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post #1 of 12 Old 10-01-2002, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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Electrical problems (Moved from 94/95 Tech)

Well I had a post similar to this about a month ago with my car not starting. Well I thougt it was fixed, but aparently not.

Now, I have a new/similar/same problem (i really dont know). Anyway, now something is draining my battery, enough so the car won't start.

The battery is less than a month old (my second one in two months), if the car won't start, I can jump it and it will start just fine. The volts on the stock gauges are fine and the car will run like there is nothing wrong with it. Then I'll turn the car off, if it sits over night there won't be enough juice left in the battery to crank the car the next day.

But I know that the alternator is fine, I tested it and it read something like 14.68 volts. What else could be wrong? What could be draining the battery when the car is off?

I do have an alarm, so I'm looking in that direction, because I don't know of anything else that draws current while the car is off, however, I have the alarm off as it is sitting in my parent's garage and the only thing that is on is a very tiny little red light on my dash from my alarm.

I'd really like to be able to figure out if something other than the alarm is causing the draw of current before I accuse the alarm since I'm in Pittsburgh and my car is near Philly. Plus I had the alarm installed in Pittsburgh and won't have a chance to bring it back here until after I graduate in December.

I really would like to figure out what's wrong so that I or my dad can fix this as soon as possible.

Any Suggestions?????


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post #2 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 01:46 AM
 
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at night, stick your head under the front of the car and try to get a peek and see if the hood light is staying on. I had a problem with my battery dying and one night I saw a dim light under my car. I thought it was a reflection from the street light, but low and behold it was the hood light. I popped the hood and took the little f*cker out. My battery problems went away. Who would have thought???

If that aint the solution, try pulling out one fuse at a time, per night. Like one night pull one fuse from the fuse panel. If the battery still goes dead then you know it isnt in that zone. When you finally figure out what fuse it is, you can cross reference it with the owners manual and narrow it down to a few things in the car.

Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 11:33 AM
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A faster way to do the same thing is to use a multimeter hooked between the battery cable and the battery set to current not volts, read the current draw with the car off and pull one fuse at a time until you see what circuit is draining the battery. (the radio, computer, and alarm will aways draw some current)
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Great thanks guys, Ill try this Saturday.

And if I still can't find what's wrong with it, what other options do I have?

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post #5 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Craig Kleinschmidt
at night, stick your head under the front of the car and try to get a peek and see if the hood light is staying on. I had a problem with my battery dying and one night I saw a dim light under my car. I thought it was a reflection from the street light, but low and behold it was the hood light. I popped the hood and took the little f*cker out. My battery problems went away. Who would have thought???
Hope this helps.
Check the trunk light too.. had that problem on our old Merc Grand Marq.

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post #6 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I'll check the trunk light too, thanks.

OK, here's a thought, it may be totally wrong though.
What about the return from the alternator to the battery, how can I check that? I know that my alternator is fine and is putting out enough volts, but what if the return is bad and that the battery is actually draining while the car is running and not while it's sitting?

My question is, if that were the case and the battery would be draining while running, would the car then just die while running or what? I mean it hasn't done that, but maybe I should try and run the car for a longer period of time and see if that is the case. What do you think?

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 06:41 PM
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Just my .02: Check for continuity from one side of the alternator to the other, even though it's putting out volts it could have an internal short causing it to drain the battery when the car isn't running. Good luck.
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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AJMcCurdy,

Could you please clarify? When I checked the volts on my alternator, I checked at the back of it on the nut that is underneath the rubber boot, if you know what I mean. I understand what you are saying, but where else should I place the voltmeter on the alternator?

Thanks

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post #9 of 12 Old 10-02-2002, 10:43 PM
 
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Check the little wires and connectors that go to the alternator; they should sell pigtails for those connectors (unlike the fan's). I replaced the last 18" or so on mine and fixed them.

I went through 4 alternators before realizing that my problem was those little wires were aged, brittle and intermittent. I didn't check them until I saw the voltage going crazy on the dash at times.
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-04-2002, 07:54 AM
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You should be able to get it tested at a parts store, or test for continuity (Ohms) across the positive and negative connections on the alternator.

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post #11 of 12 Old 10-05-2002, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

Thanks for all your help, I think I solved my problem today.

Well, I used a multimeter, set it to amps, disconected the postive cable from the battery, placed the pos from the multimeter to the pos battery terminal, and the neg from the multimeter to the positive battery cable. The multimeter read 0.96 amps, way too high.

So I started pulling my fuses one by one, to find where the drain was coming from. Finally I pulled the one rated for 50 amps and the drain went down to a normal .03 amps. I cross referenced the fuse to the owners manual, and found out that the fuse was for the headlamps, turnsignals, powerwindows, interior lights, etc. So I started simple with all the little bulbs like the hood and trunk. Well, I checked the glove compartment bulb and found that it was on all the time!! Who would have thought, but it obviously was enough to drain my battery in 3 days time.

So I took the whole glove box off so I could get to the bulb and pulled the connector, problem solved I hope. So thats a big headache that's over with, of course it had to turn out to be something stupid like the glove compartment bulb, but I guess it's much better than something major.


So after that I changed my oil, let the car run to get the oil hot, I kept hearing a chirping noise, coming from the accessories. After closer inspection, I could see the balancer wobling But what can I do, I guess I'll take replacing the harmonic balancer over an electrical problem any day.

Thanks again for the help.

Dan

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post #12 of 12 Old 10-07-2002, 10:15 AM
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I had a new FMS one die within 600 miles. It might have been that 1 time it hit 7k because the chip was wrong

I'm tired of changeing them, so I've got a new Romac due today or tomorrow.
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