I thought I had it all figured out...
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I thought I had it all figured out...

This is a discussion on I thought I had it all figured out... within the Urban and Rural Survival forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; I've been taking very good care of my 1997 Ford F-150. I have 100,000 on her, one replacement set of tires, two batteries and the ...

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Thread: I thought I had it all figured out...

  1. #1
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    I thought I had it all figured out...

    I've been taking very good care of my 1997 Ford F-150. I have 100,000 on her, one replacement set of tires, two batteries and the original clutch for the five-speed manual. It even has a manual 4WD lever, with granny-low.

    I noticed she was spinning a few times before she started over the last few days. But once she hooked up, she fired like a new truck. That is until today. As a precaution, I stopped at Sears and bought a fully automatic 6 and 2 amp trickle charger for 45 bucks, half the price of the same unit for my Harleys...

    I go into the parking lot, turn the key, nothing but clicks. I can see the Ford dealership from the truck, so I call them for a jump. Since my wife and I have bought about 20 cars from them, they sent a guy right out with a portable starter. She lit up first thing. (The guy refused to take a payment).

    Okay, okay, laugh. Prepper forgets to buy a trickle charger.

    But it's a nice one, fully automatic, and like my Harley unit, there's a bank of lights that tells you the status of the charge.

    This is a cautionary tale. If you think you're ready for TEOTWAWKI, check again. I might have been beaten to death today by a herd of hungry clueless millennials because the food court was burning...
    Denton and Paladin like this.

  2. #2
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    Watch out for some of these trickle chargers. They can not be left on the battery indefinitely
    if you don't drive the truck daily. I cooked the battery on my van in a lousy month that I was
    out of town during one winter.
    jim-henscheli and rthomp77 like this.
    I really want one of these!Hidden Content

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by paraquack View Post
    Watch out for some of these trickle chargers. They can not be left on the battery indefinitely
    if you don't drive the truck daily. I cooked the battery on my van in a lousy month that I was
    out of town during one winter.
    I asked about that. Welcome to the world of new electronics.

    Both the Harley and the Sears trickle chargers have a "fail safe mode." In fact, the Harley model will not charge past 85%.

    Back to the lights on the panel. There is a red light. It notifies you of a malfunction (and that the unit has shut itself down) and that Kathy Griffin has made a wax mold of your head.

    In fact, there are no levers or manual switches on the unit, at all. My Harley unit has survived cold, wet, three bikes and ten years. I'm not even sure you can call this "modern technology."
    Cricket likes this.

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  5. #4
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    I would bet you have a draw or your battery isnt as food as you might think. How old is the truck battery? What climate do you live in? Are the terminals clean and tight?

  6. #5
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    Well at least it was a battery, though you might want to have the alternator tested..
    Semper ubi sub ubi

  7. #6
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    Go to the local farm and barn or auto parts store and buy a battery disconnect switch. They are around 10 bucks. Hook it up to your positive terminal. Which will eliminate any draw on the battery when not in use. Turn it off when parked and on when you need it. KISS method.
    Joe likes this.

  8. #7
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    I'm was wondering about the alternator as the battery is only two years old. I checked the trickle charger when I got up this morning, and I still had a solid yellow light, meaning it's still charging.

    My wife is going shopping today with her friend, and I'll be using my wife's car. I might try to start my ruck later this afternoon and see if driving it around makes a difference.

    As for a disconnect, the truck has A/C, an AM/FM radio and a heater blower. There's nothing much to shut off.

  9. #8
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    As for the disconnect.

    Your vehicle could have a small draw on your battery. Things like the memory on your radio or a short needing repair, even with the key and everything turned off. Disconnecting the battery with a switch COMPLETELY isolates it from the vehicle. So you don't have to waste time and money charging the battery all the time. Just flip the switch on when you need it.

    You can test for a draw on the battery with a simple volt meter. Just disconnect the positive battery terminal. Now take the volt meter and check for a reading between the cable end and the positive of the battery. Even a half volt will drain the battery over time. Yes, with everything shut off.

    I take the positive battery cable off all my rigs that get parked for more then a couple weeks. That way the battery is still at full charge when I need it. All newer cars will kill a battery after sitting for a while.

    Also check the grounds and cables on your rig. Battery to frame, engine to frame and body to frame. A bad ground will cause all sorts of problems, especially your battery not taking a charge from the alternator.

  10. #9
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    You still have a Sears store? The big one here in Tyrone Mall closed:: OK, I'm done.
    Last edited by MisterMills357; 06-13-2017 at 11:53 AM.
    I am reading The 9/11 Commission Report, and I am about 1/4 of the way through it. It is very well written and it is worth reading. [Sep 23 2019]

  11. #10
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    After about 30 hours, thee green light went on and the truck started like it was built yesterday. Since we were going out for coffee and the dealership is on the way, we dropped off the truck.

    I didn't see any loose clamps, stray wires, bundle chafing or missing bolts.

    I think I wore the battery prematurely because I use the big V-8 carefully. That, and over the past month with my wife's broken foot she could climb into the truck.

    Now, I haven't heard back, but I signed for the computer check, and since we're good clients I know we'll get whatever is wrong fixed. We have two vehicles, so I told them not to hurry--I want the problem found.

    So let's suppose the battery never fully charges with my schedule. I'll just hook up the trickle charger when I park for the night. I used to do that with my bikes. If I rode one, the other was hooked up to the trickle charger as a matter of rote.

 

 
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