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Old 09-30-2014, 06:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Ohio
Posts: 10,765
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Sunny Saved the Truck

We were coming home from camping 2 weeks ago and I turned on the windshield wipers and they were really sloooow even on full speed. H’mm OK what is up with this?

Then I start getting ABS warning lights going on and off. Oh boy… now what??

I usually always tow with my head lights on for safety. So I turned them off, but the wipers still did not work any better. As we kept going I’m thinking, OK what is up with this?

So we make it home, park it in the yard and leave the truck running. I put my good scanner on the OBDII port and it is giving me real strange readings. I cannot get to live data and there are no codes stored. So after trying the scanner a dozen time to read, I turn the truck off. Still no connection much when I turn on the key but not trying to start it.

By now Cindy is in the camper unloading the fridge and says there is an alarm going off in the camper. H’mm what’s up? Go in and the battery monitor alarm I have is going off with the camper batteries at 12.1 volts. Oh boy, how did they get that low??? We were just camping for 3 days on shore power, the batteries should of been 100% charged. So I reset the alarm and went back to the truck.

So I tried to start it, all I get is click, click, click. What, the battery dead? So I do a hydrometer test on it, yeh it is drained real good. Way down but all the cells are pretty equal. The sticker says 2010 so OK maybe the battery is toast. I take the battery out and head to NAPA to put it on a load tester. They say the battery does not show a bad cell, just deeply discharged.

OK thanks and back home we go. I stick my SIL’s boat battery sitting on the battery minder in as a test battery, fire up the truck and put a volt meter on the battery with the truck running. Ah yup, 12. 5 volts. Turn on the head lights, 12.3 volts. OK the alternator is toast.

Back to NAPA, get a new alternator, put it in, charge up the original battery, put it in and now I get 13.6 volts with the truck running. OK found it.

Here I started the truck 3 times at camp before heading out. Then towing for over an hour with lights on, AC on etc drained the truck battery down to almost nothing. Do not know exactly when the alternator died. May have been on the way too camp. My 2, grp 27 batteries on the camper where keeping the truck running through the charge line. Since Ford has a relay in the charge line, as long as the truck is still running, I can get power from the camper. Shut the truck off and I’m, stuck… Good thing we did not stop for a potty break…

Our Sunny saved the day!!

I have a OBDII Scan Gage II display in the truck so I can get engine temp and tranny temp read out. Ford stock gauges are idiot lights for all practical purposes on my year/model. And there is no volts display. So I now added “volts” to the digital read out. Now I can tell if the alternator is working.

Just sharing our latest towing adventure....


Current Sunlines: 2004 T310SR, 2004 T1950, 2004 T2475, 2007 T2499, 2004 T317SR
Prior Sunlines: 2004 T2499 - Fern Blue
2005 Ford F350 Lariat, 6.8L V10 W/ 4.10 rear axle, CC, Short Bed, SRW. Reese HP trunnion bar hitch W/ HP DC

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Old 10-01-2014, 07:24 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 1,515
SUN #768
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WOW, looks like you were lucky. I never thought about the camper battery keeping the tow vehicle running.

My only voltmeter is in the camper too.

Gene & DW Ginny
2002 Sunline T-2363
2008 Toyota 4-runner 4wd 4.7L V-8
Reese Dual Cam straightline - P3 Brake controller
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