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Old 09-26-2021, 07:52 PM   #1
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TV battery died on me

Need some help figuring what went wrong. I was 3 and half hours into a road trip when I stopped at a rest stop. The truck lights were still on as well has my Airstreams refrigerator (all electric). The backup camera for the Airstream requires you to keep you lights on. Since Im used to them going off on their own in auto setting, I forgot to turn them off which in turn kept all the trailer lights still on. I stepped away for about 10 minutes.

When I got back into my truck to leave the battery was dead. Luckily someone gave me a jump. Colonial airstream told me that I can drive with refrigerator on and the truck battery will continue running it. Is that what drained my battery? I thought the alternator would keep the battery going strong while driving. Just wondering if I should disconnect the 7 pin or turn off the refrigerator when stopping and turning off the truck. Maybe I just need a mew battery. Its 5 years old.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:26 PM   #2
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Time for a new battery!! I replace mine at 5 years regardless if it is giving problems or not. A lot easier to replace when you want to, than when you have to. I remember thinking I should change the battery in the wife's Touareg as it was over 5 years old, and was a cold January night, and she came out of a meeting and I got the call!! Car won't start and there's no lights or anything!! Every 5 years for every battery!
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:31 PM   #3
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If your truck battery was 5 years old, it may have just collapse a plate and had sudden battery death syndrome. Usually summer kills them, but they actually give up the ghost in winter... yours was exceptional!

I work from home, have an "old" car (an '05 Subaru Legacy GT Ltd wagon I bought new) as well as my truck, so I don't put a lot of miles on when I'm not Airstreaming. I notice that my truck's battery will discharge a bit if I don't drive or only do a couple of short drives over a long stretch, and it'll complain in the info screen about low battery voltage or I'll notice it turning over a bit slowly on a start. A long stretch on a "smart charger" fixes that right up, and so far my almost-5-yr-old battery is pretty happy. Who knows what next year will bring? The Subaru's battery is 7 yrs old now, it also gets the occasional top-off charge.
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Old 09-26-2021, 08:47 PM   #4
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AAA recommendation

By the way: If you happen to have AAA membership (and possibly some of the other travel service/tow service providers, but I don't know about the others) you should price new batteries through them. Over the last 15 years, between my partner's vehicles and mine we've gotten 3 or 4 batteries from them and found that a) their battery prices are pretty competitive, b) they deliver the battery to your home or office (or parking lot where it died) and install it, as well as hauling off the old core, c) it makes you feel better about all the money you've spent on the membership over the last few years.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:43 AM   #5
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Sounds advice. Thanks
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:45 AM   #6
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Thanks. I’m currently at Jersey Shore Haven for a week. I think I’ll call AAA and have them install a new one. Thanks.
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Old 09-27-2021, 10:37 AM   #7
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Hi

Five years is a while for a truck battery. It also can be a while for various other bits and pieces on a truck. Voltage regulators do die. Alternators wear out. Belts get loose and slip. There's lots of reasons you could run out of juice. A new battery is a good idea. I'd suggest a stop by a mechanic would also be a good idea at some point.

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Old 09-27-2021, 11:06 AM   #8
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A gauge I really miss on cars is the alternator gauge. The ALT light just tells you if you're alternator is not charging at all. The alternator gauge tells you how much it's charging. If the charge rate stayed high after you had been driving for a while you knew you had a bad battery (weak or dead plate) even though it would still start the car. You had advance warning.

BTW, 2005 is not an 'old' car. My 2004 4Runner is barely broken in. My '91 Camry was old when I donated it last year. 29 years is old, but the engine was still running like a top. The radio program Car Talk kind of defined when a car gets old. You buy something superfluous for it, like an air freshener, and the car says..."oh... you have money, I see..." and then the muffler and pipe fall off.
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Old 09-27-2021, 12:28 PM   #9
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Try a new battery first.

But, we've had that happen while towing and every time, the extra drain on the tow vehicle from the trailer killed the alternator of the vehicle and it just wouldn't restart. One time the vehicle lost its lights on a dark and lonely road in the middle of nowhere...coyotes were running along side of us, then it couldn't be restarted (added injury, that was before cell phones!).

Lest you think we don't double check the vehicles, this has happened over 45 years. One tow vehicle belonged to a mechanic who checked everything before he let us borrow it -they'd towed it to the first camp and that one died at nightfall the first time we moved it. The other two were our own vehicles, one had towed for 8 hours the day before it quit, the other got a complete 49 point check for the trip, we were trying to hitch up the trailer and to settle a waving arms dispute, the driver turned off the truck and wandered back to holler at his navigator. When he got back in? Nothing!
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Old 09-27-2021, 12:57 PM   #10
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Get new battery. You probably want to look at something like the deluxe platinum battery at batteries and bulbs that combines starting and deep cycle functions. Or some other brand really good battery. Replace battery after 4 years. Remember to turn off lights but that probably was not the real issue here. Be sure you do not have an inverter running in the trailer. They make batteries capable of handling loads like a winch with the engine off. Ought to run a fridge for a while. My diagnosis is just an aged out battery that might have been marginal from the start.
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Old 09-27-2021, 01:34 PM   #11
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You did not say if the truck was left running ?
NEVER replace anything , without testing & knowing what's what .
As Bob mentioned - it could be many things , or a combination of things .

How long a battery lasts , is related to how good of a battery was in there in the 1st place , then how was it used / misused ?
A quality battery - that is matched to the correct use can last much longer than 5 yrs. - as the best battery you could buy could be killed in short order .

Measurement / testing is the 1st thing to do in almost any subject .
If you say all these electrical loads [ measure then , get the numbers & add them together ] once you know how much you were pulling out of the battery -- all the truck lights [ anything else in the truck ] all the lights in the trailer , the fridge , backup camera - that could be enough to kill most batteries ?
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Old 09-27-2021, 01:38 PM   #12
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I have a 2016 F350 with the DUAL Batteries for the Diesel.

Both shorted out while on the road last year. I smelled Sulfur and one battery was sizzling. I removed it and had no protection other than gloves and eye glasses.

If you smell Sulfur... look under the hood. That is the source. Be careful and when removing the battery, cover the battery with a wet towel to avoid Sulfuric Acid.

The lead plates had crusted together and shorted the battery.
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Old 09-27-2021, 03:14 PM   #13
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Airstream supplier comment about the TV running the Fridge is just wrong IMO
That's why there is a battery in the Trailer.
Sudden death syndrome is highly likely a shorted battery. The plates swell over time and eventually they collapse or touch. I kept a new battery on float charge for several years. Installed it when the original vehicle battery died. I got 150 km into Toronto and 25 km back. The battery just quit! no lights, nothing. When they lifted the vehicle up on the Tow Truck the battery came back to life but very weak. The sludge in the battery moved when the car was picked up. N ew battery;Simple fix

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Old 09-27-2021, 03:26 PM   #14
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I have a dual battery F350 and had to replace one of them while we were on vacation last week. The battery was 3 1/2 years old. I went to Auto Zone, they tested both batteries and said the one had a bad cell and the other was perfectly fine. I had always heard to change them both when one goes bad, but the Auto Zone guy talked me out of it. He said the one that was bad was the battery that does most of the work and it's the one that he sees go out most of the time. I don't know about any of that, but it sounded good. I just got one and it's all good so far.
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Old 09-27-2021, 03:31 PM   #15
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All the above comments are just plain WRONG. Save the cost of a new battery. I suggest a 2022 Ford F250 King Ranch diesel. I'm sure the Ford dealership will even deliver it.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:23 PM   #16
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Alternator

An alternator is not really a battery charger it is a battery maintainer if the battery is in good shape. Your truck should have enough Alternator capacity to handle drain for the loads pulling off of it. An alternator output test and batteries test will determine the replacement or problems. Also the belt tensioner and belt could be slightly slipping.

I know on our Ford F-250 I have a Hd alternator but I was lax in ordering it with the dual alternator option. Im looking into a mech man alternator made in TN.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverminer View Post
Need some help figuring what went wrong. I was 3 and half hours into a road trip when I stopped at a rest stop. The truck lights were still on as well has my Airstreams refrigerator (all electric). The backup camera for the Airstream requires you to keep you lights on. Since Im used to them going off on their own in auto setting, I forgot to turn them off which in turn kept all the trailer lights still on. I stepped away for about 10 minutes.

When I got back into my truck to leave the battery was dead. Luckily someone gave me a jump. Colonial airstream told me that I can drive with refrigerator on and the truck battery will continue running it. Is that what drained my battery? I thought the alternator would keep the battery going strong while driving. Just wondering if I should disconnect the 7 pin or turn off the refrigerator when stopping and turning off the truck. Maybe I just need a mew battery. Its 5 years old.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:49 PM   #17
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New batteries required......... A short stop will not drain your battery unless you need a new one. Don't park your trailer with the trailer connected to the truck for a long period......the trailer will take power from the vehicle.
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:51 PM   #18
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Junk battery
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Old 09-27-2021, 06:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitzo View Post
I have a dual battery F350 and had to replace one of them while we were on vacation last week. The battery was 3 1/2 years old. I went to Auto Zone, they tested both batteries and said the one had a bad cell and the other was perfectly fine. I had always heard to change them both when one goes bad, but the Auto Zone guy talked me out of it. He said the one that was bad was the battery that does most of the work and it's the one that he sees go out most of the time. I don't know about any of that, but it sounded good. I just got one and it's all good so far.
Nope..replace at the same time.learned that in the 60s with big trucks
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Old 09-27-2021, 08:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverminer View Post
Thanks. Im currently at Jersey Shore Haven for a week. I think Ill call AAA and have them install a new one. Thanks.
Normally your vehicle runs off the alternator and keeps the battery charged. If the alternator goes bad then the engine and electronics will run off the battery. I had an alternator go out on a then new Olds station wagon. It ran the battery down and the engine died. I had another battery installed and that one died. The dealership replaced the alternator, charged the battery and all was good again.

Make sure you have the alternator tested before throwing batteries at the problem. I had a friend who had the same problem. He wouldn't listen to my experience. He bought a new battery and we drove until it got dark. He turned on his headlights and the engine died. We put his boat battery in the car, he drove home and the next day his mechanic replaced the alternator, charged both batteries and all was good again.
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