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Hello everyone and thanks for having me .
I searched my topic first on here and other places but wanted to ask a specific question .
I bought a 2004 Ranger 500 4x4 about a month ago .
I purchased it VERY cheap because it wasn't running and the guy didn't want to fix it . Long story short , the fuel line in the tank had rotted and fell off inside .
I replaced it along with a new posiflow fuel pump , new battery , spark plug and changed the oil .
It had been running great up until a couple days ago .
The first thing I noticed was sometimes the headlights would dim during acceleration. It started and ran fine for a another week or so and then after a short ride it wouldn't re start and the battery was dead . I checked the simplest things first (loose terminals , etc.) . It fired right up when I hooked my jump pack to it but would not restart after you killed the ignition without being jump started .
I jumped it again last night and rode it around the yard for about 30 min and then it started to run real rough and stalled . Still would start up with a jump but the stalling has gotten progressively worse . I don't have a multi or ohm meter currently and haven't checked any of that but I'm thinking it's a bad voltage regulator . I'm hoping it's just a voltage regulator and not the stator . I will probably change this first but need to know where it's located on this machine . I'm pretty sure it's under the front hood but there's about 3 boxes with wires going to them that all look the same . Anybody know what one it is or have any other suggestions about this specific problem ?
Thank you all in advance for your help !
 

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You are going to need to invest some time and in some tools if you want to fix the problem yourself. My first advice is to get one of the downloadable online digital service manuals available for about $10. It will provide you with component locations, repair and testing techniques and specifications. Next, charge the battery with a proper low output charger, slowly over a couple of days and have the battery load tested at a nearby auto parts store. Most will do it for free. A new battery can fail.

Battery quality varies greatly. A cheap battery is not necessarily a good battery. A battery for a UTV is subjected to a lot of vibration that a battery for a road vehicle does not undergo. Internal plates that are poorly connected can develop opens, and shorts can develop if the vibrate and touch each other, internally shorting the battery.

If you don't have a battery charger invest in a good one, a Smart one. Good equipment is a life long investment that pays dividends as long as you own it.

If the battery is good you will need to look at the charging system which is going to require that you get a volt ohm meter. Check the charging system according to the methods specified in that Service Manual you downloaded. The manual will help you determine whether it is the regulator or the Stator and you can direct your repairs from there.

If the charging system checks out OK they you probably have a short somewhere which drains your battery while the vehicle sits unused. It could be an accessory that does not turn off with the switch or key or some other drain. Think of it like a tiny leak in a water storage tank (the battery). When you are running the storage tank is being replenished but when you shut it off the tank slowly leaks out due to an unseen seepage. The next time you use it there is either not enough left to start the engine or for it to run well.

In the past days of mechanical voltage regulators I have seen regulators that shorted internally and drained the battery back through the alternator (stator) when the vehicle wasn't running. I suppose if a diode in an electronic regulator went bad something similar could occur.

IMHO, investing in a few tools as you go along and making your own repairs is far better than buying parts and changing them to diagnose problems. Once the repair is complete you still have the tools for the next time, and you've learned something about your machine that may help you fix something in the field. When you instead become a parts changer you end up with a pile of used parts that didn't fix the problem and are unreturnable (most electrical parts cannot be returned) and a lot more expense than buying a few tools would have cost, and the thing about tools is that they are pretty much universal and can be used on your other vehicles as well as new vehicles you may obtain in the future (with the rare exception of a specialty tool or a tool that becomes obsolete like a dwell meter or timing light).
 
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Some auto parts stores will loan tools like multimeter. But buying a quality digital multimeter will bring you a new lease on life of your own. They all have a rudimentary owners manual but having a friend who uses one regularly is a God send.
 

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This would be a great investment:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Ports-3-1A-USB-Car-Cigarette-Charger-Lighter-12V-24V-Digital-LED-Voltmeter/372221050990?hash=item56aa1a806e:m:mvZy3dsreO3UyXy538RDsVQ

Getting one for my classic.

If I recall right, a mechanic friend of mine said the best way to find a slow drain on your battery is to hook up a test light in series with your battery, ignition off, and pull fuses till the light goes out. Narrows it down to a circuit real fast. That sound right to you electrical gurus out there?
 

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This would be a great investment:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-Ports-3-1A-USB-Car-Cigarette-Charger-Lighter-12V-24V-Digital-LED-Voltmeter/372221050990?hash=item56aa1a806e:m:mvZy3dsreO3UyXy538RDsVQ

Getting one for my classic.

If I recall right, a mechanic friend of mine said the best way to find a slow drain on your battery is to hook up a test light in series with your battery, ignition off, and pull fuses till the light goes out. Narrows it down to a circuit real fast. That sound right to you electrical gurus out there?
That is certainly one way to narrow it down.

I got an accessory plug meter similar to yours a while back, but mine has not USB ports. Instead it displays cab temperature.
 

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Some auto parts stores will loan tools like multimeter. But buying a quality digital multimeter will bring you a new lease on life of your own. They all have a rudimentary owners manual but having a friend who uses one regularly is a God send.
In fact, if you are really short of money Harbor Freight has a multimeter that will work for free with any purchase (with coupon) or about $4 if you buy it outright.
 
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