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Thread: 55 CJ5 Battery Issues - need your help

  1. #1
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    55 CJ5 Battery Issues - need your help

    New member from the Tahoe area here. I should also make it clear that I don't know jack about cars and am hoping to learn. Got the willy this past summer. Replaced the battery and no issues for about 1.5 months, after which the battery would go dead. I would jump it and the car would start right away, but after awhile, it took a LOT of charging for the car to start.

    My guess is that something is pulling from the battery (some light research suggests this could be related to the alternator), but I'm not a car guy (at least yet), so any help from this group would be awesome.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    Battery Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by tahoewilly View Post
    Replaced the battery and no issues for about 1.5 months, after which the battery would go dead. I would jump it and the car would start right away, but after awhile, it took a LOT of charging for the car to start.

    My guess is that something is pulling from the battery (some light research suggests this could be related to the alternator)
    Well, we try to help.

    The 55 CJ5 was originally a 6-volt Jeep, 12-volt conversion was about '57 and that was originally a generator, not an alternator. You have a conversion to a 12-volt alternator system.

    As a quick work-around, pull the + battery terminal if you don't want to work on this just now. If the battery goes down with the + cable disconnected, you have a battery problem.

    Next, pull the alternator and go have it tested. A defective internal regulator or shorted diode will drain a battery. If you have a good battery and a good alternator - its troubleshooting time.

    There is probably no good record of just how the conversion was done, so it may have to go to a shop for someone to poke around and figure it out.

    It's hard to troubleshoot a conversion on-line; but ask questions and we'll do our best to help.

    There is a similar post for a 56 CJ-3B with a 12-volt conversion, so read his posts as well.

    And, get a shop manual. You sat you're not a car guy, but a Shop Manual will help you learn to be a Jeep guy...
    Last edited by LarrBeard; 01-03-2021 at 04:55 PM.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    Take some pictures of what you have. Some close ups of the regulator, the back of the alternator, and the battery. That will help a lot.

    https://willysjeepforum.kaiserwillys...re-in-a-thread

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys - Got some snow coming this week, but as soon as the storm passes I'll take a few pics. Will also check out that other thread.

  5. #5
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    I’m Not an expert but if you have a multimeter set it to 20 volts DC, put the leads to each battery terminal and get a reading. Then crank the Jeep and with the engine revved up check it again. Should be around 14 volts if your alternator is working. My post is the one LarrBeard was referring to. My battery was going dead also. The alternator was not charging. I assumed it was bad but after testing and found it was good I had to start troubleshooting. My issue was a bad ground from a gauge to the firewall. Easiest thing to fix but was the last thing I looked at. A multimeter is an invaluable tool to have. Not as intimidating as it may first appear. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Thanks for chiming in - looks like I have some troubleshooting ahead of me!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    12-volt troubleshooting

    Quote Originally Posted by Mchambers View Post
    ... but was the last thing I looked at. A multimeter is an invaluable tool to have. Not as intimidating as it may first appear. Good luck!
    A. We usually end up fixing the last thing we look at. AS my wife once wisely said; "I always find my car keys in the last place I look". I couldn't resist; "There is no telling what else you might find if you just keep looking". Not one of my better choices.

    B. Go get a cheap Horrible Frate multimeter. Read the instructions a bit, it's not hard at all. Set up the meter to read current - start on the highest range and work down as needed. Pull the + cable off the battery. Hook the meter in series with the battery and disconnected cable. If you read any current, you have a sneak path somewhere in the vehicle. I'd pull the alternator first since it is one big piece and relatively easy to get to.

    (I often end up leaving my heater fan on low - it will eat my battery in about 8 hours...).

    Good luck - we're here to "hep' yew"

  8. #8
    Super Moderator LarrBeard's Avatar
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    12-volt Troubleshooting

    Does your cluster have just an "Amps" light - no gauge?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator bmorgil's Avatar
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    I keep getting confused between witch one of these we are writing about! I was on Mchambers post and then I was here and now....

    Haha as LarrBeard always says, It is amazing how we always seem to be working on the same things at the same times!

  10. #10
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    I have a similar issue. My battery will run down over a few days. Now when I shut it off, I take the ground cable off of the battery. I can rub it on the terminal and see the very slightest spark. Everything on it is new with the exception of the ignition switch. When I get time I'm going to check out the switch to see if it is bleeding some current through that switch.

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