panels to be painted, new carpet, seats to be recovered, some exterior paint work

1982 Bronco XLT Lariat 351 C6 4x4
Code name Esperanza, or Espy to her friends. Please see my Project page for details.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
1G and 3G are not that far apart
The 1G has an external regulator, and the 3G has twice as much amperage to put out.

A harness plug, a fuse and a washer are all you really need.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Electrical gremlins strike again!

FuzzFace2
ArdWrknTrk wrote
1G and 3G are not that far apart
The 1G has an external regulator, and the 3G has twice as much amperage to put out.

A harness plug, a fuse and a washer are all you really need.
That is the easy part what has me maybe not wanting to do the 3G swap if in a hurry is the need to bypass the AMP gauge.
I think I am pretty good with wiring, wired up my drag car from scratch, but this little part I just cant wrap my head around for some reason
Maybe a video step by step is what I need
Dave ----
81 F100 flare side 300 six/T18 project
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1980-Ford-F100?page=1
81 F100 style side 300 six/SROD parts truck
http://cars.grantskingdom1.com/index.php/1981-Ford-F100
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