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1988 ram battery good all of a sudden no power to dash lights and wont turn over when turn key

Discussion in 'Pre-1994 trucks, commercial vehicles' started by upser145, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Got off work and itll crank better then ever. And on the way to work this morning my temp gauge almost maxed out scared the hell outta me vut upon pulling over and popping the hood the engine felt cool. Then when i cut it off it wouldnt crank wouldnt even turn over. Got off 12 hours later when everything had completly cooled and it fires right up.
     
  2. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Would turn over off jumping wire harness from starter relay. Could the battery grounding to the engine when it fell have damaged the relay somehow causing it to be more affected by heat also i just replaced the relay a day or two ago could i have got a poopies relay
     
    #42 upser145, Jul 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  3. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    From the description it appears the battery tumbled into an area near left front corner of engine compartment. When it fell it is possible that the positive battery post hit something and broke / cracked its internal connection to the plates??? Apply very little pressure and check and see if the positive post is still rigidly mounted in the battery and will not rotate. Any looseness or rotation is trouble. Remove the positive cable from the battery post and make sure it is clean and tight on the clamp and the post.

    Are there several wires attached to the positive battery post cable? If yes the largest diameter wire would go to the starter solenoid and smaller diameter wire would lead to the starter relay. Did a wire get pulled excessively that runs from the battery positive post to the starter relay? Check all connections at the starter relay.

    If there was excessively high voltage in the system (more than 14.0 - 14.5 volts) that would cause the temperature gauge to move to the right and register a full engine hot condition. In a previous post today I mentioned that there was probably a direct short on the positive battery post which caused a voltage spike from the alternator.
     
  4. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    So does this mean alt needs to be replaced? might be a stupid question but im running on very little sleep here lol
     
  5. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    There is no need to replace the alternator. Do as I outlined: check battery posts to make sure they are intact and solidly connected. Check battery cable clamps at post. Check wire(s) from battery positive cable to starter relay. Make sure wiring intact at starter relay. If all this checks out as good, go under the dash and check the pink and red wire for battery voltage. Trace wires back through the firewall into the engine compartment. Check the splice you made in the red wire where you removed the fusible link that had previously failed.
     
  6. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    sorry for the late response haven't had the time to do much this week will work on it this weekend and should hopefully get it going lol. I know this is a kinda stupid question but I just got off work and don't have the time right now to go check to make sure im right but my starter has the starter relay on the fender wall, on that model I would also have a starter solenoid on the starter correct? I'm pretty sure i would just dont have the time or light to look at it right now. thanks for all the help everybody, greatly appreciated.
     
  7. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    also yesterday i had a few minutes to mess with it and found my new starter relay was bad but my old one tested good so that could be the whole problem but havn't had the time to test it out
     
  8. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you are correct in your interpretation. The starter relay is mounted on the fender wall. It has 2 circuits: control and load. When you turn the key lock switch on the side of the steering column, that causes the starter circuit to be energized with 12 volt feed from the RED wire to the ignition switch. The starter relay closes the load circuit and provides power to the starter solenoid.

    The starter solenoid provides 2 functions. It moves the starter pinon into contact with the flywheel and completes the circuit (separate circuit) from the battery to the starter motor.
     
  9. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    well i had about 6 amps of parasitic drain unhooked alt and still had 3 undid 2 wiring harnesses and ballest resistor and got down to zero ran out of time before i could figure out exactly what was causing that draw, but the alt causing the draw could that be a bad wire somewhere or something or is that a sign the alt needs ti be replaced? found a barespot on wire coming out of alt that runs to volt reg and into balllast resistor and start relay from there im thinking start with it
     
    #49 upser145, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  10. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    You can take the alternator to major auto parts retailer such as Autozone and it can be tested. If the internal diodes in the rectifier have failed, that will allow a parasitic draw on the battery. If the diodes or other component of the alternator have failed, then a replacement alternator will be required.

    If you look back at the wiring diagram I posted on July 6, 2017 the wire with the bared insulation between the voltage regulator and ballast resistor is a 12 volt feed from the ignition switch. Any wire with bare spots can short to ground, cause a large, unintended electrical current draw and cause the fusible links in the wiring to the ignition switch to open. Bare wires, chafed insulation is NOT a good situation. Make sure underlying copper wire is still strong and intact and all strands are in place. Then wrap with electrical tape to insulate.
     
  11. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    well cut out the bad section of that one wire and replaced it now my oil lights still staying on with the key off but now a new problem is no lights working at all headlights, highbeams taillights brakelights none will work and the truck will turn over good but will not fire, tried jumping it off starter relay still turns over good but no fire, the fact that it fired up last week leaves me at a loss, at this point im thinking about just carrying it to a shop I've put to much time into this I didn't have to get no where. ballast resistor reads good alternators good connections to voltage regulators good ignition control module is good im just at a loss if its not the coil or the start run relay on the firewall
     
  12. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    The oil pressure lamp staying illuminated seems to indicate an unintended ground / short in the wiring for this lamp.

    As for no headlights, etc look back at the wiring diagram I posted on July 6. There are numerous wires with fusible links. Did you check each wire with a fusible link to make sure that particular wire has continuity?

    Attention was called to the bulkhead connector where a lot of wires run between the engine compartment and cabin interior. There would be corrosion or melted pin connectors due to overheating / excess resistance.

    To find wiring problems you have to be methodical and follow the paths illustrated in a wiring diagram. This takes time.
     
  13. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    I don't believe this could of caused the problem but I recently installed new ground wires for the battery and the ground that was going from the block to the body on the firewall I eliminated and ran a ground straight from the battery to the firewall could this cause problems
     
  14. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Normally the negative battery post is grounded to the engine block near the front. Then a wire runs from the rear of the engine block to the firewall. As long as the connection point on the firewall is tight and clean, running a direct ground wire from the battery negative terminal to the firewall is just as good.
     
  15. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    ok so i got the ignition fixed but now I'm stuck with no low beams for my headlights no brake lights or turn signals and the lights i do have do not function with the keyswitch off and will only work with the switch on. is it possible I burned the headlamp switch up or does this sound like a short also? thanks for all the help guys, also I just purchased another first gen so not a bad day haha
     
  16. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Does this mean the high beams do work but no low beams?

    Brake lights are not wired through ignition switch nor headlamp switch. They are independent from these switches. Check fuse box and make sure fuse is good.

    Turn signal operation is wired through the ignition switch. Turn signals only work with ignition switch in the RUN or ACC position.

    The front headlamps are protected by a circuit breaker within the headlamp switch. If there is excessive electrical current draw or short the circuit breaker will open. After a short period of time it resets. So I believe the headlamp switch is functioning properly and is not damaged.
     
  17. upser145

    upser145 Member

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    Yes high beams work but no low beams i believe i could have burned out the filament for the low beams when the battery grounded to the engine a few weeks ago, as far as brake lights it turns out the hazard switch was stuck on causing the brake lights to not function my hazards apperantly do not work i found out, the brake lights still only work if the key is on and I have all of my other lights, headlights, taillights, on this is why i thought they may be tied in even though it didn't look like it from any diagrams I've seen. the turn signal issue was resolved with the hazard switch being turned off also.
     
  18. AllanC

    AllanC Well-Known Member

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    Yes, check the low beam filament for continuity but I do not see how a battery short to ground would damage the headlamp circuit. Also check the dimmer switch. There is power to the dimmer switch from the headlamp switch. You have one input circuit and 2 possible output circuits: low beam or high beam.

    I would suspect there is an internal problem with the hazard switch. Also check and make sure the hazard flasher is present and good. It is a separate flasher from the turn signal flasher.

    Brake lamp wiring to the brake lamp pedal switch is separate and not routed through the ignition switch. So wires are crossed or fused together somewhere under the dash. Check 12 volt input at brake lamp switch near pedal arm under the dash.
     
  19. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    You eliminated the ground from battery to left fenderwell? And currently have grounds from battery to block and from block to firewall?
    Those two were already existing, and you eliminated the third. This is not good, because the relays and ECM ground to the left fenderwell. Without that direct return path from fenderwell to battery, the new path is from fenderwell through 'casual' contact to the firewall and frame, back to the block and then to battery. Thus you have introduced two additional voltage drops, which, although possibly minor, can affect logic levels and interfere with proper ECM and relay performance.
    You need to recreate this essential ground from battery to left fenderwell.
     
  20. Devildodge

    Devildodge Active Member

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    Not that this will solve anything but on my old powerwagons, ramchargers and trailduster first maintenance I did was new battery, cables and terminals.

    On the ground side, since this is in question, I always had a ground wire from battery to engine, battery to body, engine to frame, engine to body.

    This always took care of intermittent electric issues, when specific components weren't bad or there was a charging issue or light usage issue.
     
    Bob Lincoln likes this.

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