My battery goes dead



i have a 1998 ford ranger

and it’s battery goes dead, it started being about 2 days then slowly moved to were it goes dead in a half hour now… i have a shut off on the battery, were when i get out i turn it off and then when i get back in it and turn it on it starts, but if i forget to turn that off, then it wont start up and have to charge, please please help… thanks

How old is the battery?  Have you had it tested?  I suspect it is just a bad battery?  Have you added a fancy 10,000 watt audio amp lately?


Even if you had a significant current drain a good battery would not go dead in such a short period of time. We must assume your battery is finished. It is time for replacement. That solution alone might solve your problem completely.


my brother had one. it would go dead as a door nail too. it was eventually traced to the main cable from the battery to the fuse panel under the hood.

in any case, you mention that you have a battery cut off installed. when you do remember to turn it off, when you go to start it, does the truck sound like it is cranking strongly? or is it weak sounding?

as others have said, the battery may just not be able to hold a full charge. do you have another vehicle to swap batteries with?


A quick test for a battery drain: Turn the ignition off. Make sure that everything is turned off. Open the hood. Remove the under-hood light bulb. Fan the battery with a stiff piece of paper to fan away any battery fumes. Disconnect the negative battery cable. As you are removing the battery cable terminal from the battery post, watch for a spark. A very tiny spark is to be expected. A larger one could be because of a battery drain. Wait an hour. Watch for the size of the spark as you touch the battery cable to the battery post. Again, you may see a tiny spark. A larger spark indicates a battery drain. If you see a spark, have a mechanic, capable in electric systems, chase the battery drain.
Of course, your engine computer will have to do a little relearning because of the battery disconnect. The engine might run a little rough until it does the relearn.


one more thought. does this have an aftermarket remote starter or alarm?


“Even if you had a significant current drain a good battery would not go dead in such a short period of time. We must assume your battery is finished. It is time for replacement. That solution alone might solve your problem completely.”

Wrong, I had a car with an almost new battery that developed an interesting problem. I had to jump the car to get it started, then it would run fine until I shut it off. I would then need a jump within a couple of minutes. To get by, I would immediately disconnect the battery cable upon turning it off, until I had a chance to look at it.
What did was to hook a DVM to the battery while the car was running, saw that it was charging at about 13v. Shut the car off and watched the voltage drop to 12 volts with in 2 or 3 minutes. Too low to start the car. But a quick jump started it right off. I traced the wiring to an electronic part, and deduced that it had a shorted diode or transistor in it. Replaced the voltage regulator and the car was fine.


take it to a garage ,you do not know enough to fix this prob yourself,fords are known for relays and solenoids sticking,all that is needed is a parasitic load test done.50.00 later you have an answer 13.0 volts is a low # for alt idle no load. some veh know for alts draining batts also.


There is a bulletin for 1998 Ford Ranger. It’s Article No. 98-17-4. It states to check the battery for punctures from weld burrs on the battery tray. These can short the battery to ground.
Remove the battery and inspect it, and the tray.


no i only got a 800 watt amp.
but this was doing this a month before i got the amp.


the truck cranks strong when i turn the shut off back on…

the battery is brand new…


thinks for the idea


no it had a alarm factory… but all the wires been cut .


If you want to track down that parasitic battery drain, click on this site for step-by-step instructions: May I suggest a decent quality voltmeter (multimeter) from Walmart for under $25?


thinks, but i have tried this and every thing checks out good… but yet it keeps dieing


Here’s an old school trick. With the engine off, disconnect the negative cable, use a spare single filament auto bulb, like a back-up light. Place the outer part f the bulb against the cable clamp, and touch the center contact of the bulb to the negative post of the battery. If the bulb glows fairly bright to very bright, you have a bad drain in the cables somewhere. If it barely glows to not glows, then this is normal, and it must be a bad battery.

Of it is drain somewhere else, start pulling fuses and disconnecting wires, checking with the bulb after each circuit is disconnected, to narrow down the location of the drain.


Check it as soon a you turn it off, then come back and check it an hour later and again like three hours later.


How old is the battery?


Some Fords had a malfunctioning cruise control switch on the master cylinder that would draw so much current it would set the rig on fire.


grghunted, you’ve had enough advice to fix the problem. Now, take it to a shop. They’ll have it fixed very shortly.