DodgeTalk Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My friend has a 06 Dodge ram with starting issues. We're older fellers and even in days past we were shade tree mechanics. When he turns the key no noises clicks pops . Nothing... He'll keep twisting the key back and forth , sometimes she'll hit and off we go.
We replaced the ignition switch (twice)
Starters been replaced as well as a new battery. Today it wouldn't start and for the heck of we got a jump from a Honda civic , and that thing cranked right up. Help us so we can continue car pooling to work
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Seems like there's possibly a drain on the battery when shutdown. Some tings keep draining juice normally like clocks and a little bit of power to maintain settings of various functions. Each vehicle is different, but thehre is general allowance that considers average setups of 50 to 200 milliamps. This excerpt goes into this in a helpful manner:What's Draining Your Battery?

Most vehicles draw some battery current when the key is off, thanks to the clock and the internal memory of engine computers, body-control modules, and radio presets. Altogether, they draw a very small amount of current. Fifty milliamps would be a safe upper limit for this, though many vehicles will draw less. If you're not sure, look up the correct rating in the service manual.

To measure the car-off current draw, you'll need a multimeter capable of reading current, preferably one with a 10- or 20-amp capacity, but a 200 milliamp lower scale. Start with a fully charged battery. Either make sure the doors are closed or wedge the door switch shut. Turning off the dome light isn't good enough—on many cars, an open door will activate several circuits.

Unplug any power-draining cables from the lighter socket, such as a cellphone charger or GPS. Even if the device itself is unplugged from the charger, the plug may still consume a few milliamps of current. Got an ear-bleedin' stereo amp in the trunk? Pull the fuse, because it may be in standby mode rather than completely shut down.

One caution: If your radio or antitheft system requires you to input a code after the power is interrupted, better hunt it down now. It's likely that you'll need it. Don't let the dealer entice you to bring the car in and pay him to input it. The code should have been included with the owner's manual when you purchased the car.

Start hunting by putting your ammeter in series with the battery's ground circuit. Disconnect the battery's ground cable and wire the ammeter in series between the battery terminal and the cable. Start with the meter on the highest range, probably 10 or 20 amps. Warning! Doing something silly, like trying to start the car or turn on the headlights—anything that draws more than the meter's rated capacity—can blow the meter's fuse.

Once you have determined that the current drain you're reading is safe, gradually reduce the meter's scale to the appropriate low range, probably 2 amps or 200 mA. You are now reading the parasitic drain on the battery. Some vehicles will show as little as 10 mA residual drain. Others, probably high-end cars with lots of high-end gadgets, will draw more.

An important note: Some devices, like alarms and automatic-dimming lights, will draw substantial amounts up to 20 minutes after they're deactivated. So if the reading is high, wait a few minutes to see if it changes.
Getting Rid of Bad Energy

You've determined you have excessive current draw from the battery. Now you have to figure out where. If it's not obvious, like the trunk light not going off, you have to get methodical. You can throw caution to the wind and start pulling fuses one at a time, until you see the excess drain drop off. Just be careful to get them back into the right socket.

Once you've determined the high-draw circuit, there still may be a half-dozen loads, each individually innocuous but collectively sucking the lifeblood out of your battery.

To zero in on that circuit or circuits, first reconnect the battery ground, taking care to maintain continuity through the jumpers until the clamp is making good contact. Then remove the offending fuse and use the leads of the multimeter to jumper the fuse terminals.

Next, with the help of the schematic diagram, disconnect each device on the circuit—one at a time—and check the meter. When the milliamp reading drops precipitously, you've found the problem. It could be anything, but in my experience, the following are the most common:

Car alarms: Aftermarket alarms are notorious for sucking even healthy, fully charged batteries dry within a few days. If you have any non-factory alarms, it's the first thing you should check. Be aware that there may be more than one connection to the car's electrical system, and some aftermarket installers may use, ahem, non-industry standard splicing techniques. So you may have to simply follow the alarm wires to see where they go. More expensive alarms tend to be less problematic, but maybe that's because more expensive alarms are installed by better, higher-paid technicians.

Stereos: OEM stereos are usually not problematic. Aftermarket stereos, the kind with giant, finned boxes and their own finger-thick wires directly wired to the battery, can be. With a power lead bypassing the car's electrical system, they go into standby mode, waiting for the main radio head unit to tell them to wake up. In standby, they'll draw only a milliamp or three. If they fail to go into standby, or if the DIP switches on the amp are set incorrectly, they can draw as much as several hundred milliamps, even though they're not producing any actual noise. Or music.

Proximity Keys: Guess how these things work. There's a radio receiver that continuously listens for the key's frequency. When the receiver hears a signal at its assigned frequency, it wakes up to see if the key is the one that matches the car.

This might be an issue if you leave the car parked for many weeks without starting it. Imagine the confusion of a car parked near the elevator door in a busy parking structure. Every proximity key that walks past makes it sit up and beg, draining your battery for a few minutes. Soon, dead battery.

Sometimes the battery won't go totally dead, just too low to pop the engine alive. I once had a case that was too simple to see. After some body repair to the front end the car would not start after several days sitting. Amp draw test revealed nothing unusual. So, where did the juice go? Newish battery tested fine. All the tests were done during the day so no one really took note that the underhood light was out. And what matter anyway? Most DIY'ers carry flashlights for night trouble. Well, the underhood light was turned on/off by an internal tilt switch. One of three tabs on the light housing was broken off. When the hood was closed the light would turn on, and when the hood was open it turned off. Even on the darkest night the underhood light could not be seen in the on position with the hood closed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
What he's describing doesn't sound anything like a depleted battery. Some basic diagnosis could determine that. What is battery voltage when this happens? If it's 12 or above, the battery is fine. Have you done a load test on the battery? A battery with a failed internal connection can act fine under low draw, but fail to crank the vehicle, or it may just act dead sometimes and fine other times. The fact that you say wiggling the key and retrying it sometimes makes it work is really suspicious to me, this would seem to indicate you've got an intermittent condition. The battery is the first place I'd start, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The battery was replaced about a month ago. But. Thank you so ,so much for all the info. Steveinglendale and manonearth. We will surely put our heads together and see what we find with this new info.. My first few cars had points in the distributor.. gas,air,and spark was all you needed. I guess its the same still today with a few more variables.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Pop the cover off the steering column and check for loose or disconnected grounds on it. Had one do this and there is a ground strap on the steeeing column brace that grounds the internal computers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
I had a customer that had a battery drain problem that would take about 1-2 days before it wouldn’t have enough power to start the truck. I found that someone disconnected the horn relay because it was sticking occasionally. The computer was alway searching for that circuit to be ready. Reconnecting it solved the problem. Then we replaced the relay in case the sticking issue returned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
This sounds like the problem I have with my 2004 and I'll look into that ground strap ironman1979. My battery is in good condition and was new when this first occurred in 2016. Took it to the Interstate dealer and had tested just to be sure it was not defective. As near as I can tell, the fail to start condition is not a bad battery or cable to starter / ground / issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I've noticed that sometimes when starting fails and I cycle key back to accessory then to start, on some occasions the tach and speedometer needles swing to near full range. Does not occur every time but does occur when engine will not crank.
Does this have anything to do with that ground ironman1979 mentioned or problem that Mike969 is having?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Third post in this thread - I haven't checked the ground that ironman mentioned, but I want to add the swing of tach and speedometer gauges is followed by the start. Doesn't happen every time but when it happens the start occurs! Don't know what if anything this means but I still am having the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
Third post in this thread - I haven't checked the ground that ironman mentioned, but I want to add the swing of tach and speedometer gauges is followed by the start. Doesn't happen every time but when it happens the start occurs! Don't know what if anything this means but I still am having the problem.
The swing of the pointers like that usually means a reset has occurred in the PCM. New ones do that the first time, I've observed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
My ECM was replaced a year ago due to rodents eating injector and spark plug wires and shorting ecm. Non are available from Dodge now so one was obtained from junkyard and reflashed then installed. Now I have no cruise control but this problem with starting predates the ECM change.
This truck has over 180,000 miles on it and 30,000 towing a 30' camper across country. Maybe some bouncing has caused ground strap issues which lead to open circuits. I can't believe an open 'fixes' itself when sitting on drive after being idle for 8 hours and after moving key on & off after turning OFF HEATER Fan. These actions are not a logical solution to the problem.
I, too, replaced my ignition switch a couple of years ago thinking it had something to do with this starting problem and because it would not go into ACCESSORY position. That repaired ACC issue but the starting remained. It is as if a tumbler in switch does not fall into hole that turns and makes contact. Is there such a contact?
With this being intermittent it is difficult to diagnose. The Dodge truck shop service manager said it happened with a customer over a year ago but they don't remember solution...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
This probably isn't a "ground strap" issue. There are many redundant ground points in a vehicle, problems surface when a particular one fails that doesn't have an alternate path that can handle the current. Then you get an "open", or more commonly, a highly resistive circuit that causes glitches and malfunctions. Your problem could be in the ECM, just because you replaced it doesn't mean the replacement doesn't have or hasn't developed a defect. You could also have a loose pin or dirty connection in one of the several ECM connectors, or an intermittent caused by a broken wire somewhere in the circuit. These kinds of problems can be extremely difficult to diagnose and find. As a first step, I would carefully disconnect and examine all your connectors to the ECM, and look for any sign of a corroded or bent pin. Spray it all down with WD-40 when you put it back together. Look at the wires where they bend near the connectors for a kinked/cracked wire. The insulation on these wires is kind of hard, and they can sometimes get a nick or crack which will let corrosion destroy the wire while the insulation remains intact, giving the illusion of a normal wire. I just fixed a problem like this on my 2005 T&C. Kept getting a code for lost communication with RF impact sensor, turned out it was a cracked wire right near the sensor, so easy fix.
You say you don't think a circuit can go open just sitting in a driveway, but in fact they can. When you have a highly resistant point such as a broken wire or a worn out switch, what you've effectively got is sort of a semiconductor that is right on the threshold of sufficient conductance to create viable circuits. One day it might work, one day it might not, depending on temperature, humidity, vibrations, etc.
I'm also a little worried when you say that rats chewed up the wiring previously, it makes me wonder if they chewed up some part of the harness that you never spotted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Good points guyonearth! I never thought of a split in insulation admitting some water or ??? and causing intermittent connections. I don't like that comment "extremely difficult to diagnose and find" for that is exactly what I believe is going to be the case. The truck is 15 years old and we are in ATL so heat could easily impact those wiring harnesses by drying them out. I'm not even sure where the various 'computers" are located to begin to check those connections.
Fortunately those rodents consumed wiring on top of the engine so the damage was isolated to injectors and spark plug wires. This problem predated that incident by two years.
My biggest concern is sometime my turning off and on will fail and I'm a long way from home!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
No I need to have shop do that to see if they can detect any codes. Thanks I may need to find another shop though, for last time it was in for the cruise control it would not start when shop manager went out to road test. He came and said, why won't truck start. I told him that was intermittent problem that I can't fix. He didn't say, Let me run a deeper scan or similar comment...
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top