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2000rpm Max - Another Battery Gremlin

605 Views 15 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Lindy
Story Time!

So, everything was going fine today. We went out for coffee, went to the park, stopped at Lowes, stopped at Fleet Farm. The Wife and Dog sat in the Jeep listening to the radio while I shopped inside FF for about 30 minutes. I came out and the Jeep wouldn't start - wouldn't even turn over. WTH? The X-2 battery is only 14 months old! So I opened/closed the driver's door, locked/unlocked with the fob, and waited 10 minutes...tried again. Vrrr...vrrrr...click. Okay...repeat and wait 20 minutes. Vrrr.Vrrr.Vrrr..Vroom! OK, let's go to Batteries Plus for a warranty exchange!

But wait...the engine won't rev over 2000rpm. It shifts from 1st to 2nd around 1500 rpm, then maxs out at 20mph at 2000rpm in 2nd gear. Crap - maybe not the battery. NO idiot lights on the dash at all. Nothing. All the gauges look fine too. Strange...

I limp it another 1/4 mile into the Home Depot parking lot (thinking a flatbed tow can maneuver better in that big lot) and park it (engine still running). But it's only 6 miles to the local Jeep dealer on side roads...I can do that at 20mph max! Nope, they close at 2pm - clock says 1:55pm. Damn. Wait - the other Jeep delaer is 12 miles away and open until 4pm! Okay...limp it there.

Huh...2000rpm max and it won't upshift when I get there, BUT, if I lift off the gas slightly at 2000rpm so the rpms come down, it WILL upshift. So I can get up to highway speeds! (Side note: I swung by home and had the Wife get her Jeep to follow me in case I had to leave my Jeep at the dealer. I still haven't turned off my engine since I got it started at FF parking lot.)

Get to Jeep, pull up to Service and shut off the engine...they say "sounds like a battery issue - we can pull it in and check it Monday." Um...its 2:30 Saturday. So I restart it and drive 2 miles to Batteries Plus to have them check the battery - at normal rpm! Seems like the electrical gremlin has reset itself. Maybe the 45+ minutes it ran from FF to Jeep dealer charged the battery back up?
Well, the battery tests at 60% charge (after being charged for 45+ minutes) - 50% is cutoff for warrranty claim. Alternator "tests good too". "Come back if it gets worse" WTF...30 minutes of radio listening shouldn't kill a 14 month old battery. So I drive home normally with no issues. I guess I'll just have to wait for the battery to die another 15% in order to get a warranty exchange. That'll be a fun surprise when it happens...
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Sounds like it went into limp-mode, hopefully caused by nothing more than a weak battery. That would make sense as there are so many power-consuming items on modern engines, and if not operating properly, could damage the engine/driveline. And I would agree with Lindy as to using accessories without engine running for any length of time. So much more draw than just the radio. And these critters are very sensitive to power - my 2020 Cherokee LP heated seats and steering wheel was set to turn on with every start. But it didn’t. Then, one day, the display was dark when I started and didn’t come on for almost a mile. Replaced the battery (original) and all is well!
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Since I work from home and it's Winter outside, I don't have to leave the house too often this time of year. Today was one of the rare days I had an appointment, so I finally took the little charger off the battery - after almost Five Days of charging. Nope, the little light on the charger never did turn off - the battery never did attain a "full charge". BUT, the engine sure did start in a "positive" manner - I can't remember the last time the starter spun that quickly! Not only that, but it sounded good after all 5 of my errand stops - and it's a balmy 25F here today. AND my Auto-Stop worked! It hasn't worked in at least 6+ months - not that I've missed it. Since it hadn't been working, I'd gotten out of the habit of hitting the Cancel Auto-Stop button on the dash.

This may not be the end of the story - the battery could still spontaneously die on me - but it does tell me that putting a charger on the battery every so often may not be a bad idea. I use that charger on my truck quite often when it sits in the shop unused for 1-2 months. maybe I should start putting it on the Jeep too when I know it's going to be sitting for a while...
We use small, 4 amp maintainers on almost every battery we own - if it sits unused for any time at all. We have various farm equipment, some with 2 or 3 batteries each, and sit unused most of the winter. Some with on-board electronics that can drain the battery. Some, like our combine, sit for almost 10 months. A maintainer is a must! I have a 2007 Ford 500 ( back when Ford made a quality ride) with 62k miles. It obviously sits a lot. Keep a maintainer on it at all times. Backed it out last Sunday, washed it, went to pull it in and nothing. Had 5.1 no-load volts. The 5-year battery, bought 5 years ago, expired. So even a maintained battery can fail, but the maintainer sure helps!
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