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Truck electrical fails every 15 seconds or so on freeway

Discussion in '2.5 Gen Tundras (2014-2021)' started by panicman, Jan 25, 2023.

  1. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:29 AM
    #1
    panicman

    panicman [OP] Everyone remain calm.

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    Out of nowhere, at 74600, I was in the freeway at about 65-70, and the electrical system just went dead; all needles dropped toward zero, the truck started coasting, and it lasts about 2 seconds, then everything is back up and running. 10-15 seconds later- it happens again, and again, and again. Pull off and it idles fine. Stopped and restarted the engine with no problem.

    Charging system still pegged at 14v charging with engine on.

    No warning lights, no messages. What gives?
     
  2. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:46 AM
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    Retired...finally

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    Original battery?
     
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  3. Jan 25, 2023 at 9:59 AM
    #3
    Tundra234

    Tundra234 New Member

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    I would definitely get a load test done on the battery. If it's older that 2 to 2.5 years old, it's needing a replacement anyway. Hopefully that is all it is. Also make sure your battery cables are nice and tight.
     
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  4. Jan 25, 2023 at 10:03 AM
    #4
    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    Could be ignition switch or rodent damage. Do you adjust column a lot or have auto adjusted column? Frequent adjustment can damage the wires.
     
  5. Jan 25, 2023 at 10:05 AM
    #5
    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    You may also have a loose ignition fuse, sometimes I pull mine out if going away for a bit.
     
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  6. Jan 25, 2023 at 10:39 AM
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    Retired...finally

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    Cool idea to remove the fuse. I should do that and put it in the slot marked 500KV cat protection circuit. :eek2:
     
  7. Jan 25, 2023 at 10:45 AM
    #7
    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    Yeah, you know if you are going to park at the airport in El Paso, Philly, or Baltimore for ten days or similar and want to have a truck when you get back it's cheap and simple insurance.
     
  8. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:31 AM
    #8
    newwelder27

    newwelder27 New Member

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    I wouldn't think the battery if the alternator is functioning correctly. But who knows nowadays. Ignition switch bad wire or contact sounds more realistic. Have you done any work to the truck in recent weeks before this happened? Even the smallest thing if you can think of anything coukd be a potential point of interest to look at. Like did you wash your engine bay previously, did you drive through a puddle, change a light out inside the truck.
     
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  9. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:35 AM
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    2mchfun

    2mchfun Lead foot, left lane, loud stereo

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    Whatever is found, please post it up for the next folks to reference. TIA!
     
  10. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:38 AM
    #10
    panicman

    panicman [OP] Everyone remain calm.

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    Update- scraped corrosion of the neg terminal and unplugged the Pioneer HU from the OBD port.
    No issues.

    Original battery.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  11. Jan 25, 2023 at 11:47 AM
    #11
    shawn474

    shawn474 New Member

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    This happened to me on an old Accord I had; traveling highway speeds and literally car would go dead and all gauges would zero out. It would start back on its own initially, but then I would have to coast to a stop and restart it. Replaced the ignition switch and it never happened again in the years that I owned it. Hopefully yours is as easy of a fix
     
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  12. Jan 25, 2023 at 6:56 PM
    #12
    panicman

    panicman [OP] Everyone remain calm.

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    Plugged OBD back in and drove home 60mi without incident. I’m thinking the battery is gone and the corrosion got the better of it today.
    I’ll dig around and see what batteries folks are hailing as bombproof.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
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  13. Jan 25, 2023 at 8:26 PM
    #13
    Jeff_5_7

    Jeff_5_7 New Member

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    This sounds like a bad ground issue to me.

    A new battery probably wouldn’t hurt but with the alternator running and charging electrical power is being pushed into the system. If the battery is bad it just won’t store this power as well.

    Can you isolate more of the circuits that are cutting out? Obviously the gauges? Radio? AC controls? Lights?

    Everything went dark and I mean everything? If so main ground is definitely the place to start
     
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  14. Jan 26, 2023 at 7:17 AM
    #14
    AlrightAlrightAlright

    AlrightAlrightAlright New Member

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    Had a shorted OEM battery on mine last year. Should note here… there seem to be a growing number of defective batteries out there. My buddy has replaced two batteries that tested bad at 8 months of service on a 5-year battery.
     
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  15. Jan 26, 2023 at 7:21 AM
    #15
    TRDFerguson

    TRDFerguson Turd Ferguson, it’s a funny name.

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    I’ve had 2 Toyota batteries die at 1-1.5 years each, seemingly from the batteries leaking/losing electrolyte, which also caused bad corrosion issues on both terminals. I’ve since swapped to new terminals and an AGM sealed battery and so far so good.
    FD6ADB61-BC20-47C2-84C4-C3E685AE4DB6.jpg
     
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  16. Jan 26, 2023 at 8:21 AM
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    panicman

    panicman [OP] Everyone remain calm.

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    I think I have to agree with the assessment of a bad ground.

    To be clear: the truck was going D-E-A-D… literally 2 second intervals of being in a dark truck, coasting, and then it would all pick back up.

    I pulled over and popped the hood with the engine running. There was significant corrosion on the negative battery terminal and clamp, which I scraped away. I grabbed the negative cable and twisted aggressively, and it seemed tight and solid.
    On an illogical whim, I pulled the OBD lead that runs to my aftermarket HU.
    I sat in the lot I pulled into with the throttle open at about 2500rpm for 30 seconds to see if that was a cause, but everything ran smoothly.
    I did notice that the battery gauge was at 14…. Below its normal position at or above 15v.
    Finally, I killed the engine and started it back up twice, and everything was fine.

    I drove the rest of the way, about 40 more miles and parked. Six hours later I returned and the truck started and ran fine. Halfway through my return trip I plugged the OBD lead back in and that caused no issues.

    My guess is that the negative terminal was corroded and I didn’t have a solid ground.

    The battery is 5 years old, original factory battery. No reason to suspect it’s defective but it’s getting aged. I’ll probably get it load tested.
     
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  17. Jan 26, 2023 at 9:24 AM
    #17
    BlueLighting

    BlueLighting New Member

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    Remember your battery is just for starting the truck. Once it starts the alternator takes over. If your alternator fails it will run off battery power.
     
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  18. Jan 26, 2023 at 10:31 AM
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    Retired...finally

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    The battery also acts as a filter. Fading batteries seem to cause odd gremlins on Toyotas. Even though the do their primary job well enough.
     
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  19. Jan 26, 2023 at 2:48 PM
    #19
    AlrightAlrightAlright

    AlrightAlrightAlright New Member

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    My battery had no external signs of failure, it just flickered everything for 15-20 miles then it was done, as the OP described. O’Reillys ran the full cycle test and battery was done, unchargeable. Got their cheapo new one and zero issues. Curious @TRDFerguson why you went with a deep cycle battery versus a normal cranking battery?
     
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  20. Jan 26, 2023 at 3:08 PM
    #20
    TRDFerguson

    TRDFerguson Turd Ferguson, it’s a funny name.

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    Partially because I am a lumenz whore and keep adding lights and wanted some extra electrons available, but mostly because standard wet/flooded batteries don’t seem to do well in the extreme heat here. I’d really like to get 4-5 years out of this AGM vs the almost-two that I’ve been seeing.
     
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  21. Jan 27, 2023 at 7:44 AM
    #21
    Redline870

    Redline870 New Member

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    ^^^ This. You could start the truck, remove your battery and in theory, as long as you kept gas in it, keep the engine running indefinitely without issue. I HIGHLY doubt it’s the battery. I have seen bad batteries cause a parasitic drain on the system and cause some wacky electrical issues, but nothing like what you’re experiencing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2023

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