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Trucks Batteries


bigredhdt
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Let me start with the fact  that I am not a battery expert.  Under ideal conditions, with brand new batteries at full charge you could probably do it, the issue you run into is when your batteries get a bit older, and the weather gets a bit colder, the harder you draw from the batteries the more quickly they will die.  So while technically probably could start your truck with 2 batteries the lifespan will be much shorter, and on top of that you will have much cushion.

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My little phart Kenworth dually has a Cummins 8.3 engine with 2x group 31 1000CCA batteries. It has an electric manifold pre heater for starting when coolant temp is cold. I run 15w40 engine oil and preheat the coolant and oil pan with a Webasto heater (the heater exhaust is pointed at the oil sump) when it is colder than 32F/0C.  It has no "parasitic draws" except for the clock when the engine is not running. There are no inverters or other non automotive loads connected to the them. I disconnect the batteries when parking it for more than a couple weeks, and charge the batteries with a "smart" battery charger every 2 months or so when in storage. The batteries are over 6 years old and going fine.  Paccar brand from your local KW or Peterbilt dealer.

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I agree with all of the above responses.

IMO, one battery of the type originally installed in your truck is good enough most of the time.   The problem for most of us, is that a 10% risk of being unable to start our truck is not acceptable.   My 12.7L truck was ordered with 3 batteries and seems to work well for me.

Why do you want to use fewer batteries?

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When I got my 2010 780 D13 engine it only had 2 batteries on it. It started fine, however I knew it was supposed to have 4 batteries and Volvo ran a special just to get People into Volvo TEC here in Vegas and had batteries on sell for 35.00 each. Since I had two batteries only and they were 4 years old, as I was told, I couldn't find a good reason not to stock up.

Short answer is I ran my truck on 2 old batteries for the first two years I had it.

Later,

Cory O

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6 hours ago, DanZemke said:

I agree with all of the above responses.

IMO, one battery of the type originally installed in your truck is good enough most of the time.   The problem for most of us, is that a 10% risk of being unable to start our truck is not acceptable.   My 12.7L truck was ordered with 3 batteries and seems to work well for me.

Why do you want to use fewer batteries?

Paralleling batteries is always problematic.  When one cell goes it ends up killing the whole bank.  This is the problem I've had on the last 2 sets of batteries.

The most work my batteries get are when I crank the engine over for 10 seconds when it's been sitting for more than a week. (Per the manual).  It always turns over in about 2 seconds or so.

I rarely drive my truck in the winter.  Lastly, it is costly to replace 4 batteries @$125 each .

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Batteries usually don't just "die".  They gradually get weaker.  And putting them under heavy loads accelerates the degradation.  So in the long run, you likely get about the same life per dollar whether you put in 2, 3, or 4.  But with more batteries your safety margin goes way up.

We got 10 years out a set of 4, despite severe neglect.

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On 4/13/2021 at 1:27 PM, bigredhdt said:

How many batteries do we really need to start our trucks?  I have a VED12 with 4 group 31 batteries.  Would this work with 2 or 3 instead of 4?

Some intel

The Cummins ISM in the HDT operates with 4 batteries, but the Cummins ISL (used in a pile of motorhomes) operates with 2 batteries (in-laws have had a few of them).

In-laws current motorhome has one of the large Cat engines pushing their current motorhome, it also operates off of a pair of batteries for starting.

In all of those motorhome applications the battery box only supports a pair of batteries.

 

I personally have spent a lot of time around the larger motorhomes, I haven't experienced issues with any of them starting on a pair of batteries.  But I have no idea if those applications are using the same starters / relays / etc as HDTs, I assume they are the same but they could be different.  Additionally, the motorhome usages tend to be with it is warm and they have been recently operating from shore power, so freshly charged starting batteries.

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General rule of thumb minimum for trucks:

6L-9L w/ 42MT starter: 3 batts

6L-9L w/ gear reduction starter: 2 batts

10L-13L w/ 42MT starter: 4 batts

10L-13L w/ gear reduction starter: 3 batts

14-18L w/ 42MT: 4 batts

14-18L w/ gear reduction starter: 3 batts

14-18L w/ gear reduction starter and body controller: 4 batts

Adaptations:

6L-13L weight sensitive and you own a service truck or are the service truck: 2 batts

Engine start module: 2 batts

Engine start module and service truck and\or you never shut your truck off: 1 batt (good luck with that...)

Inverter, fridge, beacon lights, liftgate: 4 batts.

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