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Discussion Starter #1
I don't think I posted this before. Well, I am trying to find a direct fit positive battery cable for my 1986 Dodge Aries (2.2). Well, I have not started the car in months. When I did, it was so slow like a dying battery. All terminals are clean. I jumped it with another running vehicle (my Dakota), that didn't work.
The jumper cables were quite warmer. The voltage guage drops to 8. I though it might be a bad starter. So, I swapped it. No normal cranking still. What??? I examing the 12V negative ground cable.
It's okay. Disconnect the alternator harness. Still no normal crank. The one other thing left has to be the Positive battery cable. I'm afraid to go to the Dodge dealership parts. They would say it is obsolete.

So, is there anything I could do to troubleshoot further? Or is it the actual cable that might have internal corrosion?
 

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KOG
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Do you have a voltmeter? Yet?
 

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You need to measure the cranking voltage drops from point-to-point with a voltmeter to find out exactly where the high-resistance is.
Diagnose this first to replace only the failing part. The old starter was apparently OK.
Some cable warmth is expected with a high current device like the starter. More than a couple of volts drop along the +/- starter circuit path is excessive.
 

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If you haven't started it in months, your battery is extremely low, and even jumping will be difficult. You probably need a new battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bob Lincoln said:
If you haven't started it in months, your battery is extremely low, and even jumping will be difficult. You probably need a new battery.
I had the battery since April 2010. Rather odd that jumping won't work. Before I replaced my battery at the time, I jumped it without a problem.

KOG said:
Do you have a voltmeter? Yet?
I always do for years.
 

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There are chemical changes that occur within the battery when it is at a low state of charg (it becomes less resistant to freeze damage, for one). That's why some batteries are "deep cycle"; they're designed internally to be held at deep discharge without damage, but can't provide the surge current that a car battery needs to be able to to turn a vehicle over. The battery is probably toast. As for the cable, I don't know that you would have been able to get it as an individual piece even back in 1986. The replacement (if that is actually what is necessary, which I doubt) would be to cut the bad section out and replace with a section of at least the same gauge, with a universal battery terminal post clamp.
 

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I agree with replacing the battery. It sounds to me like there's a dead cell. Take it to your local Autozone, Advance or O'Reillys or whatever you have close and have them load test it. Sounds to me like you replaced the starter for no reason.
 

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According to the first post, you said that jumping it did not help and the cables got warm. I assume that means a slow sluggish cranking speed or no crank at all. It is very possible that the battery cables and terminals have developed a high resistance (usually where they are crimped at the terminal). If you can't find an exact replacement battery cable(s), you can buy the screw clamp terminals, cut the wires off the old terminals, strip back the wires on the cable ends, and use the new terminals with the top clamps. You should sand the stripped ends with sandpaper so that the copper is bright. That's not my favorite way to do this job, but it will work. If you confirm that the cables/terminals were the problem using this method, the terminals can be coated with grease or liquid harding rubber to seal out moisture.

Also, don't rule out a bad starter. I had an 86 act just like this and the starter had shorted windings in it. It pulled the voltage way down and heated the battery cables up to where they were almost too hot too touch after a number of attempts to start the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
B10alia said:
There are chemical changes that occur within the battery when it is at a low state of charg (it becomes less resistant to freeze damage, for one). That's why some batteries are "deep cycle"; they're designed internally to be held at deep discharge without damage, but can't provide the surge current that a car battery needs to be able to to turn a vehicle over. The battery is probably toast. As for the cable, I don't know that you would have been able to get it as an individual piece even back in 1986. The replacement (if that is actually what is necessary, which I doubt) would be to cut the bad section out and replace with a section of at least the same gauge, with a universal battery terminal post clamp.
I will first start with changing the battery. And clean all connectors.
 
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