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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #1
Not sure if I have a problem or not.

Vehicle: 2006 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L Hemi/545RFE Quad Cab Short Bed 164K miles

Purchased truck new in Sept 2006. Manufacture date = 11/2005

Lately I've noticed the battery voltage seems to be higher than normal at times. Guage is normally just 1-2 needle widths past mid-point on the gauge. There are times that the needle goes slightly higher - usually at a stop, truck in "drive", headlights on, radio on, blower fan on, engine at 500 rpms. As soon as I accelerate the needle falls back to normal and stays there while at speed. Needle never goes out of the normal range is indicated on the gauge. I know these are not highly accurate.

This morning I measured the voltage with my multimeter after I arrived at work. Ambient temperature 40*F.

At idle with lights on, radio on, blower motor on - 14.4-14.5 volts
At idle no accessories or lights on - 14.4-14.5 volts
At rest (engine off - accessories off) - 13.7 volts

Battery is 6+ years old (Original OEM battery) .

I'm thinking it may be time for a new battery. About 6 months ago I had Advance check the battery (didn't have multimeter at the time). As I recall everything checked out okay at time - measure 798 CCA (battery is rated 750 CCA), voltage was fine - I don't recall the voltage measured - around 13 volts at rest.

Thoughts appreciated.
 

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Super Moderator
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13.7V at rest is way too high. Sounds like it's overcharging. Should be about 12.6V when you first shut it off, and not lower than about 12.4V the next morning.

Check all grounds carefully. A poor ground can cause the regulator output to float too high.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #3
Okay - that makes sense. I recall testing it back when we were replacing the alternator in my son's car and it was 12.6-12.8 volts then - was making sure I was using the multimeter correctly. I had a feeling 13.7 volts was too high. I guess the first step will be to check and clean all connections.
 

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If 13.7 was measured right after shutting down the engine, that is surface charge. It would likely to fall to 12.6-12.8 in a few hours if untouched.

Colder ambient temperatures require slightly higher charging voltages, but I don't know if or how much temperature compensation goes on I know many vehicles have a battery temperature sensor..

6 years is pretty good for a battery.

Old batteries are like a gas tank which kept getting smaller through its life. You can still fill it up, it just takes less to do so.

If you don't want to replace the battery until absolutely necessary, carry jumper cables or a jumper pack.

I personally do not trust the battery load tests performed by AP stores, I think the results are skewed toward profit.
 

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KOG
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The voltage readings you're seeing now are fine. But a six year old battery is toast. Might as well replace it now before it leaves you stranded.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #6
At lunch time I remeasured the battery - did not start the truck. Voltage is now reading 12.4-12.5 volts at rest. The 13.7 was measured right after shutting the engine off.

whitevanguy - Yeah, I don't always trust AZ or Advance - I take what they "advise" with a grain of salt. That's why I finally purchased a multimeter. The age of the battery is why I had it checked 6 months ago. After 4-5 years I know I'm on borrowed time. We do get hot summers here and I kow heat is what kills batteries. Been thinking of replacing the battery soon. Funds have been tight though - have one in college and he's sucking my checking account dry........I always have jumper cables in both vehicles though my wife's Journey has the better set.

As mentioned 6 years on a OEM battery is way past expectations. Our previous minivan, 2000 T&C Ltd, needed a new battery every 42-45 months. I knew it was time when it would exhibit odd electrical issues that could not always be explained.

Any suggestions on a good replacement?

Advance has their "Silver" for $119 - 750 CCA. The Gold is $132.99 and 850 CCA. (15% off any online orderover $100)

Autozone has the Gold (850 CCA) for $131.99 and the regular Duralast (750 CCA) for 115.99. $15 gift card per $100 ordered online.
 

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I still hear good things about Interstate batteries, just sometimes hard to find. I had numerous early failures with Die Hard. Duralast seems OK, as does Walmart's Everstart Maxx (or something like that).
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #8
I'll have to check Walmart - last time I was browsing in the automotive section, I thought I saw some batteries for ~$85 but that may not have been for the size the truck needs and I wasn't really looking. AZ/Advance indicate size 65.

I haven't had an Interstate in years. Most of the independent shops use to carry them but I'm not sure if they do now. For comparison the dealer had OEM batteries for $129 or so last time I checked.

I had one DieHard - it was a 60 month battery and died in the 60th month. Was fine one minute, dead the next. Stopped at a convenience store to get coffee after dropping the kids off for Sunday school. Came back out and it was totally dead - no click - nothing. Got it jumped started, picked up the kids, and went straight to The Battery Store (yes,there is such a store).
 

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Did you check the battery voltage while cranking? Minimum recommended is 9V. Another thing to always look at on starting systems is loss of voltage along the line.
.1V max loss at each point (Battery to cable, cable end to end, Cable to connection, etc.) On a lot of cars, you have two positive cables and the .1V loss applies to every connection and every cable both positive and negative. Battery terminal to battery cable is the most common offender. They can look perfectly good and have lead oxide (big resistor) built up between them.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #10
No. It cranked just fine and I didn't have a helper to crank while I watched the multimeter. If I have time tomorrow, I plan checking, cleaning and using die electric grease on the connections tomorrow. At work right now and it's dark when I get out of work.
 

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KOG
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AZ used to get their batteries from Interstate, don't know if they still do.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #12
Had to stop at Walmart on the way home to get some things. Checked the price on batteries there. The Everstart Maxx (850 CCA) for my truck is priced at $99.87 and is made by Johnson Controls. The price does not include the core charge.

I've purchased the Silver battery from Advance in the past for our '00 T&C Ltd we use to have and for my son's Mercury. The battery in his Mercury has had no problems and the battery in the T&C was fine when we traded it in back in March 2008. I've never purchased Duralast from AZ - others I know have and no problems.

Since the current battery is actually 7 years old (not six like I posted before - truck build date was 11/2005), it's best to replace it than to get stranded somewhere. I've more than got my money's worth.

One thing I did note on the way home - about 10-15 seconds after coming to a stop - about the time the engine would settle down to 500 rpms, the gauge would go up ever so slightly. As soon as I barely touch the gas, it would drop a bit. At one stop I experimented - shifted into neutral (idle at 600 rpm or so) and the gauge never moved.
 
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Working in the starter and alternator industry for many years, most of my customers prefer the Interstate Battery. Do yourself a favor and get one!
 

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Interstate's starting batteries are made by Johnson control. I doubt the Batteries JC makes for wally world are built to the same standard.

Interstate is a battery marketer, They do not fabricate batteries.

Advance Auto has online discount codes where you can save a good percentage buying online and picking up at the store
 

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I have the Autozone Gold in my 97 Ranger. The original Ford battery lasted 3 years. The Frist Autozone battery lasted 7 years and the Autozone battery that is in it now is on its 5th year.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #16
I may end up going to the dealer. Just received an e-mail from Dodge that included coupons for various services including batteries. $99.95 for a 72 series MioPar. That's $30 off the normal price. As I recall the MoPar batteries have free replacement for 2 years like the Advance Silver and AZ Duralast batteries.

If I go with Walmart I'll have to install it myself. The local Walmart does not have a automotive service department, but they do sell batteries.

Sears has their top of the line Die Hard Platinum, but it's quite expensive - $219.95. Little too rich for my wallet.
 

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Ouch. I've never paid more than $85 for any battery, and that was a 7-yr one.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #18
I wish batteries were only that much. Even the battery (Advance Silver- 72 Month) for my son's car ('97 Mercury Tracer LS) was $100. And I don't recall there being any cheaper batteries available.
 

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You're right - $100 now. Gone up 20% in 3 years.
 

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Virginia Gentleman
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Discussion Starter #20
So I go to my dealer to get a new battery installed. After about 20 minutes the service advisor tells me they don't have any batteries (for my truck) in stock and all their local suppliers they deal with are out as well. Turns out the shipment of batteries due last Thursday did not arrive - or at least the battery I needed didn't arrive. Should have some on Monday. Told him I can't do Monday, but I can bring it back in Friday. So I have an appointment Friday. I'll be calling on Wednesday to confirm they have them in stock.

Interesting note - on the way home i noticed the gauge is now just a hare above the middle mark whereas before it was 1-2 needle widths higher. They had at least disconnected the battery and then reconnected it (lost all my radio presets - have to reset them).
 
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