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Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed **UPDATE**

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by jarheadk5, Aug 8, 2001.

  1. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    This is long, with lots of details...

    OK, this morning I go to start my truck ('87 K5, TBI 305), it turned over twice then commenced to clicking away at me. Ran just fine yesterday. I didn't leave any lights on overnight, although the driver's door was left only half-shut overnight (My dome lights do NOT work with the doors, never have). Jump-started with the wife's car at 6 AM [​IMG][​IMG], fired right up. Ran great for 40 min. to work, no issues noted. My highly-unreliable voltage gauge read whatever it normally does (can't remember the #, but it was pointing straight up). At work for 11 hours, all doors shut, nothing left on, I go to start and I BARELY get started. Drive 5 minutes to 7-11 and shut down for a Big Gulp, come out and all I get is clicks. Again, nothing left on. I got a jump from a guy in a F**d Ranger, fires right up. 1 hr ride home, nothing funky noted. When I got home, I grabbed the voltmeter to take a few readings before shutting down for the night (wife's working 3 to 11 tonight, no jump available to troubleshoot [​IMG]). Here's what I got:

    14.4v--engine idling, no load
    13.3v--eng. idling, heavy load (headlights w/ high-beams, vent fan on High, 4-way flashers, radio)
    14.0v--eng. idling, no load after above
    13.1v--immediately after shutdown
    12.2v--eng. off, headlights on
    12.3v--4 hours after shutdown

    The battery is of unknown vintage; it's been accidentally run flat a couple times by me, who knows about the previous owner... Alternator is unknown as well; I haven't had to mess with it. Starter has worked fine since I bought the truck 2 years ago, I replaced the solenoid last year due to a broken stud.

    I'm thinking the battery's had enough, what about you folks?? Money's tight; I can't afford buy-parts-till-it-works-again troubleshooting.
    Thanks in advance.

    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch-black...
    [​IMG] <font color=green>Semper Maintenance!<font color=black>
     
  2. Pugsley

    Pugsley 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter problem

    Sounds like an advanced case of creamed battery - a new battery should cure all of your ills[​IMG]

    Dos mas Tecates!!!
    <a target="_blank" href=http://pugsley.alloffroad.com>pugsley.alloffroad.com</a>
     
  3. Rockjunkies

    Rockjunkies 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter problem

    It sounds to me that the alternator is charging, the battery will take a charge, the battery will hold a charge, atleast for 4 hours that you noted. Have you checked the battery conections? Sounds like a lose connection at the starter. Or the staarter could be going out, drawing too many amps, explaining why it needs to be jump started. I would check the voltage of the battery the next time it won't start. If it has enough voltage, check the starter connection to see if that will start it. Maybe pull the starter and take it to be tested. This is my opinion based on what you have described.

    Keep it simple!
     
  4. Gandolf

    Gandolf 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    Your alternator is working just fine. The battery, at 12.3 volts is only at 70% capacity. I think it's time for a new battery. I recommend you get one soon because you are running primarily on the alternator, with little assistance from the battery. The alternators in most of our trucks are light weights and designed to keep the battery topped off, not charge batteries from dead to a full charge. So running the vehicle off the alternator, along with a low or dead battery, can prematurely fail the alternator in a very short time. Guess how I learned that! I recommend an Optima Red or Yellow Top battery. Good Luck.

    '89 K5 Silverado..."You can’t have a real adventure, unless the outcome is truly uncertain".<P ID="edit"><FONT class="small">Edited by Gandolf on 08/08/01 10:18 PM.</FONT></P>
     
  5. DMK

    DMK 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    Bad battery. This is the fisrt thing I replace on used vhehicles, unless I know for sure it is a newer battery. Also check for corroded cables.
     
  6. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    I agree it is a bad battery... I would swing by a local service station and they can use a Vat 40 or machine of choice to check you electrical system... this general includes checking the battery water level if it has removable caps, testing the battery and checking the alternator out put. We usually charge like $15 for this service at my shop. In terms of batteries stay away from crap... get an Optimia, AC Delco, or Interstate battery. Most of the others including the newer Die Hards/Exides are crap. Delco's have a straight 6 year warranty and are maintance free... Interestates have a 5 yr pro-rated warranty and have removable caps. Both are fine replacements IMO.

    -Mikey
    1987 Chevy K5 Blazer- 350 TBI
    <a target="_blank" href=http://www.geocities.com/milnerlives_2000/blazer.htm>http://www.geocities.com/milnerlives_2000/blazer.htm</a>
     
  7. lugnut

    lugnut 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    Probly the battery but cleaning cables is free so try it first. Ihave had them look ok but still be the problem clean the batt. post to.If you have the bolt on batt. cable ends check the small bolts seen that to.

    78 sub 454. Big as a tank and hard on my bank.
     
  8. txbartman

    txbartman 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    I agree with everyone else that it is probably your battery. I don't think it is your cables. I have had lose cables in the past. When that happens, you won't even get clicks at the starter. You simply won't get anything. Your engine is running after jump on your alternator, but your battery is not sustaining any charge.

    I know people say to stay away form cheap batteries, but that's easy to say. I have a battery in my truck that I got at Walmart for $40. It has worked great for two years and is still going. I do plan to replace with an Optima when it plunges, but it has been fine and economical for me so far. If money is tight, consider this option. But know that you will probably be replacing it again in a couple or few years. In the long run I believe it will be more cost effective to get an Optima. But, if your finances just don't support that $120 expenditure right now, get something cheaper. Just know you are only delaying the inevitable.

    Just my .02

    Brian
    Click to see <a target="_blank" href=http://tx85gmcguy.alloffroad.com> My 85 Jimmy </a>
    PM me for a great deal on blinker fluid! Best price on the net!
     
  9. Pookster

    Pookster 1/2 ton status

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    Re: Battery/Alternator/Starter help needed

    ACutally, I just had the same problem on my dad's monte!!

    It seems so simple, you never think of it.

    But basically, clean the terminals, degrease it, and scrub it up real good with a wire brush (On both the terminal and connector end).

    Go to your autoparts store, and get two replacement GM battery screws.

    Cut out some of the red and black insulation from your stock battery cable. This will give you enough room to clean the insides of the cable, as well as press out the old nut. (Use a pair of plier, takes a little bit of force, but not much). Use the new screw, screw it into the battery, making sure that is i making a really good solid connection.

    This should fix your problem.

    however, I'd still get a new battery at this point, because that kinda stress tends to fry the battery. (Happened to me twice until I realized that the GM battery screws werent getting a good contact to the battery, OR cable! So it would only start when the battery was fully charged (from my charger) because it was able to arc through the bad connection! once the engine started, I still got bad readings, and once you shut down the engine, it wouldnt start again.
     
  10. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    OK, here's the latest...

    Did a little more troubleshooting on Thursday afternoon after the truck sat, batt. voltage was like 12.2v, it started on its own but was VERY slow to turn over. Didn't think it would help, but I cleaned the batt. terminals and all accessible grounds, no change. So I pulled the 3-year-old, dead battery out of my wife's old car (that I can't sell yet due to stupid issues w/ Chrysler Credit [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]) and took it back to NAPA, figuring that there'd be some pro-rated time left on the warranty to save me a few bucks. Yes, I can hear you saying "That can't be the right size battery!!" Well, it actually WAS the same size as the old battery in the truck (which I know wasn't the right one) and I couldn't afford the right size, much less the one I want (Optima), so this is just a half-a$$ed fix (well, maybe 3/4-a$$ed...). So I take the old batt. into NAPA, the guy punches some numbers into the computer, comes back with my new batt., and tells me my total:

    $11.64

    WOW!! They gave me full credit for a 3-year old battery, and after tax &amp; core charge, my total was eleven bucks! Unreal!
    I threw the new battery in this morning, and the beast fired right up. I've never heard the starter run so fast before!


    Bottom line: New battery cured my problem. I'll buy batteries from NAPA from now on. Advice from CK5 rules.
    Thanks again for all the help!

    It's always darkest just before it goes pitch-black...
    [​IMG] <font color=green>Semper Maintenance!<font color=black>
     

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