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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been chasing a dead battery issue for months, involving buying a new battery, trips to the dealership, and my independent mechanic.

Numerous times I came out to a dead battery, the truck wouldn't unlock with remote and no interior lights after unlocking with key. It had sat a couple weeks so I jumped it and everything seemed fine. This happened two or 3 times, parts store tested my battery and said it was bad. So I bought a new one but the issues continued. I took it to the dealership to confirm the alternator recall was done (it was) and they tested the battery and charging system and said they were fine.

The issues continued and I attempted to trouble shoot it my self with no avail. I took it to my local mechanic and he said the battery was bad (only 5 months old, but it could have been bad off the shelf.) I took the battery back to the parts store, they charged and tested it and said it was fine. While leaving the volt meter up on the display screen I noticed it would drop below 12 volts when running the truck more than 15 minutes. I took it back to my mechanic, he was able to recreate this issued, confirm it was a bad alternator and replaced it. He said he tested it, and as well as the drive home confirmed the voltage stayed above 13 with the truck running. It sat for a couple days and the battery is now dead again.

I know the numerous drain and recharge cycles aren't good for the battery, but would it still take a charge and show good on a cranking amps test like its doing? Should I spend the money on a new battery even if this one isn't failing the parts store test, or is it more likely something is draining the battery? I wasn't able to find a short and don't have the best meter for doing this/ but neither of those appeared to be an issue when I checked. I'm pretty sure my mechanic ran those test the first time it was in as well.
 

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I had an issue for awhile due to a faulty remote start. Along the way two batteries tested as fine with an old school load tester and a Scotty Kilmer recommended (sponsored) cheapo Amazon digital one.

Both would seem fine and yet in 2-3 days of non use would drain enough not to meet minimum cranking requirements even though the truck would crank (thanks Nissan!).

So yes a battery can test fine and be functionally useless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had an issue for awhile due to a faulty remote start. Along the way two batteries tested as fine with an old school load tester and a Scotty Kilmer recommended (sponsored) cheapo Amazon digital one.

Both would seem fine and yet in 2-3 days of non use would drain enough not to meet minimum cranking requirements even though the truck would crank (thanks Nissan!).

So yes a battery can test fine and be functionally useless.
Was this the factory remote start? How did you test to find that? I'm out of bumper to bumper warranty so I'm just throwing money at the thing trying to find the issue now.

I charged the battery and used the truck a bit today. A clamp on amp meter showed it bouncing between 0 and 3 milivolts with the truck off, which I'm told is normal. My voltage is fluctuating again with less than 20 miles on the new alternator, I'm starting to wonder if this is normal. After shutting the truck off I the battery is at 12.9 volts. I disconnected the battery to leave it sit for a few days and see if it still drains. I checked for continuity between hot and ground leads while it's disconnected and it seemed fine.
 

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Aftermarket remote start on a 2015 (gen1).
I did a parasitic load test and went around pulling fuses until I found the culprit (load immediately dropped).
Have you done a parasitic draw test yet?
 

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Google and do a parasitic draw. Basically open the doors/hood and remove the key. Turn off interior lights or have them set to door. Disconnect your negative battery cable. Put a voltage meter between the negative and terminal. Note the voltage and wait for it to drop (Wait 30-40 min for everything to shut down via various computer modules). It may drop a few times as things power down.

I forget the reasonable max resting voltage draw but on a modern vehicle it’s far more than an old one. When it seems to be at its lowest (and if it’s indeed elevated) you can start pulling fuses and see what is creating the draw. Pull 1, check for appreciable voltage drop. Plug it back in. Rinse and repeat to find the issue.

Btw a new battery from Walmart is cheap and to my understanding decent quality as they are manufactured by Johnson Controls. $5 core charge applies. Just in case you want to try that instead and rule it out.

I know it’s frustrating and feels like good money after bad but after I had the remote start replaced and was still finding a low current battery if it sat for 48 hours I bit the bullet and bought a new one. Constantly draining a battery can lead to sulfated plates or something like that. Basically an internal short (again or something like that). Electrical stuff isn’t my forte which is probably why I was too stubborn post module replacement to recognize how bad my battery was especially when I had people telling me if it tests fine, it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’ve drained your battery to dead even once it might be time for a new battery. To dead = reversal of charges on plates (again or something like that).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Google and do a parasitic draw. Basically open the doors/hood and remove the key. Turn off interior lights or have them set to door. Disconnect your negative battery cable. Put a voltage meter between the negative and terminal. Note the voltage and wait for it to drop (Wait 30-40 min for everything to shut down via various computer modules). It may drop a few times as things power down.

I forget the reasonable max resting voltage draw but on a modern vehicle it’s far more than an old one. When it seems to be at its lowest (and if it’s indeed elevated) you can start pulling fuses and see what is creating the draw. Pull 1, check for appreciable voltage drop. Plug it back in. Rinse and repeat to find the issue.

Btw a new battery from Walmart is cheap and to my understanding decent quality as they are manufactured by Johnson Controls. $5 core charge applies. Just in case you want to try that instead and rule it out.

I know it’s frustrating and feels like good money after bad but after I had the remote start replaced and was still finding a low current battery if it sat for 48 hours I bit the bullet and bought a new one. Constantly draining a battery can lead to sulfated plates or something like that. Basically an internal short (again or something like that). Electrical stuff isn’t my forte which is probably why I was too stubborn post module replacement to recognize how bad my battery was especially when I had people telling me if it tests fine, it is. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’ve drained your battery to dead even once it might be time for a new battery. To dead = reversal of charges on plates (again or something like that).

I'm hoping it's as simple as a new battery at this point. I'm confused as to the parasitic draw test though. I did that already looking for amps drawn, the voltage should either be at 12 if anything is on or 0 if every thing is off unless it's draining the battery down too far, which would be the same as checking the voltage on the battery after it's been sitting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It will never be zero. I meant amps not voltage for parasitic draw test.
I was thinking a normal switch type circuit, which would be zero volts if open. On further research I found there is a way to do it with voltage drop across a fuse or load, but it's just using ohms law to add an extra step to figure out the am draw.

Either way thanks for the advice, I've yet to find any abnormal amount of draw right the battery yet. It makes me think it may be an intermittent issue while the truck sits if not the battery itself at this point.
 

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Parasitic draw tells you if something is draining the battery in real time. The difference between a minor and major constant drain will not be apparent just checking the battery voltage in say 4 hours after shut down. But you can see it immediately in an amp draw/parasitic load test. Then you can even track it down to which circuit by pulling fuses.

But yeah might just be a battery and that’s a simple thing if you don’t mind spending the cash.
 

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Unhook that deal on the side of the battery that makes your alternator turn off and on. It's the black plug in the positive connection. You can unplug it and your alternator goes to making power full time, like a regular car alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Unhook that deal on the side of the battery that makes your alternator turn off and on. It's the black plug in the positive connection. You can unplug it and your alternator goes to making power full time, like a regular car alternator.
I'm going to look for this tomorrow. Any more specifics on this? I recall there being a fuse block looking thing near the positive terminal several wires coming out of it.
 

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That one should have a plug hanging from the bottom that unplugs. If you try it and nothing charges, remind me and I will take a pic tomorrow
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That one should have a plug hanging from the bottom that unplugs. If you try it and nothing charges, remind me and I will take a pic tomorrow
These are the connections on that side, I'm not sure what one it is you're talking about. The red wire for for the aftermarket power steps, the fuse for them has been removed since these issues started so I've ruled them out. Also with the battery sitting for about 2 days unhooked it dropped from 12.9 volts to 12.6.
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Pretty sure the connection he's talking about is on the negative side.
 

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looking at that picture, it might be on the negative side. it doesn't look like its one of those. when i get home, i will have to pop the hood on the truck and look/take a picture. i found out about it on the site so maybe i can find the talk about it and like it here.
 

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here is a post on that deal. it is on the negative but i couldn't find a picture of it. i copied this from another thread in the second generation area

"Look for a Battery current/temperature sensor installed on the negative battery cable. Optimum voltage balance varies with temperature. But that thing has caused a LOT OF PROBLEMS for people. It can be bypassed. I believe it MICRO manages the alternator more finely than it's internal regulator. I think they are trying to unload the alternator as much as possible to improve MPG and maybe battery life. And it won't play nice at all with some of those 'fancy' batteries out there."
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
here is a post on that deal. it is on the negative but i couldn't find a picture of it. i copied this from another thread in the second generation area

"Look for a Battery current/temperature sensor installed on the negative battery cable. Optimum voltage balance varies with temperature. But that thing has caused a LOT OF PROBLEMS for people. It can be bypassed. I believe it MICRO manages the alternator more finely than it's internal regulator. I think they are trying to unload the alternator as much as possible to improve MPG and maybe battery life. And it won't play nice at all with some of those 'fancy' batteries out there."
There's one on the negative side with 3 or 4 wires, I'm going to assume that's it. Do I just unplug it or have to do anything special? I think I'll let the truck sit for a couple more days with the battery disconnected to make sure it's not discharging on it's own. After that I'll try unplugging that and running some errands with it to see what happens.

Thanks for that info. I hope this lead works out after all the trips to the mechanic and parts store so far.
 
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