Lead Astray


E-Booger, 1991 D-150, 318. My battery
recently died. After running a new one for
several days, my truck won’t crank. I hook
up the battery and I get buzzer, lights, horn,
etc. but when I turn key to start I get only
a click, then all is dead. Disconnect and
reconnect battery and the same thing happens.
The starter checked out OK on the

My gut tells me that one of the battery
cable’s lugs (terminals) is badly corroded
or loose. So…first, remove both cables,
and wire brush or scrape the inside of the
cable terminals until shiny, then also clean
the new battery’s posts. Pry the terminals
open a bit wider than they were, coat the
battery lugs with grease (any kind), install
the terminals and tap down (don’t go nuts)
with a socket and small hammer. Tighten
the clamp screws securely. Fixed? Great!
If not:
Have an assistant hold the probes of
a DVM to the battery lugs at the center of
each post. Should read at least 12V. with
engine off. Attempt to crank. If voltage
drops down much under 10V, either the
new battery is NG or the starter is shorted.
If, as I suspect, it stays up, there’s a bad
connection somewhere between the battery
neg and the chassis, or positive and
the starter (this problem could also be
internal in the battery itself, though rare
these days). The DVM can be used to test
this, when you find a connection where
the voltage is very different on each side,
that’s the trouble point.
This is basic electric troubleshooting
Tom replied: Yup, corroded battery
cable terminals, loose, too.

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