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Dodgerench
Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3121
Experience:  30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
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Dodge Ram D50 1989 Dodge Ram 50 Sport 4 cyl. 2.6L Eng, Automatic

Customer Question

1989 Dodge Ram 50 Sport: 4 cyl. 2.6L Eng, Automatic trans: Yesterday morning: The truck was running great. Yesterday afternoon, got inside turned the key on and "Nothing" No electrical power to anything. No dash lights, no elcetrical power to the engine, No electrical power to anything. As if the battery had been removed. Shows like a fuse or fusable link. Battery (interstate) is good, just a year old. Checks good. Help with possible solutions and locations of any possble fuses or links?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Dodgerench replied 3 years ago.
Hi, my name is Ed. Welcome to Just Answer!.

It almost has to be a problem near or at the battery for that many systems to be kaput at the same time. Battery power is split to supply always-hot systems (like headlamps, dome lamp) and key-on systems. For both to be out at the same time, it's extremely likely that the problem is with the battery or with connections within inches of the battery... like the cable clamps.

I have to wonder about the battery itself even though you said it was OK. A cell connector break in the battery body can produce symptoms like you see, yet the battery will show decent voltage when tested with no loads applied. I'd recommend that battery voltage be checked with the headlamps on (at least).

A voltmeter or test light will settle the issue.
With load applied, check the battery posts directly for voltage or ability to light a test light. If voltage drops like a rock, you just need a new battery.

If OK, test the circuit farther out, starting with the outer battery clamps, then moving on to the cables... where you'll have to pierce the insulation to get a reading. My feeling is that you'll find the problem very near the battery, as the negative cable grounds to the chassis before heading to the engine block within a short distance. Complete loss of ground from grounding connections doesn't seem likely, so my advice is to concentrate on the battery or battery clamp connections.

Ed
Dodgerench, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 3121
Experience: 30+ years Dodge/Chrysler exp., ASE Master with L1 certification. Driveability/ combustion specialist
Dodgerench and 10 other Dodge Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ed,

Thanks for the reply. Was beginning to wonder if I was going to get a reply. Can't check the issues your reference just yet. I'm at work and will attempt to verify the battery as mentioned thsi afternoon (please bare with me before I accept the answer / & make payment). I do have an issue with one of your suggestions. Can't check the load factor of the battery with the headlights on if I can't get power to them? There is NO power at all to any part of the vehicle. (explain please)

 

One other issue I didn't mention. The day before the problem surfaced, I did take the battery "H" clamp off of the battery to clean the corrosion on the clamp itself. There is / was no corrosion on the battery post themself and I did not remove any battery positive or negative cables. Is it possible I could have tighten the "H" clamp too tight some how damaging the internal parts of the battery?

Expert:  Dodgerench replied 3 years ago.
Good morning!

By load test, I mean pretty much just that. Even with no apparent voltage in the system, by closing an electrical circuit (like headlamps) you will create the opportunity for current flow from the battery, which is what will be needed to find the open circuit. Since you've found some signs of life with the battery when tested earlier, we just need to take it a step farther by turning on some switches on the truck to give battery power a chance to show us where the problem lies.

I've never seen an instance where a battery hold-down was overtightened enough to cause battery failure, but it's a possibility I suppose. It should be pretty obvious once you start voltage testing with a load applied, because it's my guess that voltage will drop quickly as you leave the battery area.

I had a battery cable clamp lose continuity to the battery post on my own truck years ago and it had no sign of corrosion on it either. It kinda shocked me... I leave work and >click<... that's it, gotta fix my own ride now!

Sorry it took so long to get back to you; sometimes life gets in the way. I'm sure you understand... =/

Talk in a bit,
Ed
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ed,

 

I know all too well how life get's in the way when you least expect it. Please stay with me on this issue until I can get home this afternoon to check out the circuitry as you suggested. Hopefully I'll be able to locate the problem and fix it. I'll stay in touch and will accept the answer when I return.

 

Thanks

Larry Melkonian

Expert:  Dodgerench replied 3 years ago.

No problem-o, Larry. See you later!

 

Ed

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ed,

 

Just got a minute. Come to find out my beloved mother-in-law had drove the truck the morning and had left the headlights (hi-beams) on for several hours. Obviously the battery was dead. When I checked it earlier it had a little trickle. But, when I went toturn the key, that's when I had "NO" power at all. Needless to say, I jumped it, and it started.

 

Thanks for your help..

Larry

Expert:  Dodgerench replied 3 years ago.
Problem solved and back on the road. :o)
Many thanks, Larry!

Ed

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