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bowtieorbust 12-14-2003 07:08 AM

Need help please with an electrical headake
Just got a 86 F150 Ford pickup truck recently that has a 300-6 engine in it, the truck runs fine but now the thing has a slow drain on the battery. The truck would not start the next day,so i put a new battery in it and would start fine for about a day or two and run down again. Well after charging the battery back up and installing a new alturnater,the truck started fine for a day or two and ran down again.Took the new alturnater to have it checked out and it was fried, so i got another one and another battery and the truck start's fine, but while in the prossesssss of puttin the battery hot wire on the post the horn went off an would not stop untill it was unpluged, and the battery went down again for wich i think is because of a slow drain on the battery. Not sure were to start looking for the short, So before something end's up going thru the windshield by no folt of mine (lol) could somebody lend some brain cell's please.:confused: :thumbup:

Kevin45 12-14-2003 08:06 AM

Have you hooked up any aftermarket equipment lately that runs directly off of a hot? Do you have any aftermarket equipment at all/ What kind of gauge do you have inside for the battery? Does the gauge show a charge or a draw on the battery while you are driving? Do you have anything like a cell charger plugged into the cigarette lighter? What are your driving habits? Do you drive only at night for only a couple of miles or do you drive in the daytime? I ran across this awhile back. It is a good way to test for a bad battery:

How to find the cause for an slow draining battery

Many Land Rovers are plagued by the 'flat battery' syndrome, especially the newer ones. After some days of not being driven the battery is dead flat. Under normal everyday driving those sympthoms do not appear.

The problem is in most cases a slow drain somewhere. It does not take that much to empty even a large battery over 3 or 4 days. An simple underhood or interior light is more than enough. But how to find it?

First make sure your battery is ok and fully loaden. Even a new battery is sometimes faulty. Drive to your local parts store and have them check your battery with an load tester.

If this is ok make sure your electronics don't mind being disconnected. Ask your dealer or have a look in your owners manual. Elder petrol engines (except new shape RRs) and all diesels except the TD5 are no problem.

Disconnect the positive clamp on your battery but take care not to touch the body metal with the wrench when doing this.

Now connect an small light between the + terminal and the clamp. Put the clamp on a rag so it can't touch the sheet metal. If any drain is present the light will glow. Or you can check the amount of drain with an small ammeter. An drain of 1-2 Watts can be tolerated. Next pull the fuse for the mechanic clock and the radio. Still any current flowing (light on)?

Ok, so you really have a problem. Now start pulling the fuses in the fuse box one by one until the light goes off. This is the circuit in which the problem lies. Check your manual or the indications in the cover of the fuse box to see which systems are connected to that fuse.

The next steps depend on the systems concerned. Try disconnecting each one of the parts connected in the circuit. Again it's the same - when the light goes out you've found the problem.

Even better than a light bulb is an buzzer. Many people have one of those annoying little rascals lying around. Use it.

In very new vehicles there are so many electric and electronic gadgets that problems are very common. Especially the immobiliser / alarm is known to be a can of worms. Those have best been left to an qualified auto electrician

Then there is this:

Battery complications:
don't let it put put a drain on you

Almost everyone who drives knows the frustration of a failed vehicle battery. No matter when a battery fails to start a car, it never seems to be at a convenient time or place, and the complications of finding and installing a replacement battery can seem endless.

Knowing what to expect from a vehicle battery – and what can be done to prevent inconvenient battery failure – are the keys to avoiding this common and stressful event.

Despite warranties that claim an expected battery life of four, five or six years, most vehicle batteries will fail after three and a half years, or even sooner, said Jeff Withrow, manager, Approved Auto Repair at AAA Colorado. The constant chemical reaction inside a lead-acid battery, vibration caused by driving and extreme changes in temperature all conspire to rob a battery of its ability to be recharge.

Car owners often assume their vehicle battery will be fine after a jump-start, only to experience a second battery failure the next time they try to re-start the vehicle. Car batteries are seldom tested as part of a regular vehicle inspection and maintenance routine, and many owners assume their vehicle battery will last much longer than it actually will.

"To end this frustration motorists will need to change their thinking about batteries," said Withrow. "New technology has made it possible to reliably determine the condition of a vehicle battery in a few minutes without removing the battery from the vehicle. This test should be requested by vehicle owners anytime they have their vehicle inspected."

The major functions of the battery are to supply current to the starter motor that starts the engine, provide power to electrical components and accessories when the vehicle’s engine is not running and to supply current when the electrical system load exceeds charging system capability. The battery also acts as a voltage stabilizer.

Before replacing a battery, have the battery, electrical and vehicle-charging system checked for problems. Signs of a weak battery are slow engine cranking, dim headlights and illumination of the battery/charging system warning light on the dashboard. Keeping the battery case clean by wiping it down with a moist paper towel and mild detergent will help reduce any current drain caused by dirt or grime. Batteries loose 30 percent of their power at temperatures around freezing and over 60 percent when temperatures drop to zero degrees.

Corrosion around the terminal connections and battery hold down can be cleaned with a small stiff brush and a solution of baking soda and water. Rinse the battery with water, but be careful not to stain floors or driveways.

If the battery has removable vent caps, check the electrolyte fluid level. It should be above the tops of the plates inside the battery. If fluid is needed add distilled water, but do not overfill.

Battery terminal connections should be tight. Adjust loose fittings or replace fittings that have cracked. When working around automotive batteries always wear proper eye protection, gloves and never smoke or work near an open flame. Explosive hydrogen gas is present and may explode.

Instructions for jump starting a failed battery can be found in vehicle owners’ manuals, however, jump-starting can be dangerous and motorists that are uncertain about battery maintenance and safety should seek professional assistance from a certified technician or a qualified emergency road service provider.

When selecting a new battery, always choose one that is of the same physical size as the original battery. This will ensure proper fit and avoid excessive vibration, which will shorten battery life.

Never install a battery with a lower than the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended rating.

Frisco 12-14-2003 08:59 AM

Excellent and informative post!!! :thumbup:

Although a long read; I suggest it be printed out for future reference. :D

horvath 12-14-2003 09:09 AM

How come the horn started blowing??? Did you check the horn wiring?

54 Chevy Pickup

bowtieorbust 12-14-2003 09:34 AM

WOW what a nice but long post i meen i just about dosed off try'in to reed it all (lol) but any way i got this truck from my father for witch is the reason that he gave the truck to me. But we were messin with try'in hook the battery up when the horn just started to blow buy would not quit,while dear ol dad was in the cab so he could try and start the thing after i got the battery hook up. But do remember that when the horn was blow'in dear ol dad kinda shook the steering wheel and made the horn spudder some but to my nollage the only thing that he ever did to the truck was hook fog light's up on the bumper:thumbup:

troy-curt 12-14-2003 11:23 AM

You well find the problem in the horn circuity, ether in the column, or the horn relay, possably the horn.


69 ss rs full custom camaro 98 ISCA grandchampion
69 ss rs bb camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 ss chevelle bb conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod

tm454 12-20-2003 06:02 PM

OK, my money is on troy. I got 2 penneys, who wants a nickle? 2 penneys for a nickle says it's the horn, any takers?? Only the first taker, I don't want to pay off 16,000 guys!! LOL


Rat Rods Rule!

snkbyt 12-22-2003 12:46 AM

Think I would start with unplugging the horn relay or take it apart and see if the contacts are shorted or if the horn pad in whell is doing it. Ray

troy-curt 12-22-2003 10:14 AM


Of the subject question. Do you know this guy?

Helbig, Stefan R - Anchorage, Ak.

He has made an offer to buy my 69 SS chevelle conv.


If you don't make mistakes. your not doing anything.

69 ss rs full custom camaro 98 ISCA grandchampion
69 ss rs bb camaro wifes driver
66 Elcamino 350/all dz parts,ac,windows,loaded,my driver
69 ss chevelle bb conv.fresh frame off
26 T sedan street rod

snkbyt 12-22-2003 11:19 PM

You just answered your question by stating that moving the column the horn stopped. The horn relay has constant power to it and the wire in the column is the ground that activates it and then blows the horn so the horn wire usually black on Chev. is rubbed through or touching in the column. Ray

Dale Mullen 01-25-2006 06:38 PM

electrical headake
I swear to God this is true. Had a '61 Chevy with a 6 cylinder. 2 days after we bought it from the original owner ( who said he didn't want anything that wasn't a Ford in his driveway and since his son had left it in the driveway when he got married, he was selling it since it was still in his name ) we noticed that the battery was hooked up backwards---yes, backwards---negative to the starter and positive to the block. We decided "What the heck, let's turn it around", and when we did, the horn began blowing and would not stop until the relay was replaced. This is no remedy to your problem, but I was reminded of that incident when I read your dilemma. Most likely, you have a tilt steering wheel, and it is quite common for wires to get chaffed in those. Happy hunting.

snkbyt 01-26-2006 01:29 AM

Troy just saw your ???? Don't know that guy but could find out if it's real needed from our tools rep. Ray

Kevin45 01-26-2006 02:06 AM


I swear to God this is true. Had a '61 Chevy with a 6 cylinder. 2 days after we bought it from the original owner ( who said he didn't want anything that wasn't a Ford in his driveway and since his son had left it in the driveway when he got married, he was selling it since it was still in his name ) we noticed that the battery was hooked up backwards---yes, backwards---negative to the starter and positive to the block.
When I first bought my '62 Impala, I got it home and shut it off. The generator light was faintly glowing was the reason and it was in the evening when it was getting dark is how I noticed it. Well it wouldn't start after I shut it off so I put the battery charger on it. The charger sparked like something was left on. Low and behold, the battery was installed backwards. Positive to ground and negative to starter. Luckily the battery was dead enough that it did not blow with the charger on it, but in the process I did fry some wiring.


Dale Mullen 01-26-2006 06:15 AM

Electrical headache
10-4 there ol' buddy. I'm a believer. If I hadn't experienced this myself, it would have been very difficult to comprehend. Anyone whose life is dull has not worked on cars much!!! :cool:

snkbyt 01-26-2006 12:35 PM

Too Funny, I don't know if you guys are old enough to remember but back in the late 60's We used to see batteries hooked up backwards a lot. Back then with a generator most things worked OK. Remember having to Polarize the field by jumping the voltage regulator?? Just a few years prior all the cars were wired with a positive ground so the Old Timers were used to that. We used to notice it right off on a scope the coil ossilations were upside down the same as when the coil is wired backwards. Anyway just some Old Fogey input!!! hahaha

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