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Charging/Electrical issues

JTH1972

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Kelowna, BC
Year, Model & Trim Level
96 XL V6 4X4
So tonight after work, I go to start my 94 XLT. Everything comes on the way it should, all lights are on. I turn the key and hear a loud "CLICK" and everything goes black.

I get a jump (took a few tries) and get it started again. i notice the interior light flickering, as well as the driving lights flickering. The amperage gauge is bouncing all over the place, no real improvement with the engine reved up, lights still flickering. Turned regular lights on and they were ok, just flickering with the driving lights. Eventually the amperage gauge behaves and stays steady with some RPM's. Idling it drops some and does the occasional bounce. No (extra) driving issues getting home.

When I do get it home, I turn it off and try to start it again. Nothing but blackness. Eventually the lights do come on slightly but not enough to turn it over. Door locks work.

So i don't think it's the alternator since it worked fine once it was running. Obviously no charge getting to the battery. So I figure either the battery is screwed or is there some sort of voltage regulator I should be checking first?

Suggestions?
 
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StryctNy9e

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Beaverton OR/ hayward CA
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1993 XLT Exploder
sounds like a ground problem to me. Are the terminals all covered withacid build up. Sometimes the battery corrosin builds up inside the wires where you cant see it and creates a bad connection. Is there any swelling of the wires?
 
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JTH1972

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No, terminals are pretty clean.
 
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something9000

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naples fl
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1994 navajo
my advice is to take both terminals off the battery and get a terminal cleaner or some sand paper and really clean them. and make sure there really tight putting them back on. I have this problem from time to time and thats how i fix it and it works everytime.
 
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Roadrunner777

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Bemidji, MN
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94 4x4 Sport 88k
This observation of lights eventually lighting up is a pretty sure sign of corrosion. Look hard at the connections, get them off, make them shiny and reconnect. Lead oxide is not a great conductor. Then start following wires, look for any green discoloring or bubbling under the insulation. If you find nothing, then get your battery charged back up and use a single jumper cable to do diagnostics. Connect the neg term to the block, that kind of thing.
 
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JTH1972

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96 XL V6 4X4
Well without charging the battery, it's reading almost 12.5 volts, so that's good.

I am getting an amperage draw off of the ground cable anywhere from 25 to 180 milliamps. Is that something draining or is that typical to keep the memory in the computer and other electronics?
 
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Nedwreck

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Kentucky, Y'all!
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'93 xlt, '92 4x4
I wouldn't think 150 or so mA would be bad or excessive.

all three of the Explorer's I've owned have had a problem like this at one time or another. It always (for me) turned out to be a cable related problem - either a battery cable end, loose connection(s) on the far ends of the cables, etc..

I had a loose ground on the block one time (it's near the filter, above it, accessible through the passenger wheel well).. man that caused all kinda weird things to happen.
 
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JTH1972

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96 XL V6 4X4
After some further load testing, I now think the battery is completely and utterly screwed. voltage may be 12.5, but it bottomed out to practically nothing when a load tester was applied. It's at the parts place being recharged on some special charger they got, but even if it comes back to life (which I'm doubting), I didn't realize the thing is 7 years old and should be replaced anyway.i managed to borrow another battery and I'm going to check it in the morning.

I'm thinking of replacing the ground cable anyway. some parts were looking a little corroded and if I'm this deep into it, I figure I might as well. talked to the dealer and they say the cable is obsolete. I can get a replacement cable from a local parts dealer, but i don't know if they'll have anything compatible with the three smaller wires coming off of the battery terminal.
 
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JTH1972

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96 XL V6 4X4
I wouldn't think 150 or so mA would be bad or excessive.
After posting that i talked to my FIL who's pretty good with electrical, and he figures it's enough to run things like the clock on the radio, nothing significant of a draw to cause a problem.
 
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Roadrunner777

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That's 1-1/2 watts or so, yeah, nothing to worry about. You know there's a small light in the hood that turns on when the hood is up, that might have been it.

There are spec cables out there, not sure about what the best dealers are in Canada...

Ground: BWD Brand, part #BLF274
Positive: #BLF275

They are not cheap, about $40 each, but they appear to be an exact match for factory in leads and connectors.
 
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Nedwreck

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'93 xlt, '92 4x4
After some further load testing, I now think the battery is completely and utterly screwed. voltage may be 12.5, but it bottomed out to practically nothing when a load tester was applied. It's at the parts place being recharged on some special charger they got, but even if it comes back to life (which I'm doubting), I didn't realize the thing is 7 years old and should be replaced anyway.i managed to borrow another battery and I'm going to check it in the morning.

I'm thinking of replacing the ground cable anyway. some parts were looking a little corroded and if I'm this deep into it, I figure I might as well. talked to the dealer and they say the cable is obsolete. I can get a replacement cable from a local parts dealer, but i don't know if they'll have anything compatible with the three smaller wires coming off of the battery terminal.

Maybe the parts pace has a battery "rejuvenator". Would be cool if they did, those things work pretty good sometimes.

.

My local parts houses don't have the exact cables either. What they do have is universal cables that you buy with the right length for the main cable and the correct number of smaller leads. You have to make up the small lead connectors and stuff.
 
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