Diesel Power - - Contents - By John Le­hen­bauer

Dead-bat­tery woes

I’M SURE MOST of you have ex­pe­ri­enced that mo­ment when you turn the ig­ni­tion key of your truck to start the en­gine and ab­so­lutely noth­ing hap­pens. There is a nearly in­fi­nite num­ber of rea­sons why it is not work­ing, es­pe­cially on newer ve­hi­cles that are heav­ily equipped with elec­tronic ac­ces­sories, but there is also a good like­li­hood that a low or dead bat­tery could be the cul­prit.

A mul­ti­tude of things can cause a bat­tery’s volt­age to di­min­ish. Some of the more com­mon rea­sons are re­lated to driver er­ror, like leav­ing the lights on or lis­ten­ing to the stereo for too long with the en­gine off. Even if bat­ter­ies are well taken care of (never drained com­pletely or over­heated), they do even­tu­ally go bad. While they typ­i­cally last years with­out even a hic­cup, a new cell can go bad in a mat­ter of weeks for no par­tic­u­lar rea­son.

A bat­tery al­ways seems to die at the most in­op­por­tune time, like when you are rush­ing to pick up the kids from school or run­ning late for work. If your luck is like mine, then it hap­pens when you’re in the mid­dle of nowhere with no one around to help with a jump start. Dead bat­ter­ies never hap­pen on a lazy Satur­day when you’re just go­ing to the store and there is noth­ing re­ally go­ing on.

When you do get your ve­hi­cle started (prob­a­bly with a jump start from an­other ve­hi­cle), there is al­ways a fear that maybe the bat­tery won’t take a charge and if the en­gine shuts off for any rea­son, “I could get stuck with not a soul around to help.”

You can take pre­cau­tions to make sure an en­gine starts, but there are no guar­an­tees it will fire ev­ery time. When the au­to­mo­tive grem­lins catch up with you, your bat­tery will not have any juice. So, the best thing you can do is be pre­pared to deal with the worst-case sce­nario.

The best way to pre­pare for a dead bat­tery (un­less you like to carry a spare bat­tery and tools) is to have a set of jumper ca­bles or a jump starter. Jumper ca­bles have been the goto standby since the dawn of the au­to­mo­tive bat­tery. They are a com­mon sight in the bed of a truck or stuffed be­hind a seat. A good heavy- duty set of ca­bles works great for a se­ri­ously dead bat­tery (from leav­ing the lights on overnight) and dieselpow­ered trucks (es­pe­cially those with mul­ti­ple bat­ter­ies). But the draw­back to us­ing jumpers is they re­quire an­other power source (typ­i­cally from a sec­ond ve­hi­cle) for them to work.

That’s where a jump starter comes in. A jump starter is a com­pact bat­tery pack that uses al­li­ga­tor-style clamps that at­tach to a bat­tery just like reg­u­lar jumper ca­bles but don’t re­quire the sec­ondary power source. They just need to be fully charged.

I got the chance to try out the Weego Jump Starter 66 when the bat­tery in my com­muter car de­cided to go south. It was dead to the point that there wasn’t even a buzz or a ding in the cabin when the key was turned. So I grabbed the unit out of the trunk, re­moved it from the stor­age con­tainer, plugged in the ca­bles, and hooked up the clamps to the bat­tery (the Smarty Clamps made sure I had it right). It had enough juice to get the V-6 spin­ning again right away.

The boost­ing de­vice is small and com­pact, but it packs a lot of power. It has 2,500 peak amps and 600 true crank­ing amps at your dis­posal. That is enough juice to kick over a 10.0L gas and—more im­por­tantly—a 5.0L diesel en­gine. Hook­ing the clamps onto the ter­mi­nals is a no­brainer with the Smarty Clamps. They fea­ture built-in au­to­matic pro­tec­tion that uses lights and sounds to pre­vent you from hook­ing up in­cor­rectly.

The 66 is also re­ally handy to have around for power needs other than jump start­ing. It has USB, 12-volt, and 19-volt charge ports, along with a 600-lu­men tac­ti­cal flash­light for those ex­cur­sions af­ter dark. The jumper is ready for Mother Na­ture’s wrath with an IP65 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for wa­ter, dust, and dirt re­sis­tance.

The con­ve­nience and com­pact size of the Weego is great, mak­ing it a per­fect ad­di­tion to any­one’s stash of tools in their truck. It in­cludes ev­ery­thing needed to pro­tect it (wa­ter-re­sis­tant carry case) and en­sure it is prop­erly charged (wall and car plugs).

Although the Weego Jump Starter 66 can be used in place of jumper ca­bles, I be­lieve it is al­ways good to have a set of ca­bles on hand as a backup. Pack your gear wisely.

JOHN LE­HEN­BAUER jle­hen­bauer@en­thu­si­ast­net­

The Weego Jump Starter 66 comes with ev­ery­thing packed nicely in a dec­o­ra­tive metal con­tainer. I used the com­pact jump box to get my com­muter car go­ing af­ter a dead bat­tery left me stranded. The Smarty Clamps guar­an­teed I had ev­ery­thing hooked up cor­rectly. The Jump Starter 66 has 2,500 peak amps and 600 true crank­ing amps avail­able. That’s enough to ac­tu­ally get a 5.0L diesel en­gine to crank over.

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