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Old 09-04-2012, 11:40 AM
Overlander Overlander is offline
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Default Couldn't help stranded 4x4 in High country..

While wheeling at the Crystal Lakes trail in the Summit County we came across two trucks 4Runner and Ford Pickup that were trying to get the Ford started in vane. They needed jumper cables - I didn't bring any this time.... I've cut the wires to my small 12V compressor to tried to give him the boost thorugh them but it did no good. Everytime he turned the ignition the started just clicked but wouldn't turn over. I thought it was his alternator and they were ready to head down to the valley to get a mobile mechanic up here, but then another truck came around and he had the beloved jumper cables and they got it re-started in no time.

Lesson learned - small wires won't provide enough juice to the other battery - they are of no use. At least carry jumpers or a spare battery if possible.

Question: how do you tell a simple battery problem from an alternator problem? Thought that clicking sound was a tell but apparently not...
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:29 PM
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Start the truck that's running fine, leave it running and swap batteries between trucks. The good truck will charge the drained battery, and the old one will run on the good battery
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:33 PM
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Start the truck that's running fine, leave it running and swap batteries between trucks. The good truck will charge the drained battery, and the old one will run on the good battery
My thoughts exactly, any reason this wouldn't work, or will the car die with no battery?
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:58 PM
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My thoughts exactly, any reason this wouldn't work, or will the car die with no battery?
I've done this- it's a little scary navigating through the open terminals but with a helper really nbd. Yes the good truck will run without any battery at all, most likely not a great idea long term but certainly ok in my head for as long as it takes to drop a drained battery into it.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:09 PM
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My thoughts exactly, any reason this wouldn't work, or will the car die with no battery?
You'll quickly know if the alternator is working or not - had this happen on the way home from skiing once...The alternator failed but we didn't know it at the time. On the drive home the headlights and accessories gradually drained the battery until the truck died coming down Vail Pass...The truck made it from the Beaver Creek area to the Copper Mountain exit and we managed to coast into the gas station there.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:30 PM
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While trying to hookup the wire to the terminals (with the truck running) I managed to loosen the connection on the (+) terminal too much and the truck died immediately. Had to hook it back up before it would start again, so I don't think my 80 can run without a battery in it...

Though I like the idea of a good truck's alternator charging the low battery for a while - I wonder how long you'd have to keep it running to get a meaningful charge into a low battery.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:41 AM
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Caution on running with no battery... on some trucks including Toyota you can eat things alive.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:28 AM
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Caution on running with no battery... on some trucks including Toyota you can eat things alive.
Right - I've read that on the Diesel forum: apparently the battery acts as a damper of some sort.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:19 AM
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Swapping the batteries on running trucks might work on a '61 Chevy, but I wouldn't do it on a modern vehicle.

I wonder if you could remove an Optima (or any sealed battery) and flip it over and connect the + and - terminals to those of the dead battery (by holding the battery upside down and resting it atop the dead battery) and jump start it that way? You could impress all your friends with this technique, I'd think.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:39 AM
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<snip>

Question: how do you tell a simple battery problem from an alternator problem? Thought that clicking sound was a tell but apparently not...
Simplest way to know for sure is to carry along a Volt/Ohm meter. You can find usable ones at Walmart or Harbor Freight for less than $10 so one in each of your vehicles won't break the bank. Put one to good use on a Texas #eep last week on Red Cone - his guaranteed for life 170 amp O'Reilly alt had lasted less than a wheeling season. He was able to make it back to town on battery power.
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