'99 dak battery issue's ...

I have a '99 Dakota 3.9 sport with 5 speed trans. 103k on the clock and running pretty good except them ball joints that suck...
Anyway, I have had the batter replaced (for free) 3 times since
purchasing the truck new in January of '99. 1st time was in Feb '00, I was up in Canada and battery was completely dead when I woke up in the AM. Called CAA and they jumped me and I went to nearest dealership who told me I had a bad battery. They replaced it for free. In December of '02, I had same problem, and dealer where I purchased the truck said same think, new battery. Tech advised me that there was a batch of bad batteries supplied to dealerships in NE and my battery was one of them. No problamo on my end. I get a new battery and it doesn't cost me a penny. Forward to late winter '03. Battery not dead, but doesn't sound too good. Takes a couple of turn over's before it will start and sounds like its really straining. I take to dealership and once again, they replace the battery telling me that when they run an 'electronics' test on the truck, everything is good except the battery. Again, covered under warranty so no cost to me except the test (cost me $30 which wasn't too bad). Fast forward to current day. I am still having a problem with starting. The battery always has juice and truck starts every morning, but when it starts, it sounds like its really straining. I've also noticed that there is some white/blue green fluffy build up on the negative terminal. I clean it up best I can, but within a week or so, it comes back. A buddy of mine works at a shop and he told me to come on over after hours, and he can put clean the battery terminal's correctly with some acid solution that will clean the terminal's up properly. It takes about 1 month, but the build up returns. I'm stumped and not sure what to do that this point. Any ideas??
As a side note, there is a faint burning smell when I start my truck in the extreme cold (less than 10 degrees F), when I exit the truck. I tent to start my truck and let it run for a few minutes before I leave for work. The smell is not as noticeable when the temps are higher, but it's still there.
Thanks to all that reply. I've found lots of good info in this NG. Been lurking for over a year, but don't recall ever seeing this specific problem.
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Slick Willy
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Those wouldn't be Diehard batteries by chance would they?
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Laszlo Almasi
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Nope. Just went out and looked, and it has a cover on it, so I can't tell what it is. I know it came from the dealer's, so whatever the dealer has is what I got. It's not a sealed battery as it has 2 caps that I've removed to verify that it's now low on fluid.
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Slick Willy
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I'd replace it with a sealed battery...other than a Diehard. My guess is that the fluid evaporating is causing your terminals to corrode.
As for the slow turnover, I'd check all of your connections for either corrosion or being loose. Then proceed from there. A loose connection will cause the cable ends to heat up...which may be the cause of the odor you described.
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Thanks for the info. I did double check the connections from the starter and everything looked good. Will replace battery (again) and report back what happens.
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Slick Willy
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Sounds to me that your voltage regulator is over charging your battery, this is why you are low on electrolyte.
wrote:

1997 SFA 60920 1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003 AMA 602785 Due to E-Mail spamming bots my reply address is incorrect. Add a "-" between mr and wizard This is what we have to do to prevent "Spamming?" Sucks doesn't it?
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Is there a way to test that at my house, or is this a case where I have to take it to a garage and have them run a test ?

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Slick Willy
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If you have a volt meter or multi-meter, you can test it yourself.
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"Slick Willy" <d snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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Cool. I have the clymer manual, so I will look up how to test in there.
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Slick Willy
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Hey TBone, Bush kicked Kerry's ass Nov 2nd. ROTFLMAO!

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Yea, but the thing is that many didn't actually vote FOR Bush, just AGAINST Kerry, how sad.
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"Mac Dodge" < snipped-for-privacy@hakerryisaloser.org> wrote in message
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Surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr TBone! Spin it anyway you want. That's the hilarious thing about you Democreeps and also why you will continue to lose more elections. You can't accept the fact the voters are voting *for* what the Republicans are and rejecting the Michael Moore's, the Whoppie Goldbergs, gay marriage, and the whole looney left agenda. Even the Hildabeast has finally understanding reality. Why do think she is starting a move to the right? Hint: She wants to be the next president and has started to distance herself from Howard Dean and his wacko left wing nut cases. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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Well, maybe.
Do you have a meter that will read DC voltage? If so, you can get a good idea.
Here is one easy check you can do.
First read the voltage at the battery terminal posts when the ignition is turned off, it should read around 12.3-12.7 volts DC Then start the vehicle & check the voltage, it should read around 12.8-13.6 volts DC
If it is reading in the 15-16 volt range your voltage regulator is cooking the battery.
Now, to check & see if the voltage regulator is truly staying in the charge mode too long, is not worth your time to monitor how long it is engaged versus the true charge state of the battery & whether it (the battery) requires to be charged at that time. Leave that to a reputable repair shop, but they would probably just change out the voltage regulator instead of wasting the time.
I hope that helps you out.
wrote:

1997 SFA 60920 1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003 AMA 602785 Due to E-Mail spamming bots my reply address is incorrect. Add a "-" between mr and wizard This is what we have to do to prevent "Spamming?" Sucks doesn't it?
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Most current DC products like to stay in the 14.5V range which I also believe is a little to the high side but that is the way it is. The regulator is part of the PCM so just changing it out is not an option unless you like to spend big $$$$. The problem may be a combination of two things, the excessive voltage common among DC products and an excessive current draw when the vehicle is not running. IF your meter can read current, check to see how much the truck is drawing when not running (ignition off) and make sure that it is how it is when you leave it. If you are drawing more than 1/2 an amp, this is probably your real problem. If you want to see the voltage when driving, you can use the cigarette lighter socket as a voltage source and plugs are available from radio shack for a few bucks to connect your meter too.
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"Kurt" < snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net> wrote in message
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Just to follow-up, I did remove the caps from my battery this weeked and the left side ( closest to the front of the truck ), was a little low. Little as in less than 2 baby eye dropper's worth accross the 4 cells. I removed the right side cap, but it was fine. I topped the left side off with distilled water. I didn't run any further tests on it till I had the truck running for an extended period of time. My commute to work is 36 Miles each way, so when I get home tonight, I will check my voltage as directed by Kurt and TBone, and report back tomorrow.
Thanks for the follow-up.
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Slick Willy
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