Any mechanics among us ?

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Gill

Maker
Jun 29, 2004
3,416
3
54
SCOTLAND
i have an older model transit van ,which draws off two batteries ,the van is having starting problems ie flat battery and i,m having to jump it .anyway went to get new batteries and the guy tested them and said the batteries were spot on !:confused:
 

nickliv

Settler
Oct 2, 2009
755
0
Aberdeenshire
What sort of state is the Earth lead / connection in? Failing to start with a decent battery, but starting with jump leads to another vehicle suggests a bad earth. Undo the end that is on the chassis, scrub it and the chassis with a wire brush, do it up nice and tight again, and smear it all over with vaseline. Always a good starting point, and it's free.

Anternatively, take it to a garage, but remember to take the vaseline with you.
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
If you're setting to with the wire brush Gill check the starter solanoid and earth cable too if it has one.

Does it click when you turn the key, is it turning over at all ?
 

bojit

Native
Aug 7, 2010
1,173
0
53
Edinburgh
hi gill,
i had the same thing , put a new battery in and still the same problems
then tried a new starter motor , started first turn of the key every time after that.

Craig.............
 

ged

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
i have an older model transit van ,which draws off two batteries ,the van is having starting problems ie flat battery and i,m having to jump it .anyway went to get new batteries and the guy tested them and said the batteries were spot on !:confused:

More diagnosis is needed.

The batteries might really be OK.

The guy might not know what he's doing but that seems unlikely.

Did he say they were OK but flat, or that they were OK and well charged?

If they're really OK then it could be something as simple as an earthing fault. Very often the corrosive atmosphere around the batteries reduces the battery earth connection (often close to the batteries) to nothing but rust. Rust doesn't conduct electricity very well. :( Check the connection from the batteries to the chassis.

If the batteries have been flat for extended periods they're probably in trouble anyway (vehicle starting batteries are easily damaged like that), but they'll probably be capable of starting the vehicle if charged. Do you have a charger? You can get one for a few quid. If the batteries are suppsed to be OK but flat, charge them up for 24 hours and see if they will start the engine then.

Odd that the vehicle has two batteries, it's usually only larger vehicles that have two (e.g. 7.5 ton). Is it a 12V or a 24V system? 24V systems usually have two 12V batteries wired in series - that is the negative of one battery goes to the positive of the other one, AND TO NOWHERE ELSE. If you only have a 12V charger you'd need to charge the batteries separately in that case.

If it isn't a wiring/corrosion problem then you might have a charging fault in the vehicle. Could be a dead alternator, that happens sometimes, or maybe another wiring fault.

Let's look for the simple faults first, they tend to happen more often.
 

Shewie

Mod
Mod
Dec 15, 2005
24,259
21
46
Yorkshire
Have you checked the spark plugs lately ? Could also be an iffy fuel pump/connection.

Does it never start or is it intermittent ?
 

EdS

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
check the fuel filter. If it needs changing colder temps & more viscous fuel will make it hard to start.

Also worth checking glow plugs (assuming its diesel). Duff glow plugs will make it a pig to start when cold. If they have come you'll have to keep cranking it to the point of flattening the battery. Have they ever been replaced?
 

johnnytheboy

Native
Aug 21, 2007
1,884
14
43
Falkirk
jokesblogspot.blogspot.com
Are they the right batterys? if they were too small they might not give you enough juice when you need it, adding the jump leads might be giving you the extra.

I would check the earth though, we had an earth prolem with a merc dash part, everytime we connected it to the star machine, no problems, then we realised it was earthing through the diagnosis machine!!!
 

Trunks

Full Member
May 31, 2008
1,711
9
Haworth
Sounds like a dodgy earth somewhere on the ignition circuit.
I once had a similar fault on my Scimitar, we tested we were right by bypassing the ignition system and turning the starter over directly from the battery - started up 1st turn. Half hour with the multimeter and we found the fault.
Of course, knowing old motors it won't be that at all :)
 

Ronnie

New Member
Oct 7, 2010
588
0
Highland
I'm not sure what the guy means by "spot on" - were they at full charge?

If it starts OK on the jump, then that suggests either flat batteries - either due to being knackered, or because of a dodgy alternator. Or, a dodgy starter motor which is needing extra voltage to kick in.

The other option, as someone has already mentioned, is a bad earth. That's the cable from the negative terminal to the rest of the car. There are other supplementary earth cables which distribute the current around the van so the entire thing is effectively a negative terminal. These are quite easy to check. Look for breaks in the woven metal earth straps and check how clean the terminals are. If these are all good move on to the next stage:

I suspect your van is 12 volt, with the batteries in parallel. I have the same setup in my Delica. Take out both batteries, and install a battery which you know is good - one will do, as long as it's wired in properly. Try to start it on that - if no joy, then you probably have a starter motor issue.

If it bursts into life, then your batteries are indeed knackered. Be aware that if you have one good battery and one knackered battery in parallel then you'll only be getting about 6 volts out, so it might just be one of them which is bad. If they both look the same age, then I'd just change both of them together - if one has gone bad then the other will probably follow close behind.

Varta are a good budget brand - made in Germany so it's a quality unit. If you're flush, I'd go for Bosch Silver.

If it's the starter motor needs swapped then you need to take advice from a Transit specific forum. Try here:

http://fordtransit.org/forum/

Places like this are peopled by retired service engineers, petrol heads, and people who rebuild engines for fun. They want to help you. If you provide lots of details and are polite and respectful they'll se you right.

I've saved 10's of thousands of pounds over the years running cheap cars with technical support from internet forums - they will teach how to do just about anything.
 

Gill

Maker
Jun 29, 2004
3,416
3
54
SCOTLAND
I had to jump it this morning again took a wee while ,got it started revved it up the lights did not get brighter ,let it run a while and turned it off and it was dead again ,usually when u get it going it stays good maybe till the next morning ,does it sound like a new alternator.?
 

ged

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
I had to jump it this morning again took a wee while ,got it started revved it up the lights did not get brighter ,let it run a while and turned it off and it was dead again ,usually when u get it going it stays good maybe till the next morning ,does it sound like a new alternator.?

When you 'jump it', exactly where do you connect the jump leads on your van, and what other vehicle or battery do you connect them to?

Please answer this question very carefully because it makes a difference to the diagnosis. If your answers to questions aren't careful and complete, we can't help you so well.
 

Ray Britton

Nomad
Jun 2, 2010
320
0
Bristol
Hi.
Can you please give more detail of EXACTLY what happens when you try to start it.

You will need to describe what happens when you turn the key such as: nothing, a slight click, a rapid clicking noise, the engine turning slowly etc

Then you need to say what happens to the lights as you turn the key. Do they: stay bright, dim as you turn the key, or not come on etc

These are just the starting pints, that we need :)

Out of interset, are you depressing the clutch fully as you turn the key (even in nuetral)? And, are any of the warning lights coming on once it runs?

Edited to add: Even thought this may not be directly battery related, have you checked that each of the cells in both batteries have the correct amount of distilled water in them so that they properly cover all of the plates inside.
Plus, have you made sure that the battery terminal connectors are still on tight, and covered in Vaseline or grease?
 
Last edited:

Gill

Maker
Jun 29, 2004
3,416
3
54
SCOTLAND
When you 'jump it', exactly where do you connect the jump leads on your van, and what other vehicle or battery do you connect them to?

Please answer this question very carefully because it makes a difference to the diagnosis. If your answers to questions aren't careful and complete, we can't help you so well.

i connect them to the battery terminals on one of the two batteries and to a honda diesel engine battery .
 

Gill

Maker
Jun 29, 2004
3,416
3
54
SCOTLAND
Hi.
Can you please give more detail of EXACTLY what happens when you try to start it.

You will need to describe what happens when you turn the key such as: nothing, a slight click, a rapid clicking noise, the engine turning slowly etc

Then you need to say what happens to the lights as you turn the key. Do they: stay bright, dim as you turn the key, or not come on etc

These are just the starting pints, that we need :)

Out of interset, are you depressing the clutch fully as you turn the key (even in nuetral)? And, are any of the warning lights coming on once it runs?

Edited to add: Even thought this may not be directly battery related, have you checked that each of the cells in both batteries have the correct amount of distilled water in them so that they properly cover all of the plates inside.
Plus, have you made sure that the battery terminal connectors are still on tight, and covered in Vaseline or grease?

when i try to jump it it coughs and splutters a couple of times ,then maybe clicking.i put copper slip on the connectors.
 

Ray Britton

Nomad
Jun 2, 2010
320
0
Bristol
So, bearing in mind that coughs and splatters is not a particularly technical term lol (as in does that mean fires, fails to fire, turns over quickly or slowly, fires on some but not all cylinders, spits back etc etc etc).

So, if we start again, and trying to be EXACT. Are you saying that nothing at all happens if you try to start it purely from turning the key (which may still not mean its a battery problem), but that when you use jump leads, the van's starter motor at least turns over (which will rule out three possible faults at least, such as jammed starter, faulty solenoid, and unearthed starter motor/engine, but does still leave faulty ignition circuit as a possibility) :)
 

Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
Try connecting one of your jump leads to the battery earth and the striker pin of the door latch, that's usually a good earth. If your problem goes away you know the problem is the earth.

Cheers,
 

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