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Old 04-01-2022, 02:01 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 34
Year: 2004
Engine: CAT 3126E
Are my batteries set up right

Had to replace that batteries on my bus. Old ones discharged over the winter and will no longer hold a charge. Bought new ones and went to hook them up. After hooking them up Voltmeter still showed just a hair past 12v. Tried to start and to no avail. I want to confirm that I did reconnect the batteries properly.

So the way I have it

+1
B, I, H, G

+2
F

-1
A, C, D

-2
E

I'm concerned I did not set up +1 the correct way.

Let me know if there is something that needs change. Thank you!

https://imgur.com/IHemApa

https://imgur.com/oEzSgEX

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Old 04-01-2022, 02:36 PM   #2
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I don't see any obvious issue w/ how you hooked them up. All the red is positive, all the black is negative. Did you test them (V) before you installed them? Have you tested the voltage of each individual battery? What's a hair past 12, exactly, and is the meter you're using trustworthy? Fully charged they should read ~12.7-12.8 v after being removed from the charger for some time (they'll read higher after recently being removed from the charger). If they're less than 12.1V as your post implies they're significantly discharged which would likely explain your failure to start.
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Old 04-02-2022, 09:27 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Year: 2004
Engine: CAT 3126E
I just bought the batteries brand new, so I would highly doubt the batteries themselves have a problem. And the gauge should be fine because when I first bought it last November everything was reading correctly, needle was at the 12.7 mark (it doesn't have ticks to mark anything other that the whole numbers)
So that's why my concern is if it's as simple as the hookup components need to be in a certain order (primarily the positive terminal, there are four things connected to it) or if I need to start considering other issues like the starter itself.
I'll be sure to check the voltage reading with my multimeter but again I highly doubt it's the actual batteries.
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Old 04-02-2022, 09:41 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Battery install looks fine.


One thing I would do.

You installed new batteries. But you did not clean the old cable terminals. You just bolted them back on. Pull the cables and clean the terminals with sandpaper. You want all the old corrosion gone.

Did the starter click when you tried it?
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Old 04-02-2022, 10:52 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 2004
Engine: CAT 3126E
Engine cranks but never turns over. I had previously used a terminal cleaning tool and scrapped quite a bit of corrosion off, but haven't tried the sandpaper. I'll try that next though cause there is still some residual corrosion on them.
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Old 04-02-2022, 11:02 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
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First, get your batteries charged up to the 12.6 you need.


Make sure you don't have any load on the battery that is quietly discharging them.



Once your batteries are at full charge, take your meter to the starter solenoid and measure the voltage. You should have the full battery voltage. If not, go backwards until you find the problem.


Then have someone turn the key to the starter position. The voltage should drop to 8V or so, and the starter should turn. If the voltage drops and the starter doesn't turn, you have a bad starter (or God forbid, some engine seizure).

When the starter engages, you will hear a distinctive thunk if you are right there at the starter.



If the voltage doesn't drop, something is wrong with your starter solenoid, or the wiring to the solenoid (skinnier wire to the solenoid will show voltage when the key is turned to started position).


I avoid sandpaper to clean terminals. I like that wire brush tool that cleans both posts and cable connectors. The rest of the exposed lead can be cleaned (not necessary) with a stainless steel or brass wire brush (Harbor Freight for both).


Spray the tops of your batteries with silicone spray after everything is tight. This will keep water and the inevitable electrolyte condensation from gassing off of the tops of the battery. It's a source of slow discharge between the battery posts.


Harbor Freight sells a $15 solar charger that will keep your batteries topped up. It sits in your windshield and is designed to be plugged into a cigarette lighter. You will have to find some other place to wire it into the electrical system. It has it's own connector. It doesn't have to be anywhere near the battery. It will NOT charge your battery,, but it will maintain a charged battery at full charge.


I'm gone a lot, months sometimes and using this keeps my vehicle batteries fully charged in my absence.



If your batteries sit at any level of discharge for more than a few days, you will lose capacity slowly to sulfation. The lead sulfate hardens in the plates and cannot be recovered. You don't lose the lead. It can be melted down, the sulfur burns off, and the lead is re-cast into plates.



There are some videos on you tube of guys doing this in their house in India. A dangerous business . . . . ..
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Old 04-02-2022, 02:43 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
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Is there a reason they would have discharged already? I just bought these batteries yesterday, maybe I'm missing something but I don't see how they would have lost a large amount of voltage just from initially hooking them up and trying to start the engine.
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Old 04-02-2022, 03:10 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
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You said engine cranks so to me itís not the batteries. Also, turns over and cranks are the same thing to me.

Turn on the headlights and see if they go dim while cranking. If they do go dim Iíd clean the terminal connections and try again. If still no luck charge batteries or return to have them checked
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Old 04-02-2022, 06:10 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwood443 View Post
You said engine cranks so to me itís not the batteries. Also, turns over and cranks are the same thing to me.

Turn on the headlights and see if they go dim while cranking. If they do go dim Iíd clean the terminal connections and try again. If still no luck charge batteries or return to have them checked



So you say engine cranks but doesn't start. If it cranks at some reasonable speed but doesn't start you may have a problem like lift pump. Is it still freezing? I've had fuel filters freeze (rather the water they capture freezes.




If it cranks at some reasonable speed, you can always try the WD40 trick. Spray WD40 full blast into the intake while someone else cranks the engine. It's much better than ether for diesel engines, and much safer than ether.


Charge your batteries overnight so you have a full charge. Where you can most easily access the intake varies on different engines. Find the safest (where a belt won't catch you), hold the can as straight as you can, yell,, "Hit It" and let it rip. This is a diesel,, you can't flood it.


I've done this numerous times with an International that had a water leak right over the fuse box. When it rained heavily, the lift pump wouldn't work. I finally fixed the windshield seal, but I did this numerous times with no problem like back fire,, etc.



I've since used the trick to trouble shoot diesel engines: Is it fuel, or is it some electrical problem.



If a diesel has a source of fuel and the motor is turning over it will run (until your WD40 can is empty)
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Old 04-02-2022, 07:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBryceIsRight View Post
Is there a reason they would have discharged already? I just bought these batteries yesterday, maybe I'm missing something but I don't see how they would have lost a large amount of voltage just from initially hooking them up and trying to start the engine.
There are all kinds of reasons. First, you never did say what the voltage is. What are they reading? Second, did you test the voltage before installing them? If not you don't know if they started charged or not, correct? Could be one battery was toast & brought the other down with it. Or they had been sitting on the shelf discharging for months. Did you hook them up incorrectly or short them? If so they could be good but have been damaged.

Was the bus starting just fine before you replaced the batteries? Are there other things that could have been damaged in the interim? I agree with the other posters... if it's turning over fast & strong it's likely not the batteries. Is that indeed the case? You need to clarify what you mean by 'turning over but not cranking'. As Dwood said, I consider them the same thing.

Definitely could be something other than the batteries. But you have to eliminate most-likely first. If it started and ran fine, sat for a while, and now will not start - and nothing else changed except for dead batteries... it's most likely the batteries. And if it isn't the batteries, it's probably least likely the starter. Again, what could have changed since it last started? That's where you start looking.
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Old 04-02-2022, 09:33 PM   #11
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The last bus I brought home was a 04 Blue Bird with a C7. The rubber over-moldings on the cables interfered with connections to the battery. Had to cut away some for there to be a proper connection to the flat round lead portion of the battery terminal, not just the steel threaded post. It may show proper voltage, but it could be from only one battery. The engine may crank but not at the proper speed. I check voltage when buying and have found one not to be charged properly.
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Old 04-03-2022, 08:22 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Year: 2004
Engine: CAT 3126E
So turn over I guess I should just say Start. haha
Basically when I turn the key I get the crank and nothing more, after a few seconds the crank slows down a bit and so I stop.

Maybe it's just naivety or just only ever having dealt with car batteries. But I just never considered the thought that a battery would come already discharged from just sitting there. I would hope places like NAPA would be keeping tabs on their inventory a little more, but I guess not.

Purchased bus back in November. Started fine then. Then winter, wasn't able to get to bus for several weeks. Below freezing temps, snow, and bus was outside entire time with batteries hooked up. and once it got warm enough I got back out there and that's when it wouldn't start. Check the voltage on those batteries and sure enough they were at 10v.

So i'll be sure to check the voltage on the new batteries. If they're reading fine I'll hook them back up and check the reading when starting. I'll also really make sure the cables are clean and check the encasing for any interference.
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