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What did you do to your Ranger today? (Part Deux!)


Rick W

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Oh wise ones….

Charging question. Actually, a trickle charging question.

Road Ranger has two batteries, an older 65 size under the hood, and a pretty good size pretty new marine battery in the toolbox. They are wired together in parallel with a disconnect switch to the one in the box. I only disconnect it when I use the strobe lights and such if I have to stop and shut the truck off. 99% of the time they are connected. Point is they both charge together.

I have more vehicles than I can drive, so I’ll leave them on trickle chargers for the most part. As you might imagine, I don’t drive the Road Ranger as much as the others. When I leave this battery combo on a trickle charger, it does not maintain charge. It will drop to about 65% over a couple weeks. BTW, truck will still start, but it cranks slowly.

I initially assumed it was my cheap Chinese trickle charger, but then I tried a Battery Changer Jr., and most recently I had it on a very good diehard smart charger/maintainer;

IMG_1919.jpeg


Same result, it will drop to about 65% over a week or two.

I am assuming my problem is simply that the main battery under the hood is an old battery, but when I charge it by itself, it will go to a 95% charge. I haven’t tried trickle maintaining it separately. It’s when I have the two batteries together that the voltage drops over time.

Do you think my problem is an old battery under the hood? Or is my problem that the batteries are different? Note, I don’t have this problem on my 96 7.3 F250, but they are identical batteries that were installed at the same time.

I already ordered a new battery, but I’m wondering if I’m going to have the same problem. I could set it up so I have two trickle chargers and I switch the batteries apart when I’m not using it, but I don’t see why they shouldn’t charge together.

?????

EDIT: more info. When I check it with this thing, the marine battery comes up #2 “fair” and the battery under the hood comes up #1 “poor.”
 
Last edited:


ben_2_go

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A battery combiner will prevent this. The trickle charger can only keep up with one battery at a time. You could also have some parasitic draw from some electronics or a module in the truck.

With this, the second battery is auto disconnected until the engine battery is topped off. Then the charge goes to the secondary battery. If your engine battery happens to have a problem, and can't take a top off charge, the second battery won't take the hit, and be drained down with it. That link works. I don't know why it simply says amazon.com.

 

Rick W

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1997 1987
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Ranger XLT x2
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4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
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235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
A battery combiner will prevent this. The trickle charger can only keep up with one battery at a time. You could also have some parasitic draw from some electronics or a module in the truck.

With this, the second battery is auto disconnected until the engine battery is topped off. Then the charge goes to the secondary battery. If your engine battery happens to have a problem, and can't take a top off charge, the second battery won't take the hit, and be drained down with it. That link works. I don't know why it simply says amazon.com.

THANK YOU!!!

I will read up on this, but a quick question. Will this replace my disconnect switch or be in addition to the disconnect switch? I need to be able to disconnect the second battery manually.
 

captainkirk

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I discovered that this nifty cam from BestBuy will fit, under my all-metal tailgate latch, and right next to the Pop-n-Lock tailgate lock!
 

Attachments

scotts90ranger

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Over the last 11 years I've fought with batteries on my '97 F350 like yours, it's not driven all the time and over a month or two it would be to the point I'd have to charge it or jump it which isn't fun with the glow plug relay... turns out when there's mixmatched batteries they'll fight eachother and pull both down... I ran two red top optimas for a while and one was in worse shape than the other apparently even though off the same pallet, couple years later I warrantied one and it worked for another couple years until it was doing the same thing and I got a new pair of regular batteries...
 

rubydist

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When I was much younger, we had a tractor that used a pair of 12V batteries, 24V for the starting system but 12V for all the instrumentation. We discovered that if one of the batteries was in poor condition, the system would overcharge one battery and not charge the 2nd. Since your one battery tests as "poor" I would replace that and things may again work like they should.
 

19Walt93

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I pulled the instrument bezel off and cleaned some dust out of my gauges, which required disconnecting my Alpine radio, then spent more time resettting the Alpine unit than I did cleaning the gauges. While it was apart I used a tiny drop of super glue to resecure the decals for my Vintage Air controls and tweaked the controls so the knobs all lined up. A lot of work to fix little dubbing problems but I hated looking at them. I also dropped the timing back 2 degrees until I use up last fall's gasoline.
 

Rick W

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1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
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Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
@ben_2_go
@rubydist
@scotts90ranger
& everybody else….

Gentlemen. A few thoughts.

First, I never knew about a dual battery isolator thing. It looks great, but I still have a couple questions. I’m doing my research.

Second, I’m suspecting I have a good battery and a bad battery, and I think that’s really my problem. When I was looking at them again, I know the marine battery is a couple years old, but it was basically never used, except to jump a car every now and then. The 65 that’s under the hood has a “5/18” sticker on the side. If I recall correctly, I got that battery from the Pull-A-Part when I got the truck in 2022. I have only had those two together in this truck since last fall. I can’t say why, but I can understand how a “broken” battery might mess up charging & trickle charger.

As far as just having two mismatched batteries, the engineer in me says that the very smart battery charger is just reading the voltage of the circuit, and will keep putting charge in until it reaches the target, something like 13.8. In my mind, whether you have two batteries in parallel or 200 batteries in parallel, the charger/trickle should just keep them topped off. Like cups, keep the flow up until the last cup is full. Having said that, I’m a chemical engineer, not an electrical engineer, although we had to study some of everything.

And just another thought on the F250 with the 7.3. I’ve never had the problem with that truck. When I was injured and sick, the truck sat dead more than it sat charged. I couldn’t drive it mostly because with my legs messed up, I literally could not climb into it. As I got more healthy, I cleaned it up, but I still only drive it occasionally. Where I’m going with all this is that when I started leaving the trickle charger on it, I never had a problem with it maintaining a charge in both batteries. And when it was dead, and sometimes it was really dead, I never had a problem having both batteries charge with just connecting the charger to one side.

On the Road Ranger, I have both batteries charging independently right now. My plan is to swap out the front battery with a brandy new 65, and then just continue to use a trickle charger when I’m not using it. I haven’t driven it since before Christmas, and even now I just plan on moving it around in the driveway to take the trailer loose, and finish up some things I did after last year’s nationals for this year‘s nationals.

We’ll see what happens before I jump in to that $25 for the battery isolator…

BTW, i’ve done this before a couple times, a while ago, and I don’t remember having any issues. But I’m at that stage of life where I pretty much can’t remember what I did two days ago….
 

1984RESTOMOD

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IMG_0298.jpeg

Fabbed and painted my front cab mounts. Fuel filler neck shows up today and I’ve got the bed on standby to be set soon after filler neck is installed. Just need to get a case of beer and a few buddy’s to help set it in place. Aiming to be driving test trials by Labor Day.
 

ericbphoto

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Ordered ball joints for it. Also organized my ratchet straps and found a good hiding place for them.

At the Moore Expo, I found these little pouches called Ratchet Ranglers. They keep your ratchet straps from becoming a tangled mess in the vehicle. I bought some at the Expo and ordered a bunch more later. Still need a few to finish all my straps. The pictures should explain it pretty well. But I think there's a video on their website. $20 for a set of 3. I ordered the plastic label tags from Amazon so I could label them since I'm using some to contain rollercam straps and I also have some pouches designated for motorcycle tie-down stuff.

20240520_111650.jpg


One complete ratchet strap assembly fits in a pouch.
20240520_111746.jpg


The hook for the strap can poke through a hole at the top. This helps maintain control of the hook.
20240520_111754.jpg
 
Last edited:

Rick W

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4.0 & 2.9
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
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97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
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235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
An afterthought. Let me apologize for being long-winded, but I’m not simply replying to some comments and suggestions. On weird issues like this, I try to write it up, so it will be a resource for anyone later who comes to the site. A hard habit to shake after you run a bunch of companies and people. If that’s out of line, somebody in charge, let me know.

I mentioned the really good diehard gold battery charger I bought a few years ago. It’s really great, but it’s also $200 out the door.

I have a Sears style 2/12/jump starter that I’ve had for 40 years. It still works great, but it shuts down once the battery is topped off, and if you leave it alone, the battery may go dead again. You have to disconnected and reconnected and then it will charge again. It’s not really smart, and won’t maintain a trickle. But when I have to do a quick charge, and I set it on the 12 amp setting, it really does a great job in a few hours.

IMG_1925.jpeg


Day to day I use these two for trickle chargers

IMG_1923.jpeg
IMG_1924.jpeg


The black one is only six or seven dollars, and I’ve never had it fail maintaining charge on a decent battery. I’ve had four or five of them, and I’m using two or three all the time. It’s a maintainer, not a charger.

The yellow one is like 10 or $12, but it shows you the voltage of the battery, the voltage of the charge when it’s connected, and also shows you the percent charged. It will actually charge a dead battery, but it takes twice as long as a “real” battery charger. I have three of these right now that I use regularly.

The only issue with the two of them is they work great until they don’t work. They die out of the blue, but I’ve never had one die in less than a year or two.

I highly recommend both for a trickle charging duty. You can also buy both in sets of four or five, and get an even better price. I got mine off eBay.

One last thought, after I check them out for a few days, I clip the clamps off and put one of these connectors in the middle

IMG_1928.jpeg


I put the matching connector on the clamps, but all my vehicles have one of these hanging off the battery as a pigtail, underneath the grill or somewhere easy to get at. So, when I park something, I don’t even have to pop the hood to put it on the trickle.

As always, hope it helps

EDIT: when I clip the clamps off and put the two pin connector on, I also add six or 8 feet of length. That way I can easily connect it, but I can put the charger as software. It’s easy to see and/or out of the weather.
 
Last edited:

ben_2_go

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@Rick W you may be onto something if you suspect one battery is bad. A smart combiner can usually prevent one battery from killing the other and help prevent one battery from over charging while charging. I prefer to use a disconnect switch and charge/trickle each battery separately.
 

Rick W

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4.0 & 2.9
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Manual
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4WD
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97 stock, 3” on 87
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N/A
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My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
@Rick W you may be onto something if you suspect one battery is bad. A smart combiner can usually prevent one battery from killing the other and help prevent one battery from over charging while charging. I prefer to use a disconnect switch and charge/trickle each battery separately.
I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing because I’m so cheap and I already have some trickle chargers that I’m thinking of just adding a pigtail to the second battery and putting a trickle on them separately when I’m not using it!

But a serious question: why doesn’t it charge goofy when it’s charging from the alternator when I’m driving it around?
 
Last edited:

ericbphoto

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why doesn’t a charge goofy when it’s charging from the alternator I’m driving it around?
That is not a serious, intelligible question. What are you drinking?
 

Rick W

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Vehicle Year
1997 1987
Make / Model
Ranger XLT x2
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 & 2.9
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
97 stock, 3” on 87
Total Drop
N/A
Tire Size
235/75-15
My credo
Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely
That is not a serious, intelligible question. What are you drinking?
The problem is probably that I haven’t been drinking anything for a change.

The question was (I edited it) why doesn’t it charge goofy when it’s charging off the alternator when I’m driving around? It only seems to mess up when it’s on the trickle charger.

And an update, the Walmart battery got delivered an hour ago. I had the two batteries isolated, and on separate chargers overnight. When I turned the key, the 65 under the hood barely cranked. It was still reading fully charged on the Battery Tender Jr., but less than 5 V on the battery tester. I swapped the batteries and it cranked right up.

After the marine battery in the toolbox is charged, I’m going to connect them again and put them on a single trickle charger and see what happens. I want to have it figured out one way or the other before I head to Nationals.

Let me also shoot some kudos to Walmart. I’m not the biggest Walmart fan, but you can’t beat the prices. I don’t understand it, but I ordered the battery online, and delivered straight to my house with free shipping, because it was the cheapest option. $109 price, 130 walking out the door, and I get $12 back if I bring the old one to wherever. Again, I ordered it on a Sunday evening, and it was in my driveway less than 24 hours later, and the lowest price. That’s pretty good.

I’ve got a couple calls out to battery companies. I’m going to try to find an expert and ask them what they think about putting a marine battery and a car battery in parallel. How it effects charging, etc.
 

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