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Stuck in 4x4 after dead battery -SOLVED-

BroncoAZ

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Trickle charger if your Bronco ain’t your daily.
I usually plug in a 3.5 amp Ctek charger every couple of weeks on both my stored vehicles unless the battery is disconnected. I don’t like leaving them on the trickle charger all the time, I’ve seen the aftermath of a malfunctioning trickle charger that cooked a battery causing it to explode in the car. The last one was on a Porsche GT, $100K in damage.

What is causing bronco batteries to drain when not used?
Not sure. There is nothing aftermarket on mine with a constant draw from the battery except the wiring for my ARB fridge, but the fridge isn’t plugged in while stored. All my lights are connected to upfitter switches and I assume the Kicker Key 200.4 amp isn’t powered when the ignition is off. I do have an auto stop eliminator installed, but I thought those depended on a capacitor to hold the setting.

After sitting 4+ weeks FordPass dings my phone to say the remote features have been shut down due to low battery life. I received that message in 12/25/2023 but was on a trip to take care of my folks for three more weeks after that and didn’t check the truck until late January.
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NVCowboy

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I usually plug in a 3.5 amp Ctek charger every couple of weeks on both my stored vehicles unless the battery is disconnected. I don’t like leaving them on the trickle charger all the time, I’ve seen the aftermath of a malfunctioning trickle charger that cooked a battery causing it to explode in the car. The last one was on a Porsche GT, $100K in damage.
Oh, damn. I guess there's downsides to everything.
 
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So, thanks, folks, for encouraging me to try again with the battery.



It didn't work the first time, so I tried again. This time I opened the rear left door and was amazed that the glass still lowered, so obviously there is lots of power left in the system, even with no battery connected for more than 2 minutes.



And bam, all fine, no error, can shift all modes and have 2/4x4.



Have a nice one folks, Patrick
 

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After ~2 weeks of no start/drive the Bronco will automatically go into a hibernation mode (deep sleep, battery saver) but it can be changed/disabled by forscan, perhaps unintentionally, while making other changes to the battery monitoring system (smart charging).

My Bronco has sat in unheated enclosed storage for 1-2 months at a time, also during prolonged low/negative temperatures, and then started fine with no trickle charge or boost/jump. I have made no forscan changes to my Bronco.

I believe any additional aftermarket electrical accessory wired into the Bronco presents a draw that prevents the hibernation mode from functioning correctly. I have added no electrical accessories and warm up/drive the Bronco extensively after each period of prolonged storage.
 

0ne

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You could try disconnecting the battery (once its fully charged), then reconnecting it after 30sec or so. Some modules do flaky stuff when voltage gets low. There is a software update for the 4x4 module tho, might help in the future!
Do you have more details on the software update for the 4x4 module? Did you seek out the information or were you notified? Thanks
 

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SwissBronco

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I have the Brandview digital rearview mirror, the only acc, this will draw a bit since it's always ready to record a parking bumper hit-and-run.



Otherwise, I know from all my other vehicles that it is important to lock the vehicle, even in your closed private garage. This will also prevent the battery from draining quickly.



I am not a fan of trickle charges. We have lots of toys in our summer house, these only get used three months of the year. We used to have them all on trickle charges, but still had to change the battery every 2–3 years. It gets very cold there in the winter and hot in the summer.

Since many years we just charge the batteries overnight on every toy when we are there, every 2–3 months, we have never had a battery issue again.



Patrick
 

BroncoAZ

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After ~2 weeks of no start/drive the Bronco will automatically go into a hibernation mode (deep sleep, battery saver) but it can be changed/disabled by forscan, perhaps unintentionally, while making other changes to the battery monitoring system (smart charging).

My Bronco has sat in unheated enclosed storage for 1-2 months at a time, also during prolonged low/negative temperatures, and then started fine with no trickle charge or boost/jump. I have made no forscan changes to my Bronco.

I believe any additional aftermarket electrical accessory wired into the Bronco presents a draw that prevents the hibernation mode from functioning correctly. I have added no electrical accessories and warm up/drive the Bronco extensively after each period of prolonged storage.
No Forscan changes on mine. I don’t lock it in the garage.

I have the Brandview digital rearview mirror, the only acc, this will draw a bit since it's always ready to record a parking bumper hit-and-run.

Otherwise, I know from all my other vehicles that it is important to lock the vehicle, even in your closed private garage. This will also prevent the battery from draining quickly.

I am not a fan of trickle charges. We have lots of toys in our summer house, these only get used three months of the year. We used to have them all on trickle charges, but still had to change the battery every 2–3 years. It gets very cold there in the winter and hot in the summer.

Since many years we just charge the batteries overnight on every toy when we are there, every 2–3 months, we have never had a battery issue again.

Patrick
My folks have two cars that are in storage at my house 8 months each year. They have always disconnected the negative terminal and haven’t had any battery problems. They charge when they arrive and reconnect. Shockingly the battery in the Solara is from 2013, one of the good Sears Diehard P1 AGM units. Same thing for the generator starting battery, disconnect until needed.
 

Bmadda

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Do you have more details on the software update for the 4x4 module? Did you seek out the information or were you notified? Thanks
Had something to do w/flat towing. Read it in another thread. No Idea what it changes
 
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GRB1959

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Otherwise, I know from all my other vehicles that it is important to lock the vehicle, even in your closed private garage. This will also prevent the battery from draining quickly.

Patrick
So locking your vehicles while in your private garage prevents the battery from draining more quickly? I have never heard this before, but I find it interesting.

I assume that this procedure would be used for vehicles that are not your primary vehicle so it would be used for vehicles that are basically in storage then?
 

BadlandsA51

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Hi helpers



I had a dead battery due to not driving the Bronco for a month.

After a good charge, it's stuck in 4x4. I can't change the drive mode, on startup it says service 4x4.



I have read that this can happen after a dead battery. Do I really have to go to the dealer to have the 4x4 module software reset? Is there any way around this?



Thanks for any help, Patrick

22 Outerbanks Sasy, 2.7
All modern cars have parasitic loads on the battery when they are shut down. The last few years with OTA updates and connectivity for Ford Pass the Telematics Control Module has just added to it. How long the battery lasts with these parasitic loads depends largely on the battery state of charge when the vehicle is parked.
If it’s at or near 100%, the battery will go at least 30 days and have enough power left to start the car. if the car is driven on a lot of short trips, the battery won’t be at 100%, especially in cold weather.
If the battery is at 80% charge, it might not be able to start the car after 15 or 20 days. The cars do monitor battery state of charge, and will shut off some of the parasitic loads if it gets low, that’s the “Deep Sleep “ message you got on Ford Pass. But module memory powers are hot at all times, and will continue to pull the battery down even in Deep Sleep mode. And those loads, even though they are very small, around 12 to 15 mA, will kill a low charge battery.
Moral of the story, if a car sits for long periods of time, get a good battery maintainer and leave it on the car while it’s parked. A Nico Genius is a good choice for a maintainer.
 

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BadlandsA51

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All modern cars have parasitic loads on the battery when they are shut down. The last few years with OTA updates and connectivity for Ford Pass the Telematics Control Module has just added to it. How long the battery lasts with these parasitic loads depends largely on the battery state of charge when the vehicle is parked.
If it’s at or near 100%, the battery will go at least 30 days and have enough power left to start the car. if the car is driven on a lot of short trips, the battery won’t be at 100%, especially in cold weather.
If the battery is at 80% charge, it might not be able to start the car after 15 or 20 days. The cars do monitor battery state of charge, and will shut off some of the parasitic loads if it gets low, that’s the “Deep Sleep “ message you got on Ford Pass. But module memory powers are hot at all times, and will continue to pull the battery down even in Deep Sleep mode. And those loads, even though they are very small, around 12 to 15 mA, will kill a low charge battery.
Moral of the story, if a car sits for long periods of time, get a good battery maintainer and leave it on the car while it’s parked. A Nico Genius is a good choice for a maintainer.
A Noco Genius. Fat fingers strike again.
 

HotLap

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I’ve also noticed the “Parade of Faults” on a couple of occasions after not driving my Bronco for as little as 3 days. All cleared after a few minutes of driving. Bronco is parked locked in an enclosed garage and not subject to severe temp swings. I get the “External accessories not available/disabled (or similar) to preserve battery“ notice from Ford app every couple of weeks if I haven’t driven longer distances.

Curious as to why it would drain so quickly, I did some research and read that todays vehicles advanced systems rely so much on the battery that they drain more quickly and don’t recharge as quickly while driving. So if you’re letting it sit and taking mainly short trips it may not be getting back to 100% charge.

And, last but not least, I learned firsthand with my 2018 Raptor the battery management system can get a bit touchy when managing a battery that is partially drained. IIRC, the battery management system will not allow above an 80% charge to preserve a battery it senses that’s starting to fail. Also, Raptor always started fine but over time the ASS stopped working (yay) and other faults (like we’re seeing with the Bronco) would start to appear. I’d be going 65mph on the freeway with key sitting on console and get the “No key detected” warning... After several trips to dealership it turned out that I had a slowly failing battery and once replaced all was right with the truck again. Dealer did confirm that it’s not uncommon for batteries to fail in as little as 3 yrs (which is right where I was at 34mos). Before you say it, it wasn’t the fob battery as that’s the first thing I replaced - as did the dealer to no avail.

At one point I added an Amazon sourced wireless charging pad in my center console, and it intensified my battery issues, I’m guessing it’s draw wouldn’t allow the truck to go into sleep mode, so I removed it as well.

Not an electrical nor battery expert by any stretch of the imaginaction, just sharing observations.
 

BadlandsA51

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I’ve also noticed the “Parade of Faults” on a couple of occasions after not driving my Bronco for as little as 3 days. All cleared after a few minutes of driving. Bronco is parked locked in an enclosed garage and not subject to severe temp swings. I get the “External accessories not available/disabled (or similar) to preserve battery“ notice from Ford app every couple of weeks if I haven’t driven longer distances.

Curious as to why it would drain so quickly, I did some research and read that todays vehicles advanced systems rely so much on the battery that they drain more quickly and don’t recharge as quickly while driving. So if you’re letting it sit and taking mainly short trips it may not be getting back to 100% charge.

And, last but not least, I learned firsthand with my 2018 Raptor the battery management system can get a bit touchy when managing a battery that is partially drained. IIRC, the battery management system will not allow above an 80% charge to preserve a battery it senses that’s starting to fail. Also, Raptor always started fine but over time the ASS stopped working (yay) and other faults (like we’re seeing with the Bronco) would start to appear. I’d be going 65mph on the freeway with key sitting on console and get the “No key detected” warning... After several trips to dealership it turned out that I had a slowly failing battery and once replaced all was right with the truck again. Dealer did confirm that it’s not uncommon for batteries to fail in as little as 3 yrs (which is right where I was at 34mos). Before you say it, it wasn’t the fob battery as that’s the first thing I replaced - as did the dealer to no avail.

At one point I added an Amazon sourced wireless charging pad in my center console, and it intensified my battery issues, I’m guessing it’s draw wouldn’t allow the truck to go into sleep mode, so I removed it as well.

Not an electrical nor battery expert by any stretch of the imaginaction, just sharing observations.
ASS not working is the first sign that the battery is low on charge and/or failing. The battery monitoring system won’t reduce charging for a failing battery, but the battery won’t accept the charge. If you look in the fuel economy menu in the cluster message center and scroll to the bottom you’ll see Auto Start/Stop. If you select that it will show why ASS isn’t working. If it says “Vehicle Charging”, the battery is low. If it continues to show that after driving 30 minutes or so, you need a battery.
It’s not unusual to see batteries fail in 3 years, depending on vehicle use, short trips cycle the battery frequently and that shortens their life.
The “No Key Detected” message can pop up once in a while when there really isn’t any issue. Sometimes it’s the location of the key in the vehicle, sometimes it’s just a fluke.
I really don’t think whether the car is locked or not matters, but leaving the key in it can keep the Radio Transceiver Module awake and increase battery draw.
You are correct to suspect aftermarket accessories, they are often at the root of battery draw issues, especially any that plug into the Data Link Connector.
 

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After ~2 weeks of no start/drive the Bronco will automatically go into a hibernation mode (deep sleep, battery saver) but it can be changed/disabled by forscan, perhaps unintentionally, while making other changes to the battery monitoring system (smart charging).

My Bronco has sat in unheated enclosed storage for 1-2 months at a time, also during prolonged low/negative temperatures, and then started fine with no trickle charge or boost/jump. I have made no forscan changes to my Bronco.

I believe any additional aftermarket electrical accessory wired into the Bronco presents a draw that prevents the hibernation mode from functioning correctly. I have added no electrical accessories and warm up/drive the Bronco extensively after each period of prolonged storage.
It could be the security system and proximity sensors
 
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