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Discussion Starter #1
I mean really dead. 8 volts dead.

I went to drive the truck today and found the battery to be dead. I just drove it yesterday with no apparent problems. And as usual, I plugged it into the battery tender when I got home. How does a battery on a tender get drained? There were no obvious items left on.
 

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And as usual, I plugged it into the battery tender when I got home.
Why on earth would you plug into a battery tender routinely ??? If there's "need" to do this, you have a bad battery or a parasitic drain. I can leave my 2004 Frontier just sitting for 3 months and it will start right up.

How old is your battery anyway???? Here in Arizona the average life is 2.5 years for them.


I went to drive the truck today and found the battery to be dead. How does a battery on a tender get drained? There were no obvious items left on.
An electrical drain with nothing switched on can be from a bad alternator, even if the alternator charges while the engine is on.

And - although this might be totally unrelated to YOUR issue - prior to 2010 my 1998 Frontier experienced about 6 totally dead batteries, I finally traced it to a bad electrical part of the ignition switch. Since I was unable to locate a new part on a weekend, I just installed a high-amperage toggle switch so I could interrupt power TO the ignition switch when turning the truck off, that solved it. It turned out that sometimes - like at night - even with no key in the ignition that stuff under the dash would start actuating and run down the battery in a few hours, and that battery would no longer be able to be charged.

A few years later I did get and install a new electrical part of ignition switch with new from Autozone or O'Reilly, and it has worked fine since.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Keeping a battery on a tender will prolong its life. My other truck and car have over 5 years on the current batteries. I used to change them every 2 or 3 years. So that's why, not because I "need" to.

What part did you replace on the ignition?

The alternator was just replaced a couple of months ago so that's unlikely. Possible, but unlikely.

The year isn't punched on the battery but the last one is 2013 so its at least 4 years old.

I put it on the charger yesterday and it seemed to take a charge so I put it back on the tender and left it overnight. It had 13 volts this morning but I'm going to let it sit and see how the voltage drops.

I hope it is a bad cell, I don't want to replace any more parts!
 

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Dead cell on the battery, its toast. Don't waste your time trickle charging, won't you loose a cell like that they don't come back. Time for a new battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Like I said, that's what I'm hoping.

Its still holding voltage but I let it sit until tomorrow and check again.
 

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Go with the basics: slow charge the battery and have it tested. If it tests good, then check for a parasitic draw, which should be 50 milliamps or less. If that's good, check the alternator belt and charging system, which should be 13.2-15.0 volts with and without loads and at idle and at 3000 RPM. Also make sure the charging system warning light is working in the cluster during the bulb check (when you turn the key to the "on" position/engine not running).
 

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Dead cell on the battery, its toast. Don't waste your time trickle charging, won't you loose a cell like that they don't come back. Time for a new battery.
Dead cell, no doubt. Just happened to my wife's Toyota and it had me scratching my head for a couple minutes until I figured it out.

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Discussion Starter #8
Aww crap! Its the ignition cylinder.

After 2 days of sitting, the battery was holding a charge. So I took the truck to the store and back, no problems. Until I shut it off.

When I pulled the key out I noticed all the dash lights were still on. So I put the key back in, turned it on then off, and everything was fine.

Apparently if you don't turn it that last little bit you can pull the key out and the cylinder stays in accessory mode. At least I think that's what mode it was.

Anyway, I know what it is now so I can live with it until I can get it replaced.

I knew it was odd that the battery went that low that fast.
 

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Well, that's a pretty easy and inexpensive fix. Rockauto.com sells them for $18 from Beck~Arnley (listed under "ignition starter switch).
 

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Well, that's a pretty easy and inexpensive fix. Rockauto.com sells them for $18 from Beck~Arnley (listed under "ignition starter switch).
Yeah, and you don't need to remove the steering wheel either, just the upper and lower covers.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, that's a pretty easy and inexpensive fix. Rockauto.com sells them for $18 from Beck~Arnley (listed under "ignition starter switch).
So what's the difference between a Starter Switch and an Ignition Cylinder?
 

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So what's the difference between a Starter Switch and an Ignition Cylinder?
There are two parts to the key switch

One is mechanical portion (cylinder like a door lock with pins that fit only one key) and the other is the electrical portion

You would only change the cylinder if you're having problems turning the key or lost your key (or in your case it's failing mechanically)

all you need to do is take out the small cover between the steering wheel and the instrument cluster to reach it. It's a simple and quick job, I think all you need is a Phillips screwdriver for everything if you're only changing the electrical portion. It's a 2 piece plastic cover

In your case the cylinder is held on by screws that are meant to break off when they are torqued, so you're going to have to use an extractor to get them out (drill a pilot hole in the center of each screw and put in the extractor, turn them out)



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Discussion Starter #14
How do you know for sure if its the switch or the cylinder?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I know its been a while but I move very slow nowadays. So here's an update.

I got the ignition switch changed today. Key problem is gone.

Thanks guys!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I know, right.

To be fair, I also pulled the tranny to replace the clutch and fluids, and realigned the passenger door.
 
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