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Flat battery - Fiat Ducato

ken nugent

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Anyone come accross the following symptoms :


2003 2.3JTD


We have recently purchased privately the above, if we leave it for more than a month the engine battery goes flat. Put it onto hook up over night, battery recovers, starts the vehicle, take it out for a run, return switch it off, switch it back on, all approriate dash lights come up, just after the heater plug light goes out the dash board dies to nothing, turn the key to start it, a few clicks only, whilst driving it there are no lights lit up on the dash, so I assume the alternator is the only thing keeping it running. I have a receipt for a new battery which shows it is 1 year old.


if I put it back onto hook up over night and jump in the next day it starts perfect, but whilst on a run it flattens the battery again.


The first time it went flat I put it on hook up overnight, it then stood unused for a week but started ok.



Any ideas


Ken nugent

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I've no training as an electrician - or anything else useful - but from experience this is what I would do.


The good news is the battery may be OK. The bad news is that something else is not!


Do you have a digital volt meter? If so you are looking for a charge voltage of around 14.0 volts going into the battery with the engine running. Anything less and the charge is not getting there.


Easiest to fix is check the battery terminals for dirt or corrosion or looseness. If they or any other connections get warm or hot during engine running that is a good sign of poor a connection - but will not always show so you have to check em anyway!.


Next is either a faulty alternator or if you are lucky a dirty earth strap connection. This is the large cable bolted directly from the engine to the chassis that can become bad contact due to rust and muck. Also check all the other connections twixt battery and alternator.


Let us know how you get on and one of the experts will be able to advise you from there because we are at the limit of what I know!


Otherwise take it to an auto electrician for a full test - or call the AA/RAC if you are a member

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the brushes on your alternator may be gone (worn out). when you switch on check if the alternator symbol lights up and then goes out when you start. If it does not light up when you switch on; then when you start the vehicle it will look ok (ie not alight) as far as the alternator lights on the dash is concerned. BUT you will be running on the battery only.

Someone more familiar with this engine may have other ideas !!.


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OK, before doing anything more, disconnect the leisure battery, and my question is , is your leisure battery working and in good condition as it could be pulling down the starter battery when you are driving and split charge relay is closed. So 1st things 1st disconnect the leisure battery negative and get it out of the equation.


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I had similar symptoms on a 2.8 Fiat of similar vintage (from new).

Failed to start even with a new fully charged battery.

Called the AA out on a number of occasions to get us going.

The cause was eventually diagnosed as a poor earth strap from the battery to the chassis.

An additional strap was added to another location (I think the engine block to service the starter motor) and never had any problems again.


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