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Dodge Repair/"03 Ram: 'overdraw' discharges battery in 2 days


QUESTION: if my truck sits for 2 days it drains the battery. i put in a new battery and no help. how would i go about tracking down this short. also passenger elc window only works sometime and cruise acts up at times.

ANSWER: Hi Woody,
There are several fuses that supply circuits that are in use even when the ignition is off (power door locks, interior lights, theft system, some electronic modules). The current draw is typically 50 mA or so, and after about 3 weeks the battery will get weak, not just in 2 days. So you would be helped if you had a milliamp meter to see how much this ignition off draw current is, then start removing the fuses one at a time to find out which circuit is causing the excess draw. Let me know if you have access to a meter but I also need to know which truck/year you have. I only have manuals for '04-'07 models but if it were near to those the diagrams could be applicable to your truck. Have you checked for the glove box or engine compartment light to not be going off? Otherwise we need to measure that off draw current and see which fuse if pulling too much.
Please 'rate' my answer (see below).

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QUESTION: sorry for not giving enough info my truck is an 03 dodge 1500 4X4 there is no light under the hood and the bulb is missing in the glove box i think what i needed to know you answered by how many mA draw on the battery

ANSWER: Hi Woody,
Thanks for replying and for the rating/nomination. Unfortunately there are 60 fuses in the box according to the '04 diagrams but if pulling and replacing is easy then go for it. Be careful when starting to read the off draw current that you use the least sensitive current scale of the meter so as not to overload its circuit and damage the meter (use a many amp ssale if you have that, the higher the better). Then drop down the scale as you reduce the 'off-draw'. Let me know which fuse(s) seem to be carrying the excessive current and I can tell you the details of that circuit based upon the '04 manual. Wait for about 3 minutes after shutting down the truck for several time controlled circuits to close down.

PS: You might also disconnect the fat brown/red wire from the alternator and see whether that would significantly cut the IOD current as a defective generator can also discharge the battery. Be careful though because it is connected to the + post of the battery.

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QUESTION: the alternator was the first wire i pulled. i cant find an overdraw on any fuse and i am stuck

Hi Woody,
What is the milli-amp reading when you first started and what was the reading after disconnecting the alternator? What was the lowest reading you got when you removed the 60 fuses, one at a time?
I can start looking for other pathways than the fuses and the alternator but I need to get an idea of where you stand as far as how much is the highest and lowest readings that you observed.

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Roland Finston


Free fast answer to your repair question about a Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth car, minivan, SUV, or truck. Problems with electronically controlled engines and transmissions as well as body wiring problems are my specialty. This free troubleshoot advice forum helps you diagnose faults, minimize repair costs or do-it-yourself.

I answer questions seven days a week and respond to you in about 30 minutes. "Maxed Out" means I am answering another question or asleep overnight so try again later.

I have do-it-yourself experience (50+ years) and a library of 100 1982-2011 Chrysler factory shop manuals and 20 multi-manual Chrysler Corp. CD's.

I was voted "Top expert" from 2010-2015 here at AllExperts, and have answered 20,000+ questions.


Five decades as a 'do-it-yourselfer' on domestic and imported cars

Yahoo Autos Group called The Chrysler Lebaron Club (co-moderator)

Degrees in Physics/bruised knuckles.

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"Top expert" of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 here at Allexperts. Quickest "average response time" at Allexperts (currently no. 1).

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