Preparing the Tractor and Liftgate Charging Electrical Systems for Winter

Winter is hard on batteries and electrical systems, so it is important to make sure the proper preventative maintenance procedures are followed every fall. In the two short videos below (each video is under 20 minutes), Bruce Purkey explains the areas of the tractor and trailer liftgate system that need to be checked yearly.

Testing the Tractor

The Technology Maintenance Council (TMC) RP-129 outlines an easy 1-2-3 approach to testing cranking
and charging systems:

Testing the Cranking System

  1. Disconnect all batteries and test with a quality tester
  2. Conduct a voltage drop test on main cranking cables
  3. Conduct a voltage drop test on the control circuit

Testing the Charging System

  1. Take all batteries apart and test with a quality tester
  2. Conduct a voltage drop test on charging cables
  3. Test the alternator

Testing the Trailer Liftgate System

In the video, Bruce gives a simple, three-step process for preparing liftgate charging systems for winter:

  1. Test the Batteries
    1. Make sure the OCV is 12.4 volts or higher
    2. Take the cables off the battery posts
    3. Clean the lead pad area
    4. Install lead adaptors
    5. Use a good battery tester and test each battery in the box
    6. Keep good batteries and replace defective ones
  2. Test the Charging System to the Liftgate Batteries
    1. Use an adaptor that allows you to connect to the liftgate batteries
    2. When using a DC/DC converter, use the Purkeys bypass adaptor
    3. Pull a 20-amp load for the liftgate batteries and measure the voltage at the liftgate and
      at the front at the same time. You are allowed a two-volt drop
    4. If circuit passes, move on. If circuit fails, repair the circuit
  3. Test the DC/DC Converter
    1. Use a voltmeter to determine the OCV of the liftgate batteries
    2. Use a clip-on ammeter around the charging cable from the DC/DC converter
    3. Plug in the charging cable from the tractor and start the tractor
    4. You will see the voltage rise and current flow

If you have any questions about our liftgate charging system or winterizing your vehicle, contact us here!

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