pjbgravely New Reader
2/28/14 11:35 p.m.

Last night while taking my truck to someones house the engine died while going down a large hill. I pulled over and tried to restart, the battery was dead. It had just started fine 5 minutes ago. I got a jump and it started right up. I took it home with no problems, the whole way the volt meter was at 15 volts. It started fine the next day. I checked the battery terminals, they were a little corroded but not bad.

Has anyone seen a battery go dead and then be just fine again? I have had a shorted battery before and they can't be jump started. I don't remember any gauges being off before it broke down but maybe I didn't look well. All I can think is the alternator died, with no warning lights then came back to life with the jump start. It is a 1500 5.9L

Don49 HalfDork
3/1/14 7:03 a.m.

I'll bet it was corrosion on the terminals. The jump start got enough of a connection for it to run again. I've had a similar problem and the terminals looked perfect. Cleaned them and was back in business.

iceracer PowerDork
3/1/14 10:00 a.m.

What Don 49 said.

Check for corrosion in the cables.

Charging voltage is a little high.

Basil Exposition
Basil Exposition HalfDork
3/1/14 10:47 a.m.

I once had an intermittent battery problem that turned out to be a cracked case right under one of the terminals. I think the terminal was moving and losing contact inside the battery.

confuZion3 UltraDork
3/1/14 4:22 p.m.

Pour some cola (Coca Cola works just fine) on the terminals. Watch the corrosion dissolve immediately. Just don't drink it.

Really make sure both connections are tight though. Sometimes, they lose their shape and loosen up, even when the nut is fully tightened. Try to pull the cables off of terminals. I rode my Buell into the Lincoln Tunnel on my way into Manhattan on a busy rush hour morning one time and the whole thing just went dead just like you said. It randomly decided to restart and then it died on the other side of the Queensboro bridge. I got it started while we were all sitting at a light and then saw how loose the negative terminal had become. I tightened it up and she was good to go!

Don't forget to check the neutral terminal!

pjbgravely New Reader
3/1/14 6:43 p.m.

The terminals were tight with just a little corrosion. I figured it was a loose connection when it died, and was shocked they were tight. I have to check tomorrow for a broken battery terminal ( I have seen those before). If everything checks out then I have to assume there was ice on the alternator pulley ( I haven't driven it in while), and that I didn't see the low voltage gauge.

The 15 volts I said was from the factory gauge that read a bit over 14V. From now on I will drive it with a charged spare battery and a volt meter to check things if it dies again.

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