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Getting by with one battery in summer?

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by Cubey, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. Cubey

    Cubey Full timer RVer

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    Straight to the point:

    Is a single ~1000 CA battery hard on the starter in a hot summer climate? (Arkansas)


    Long explanation why I asked, but not really required to read to answer the question:

    For whatever silly reason, I kind of don't want to move my 1.5 year old matching batteries from my RV back to my truck. I bought them for the truck a couple months before I got the RV, so I swapped em out. I'd rather not run them for 6 months in the truck if I can help it. I figure that if I can avoid 6 months of stress on them, it's a good thing.

    The RV's starting batteries were mismatched, having a 27 and a group 31. Vans do call for mismatched sizes, both smaller than what trucks call for, and one of the two is only 725CCA. The two sizes called for are group 24 (725 CCA/890CA) and group 27 (840 CCA /1035 CA).

    I've been trying to recondition the 31 and it's not looking good. It drops like a lead balloon to 8.xV even after heavy charging (8A-15A). I topped off the water in it today (probably just overfilled, since it was overflowing out of the vent when charging) and I'm trying my smart charger's recondition feature a second time. First time before I topped off the water, it gave up trying after 24 hours and the battery was back to 8.xV after it sat overnight. It was charging at 14.4V so I'm guessing 15A?

    If it fails again, I'll try one last thing: putting it on a 5A dumb charger that's built into my tiny generator. I've read that sometimes it takes a dumb charger to force a charge on a deeply discharged battery. But I don't have high hopes.

    Failing that, the single group 27 battery seems fully serviceable. I mean, I was able to start the RV on the bad set of batteries (in winter) even with the bad one connected, probably drawing down the good one. I left the 27 attached to the F250 for almost a year by itself (started and moved it that way to the back yard) and it wasn't dead. It was low (12.xx) but the dome light still came on when I got back here in late January.

    I'm in the south where it's gonna be bloody hot, so there won't be thick oil issues. I have a manual GP button in the truck, so I can cycle it just once a day when I go out, since that's all it ever needed before in summer, even in cooler climates.

    I'll stick the 31 in on the driver's side with just the positive terminal connected for safety's sake, but negative disconnected so it can't draw down the good battery.

    I just wanna conserve my matching 65s for the RV and also not spend money on a second battery if I can help it.
     
  2. u2slow

    u2slow Plan B

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    No way to know but to try.

    My Dodge/cummins stuff (grid heat, but not GPs) was factory outfitted with a single group 31 batt.
     
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  3. Dane Rickford

    Dane Rickford Full Access Member

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    I don’t know how helpful this is, but I am running two 1000 CA batteries. For a week last November though I was only running one of the batteries. The truck started great with that setup, but I don’t know if it was taxing the starter. I just know it worked fine. ( And that’s when my truck was only running on 5 cylinders LOL)
     
  4. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I ran a single 1000cca group 31 in my dually from late July through... Early October maybe? last year with zero issues. Hard on the starter? I doubt it, fired up just fine.
     
  5. franklin2

    franklin2 Full Access Member

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    I have used a single battery also in the warmer months with no problems.
     
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  6. Fision

    Fision Full Access Member

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    Search “reconditioning dead car battery”. There are a number of approaches using inexpensive materials like Epsom salts.
    Apparently these methods can bring back a useless battery to ‘almost’ new.
     
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  7. u2slow

    u2slow Plan B

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    I missed this earlier. This is fairly typical failure on my group 31's. A fresh/full charge and literally get only one 'grunt' from the starter before its dead again. I think its a bad/shorted cell.
     
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  8. Cubey

    Cubey Full timer RVer

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    Yep, I tried that. I heated up distilled water with some epsom salt and used that except in one cell where I ran out of the mixture and didn't wanna make more for just 1/4 cup, so I used distilled only to finish topping it off. I didn't totally drain it though, which is what some instructions say. I might try that but I need to get a big box of baking soda to neutralize a whole battery's worth of acid first.

    I tried the generator's charger this morning but the gen was low on gas. it didn't run very long since the battery charger puts a load on the engine. You can hear it when it gets a load and it does when I plug in the cord to it.

    I don't think it made much of a dent, but maybe it has to run for a few hours, being only 5A. I tihnk it only ran for about 30 minutes, maybe a little more. I know the charger works though, having used it many times before. The cord end that plugs into the gen was HOT too so it was putting out power.

    It could be a dead cell or two.
     
  9. Dane Rickford

    Dane Rickford Full Access Member

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    I don’t know if this would work in your situation, but whenever we have to recondition a battery here, we always hook it to a running vehicle via jumper cables and let it sit for 5-15 minutes. The forced power to the battery usually reconditions it enough for our “smart” charger to take over
     
  10. JAKRANCH

    JAKRANCH Full Access Member

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    I've ran my 85 on a single battery (850 cca) during the ut winter before. Never had a problem with manual glows and a fresh return line. Last December after it had sat wrecked a couple months I jumped in just to see if it'd start after months of sitting during sub zero temps and she fired right up.
     
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  11. Exhumis

    Exhumis Full Access Member

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    I unknowingly ran my truck for about 5 months on one battery. Whilst working on the battery cables one day the positive post on the drivers battery came right out the battery like it was cool and the inside of the battery was bone dry. My truck still started just fine. As others have said summer months aren't an issue. But once it starts getting cold...
     
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  12. Cubey

    Cubey Full timer RVer

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    If I'm still here and not back on the road in December, then I'll probably swap over the newer set of batteries, unless I find a good used used cheap 65 or 27 battery for cheap. 27s are only 10 CCA less, but are a bit taller. But they fit under the hood in my F250. Have to be sure the batteries are held down with a strap or over-top style hold down, since the hold down wedges won't work with the battery's dimensions.
     
  13. Cubey

    Cubey Full timer RVer

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    Well... today I started the truck for the first time in a year. The engine started pretty well but was sputtering. Not shocking. Then the truck stalled out and it was very hard to get it going again, even with it's little electric fuel pump. The return lines all drained/dried out after a year's time. Fuel was spraying at the bleeder valve when pressed in, just too much air in return lines I guess.

    Then it wasn't turning it very well at all, but again not shocking for a single used battery having to do excessive cranking. I grabbed out a single battery from the RV (the easier one to remove) and stuck it in. It still acted like it was weak cranking but did a little better. I finally got the air purged and got it running again, no more sputtering or stalling. I was able to drive it out of the back yard, straight up front next to driveway. Now that I know it's still running/driving, I'll get insurance put on it soon and renew the registration.

    So, I guess I'll just have to use the RV's batteries after all. Just as well I guess. Maybe the batteries will die before the 3 year free replacement and I'll get a brand new set. LOL

    The truck REALLY needs a bath. And an oil change, for that matter. I put it away with old oil because it ddn't make sense to let $30 in fresh oil sit there for a year or more.

    20200326_131854.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
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  14. Exhumis

    Exhumis Full Access Member

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    I use the Walmart Maxx Everstart batteries which I believe are made by either Exide or Delphi now. Admittedly I don't drive my truck every day but it gets down to the teens sometimes where I live and my truck starts every time without being plugged in without issue.
     
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  15. Dane Rickford

    Dane Rickford Full Access Member

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    I also use MAXX batteries, and they seem to work great. I picked up one of them at Walmart for around $97. Its rated at 850 CCA, and 1000 CA.
     
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