The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Limping along

Jump starting

Our old farm truck is still limping along. Five months in the swamp and getting yanked out by a tractor necessitated repairing the gas tank and putting the universal joint back in after it fell out.

But we're still suffering from a short that drains the battery after a few days of disuse. That wouldn't be so bad if the hood latch didn't stick and require four hands every time we needed to open it.

Our mechanic repaired the sticking hood latch, but was left scratching his head over the short. I think I'll install a switch on the battery so I can turn it off when not in use.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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When I had that problem, the light under the engine hood was staying on.
Comment by john Mon Jan 26 17:03:39 2015
Start pulling fuses maybe a couple at a time untill you hit the one that stops the drain , My ranger had this problem it Was the interior light dimmer/ timer they dimmed out but the timer stayed on killing the battery in three days , the fuse is still out , who needs interior lights in a 20 year old truck ?
Comment by diogenese Mon Jan 26 18:07:06 2015
you could use a multimeter set to measure amps, and with the ignition set to off remove the fuses one by one and replace them with your ammeter instead. If the circuit is truly off, then you shoukd bre measuring Zero amps. Otherwise, that circuit is drawing power and draining your battery.
Comment by pedro Mon Jan 26 18:09:25 2015

Had the same problem with an old minivan I only use once in a while. I installed one of these ( ) cost $30 plus a short battery cable. Works fine. But it is under the hood.

Comment by tom Mon Jan 26 18:12:04 2015
We had a similar problem with our Toyota Estima minivan. The battery would be drained, so we would jump start it, drive it to charge it up, but it kept losing charge slowly over a few days. We brought it to the shop numerous times, they checked the battery and said "no problems here, it's fully charged." Well of course it was after we drove it to the shop! Then we had him keep it for two nights and he saw that the battery was just defective. Slapped in a new one and things have been peachy ever since.
Comment by Eric in Japan Mon Jan 26 19:36:27 2015

Hi Mark and Anna,

I too added a battery cutoff switch to my 20 year old truck. Might be a good idea on all of your vehicles that aren't regularly used. Cost me $20.

Solved problem.

I'll probably plow with it today.

John - Concord NH Where people are afraid of snow !!!! What is wrong with their brains.... They probably need some of Mark and Anna's good food!

Comment by John Tue Jan 27 05:31:26 2015

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