Won't hold power or charge

Discussion in 'Freightliner Forum' started by Mdimas87, Jan 31, 2023.

  1. Mdimas87

    Mdimas87 Bobtail Member

    Feb 4, 2022
    I have a 99 classic freightliner Cummins n14 engine. Alternator, cables, starter, batteries, fuel pump all have been replaced. For about a month I kept having to hook up to my dodge ram to get it to start, then started having to do that AND use starter fluid in order for it to start. Recently it has started cutting off on me while driving at a low speed. Has anyone had this issue? I know using starter fluid will cause more problems. What else could I be over looking. I've only had this truck for less than a year and already did overhaul on it. Sometime this week and electrician is going to take a look at it. Any help would be very much appreciated.
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  3. ducnut

    ducnut Road Train Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    You need to go back through and verify the alternator is producing the voltage it should, verify all cable ends are solid and tightened, and load test the batteries.

    The cutting off could be, at low rpm, there simply isn’t enough voltage to keep the ECM happy. It has to see a minimum voltage to work. That might be why you’re struggling to get it started, as well.
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  4. AModelCat

    AModelCat Road Train Member

    Jul 7, 2015
    Hard to start as in cranking slow or it spins over fine but won't fire?

    Two very different scenarios there that require completely different troubleshooting methods.
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  5. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike Road Train Member

    Aug 20, 2014
    Upstate New York
    If you need starter fluid to start it, it sounds like its losing prime and is sucking air... Look for a leak in the fuel lines, a fuel filter isn't spun on tight, or possibly a bad gasket on the fuel filter.
    The batteries are new, in good shape, the system is charging properly, and it still needs to be jumped ? Sounds like you have something drawing them down when its shut off and parked or its possible to have a bad cell in a new battery. I have seen that happen before.

    Any other details you can think of put them out there so we can narrow it down more.
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    SWM_TECH Light Load Member

    Apr 15, 2018
    Also, check for voltage on each battery while it running. If there is a difference, then check for voltage drop or difference between positive posts of each batteries and then negative cables and posts. I wondering if you have bad cable between batteries. About 5 years ago was sent out on a service call to a local landscaping business on Peterbilt with Cummins engine that was having a intermittent miss and stalling. It showed inactive low voltage faults. Batteries 1 to 3 were at 13.5 to 14 volts with truck running. Battery #4 was down around 11.5 or less volts and dropping as it ran. I found the the ECM was getting power from battery #4. However, the positive inter connecting cable between # 3 and # 4 battery was bad and there was a big voltage difference on the positive. The grounds had virtually no voltage difference between batteries. I moved the ECM power feed over to battery number 3. Owner was out on job with another truck so just talked him on the phone and explained what was problem & what I had done, and that it need inter connecting cable replaced and battery #4 charged and tested. He said he would replace the cable himself and test battery and was happy to know what was causing the problem. So I never did the repair but never heard back about any more problems. Please, remember to let us know your testing, results and especially if / when you resolved problem so we can all learn.
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