How many miles? Have you checked the compression?
I have also seen a weak battery or poor battery terminal connections cause your same conditions on a '98 b2500. Do you have a Digital Multi Meter? Harbor Freight sells a surprisingly accurate model for 8$ sometimes on sale for 3$.
Your battery should read 12.6 volts minimum 1 hour after shutting off the engine. If it is not, put it on an automatic wall charger overnight(minimum 10 amps) then test the voltage. The surface charge should dissipate in about 4 hours, and it should still read above 12.6. If it does not the battery could be toast.
If it is stalling a lot, and hard to start, you are asking a lot of the battery, and as someone who lives off 12 volts, and has a battery monitor, I must inform you the charging systems on our vans are poor to mediocre at best, with undersized wiring from alternator to battery and an internal voltage regulator which lowers the charging voltage well before the battery wants the voltage lowered. An overcharged battery can be dangerous so they err on the side of caution, and keep the bean counters happy with undersized wiring, and a charging algorithm that favors safety over battery longevity.
You only rent batteries, they are disposable, and it is not in the manufacturer's interest to keep the battery healthy for the longest period of time with adequate charging.
Basically, you cannot rely on your alternator to return much amps into the battery with short drives with a lot of Idling. If you are using a lot of battery amps to start it often, then no doubt you have an amp deficit and are asking too much from it.
If the battery is so depleted it needs a jump start, the alternator will need at least 4 to 6 hours of highway driving, not idling, to bring it up to 80% SOC. That last 20% can take another 4 hours.
A starting battery left at 80% charge or less begins to sulfate which further decreases capacity. The lower the state of charge and the longer it remains low exponentially decreases battery capacity and life.
So remove the battery cables, and make the mating surfaces shine like silver, and make sure the engine to battery ground is clean and tight, as well as the battery to firewall ground, and the engine to frame ground.
While the engine is running the battery voltage should be in the 13.6 to 14.8 range, without the lights or blower motor on. If the battery is fully charged it should fall to 13.2 to 13.6volts, but most likely, right after starting will go to 14.7, and drop after the amps are replaced and the resistance within the battery rises as it fills.
Only after you rule out the battery and grounds should you look elsewhere and throw more parts at it.
Last edited by landyacht318; 04-03-2010 at 05:26 PM.