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Dead Battery Comes Back to Life

12-Volt Battery Electrical System Doesnt Start

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15 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   kowalski65

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 11:42 AM

My wife has a 2010 FFH that's having intermittent 12-Volt Battery problems (starting problems). 

 

One night she left the headlights on while she was out and ran the battery down.  When she went to start it, it wouldn't, so she got a jumpstart and drove home.  It's only a short drive though (5-7 minutes) and she turned the car off for the night.  Next morning, she goes out to start it and it won't start again.  Thinking she didn't let it run long enough to charge the battery, she called AAA for another jump.  Before they even got there though, she tried to crank it again and it started right up on its own.  This time, she left it to idle in the driveway for a while to make sure she charged the battery.  But my (normally intelligent) wife was running on fumes and the car ran out of gas.  (I'm a pilot and was out of town for all of this).  It must have been long enough to charge the battery though because after she put gas in it, it started right up.  And from that point on, the car functioned normally for about a week.

 

Yesterday morning, she went to start the car and it wouldn't start. (It was cold, about 30 degrees). This time she hadn't left the lights on or anything.  She said her remote door unlock worked, but nothing happened when she turned the key.  No lights, sounds, nothing.  She had to run though, so she left it and took my car.  Later that night, about 10 hours after it failed to start, we both went out there to look at it, and she turned the key and it started right up (still cold, about 34 degrees).  The eye on the battery, btw, is black.  It doesn't show red or green.

 

If the battery was too low to start the car, how would it gain sufficient charge on its own just sitting out in the cold to start later?  My concern is that maybe her depleting the battery the first time or running out of gas may have damaged the battery or electrical system somehow.  Is that possible? 









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#2 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 11:56 AM

Completely discharging a lead-acid wet cell "starter battery" almost always causes material to flake off of the plates.  When that pile of debris, at the bottom of the cell, reaches the bottom of the the plates the cell shorts out.  The 12 volt battery does not start the 2010 FFH.  As long as it has enough power to pull in the contactors for the HVB the car will start and the DC-DC converter will start charging the 12 volt battery.  The car does not have a starter motor or an alternator.  Have the 12 volt battery tested.  It's probably time for a new one.


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#3 OFFLINE   lolder

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 01:19 PM

It's time to treat this 2010 to a new battery. They're only available from Ford for about $120. You need an extension socket to loosen the tie down bolt, resonator bolt and battery terminals and a screwdriver to loosen the outboard clamp on the air intake tube and push it back out of the way. It's hard to break loose the rubber gasket of the air intake tube so be prepared to use a lot of force there. Otherwise, it's easy. Long term fuel economy resets and the dash resets to the default display.


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#4 OFFLINE   hermans

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 01:40 PM

This is probably why the 2013s+ are in the trunk. Very easy to change.


Edited by hermans, 17 November 2014 - 07:14 PM.

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#5 OFFLINE   VonoreTn

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:55 PM

My wife has a 2010 FFH that's having intermittent 12-Volt Battery problems (starting problems). ...........

  The eye on the battery, btw, is black.  It doesn't show red or green.

 

If the battery was too low to start the car, how would it gain sufficient charge on its own just sitting out in the cold to start later?  My concern is that maybe her depleting the battery the first time or running out of gas may have damaged the battery or electrical system somehow.  Is that possible? 

 

 

How many miles on your FFH?  Just curious.  My goodness test is more than 10.3 volts across the battery terminals at a 100 amp load.  I have been running my battery with a red eye for 30,000 miles. The dealer said a load test is more conclusive than the eye, but black does not sound good.  I did have to add distilled water to the cells at about 80,000 miles.   I'm at 102k miles now.  There are a lot of people on this forum who know more about the FFH 12 volt battery than I do, but I have seen lots of non-typical behavior with a bad FFH 12 volt battery, due to we are used hearing the battery fail based on not being able to crank the engine and this battery doesn't do that.  But the car needs the battery to perform almost all necessary functions.  So your battery may be acting almost as weakly as a large capacitor and you are still getting away with it.   I concur with others above that you are ready for a new battery.    But this failure has nothing to do with the health of your high voltage nickel metal hydride battery, so don't panic on that front.  


Edited by VonoreTn, 17 November 2014 - 02:58 PM.

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Regards from Knoxville, Tennessee area
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#6 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 02:56 PM

Sounds like the battery needs a reconditioning cycle. A deep cycle charger(one that can condition, and jump start) could be used to recharge the battery. Usually takes over night. If the battery has any life left in it, this will resolve the problem for a while.  What happens is the Hybrids use a DC/DC charger, not an alternator, to recharge the 12V battery. Unlike a conventional car that powers everything off the alternator, and uses the 12V battery for starting and accessory(key on, ignition off), the Hybrid uses the 12V to power everything along with the DC/DC converter.  It has very little AMP draw since it isnt cranking over an engine, but powering small current devices instead. The most current draw it will see are the headlamps. Short trips will wear down the battery, and eventually cause it to fail sooner than it should. As mentioned above, it calcifies the plates. These batteries need a good healthy discharge and recharge cycle in order to last. They like valleys and peaks in their capacity, not a constant state of charge or discharge. The big difference between the 10-12 and the 13+ models is the older ones dont have the battery saver messages like the 13+ has, which is a good indicator of a failing battery.  The only indicator you have is what is happening now. 

 

 

 

I would have the battery fully charged and tested first before replacing it. 


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#7 OFFLINE   kowalski65

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 03:12 PM

Thanks for the replies.  Based on what you guys said and the fact that it's the original battery and the car has a lot of miles on it (~135,000+) it's likely time for a new battery.  Sounds like kind of a pain in the butt to replace myself though, unfortunately.  Is it true that they're only available from the Ford dealer?  I called a local repair shop to ask if they could handle it and they said they could.  I'd hate to take the car in only to find out they were mistaken or going to stick the wrong kind of battery in there.



#8 OFFLINE   murphy

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 03:26 PM

When I still had my 2010 I looked everywhere that I could think of for a battery.  It's an odd small size and it is only available from Ford as far as I could find.



#9 OFFLINE   lolder

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Posted 17 November 2014 - 08:34 PM

If you've changed car batteries before and know the cautions ( disconnect negative first and connect it last ) you can change this one. The same 5/16 socket fits the rear tie down bolt of the resonator chamber, the battery terminals and with an extension the hold down bolt. A regular screwdriver loosens the outer intake air tube clamp. Twist the tube to break the rubber gasket free and pull the tube off and push it back out of the way and hold it there ( with a rubber band ). Loosen the hold down and terminal bolts , remove and replace and reconnect. It takes about 10 minutes. There's a big core deposit on the battery so if you've got another car, remove it and take it to Ford when you get the new battery so you don't have to make a separate trip. I suspect Ford would charge you 1/2 -1 hour labor to change it. Maybe not, ask.

Weird things happen when this battery starts to have problems. A new battery solves everything.

The comments about reconditioning are true and I have done it many times in boats etc. but with this car and the 4-5 year age of the battery, I'd change it. I just changed the one in my 2010 which was built 5/2009.

I wouldn't take it to a non-Ford local repair shop for this. Nobody has found a non-Ford after market replacement for this battery that does not require modifications. Ford made only 70,000 of these Ford Mecury Lincoln hybrids in the three model years so they're not common. They look just like the non-hybrids so when you take it to an independent shop you have to walk them through every detail of what must be done. They don't need many repairs and most of the hybrid components are still under warranty. Even some Ford dealers are still probably not very proficient in it's different repair requirements.


Edited by lolder, 17 November 2014 - 08:46 PM.

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#10 OFFLINE   hybridbear

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:00 AM

Most auto parts stores around here will install the battery at no charge when you buy a new battery from them, assuming that you're able to drive your car to the auto parts store. Perhaps you can get the dealer to do the same thing.


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#11 OFFLINE   kowalski65

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:05 PM

So you guys were right about the dealership being the only place to acquire the battery.  We took it in and had them replace it.  I seriously considered taking lolder's advice/instructions and doing it myself, but it was about 13 degrees here today and snowing (no garage) so I decided against it.  They tested the battery and confirmed it needed to be changed.  So we'll see how it performs with the winter weather going forward.  Thanks!



#12 OFFLINE   lolder

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:26 PM

You should have no more problems. Did they charge you to change the battery?



#13 OFFLINE   Easy Rider

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 07:27 PM

It's time to treat this 2010 to a new battery. They're only available from Ford for about $120.

The new battery should be fully charged before being put into service but NOW is not too late.

Also the charging voltage should have been checked too.

One can NOT always trust the dealer or shop to do those things.

 

P.S. And yes, a battery that is mostly discharged can "come back to life" later after one attempted use.


Edited by Easy Rider, 18 November 2014 - 07:33 PM.


#14 OFFLINE   kowalski65

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 09:21 PM

You should have no more problems. Did they charge you to change the battery?


Yes, it was $40 in labor, $120 for the battery. I kind of balked when I heard that (the wife took it in) but like I said, I wasn't up to doing it in the frigid weather, so it is what it is.
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#15 OFFLINE   acdii

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 12:49 PM

$40 is reasonable considering someone is actually doing what you don't want to. I know parts stores will do it for free, but if they break something in the process, doubt they would fix it, where the dealer tech is less likely to break something, and if they do, they fix it. 


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#16 OFFLINE   lolder

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 03:39 PM

That's about 1/2 hour labor charge which is probably the minimum. In you shoe's I might have done the same.






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