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battery fully charged but everything dead


November 26, 2010
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City, State
new orleans, La
Year, Model & Trim Level
'96 4cyl 2wd 4.0 L
car was running fine. shut off ignition for a few seconds, went to restart ignition, heard a medium loud click and then nothing. no lights, no noise when turning ignition, no starter turn when jumping battery to starter relay. lights, radio, doorlocks, nothing has power.

the battery is fully charged and nothing out of the ordinary occurred before everything went dead. can this be a fuse, or a computer malfunction? this is a '96 generation 2 explorer stock. thanks.

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im not a mechanic, but have you had your alternator tested? you can take it to autozone and they will test it for free. your alternator distributes power to al the electrical stuff in your car, so you might want to get that checked out.

dont believe its the alternator, the battery is fully charged and the dome light in car is not even energizing as for anything and everything else.

The large cable from the starter solenoid (just behind the battery on the fender) shorted out to the heat shield down near the starter on mine, which created a similar problem. It took many miles and years, but the wear of that heat shield finally broke through to the cable. Replacing the cable fixed everything.


A quick check for bad battery cables would be my first check.

beargap may have it, i remember the same thing heppening to an old volvo i drove back when i was in high school. replacing the cables fixed it

ok thanks brothers. this was simpler than my doomsday prognosis. after some continuity checks and wiggling the hot wire on the starter solenoid. the car started right up.

My truck did the exact same thing Monday...

After putting a 100+ miles on it Monday I stopped for a soda...Came out, got back in it, turned key , 1 loud click...And nothing...No radio, no siren, no lights inside or outside...

Hmmm...Pop the hood and look at the 2 battery terminals...They look tight and I have no issue tightening terminals...But check them anyway...

Well WTF!!! The negative terminal is loose!!!!!!!! The positive terminal is tighter but I can still move it a bit...So pull them off and clean any corrosion off of them[There was a bit]...

Tightened both terminals and closed the hood...Engine starts as before...

Note to self; Find replacement battery cables...Old battery terminal clamps seem weak...Time to replace them...

How hard is it to replace the entire cable verse just the terminals?

How hard is it to replace the entire cable verse just the terminals?

I've had this happen to me a half dozen times over my lifetime. it's always been loose or dirty battery terminals. check the cables. if the insulation is good and not lumpy anywhere, and the non-battery ends look good, it's much easier/cheaper (and usually effective) to just put new terminal ends on your old cables.

Same thing happened with my '02 Sport Trac a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the 1st thing I did was try to wiggle the battery cables, and the small neg cable fell out of the aftermarket cable end. Hooked the cable up and no problems since.

Regarding replacing the entire battery cable(s) - I took the complete battery cable harness off a 1st Gen Explorer in the salvage yard last summer. It wasn't as tough to do as I expected, but it was in a salvage yard on a vehicle with some parts already off it, so wasn't like taking one off a complete engine/vehicle in the driveway. Anyway, there is a loop or two the cables run through, and each has a bolt attaching it to the engine or frame. They are tough to see and get to. I've not tried to install it on my '94. Just bought it for a spare.