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Kevin Bourcier
Kevin Bourcier,
Category: Dodge
Satisfied Customers: 117
Experience:  Owner/Technician at Max Air Mobile
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Two nights ago I started my '03 Dodge 3500 Cummins truck for

Customer Question

Two nights ago I started my '03 Dodge 3500 Cummins truck for a drive of about 45 min. A couple of min. go by and I get a ding and a check gages light. Volt meter was pegged to the left. I kept going and when I got home and shut off the truck it wouldn't start again due to low batteries. I put the charger on and charged over night. Next morning it fired up just fine and the volt meter read normal charging and I have had no problems since.
Any ideas?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dodge
Expert:  Kevin Bourcier replied 8 months ago.

hello . I can assist you with this . The alternator charge lead goes from the alternator to the right side battery . The right side Positive battery cable runs from the positive molded battery terminal accross the radiator support to a " lug " terminal at the left side positive molded battery terminal " bolt/stud " . I have encountered the problem that you are describing . The usual cause of what you experienced is usually caused by a dirty/corroded/loose connection at the left side positive battery terminal where the right side cable connects to the " bolt/stud " . the loose/dirty/corroded connection at that point creates high resistance not allowing the alternator to supply sufficient " Amperage " to maintain the battery charge . Additionally the sensing circuit for the alternater sees a low voltage situation and commands the alternator to charge more resulting in the indicated high voltage in your instrument cluster . My recomendation is to remove ALL the battery terminals , cables and clean everything extremely well with a wire brush and then reconnect everything . That is a very common problem with these Dodge Trucks .

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I can definitely see the value in cleaning the terminals, and I will try that; however, you said that the instrument cluster would read high voltage and mine was pegged low (all the way to the LEFT), showing no voltage at all, and the alternator was obviously not charging as the batteries were virtually dead when I got home.
Expert:  Kevin Bourcier replied 8 months ago.

hi . I am sorry . I miss read the voltmeter part . If the volt meter was reading low , I still suspect the same issue with your vehicle . What condition do the connections appear to be in ? is there visible corrosion on the battery terminals ( " Fur " ) ? I still think you will find an issue at the cross over cable from the passenger side battery at the driver side positive . Check the connections , clean them as I have suggested .

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Kevin,
There is no "fur" on any of my connections. They are surprisingly clean; however, I will double check the tightness of all connections.I had been camping all weekend. Is there any sort of resetting circuit breaker? The truck started ok, but the batteries were probably fairly low when I started up, and it was hooked up to a camper with two large deap cycle batteries.
Expert:  Kevin Bourcier replied 8 months ago.

no , There is no breaker or " protection " On that part of the electrical/charging system . if you have a voltmeter check your voltage readings with the engine rinning and some loads on ( headlights , heater , etc ) Check the voltage at the alternator output stud , using the alternator case for your ground reading , then measure the voltage at the right side battery positive and negative and next the left side battery positive and negative , recheck again after it has been running like that for about 15 minutes also watch your voltmeter in the dash for any change .