How to tell if a battery's got a dead cell? - Pirate4x4.Com : 4x4 and Off-Road Forum
 
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Old 11-22-2004, 04:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to tell if a battery's got a dead cell?

Okay so, the other day (day after I installed my Hella H4s, go figure) I left my headlights on and completely slaughtered the battery. Had to get a jump start, and brought it in and charged it overnight. Now when I start my engine cold, it initially charges at 14V, but will quickly drop down to 12V as the engine warms up, or even beforehand if I turn on my radio, headlights, fan, whatever. I figured that with the timing, it would have to be the battery, but now I'm not so sure, hence the last post asking about alternator options (stick with the 120A or go back to nice, reliable stock). If a battery's got a bad cell or can't hold a charge, would it show like that on the voltmeter? I took it to Napa and had it tested, and their little handheld thingy showed it as being in near perfect shape. Would a bad cell still allow the battery to test good initially? How can I tell for sure if it really isn't holding a charge or even has a bad cell? I'm still really hoping that this problem is from the battery, since I have the money to go ahead and get an Exide Orbital, but not a new alternator
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Old 11-22-2004, 06:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Usually...a dead cell can be found just by checking battery voltage, and always can be found with a load test. That said, the little hand-held tester at Napa should have found it if you had a battery problem. Maybe you could look around and see if you can find a shop that has a carbon pile load tester (one of the big ones) if you are still worried.
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Go to autozone, checker, etc and buy a battery electrolyte tester. That wills how you the specific gravity of each cell. That will tell you if you have a bad cell

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Old 11-24-2004, 12:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just replaced my battery this week from a bad cell. What I did was simply go to the local autoparts and the parts guy came outside with his hand held battery checker computer gizmo that indicated there was a bad cell. Try this....It's free.
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Old 11-24-2004, 12:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If your battery has a dead cell, you will not have 12 volts. Check the voltage with a meter, each cell has about 2.2 volts.
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Old 11-24-2004, 11:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1962fj40
Go to autozone, checker, etc and buy a battery electrolyte tester. That wills how you the specific gravity of each cell. That will tell you if you have a bad cell

Rob
That's what I ended up doing. Borrowed one from a buddy of mine and lo and behold, 4 out of 6 cells completely shot. The little electronic tester thing never even showed it either. Hell it showed a 98% charge and 760 CCAs. So anyhoo, I also had my alternator bench tested and it read perfect on the machine. Picked up an Exide Orbital, popped it in (after reinstalling my alternator), and I'm having the SAME DAMNED PROBLEM

I start the engine cold, and it charges at 13.8 (used to be a perfect 14-14.1). I put any kind of load on it and blammo, right down to just above 12V. I drive it and let the engine warm up with nothing at all running, and even then it drops to 12V. Tonight driving to Seattle from Spokane it stayed right just below 12V the entire way, and sat at about 10.5V while I had my wipers on. Hell of a night for a torrential downpour on the pass too, the one night my wipers don't have the power to do sh*t. I now know that the problem wasn't (entirely) the battery I killed, but it was shot anyway, so I don't feel like a choad for dropping 100 bucks for the Orbital. I checked my fusible links and those are good. Also checked that little bugger relay behind the driver's side kick panel and that tested good. That relay gave me similar symptoms before and it took me over a year to track it down. WTF is that fricken thing for anyway???
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Old 11-25-2004, 11:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would look at you're starter then, sounds like the solenoid may be shorted out.
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Old 11-25-2004, 12:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. dog walker
I would look at you're starter then, sounds like the solenoid may be shorted out.
Any way I can find out without pulling the thing? I have neither the time nor tools to change out a starter while I'm home
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