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Dead in the driveway

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by tacodumbass, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:42 AM
    #1
    tacodumbass

    tacodumbass [OP] Active Member

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    I got home from a long trip last night and the truck was fine, and this morning when I went to start it up, it was dead, as in battery dead. I got someone to help me jump it and I drove around for a bit to recharge the battery, and very fortunately drove back into the driveway and turned it off and wasn't able to start it up again, so my first thought is that the battery isn't charging which makes me think that either the alt or the gen isn't working.

    Before I set myself up for an expensive repair, is there a way I could diagnose, basically, what the problem really is?

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:48 AM
    #2
    H Bomb

    H Bomb Well-Known Member

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    Try replacing the battery with a new one.
     
  3. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:50 AM
    #3
    dfrugia

    dfrugia Well-Known Member

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    Take the battery out and to autozone and they will test it.
     
  4. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:54 AM
    #4
    tacotrd647

    tacotrd647 Resident "dude"

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    Jump it...while running take a voltmeter and see if the alt is charging the battery.
     
  5. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM
    #5
    GregLee98

    GregLee98 Well-Known Member

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    This ^
     
  6. Apr 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM
    #6
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    +1

    When modern batteries go, they go without warning.

    I've had three incidents over the last 20 years where everything was fine, then one day, no crank.
    Figured I had left a light on, got a jump, started fine, drove for an hour or more (lights off), stopped, and completely dead when I tried to start.
    New battery, problem solved.

    Now, if it won't start, I double check that everything is shut off. If nothing was left on, I skip the jump and go straight to a new battery.
     
  7. Apr 1, 2012 at 9:08 AM
    #7
    tacodumbass

    tacodumbass [OP] Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I don't have a voltmeter, but will buy one now. The plan now is to take the battery to autozone and hopefully they'll diagnose that it has gone bad.
     
  8. Apr 1, 2012 at 9:10 AM
    #8
    Yamaha Dave

    Yamaha Dave Well-Known Member

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    This. Start with the most common cause, go to Auto Zone and have them test the battery. If your battery is good, then move on to the next problem. If not, buy a replacement. Done.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2012 at 9:12 AM
    #9
    Rich91710

    Rich91710 Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully... but any time I've done that, they've wanted to put it on their charger for 12 hours before doing a load test.

    It's usually pretty obvious... it'll read 12.5v, then when you hit the load test it'll dump to 8 or less, and unless you're trying to get a Die Hard replaced under warranty at Sears, they'll usually accept that it's bad.
    The problem is if you bring it in below 12v, they'll want to charge it before loading.
     
  10. Apr 1, 2012 at 9:29 AM
    #10
    52motorhead

    52motorhead Well-Known Member

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    You cannot load test a dead or 1/2 charged battery.
    In your sig it shows you have a 2002, if that is the original battery then change it. Battery life now a days is 5-7 years.
     
  11. Apr 1, 2012 at 9:40 AM
    #11
    elmo7

    elmo7 Easily Replaceable Member

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    Was gonna ask, what's the age of the battery? It should be indicated on the battery somewhere.
     
  12. Apr 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM
    #12
    Madjik_Man

    Madjik_Man The Rembrandt of Rattle Can

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    I've had the same battery in my truck for 14 years
     
  13. Apr 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM
    #13
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    Usually this is true. Although the quick chargers are only an hour or two. I've worked in auto parts stores, they all use the same smart chargers/testers. Sometimes the tester will immediately say a low voltage battery is bad, sometimes it wants to charge it.

    If it's over five years old already, and it's more about your time than your expenses, just buy a new one. That's probably the whole issue, and you can then drive the truck a few miles to have the whole system checked at NAPA or whatever store you have in the area. Or pickup a meter and check the running voltage yourself.
     
  14. Apr 1, 2012 at 10:42 AM
    #14
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    So it drives perfect when jumped? I'd say that's a pretty good indicator the alternator is working. I'd say bad battery. If it was a charging issue and the battery is already dead, the truck probably wouldn't run.
     
  15. Apr 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM
    #15
    tacodumbass

    tacodumbass [OP] Active Member

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    Well you guys are going to get a good laugh out of this.

    Took the battery out, schlepped it all the way to Autoparts and they tested it (and found it was only 2 years old) and it came in at 444 of 490 CCA (90% full). I then hauled it back home thinking the worse, and happenstance decided to just put it back in the truck and noticed that the inside of the battery clamps was completely coated in battery corrosion, so I took some steel wool and scraped them out, put the battery back in and the truck started just fine! :facepalm:

    Good april fool's day joke, and I get to live up to my username.

    At least I now have a voltmeter which I bought at autozone while I was there, so the day wasn't a total waste.
     
  16. Apr 1, 2012 at 12:24 PM
    #16
    Yamaha Dave

    Yamaha Dave Well-Known Member

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    Lol well you were right I did get a good laugh out of it... hey it's all good fun, what are you gonna do. Lesson learned, at least you are wiser than you were yesterday.


    :D
     
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