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Changing Batteries


Star Dreamer

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I am getting ready to replace all four of our truck batteries. On the Freightliner they are connected with cables and jump from battery to battery.

 

http://s485.photobucket.com/user/strdrmr78/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150720_193356_419_zps3fhzyf1p.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0

 

Hopefully the above picture will work.

 

Questions:

1) Would you disconnect all the batteries at the same time, praying you remember where the wires go ( I will draw a diagram if I do it that way)

2) would you disconnect the negatives (2 large wires going to one battery) then just remove the positive terminals as needed and install one battery at a time?

3) Other options?

 

Thanks,

Dave

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That or just diagram it out on paper.

 

Good time to check your cables.

 

If you want to clean the box and cables up, mix up a solution of about one gallon of water with 1/2 to one cup of baking soda to neutralize any acid residue. Then rinse with fresh water.

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As stated yes, take several pictures (different angles). Then, make a DETAILED diagram that includes EVERY wire and where and how they connect (wire "A" is at the bottom of "X" post on battery "Y", wire "B" is on top of wire "A" and goes to "?", wire "C" is on top of wire "B" etc, etc). You wouldn't be going overboard if you got some colored pencils / crayons so that the diagram you draw will be an EXACT copy of what you're starting with. Once well diagrammed, I would remove all the batteries and cables. You'll then have full access and be able to do a thorough and proper job of cleaning and inspecting the area. Negative cables off first and re-connected last (slip a glove or another non-conducting material over each negative cable end to prevent accidental contact / grounding while disassembling. Batteries will be very heavy; lift with your legs, not your back. Post a picture of the completed job for us to admire!

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As stated yes, take several pictures (different angles). Then, make a DETAILED diagram that includes EVERY wire and where and how they connect (wire "A" is at the bottom of "X" post on battery "Y", wire "B" is on top of wire "A" and goes to "?", wire "C" is on top of wire "B" etc, etc). You wouldn't be going overboard if you got some colored pencils / crayons so that the diagram you draw will be an EXACT copy of what you're starting with. Once well diagrammed, I would remove all the batteries and cables. You'll then have full access and be able to do a thorough and proper job of cleaning and inspecting the area. Negative cables off first and re-connected last (slip a glove or another non-conducting material over each negative cable end to prevent accidental contact / grounding while disassembling. Batteries will be very heavy; lift with your legs, not your back. Post a picture of the completed job for us to admire!

 

What FlyGuy said. You can't have too much detail. I have my drawing on the laptop and keep a printed copy in the truck. Most common mistake is one of those smaller wires slips down out of sight and does not get reconnected - then something does not work some time later.

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Dave mine looked just like your photo, I just took pictures, took all batt out and cleaned out the box. Got the best price at NAPA with the fleet discount card. Get someone with a good back to take them in and out.

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Guest THE TRAILERKING

Picture and/or drawing and take everything out. Do a proper cleaning and maintenance. Replace any or all bad cables.

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Most common mistake is one of those smaller wires slips down out of sight and does not get reconnected - then something does not work some time later.

 

I had this exact problem with mine last year. I had removed the cables to clean them and install a battery tender. When I reinstalled them, the ECU ground wire was not put on in the same sequence, and therefore did not make a good contact. About 150 miles into my vacation, the truck just died. About 8 hours of diagnostics (Fuel, filters, sensors, etc) in a parking lot with no cell service, then found that the ground wire wasn't making contact. Easy fix, but VERY annoying and HORRIBLE timing.

I take photos of any wiring I mess with now.

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All good advice. But, I will suggest that you look closely at any "stack" of wires on a terminal. You may choose to alter the stacking order to achieve better contact. It's likely that the person who last performed this job was not as thorough as you would hope, and so maybe you can improve it a bit.

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Y'all gotta explain to a profesional wire wiggler how stacking order can affect connection integrity. Colour me confused. :blink::blink: I can see torque on the mechanical connection, connection cleanliness, condition of transition from cable to mechanical connection, but connection order. That's a new one.

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Thank you everyone. I plan to make a diagram and then start with the 2 negative cables that "noteven" mentions. Then I should be able to remove the negative wires from each of the batteries and remove that cable assembly completely. For the positive cables, it looks like I should be able to remove the cables from the batteries and not have to remove the other positive cables that attach to the positive cable assembly. Connection will be the reverse of disassembly.

I hope to do this Thursday evening weather permitting when I get back in town.

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Y'all gotta explain to a profesional wire wiggler how stacking order can affect connection integrity. Colour me confused. :blink::blink: I can see torque on the mechanical connection, connection cleanliness, condition of transition from cable to mechanical connection, but connection order. That's a new one.

I have some wires on our Volvo that have poorly sized rings. As in 1/2" hole for the 3/8" post. Add to that the small cross section of said ring, and you get very little surface contact. Then, if you have a wire that carries a heavier load, you might overheat that area, leading to loose contacts. Or, you might have a ring that has the wire interfering with the next lying flat.

 

The worst I've come across is the stack on my starter solenoid. I cut out several of the larger rings and replaced with some the correct size.

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I have some wires on our Volvo that have poorly sized rings. As in 1/2" hole for the 3/8" post. Add to that the small cross section of said ring, and you get very little surface contact. Then, if you have a wire that carries a heavier load, you might overheat that area, leading to loose contacts. Or, you might have a ring that has the wire interfering with the next lying flat.

 

The worst I've come across is the stack on my starter solenoid. I cut out several of the larger rings and replaced with some the correct size.

 

Sounds like European and North American engineering meeting in an uncomfortable alliance. You're right, of course, but my first step would be to replace the offending ring. These are typically Previous Owner, or "PO" induced maladies, and you'll be chasing them until the end of time.

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Sounds like European and North American engineering meeting in an uncomfortable alliance. You're right, of course, but my first step would be to replace the offending ring. These are typically Previous Owner, or "PO" induced maladies, and you'll be chasing them until the end of time.

The worst is when you discover a wire that doesn't even have a ring. Just a bare wire shoved between other terminals.

 

So, any time you are doing simple maintenance chores, keep an eye open for potential issues where others have preceded you.

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Just got done earlier today changing the batteries. I did draw up a sketch but didn't need it. I did refer back to my original picture to verify the routing for the two large negative cables but that was it.

 

For any other people changing batteries on a Freightliner with the box like ours, you can loosen the battery hold down nuts right to the top of the stud and can then rotate the hold downs to remove the battery. If you remove the but completely the T bolt may fall down and must be reinstalled from underneath and held in position until the but is reinstalled.

 

Picture below is of the batteries:

 

http://rs485.pbsrc.com/albums/rr212/strdrmr78/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_20150726_121517_966_zpsd0tqycci.jpg~320x480?t=1437885855

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  • 2 weeks later...

For anyone in the future, I take a picture (just to have a reference in case something goes wrong) then as I remove the cable "stacks" I zip tie them so they all stay together as they were and are very easy to put back in place. I also give them a healthy dose/coating of WD40 to help clean them up/break down any gunk while I check the batteries.

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Stardreamer& Other Freightliner owners;

 

We have a very simple design when it comes to battery wiring, as seen by the branch connections. Pretty hard to mis wire, but you do need to keep track of the single leads.

 

Stardreamer,

 

I see your start and house bank tied together, do you not have the low voltage disconnect option with a latching relay?

 

Curt

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Always, when working on battery banks, disconnect the negative first. Reconnect negative last.

OK, I'll bite. If it's a negative-ground system, why disconnect the negative first? Easier to make a clean separation for essentially one leg to frame than it is for 37 various rings/lugs/etc.?

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OK, I'll bite. If it's a negative-ground system, why disconnect the negative first? Easier to make a clean separation for essentially one leg to frame than it is for 37 various rings/lugs/etc.?

Less chance of arcing your wrench from the positive terminals to the surrounding grounds if the ground has been isolated by disconnecting them first.

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Stardreamer& Other Freightliner owners;

 

We have a very simple design when it comes to battery wiring, as seen by the branch connections. Pretty hard to mis wire, but you do need to keep track of the single leads.

 

Stardreamer,

 

I see your start and house bank tied together, do you not have the low voltage disconnect option with a latching relay?

 

Curt

What you see is what we have. We have not changed anything in regards to the batteries except the batteries. There is s label I believe on the visor that indicates a low voltage disconnect. Where would the relay be at and how are the batteries wired with that arrangement?

 

The wires for our batteries looks to be factory and would be hard to hook up any other way.

Dave

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