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I swear I didn't feed it after midnight!

--weezl--

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So, my truck has developed a gremlin... I swear I didn't feed it after midnight, and yet here I am...

ok, for starters, it is an 07 fx4 Level II, electronics are mostly stock, I have a set of IPF 968's, an amp, a sub, a cb, and a ham radio, LED turn signals all around, an LED flasher (no load equalizers on the signals) door lock LED indicators and I think that's about it... a minor thing, but might effect it, I have a body lift, which relocates/slightly modifies a few chassis-body ground straps.

next, what's going on... I went snowboarding last monday afternoon, drove the 35km (20 miles) to the base of the mountain, and started heading the remaining 15 up to the parkinglot at the resort, (at no point shutting the truck off, it was nice and warm, running just fine...) on the way up, i had my headlights on, and my music going, and noticed the dash lights looked kinda dim, didn't think much of it, the sun was still up, but I was dipping behind a mountain or two so it was shadowy, and figured the sun was just washing it out... get up a little farther, it's kinda twilighty, sun's still technically up, but it's rather dark, and yeah, my dash is really dim, looks even dimmer than it was before... then I noticed that the dash is actually flickering a little too! So immediately i'm thinking alternator, i'm getting worried because i'm halfway up this mountain, one lane each way...

so i plug my altec trip computer in (works like a scangauge) and when it comes up, it loads 14.4v, a while later it goes to 14.5, I have since shut off my music (or turned it way down) the dash hasn't gotten any brighter, and the flickering hasn't stopped... now the lights are REALLY dim! with the voltage bumping around in the mid 14.x i wasn't super worried, drove the rest of the way up, parked in the parking lot, shut it off, went boarding...

come back, hit the remote starter, truck fires up just fine, hop in, go to leave, dash lights nice and bright (it's now dark out) driving home the 50 km trip, the dash starts going dim about half way, slowly gets dimmer and dimmer... It almost looked like someone was turning down my dimmer switch, but it's up all the way, and works just fine to dim, but the brightest it'll go is about 1/2 of what it should be...

so I pull in the driveway at home, and go to set the remote start like normal (sidenote: my truck is standard, and in order for the remote starter to work, it must know that the truck is in neutral and it is safe to start with no driver, so it has to be put into "ready mode" which is done by putting the truck in neutral, putting the e-brake on, taking your feet off the pedals, and pressing the start button on the remote. The park/driving lights flash 3 times, and remain on, you then exit the vehicle, close all doors, and press another button to lock the doors, and the vehicle shuts off (assuming everyone is out of the truck) so after snowboarding, I get home, pull the truck in the driveway, I put the truck in ready mode, but left the headlights on by accident, which I have done in the past, all that happens is the lights stay on, and you can hear the relay click on and off 3 times... the same happens this time, except the dash lights get brighter and dim with each flash.

fast forward almost a week to tonight, I don't drive the truck much, I live exactly 1 mile from work, so the drive home is literally 2 minutes, and I haven't experienced the dimming lights since last monday, tonight I go to meet up with a girl in the middle of the night :)headbang::icon_hornsup:) and of course, dash starts dimming again... what ever, i don't care, i get there, shuter off, come back out, start it up, go for a drive to the gas station, stop to help a co-worker on the side of the road (left truck running, lights on, this is maybe 15-25 minutes running since I left girl's place) hop back in the truck, and the dash lights are dim, about 50% brightness of where they should be, head home, on the way home, I did some playing around with the remote starter, turns out I can put it in ready mode while driving... The lights that seem to be effected by this, and flash brighter and dimmer, are the dash lights themselves, the HVAC lights, and the cruise control button lights on the steering wheel. However, the headlight switch lights, which is also on the dimmer circuit, does not flash, and it's nice and bright. my radio doesn't (aftermarket head unit) my door lock LED's don't, and the single LED that is on the switch for my IPF 968 driving lights do not flash.

what the hell is going on, with my truck?

also, I shot this video to put on youtube to show my confusion, I can shoot a better/longer one tomorrow night if you guys prefer...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkTrkkxJZsc



EDIT:
WOAH, I just noticed this, in that video, which was recorded in my driveway, about 15 minutes ago, before I came inside, and haven't driven the truck since, shows 128,494 km, however, when I left after helping the co-worker, about 6km from my house, I remembered looking down and seeing 128,500, and thought it was cool, an even 500... so maybe my dash is counting mileage backwards too????
 
Last edited:


RonD

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IMO the alternator voltage is way too high, which will burn up battery, under 14v would be where it should be after a few minutes of driving, voltage regulator is either seeing an issue with battery holding charge or is going bad.

Check battery at rest voltage in the morning, 12.4-12.6v is what is expected.

As for the light levels while you would expect higher voltage to produce brighter lights the dash lights are most likely being run from a separate voltage regulator(I don't think your year has a GEM) which can react oddly to high voltage.
 

--weezl--

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I should have mentioned, now that you bring up batteries... I bought a refurb battery about 6 months ago, and it wasn't a good buy, i've had issues since, like it not holding a charge long term, it's find for a day or two, but my truck will die if left for more than about 4 days... I have been meaning to buy a good battery, but haven't gotten around to it
 

Ozwynn

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If you can't go through it or around it, then go over it.
Sorry buddy..... when the vehicle starts having electrical/wiring issues, its time to trade it in.

I bet its an issue with the aftermarket remote start.
 

martin

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Sounds like an issue with the dimmer control. If the battery is suspect you should change it, it's not good for the alternator. If the odometer is indeed reading backwards you'll soon have a new truck.
 

--weezl--

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I forgot to check it today, even though I only put 2-3 km on it... I found some info of a similar issue happening to peterbilt and international trucks, when they start the truck with all electronics on, something about a voltage drop, the odometer goes to a backup in it's flash memory or something... it doesn't actually count backwards, it just jumps back x number of miles when this happens...
 

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I would get the battery load tested.
Your refurbished battery should be under warranty if it's a reliable company. I had to replace a battery and bought refurbished. It had to be replaced two weeks later. The company first checked the specific gravity of the first refurbished battery [I had fully charged it the night before], it passed, and then they did a load test and it failed. They replaced it under 'one year warranty' with a different refurbished battery and no problems since.

Richard
 

--weezl--

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yeah, there's where the problem comes in, it's not a reputable company, and i didn't get a receipt, the guy said "i'll remember you, don't worry" kind of a friend of a friend who works at a junk yard that sells refurb batteries with a reputable brand on it... when I get around to it, my plan is to just go buy a new battery from the battery store down the road, then go back to the jy and tell them I want my $50 back, as I got stranded and had to buy a new battery, but I doubt i'll get it
 

--weezl--

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found the problem tonight... you're not going to believe this... i leave my place on my way to meet up with this girl, plug my phone in to charge, and i can head this buzzing noise through my stereo, like if you have the headphone jack plugged in part way, so i mess around with it, it goes away a little, so i unplug the charging cable from my phone, and all of a sudden, my dash lights get brighter... so i plug it back in, dim, unplug, bright, plug it back in, dim... so i pull the usb adapter out of my power outlet, and the lights go back to normal... the usb adapter was really warm, and when I smelled it, it smelled like burning... looks like it had a short in it or something!

gonna put it in my work truck, and take the one out of my work truck and put it in my personal vehicle, I don't have to pay to fix the work truck if it breaks :)
 

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If that's the case if throw it away... They are cheap. No need in burning your work truck down over a $5-10 piece.
 

--weezl--

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