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Old 02-26-2016, 06:15 PM   #1
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Problems starting my 5.9 cummins

Just bought a new 5.9 l cummins freightliner. Batteries were weak from the get go so I sprung for two brand new 31D's. Started up when I installed real easy.

Drove it around that day, then had it sit over night. Next morning (day 2) took a little time but it eventually started.

Now this afternoon (day 3) electrical comes on, glow plugs work, but all I get is click, doesn't chug or anything. Cleaned all the terminals and tried again, but still same thing.

Voltometer is reading 12.4 on these brand new batteries....

My question is, could this be an alternator issue, or wiring problem?

Not sure what my next troubleshoot move is, or maybe it's the starter.

Any advice or tricks of the trade would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 02-26-2016, 06:31 PM   #2
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See if you can get it started with a jump. if you got 12V at the battery then it is likely the alternator. i would check the charge circuit wiring and see if anything is loose or corroded first though.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:26 PM   #3
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Yeah, what keiffith said. Always start with the easiest means of elimination.

Those new batteries should have lasted for a while, even if the alternator is bad. It sounds like a short might be draining your batteries. I've bought a number of vehicles at auction that had electrical issues and little else wrong with them.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:33 PM   #4
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Bad ground.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:02 PM   #5
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I am thinking it is a wiring issue as it was clicking when running and the voltage meter would drop.

If it is a wiring/grounding issue, would replacing the terminals do the trick?

Also, when disconnecting batteries, is the rule to undo the negative first?
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:03 PM   #6
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what is the charge circuit wiring?
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:11 PM   #7
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What's the voltmeter read on the batteries when you try and start it?
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:35 PM   #8
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voltometer was reading 12.54
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
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what is the charge circuit wiring?
The wiring that ties in your alternator to your batteries
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:48 AM   #10
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If you have more than 12 volts at the battery then you should have enough to get things going.

Since you obviously don't have enough juice to get things started then my first suggestion is you have a bad connection, most likely with one or more of the battery connections.

I really like the Group 31 batteries with stud connections rather than post connections. Not only do they not get as crusty with crud over time but they are a lot easier to clean than lead posts and soft metal terminal ends.

After cleaning all of the battery connections so that you have a shiny surface on the posts and on the inside of the terminal ends make sure the terminal ends are tight and can't move. Even a little wiggle can cause enough of a voltage drop to make things not work.

If after the cleaning and tightening doesn't work go to the other ends of the battery cables and make sure all of those connections are good and tight.

Our church bus had brand new batteries and a week later it wasn't starting. Come to find out the negative end that connected to the frame of the bus had worked itself loose.

It helps make a good ground if the ground lead has a nice shiny surface with which to mate. I have seen where frame rails had so much paint on them the ground had a hard time making a good connection just through the bolt.

If after all of the cleaning and tightening you are still having problems I would get an inductive ammeter on the battery cable while someone hits the starter. If you peg out the ammeter it could mean you have a bad starter. It could also mean you have bad cabling between the battery and the starter. I have seen cables that looked good but when cut open they were green instead of shiny copper.

If after cleaning, tightening, checking for bad cabling, and a bad starter and things still don't want to start you need to check the ignition switch and ignition switch circuit. A bad solenoid can make things hard to start.

Let us know how things work out for you.
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:53 AM   #11
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Thanks a lot for the detailed post. So to update, woke up this morning and took a volt reading of 12.5. I took off the cables connecting the two batteries and cleaned them up.

I then stripped the pos and neg wires around the ring terminals that connect to the battery and they were both pretty green around where they connected. Also they were hanging pretty loose on the stud posts when I took them off.

I'm heading over to napa to get some new ring terminals and will put them on and then tighten them on to the battery.

I'll let you know if that does the trick.
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:22 AM   #12
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Just for clarity purpose, you have an IH with a 5.9 Cummins?
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:38 AM   #13
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Yes, it's a 1999 freightliner 65 passenger with a 5.9 L cummins
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:39 AM   #14
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I was reading your signature.....
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:49 PM   #15
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yea this is bus #2 in the fleet

So an update, I cut the terminals and added new ones....BUT I foolishly hooked them up reversed STUPID move!!

realized my stupidity, and hooked them up properly but it had drained the battery, but it actually started chugging, which I haven't heard it do in two days. So that's good I think.

The glow plug icon didn't come on before I went to turn the engine though.

Hope I didn't do any damage to the electrical system with my little slip up.

I'm charging the battery now and will see if I can get her to fire up.

Anyone ever hooked up a battery in reverse?
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:23 PM   #16
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Update

replaced the terminals, and the blown fuses from my crossed cable adventure, and voila, cranked up without a hitch
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Old 02-27-2016, 05:29 PM   #17
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Gotta love those Cummins!
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Old 10-23-2018, 03:26 PM   #18
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Gotta love those Cummins!
Hello tango . I’m in Houston too.
Looking at a 5.9 Cummins mid size bus .
It’s a 2004 so not sure about all the electrical and it has a 2000 Allison transmission . It’s in Nevada though if it goes for what I could afford i will pull the trigger. What do you think of that setup
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Old 10-23-2018, 06:47 PM   #19
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"04 was a transition year. If all electronic with the total EPA package I would walk away. If still mechanical... a definite yes.
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:20 AM   #20
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The guy said it doesn’t take def?
Thats all I really asked .
Do know if I should’ve asked about sensors and how electronically based it is.
He also said air suspension works fine and I would need a class b with a passenger endorsement to legally operate it ?
I’m just thinking man right now with my e350 the 7.3 does it fine might even be over kill. But with a 28ft bus that I plan on raising the roof and adding some weight back into it how that 5.9 would handle it.
Also someone else mentioned something about the Allison 1000 series transmissions being just as good if not better then the 2000 series . This is a 2000 series .
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