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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Well… the adventure continues. Since I’m not about to shell out $200+ for a new battery that’s less than half way through AutoZone’s replacement period, I took it to them with a copy of the dealer’s diagnostic tape showing 244CCA. I had been previously assured by a corporate rep that the dealer’s diagnostics would be good enough.

The stores have apparently not gotten that memo. “Per company policy, we have to test it.” Okay, fine. And of course, “the light is green. See where it says it’s good here?” Yeah, but it’s sitting on a counter and your machine doesn’t give me any detail at all.

After a bit of back and forth, I was told that if the dealer still tested it bad, they’d go ahead and replace it.

Wasted time, but my other option (just buying a new one) wasn’t any good, so there you have it. I took the battery back to the dealer and we had a good laugh over AutoZone’s understanding of load testing. I’ll call them tomorrow to confirm it’s still severely discharged.

-Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
The shop foreman is stumped.

Brought the battery back from AutoZone and told the shop guy what had happened. That evening, he put it back in my Cherokee and not only did it test good, like AutoZone had said, but it started right up. Came in the next morning to get to work on diagnosing my issues and it was dead as a doornail.

Took the battery back out, left it on a charger all day, and tested it - good. Left it on the shop floor all night and when he came back in the morning, it still tested good, so in the Cherokee it went and it started right up.

No idea where the problem is because he's only measuring 30ma or so in draw with the ignition off.

Any guesses? He's not sure where to go from here, which isn't encouraging, given that this is a dealer we're talking about.

-Rob
 

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This is my guess:

Refer to this link: How to Test Your Auto Battery | Battery Testing & Maintenance
Specifically the load test part.
Recently I went to Batteries Plus Bulbs and asked how they tested a battery for their Warranty to work.
Charge the battery and make sure it will take a charge.
Remove the battery from the vehicle (I am not sure why this is necessary)
Do a real load test with a load resistor, etc.
Only if the battery tests bad will they replace it under warranty.
Apparently the fancy tester test with a printout is not sufficient.

Since you are removing/replacing the battery cables maybe they are not getting installed correctly, as in tight and fully seated down.

I haven't figured out exactly what battery you have.
A really good thin plate AGM battery is going to cost a lot more than $200.
 

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The shop foreman is stumped.

Brought the battery back from AutoZone and told the shop guy what had happened. That evening, he put it back in my Cherokee and not only did it test good, like AutoZone had said, but it started right up. Came in the next morning to get to work on diagnosing my issues and it was dead as a doornail.

Took the battery back out, left it on a charger all day, and tested it - good. Left it on the shop floor all night and when he came back in the morning, it still tested good, so in the Cherokee it went and it started right up.

No idea where the problem is because he's only measuring 30ma or so in draw with the ignition off.

Any guesses? He's not sure where to go from here, which isn't encouraging, given that this is a dealer we're talking about.

-Rob
Hmmmm. When they say 'dead as a doornail', does that just mean the Jeep won't start, or that the battery is dead, confirmed by their GR8 machine ?

30mA draw is minimal... so unless something wakes up in the middle of the night ?... it's not parasitic drain.

Do you have more specifics on the battery tests ? Remaining CCA and state of health are the more telling ones and, in your particular case, state of charge would be interesting to see also.

When my battery made it to near death, it had declined so gradually that I hadn't noticed the slower cranking. It was only when I put a new battery in that I realized how big of a difference there was between new and almost dead. Mine also 'started right up', or so I thought, with the old battery, until it didn't. Some of all that is subjective and without more details on battery state, meaning test numbers, it's hard to guess...
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I haven't figured out exactly what battery you have.
A really good thin plate AGM battery is going to cost a lot more than $200.
It's a Duralast Platinum from AutoZone. $240. Nothing like the X2s recommended here, which I'll probably go for next time, despite the $100+ difference.

Hmmmm. When they say 'dead as a doornail', does that just mean the Jeep won't start, or that the battery is dead, confirmed by their GR8 machine ?

30mA draw is minimal... so unless something wakes up in the middle of the night ?... it's not parasitic drain.

Do you have more specifics on the battery tests ? Remaining CCA and state of health are the more telling ones and, in your particular case, state of charge would be interesting to see also.
Wish I still had the first test strip they gave me, but I do remember it showed 12.9A, and only 244CCA. The AutoZone guy made a big deal out of the fact that the strip showed they were testing it as a 700CCA battery (vs. the 850CCA it's rated for), but I don't think that changes the results at all. In any event, both AZ's electronic automatic tester as well as an old fashioned analog load tester he pulled off the shelf to double check showed it good, which apparently it was - at least enough to start my Jeep later that evening.

I know exactly what you're saying about slow starting as the battery goes - BTDT a couple of times. This was quick.

-Rob
 

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It's a Duralast Platinum from AutoZone. $240. Nothing like the X2s recommended here, which I'll probably go for next time, despite the $100+ difference.



Wish I still had the first test strip they gave me, but I do remember it showed 12.9A, and only 244CCA. The AutoZone guy made a big deal out of the fact that the strip showed they were testing it as a 700CCA battery (vs. the 850CCA it's rated for), but I don't think that changes the results at all. In any event, both AZ's electronic automatic tester as well as an old fashioned analog load tester he pulled off the shelf to double check showed it good, which apparently it was - at least enough to start my Jeep later that evening.

I know exactly what you're saying about slow starting as the battery goes - BTDT a couple of times. This was quick.

-Rob
244CCA remaining? That battery needs to be replaced...
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
No kidding. That’s what it tested on the dealer’s machine, but not on AZ’s and was good on the dealer’s machine after being charged for 6 hours and NOT put back in the vehicle in the interim.

The question is whether it was just severely discharged in the first (and second) place, or whether it’s actually damaged.

My issue is, I’m not going to drop $250-350 on a new battery because AZ won’t honor the replacement warranty on this one if we can’t determine why it crapped out in the first place.

-Rob
 

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No kidding. That’s what it tested on the dealer’s machine, but not on AZ’s and was good on the dealer’s machine after being charged for 6 hours and NOT put back in the vehicle in the interim.

The question is whether it was just severely discharged in the first (and second) place, or whether it’s actually damaged.

My issue is, I’m not going to drop $250-350 on a new battery because AZ won’t honor the replacement warranty on this one if we can’t determine why it crapped out in the first place.

-Rob
One thing is for sure... If AutoZone set the baseline at 700CCA, it could explain why it won't test 'bad'. Your Duralast Platinum is rated for 850CCA and that's what they should use. I've said it here a few times, I question the CCA rating system... because I think the OEM battety's rating is low, while seemingly identical aftermarket batteries sport 800 or 850CCA... but, if they test a Duralast Platinum, they need to set the baseline at 850, not 700...
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
One thing is for sure... If AutoZone set the baseline at 700CCA, it could explain why it won't test 'bad'. Your Duralast Platinum is rated for 850CCA and that's what they should use. I've said it here a few times, I question the CCA rating system... because I think the OEM battety's rating is low, while seemingly identical aftermarket batteries sport 800 or 850CCA... but, if they test a Duralast Platinum, they need to set the baseline at 850, not 700...
Point of clarification - it was the dealer's machine that was set for 700 (when it tested bad), not AZ's. That's why I was suspicious that the AZ guy didn't really have a handle on what he was talking about when he suggested that's why the dealer's machine tested it bad.

Going to follow up with the dealer today since I didn't hear anything yesterday. I'll post any interesting updates.

-Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
UPDATE - Just talked to the dealer. Alternator is bad. Already approved by MaxCare, but 3-5 days to get the part. Don't know how it could take that long since RockAuto has a MOPAR alternator in stock, but since I'm not paying for it... whatever. I just hope they think to check the cables and belt/tensioner when they install it so I'm not back next month with the same problem.

Question for the hive mind - if it's the alternator (and I don't doubt that it's gone bad), why would an otherwise "good" battery, being attached overnight, drain fully when the draw was measured at only 30mA? I'm thinking I might treat myself to one of these vaunted X2 units frequently recommended here - just to be on the safe side.

-Rob
 

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UPDATE - Just talked to the dealer. Alternator is bad. Already approved by MaxCare, but 3-5 days to get the part. Don't know how it could take that long since RockAuto has a MOPAR alternator in stock, but since I'm not paying for it... whatever. I just hope they think to check the cables and belt/tensioner when they install it so I'm not back next month with the same problem.

Question for the hive mind - if it's the alternator (and I don't doubt that it's gone bad), why would an otherwise "good" battery, being attached overnight, drain fully when the draw was measured at only 30mA? I'm thinking I might treat myself to one of these vaunted X2 units frequently recommended here - just to be on the safe side.

-Rob
Wow. Alternator, huh... A very rare problem on the Cherokee.

You are right to question the overnight drain, it's not an alternator issue, unless there is an intermittent short circuit in there (again, rare...). Would need to see test numbers on the Duralast Platinum to get an idea of what is going on with that battery...

Well at least they've identified the problem :)

As far as getting a new battery : I'd wait a bit to see how things evolve with the new alternator..
 

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Refer to Post #34. Since the alternator really is bad that is good to know.
Generally when a diode in the alternator starts working as a resistor then that is when the alternator constantly draws current from the battery.
Maybe the bad alternator diode current is not included in the parasitic drain, I just don't know.
When you buy an X2 Power battery order it online and get a discount, provide your email address and cell phone number and you will get more discounts.
Of course they will send you text messages, just block the phone number.
They will want a core which really should be a Group 94R. The X2 Power is now more than $400.
Take pictures of the new battery. Get the date the battery was manufactured. Batteries Plus Bulbs should be able to tell you this.
You might want to modify the battery wrap so you can remove it without having to remove the battery cables.
I let my Jeep dealer install the battery. They did it for free. It isn't like I don't already spend a lot of money there.
 

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Refer to Post #34. Since the alternator really is bad that is good to know.
Generally when a diode in the alternator starts working as a resistor then that is when the alternator constantly draws current from the battery.
Maybe the bad alternator diode current is not included in the parasitic drain, I just don't know.
When you buy an X2 Power battery order it online and get a discount, provide your email address and cell phone number and you will get more discounts.
Of course they will send you text messages, just block the phone number.
They will want a core which really should be a Group 94R. The X2 Power is now more than $400.
Take pictures of the new battery. Get the date the battery was manufactured. Batteries Plus Bulbs should be able to tell you this.
You might want to modify the battery wrap so you can remove it without having to remove the battery cables.
I let my Jeep dealer install the battery. They did it for free. It isn't like I don't already spend a lot of money there.
Yikes... The X2 Power is not $400 yet, but it's getting there :-(
I see it selling for $349.99 with a core replacement, $371.99 without. Outch...
That's double what you'd pay for a Sam's Club or Walmart 94R AGM. The gap is widening... grrr...

The Odyssey 94R-850 is $338.99 at Autozone, with a core replacement, $360.99 without...
 

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Question for the hive mind - if it's the alternator (and I don't doubt that it's gone bad), why would an otherwise "good" battery, being attached overnight, drain fully when the draw was measured at only 30mA? I'm thinking I might treat myself to one of these vaunted X2 units frequently recommended here - just to be on the safe side.
I've seen motors that had an open or short only when in a certain position. Failures like this are usually caused by a high-voltage surge, like a lightning strike. More often than not a motor hit by lightning has a burnt-out brush causing it not to start running when in a certain position. Get it started and it seems to work fine. However, a surge can also cause a bit of molten metal to protrude and make intermittent contact with parts not intended. When the motor stops in a certain position, it pops the circuit breaker. Otherwise, it works just fine. Great fun to troubleshoot!

An alternator is similar to a motor. I suppose it is possible that the rotor could be shorted to the stator only in a certain position. By chance has your car ever been in a severe electrical storm? It would seem that a good lightning strike would take out more of the sensitive electronics, but maybe the current found a path through the alternator? That coupled with a bad diode might explain why the parasitic draw was low when measured - just luck of the position.

I jumped on the X2 bandwagon a while back. No regrets so far.
 
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
UPDATE: Because this is getting so ridiculous, I thought I'd post an update with a complete timeline here and page @JeepCares because their dealer sure as hell doesn't.

1/2, Monday - Cherokee towed to this particular dealer after hours SPECIFICALLY because I'm given an "appointment" for Tuesday morning.

1/3, Tuesday - Call mid-day to check on status. Told won't be able to look at Cherokee for 7-10 days. Appointment was an appointment to speak w/ advisor. (See original post.) Work up the chain until I'm talking to Service Manager and ask who's going to pay for me to tow to alternate shop. Subtly threaten legal action. Svc. Manager promises to assign my vehicle to shop foreman "Bob", who only has 2-3 cars and mine will be next in his queue.

1/4, Wednesday - I call. Bob says I have a bad battery. Take it to Autozone - battery tests good. Take it back to dealer (see discussion of these events above).

1/10, Tuesday - I call. Bob says I have a bad alternator. Maxcare already approved. Part ordered. 3-5 days. (Never mind that RockAuto has a MOPAR alternator and can have it there next day, I know they're not going to order from RA, so I'm okay with this.)

1/16, Monday - They've had my Cherokee for two weeks now. I call in the afternoon. Alternator "just came in (at 2:30). Will have it done today, or tomorrow morning if not today."

1/17, Tuesday - Call around 10:00 to see if I can pick it up yet. "Sorry - Bob had an emergency dental something and won't be in today."

1/19, Thursday (today) - Called this morning at 7:30. Alternator not installed. Bob comes in at 8. Will call you back. Of course, they didn't, so I called around 2:00 and was told "I just talked to Bob - old alternator out, new one not in yet." At this point, I'm starting to lose my **** a little bit, in a professional, lawyerly way. "Bob has 20-30 cars he's responsible for and is being pulled in all sorts of directions. I'll have the Service Manager call you since he's the one that 'squeezed you in here and gave you the impression you'd be handled quickly".

So... any bets on whether the Service Manager calls me this afternoon?

Oh, and I did file a formal complaint with our state Attorney General's Office - Consumer Protection Division specifically about the "appointment" scam, which I believe may qualify as a deceptive trade practice. Not sure if/when I'll hear from them, but I certainly have the time and motivation to follow up.

-Rob
 
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