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Old 01-02-2009, 09:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Ok, I've had the battery replaced in August. It went dead in November. I had the car towed to the garage and they put in a new alternator and said the battery was fine. The battery died right on New Year's eve. In fact, right now it's so low that I can't push a button and lock the doors. I have to do that manually.

First, the battery will completely die out before I can do anything about it (thanks to no help and no money). Will I be locked out of the car as a result or will I still be able to unlock the door to pop the hood to replace the battery when ready?

Second, what ELSE could be causing such a drain? This is getting nuts. I can't see why I'd have to drive maybe half an hour per day just to keep a battery going dead. I work from home, and I can't go too far due to my health. So if I want /need to let the car set a few days without driving, and only drive short distances, I should be able to without losing a battery every other month. My Pontiac survived that just fine. Only time I lost the battery on that was when it was about 4 years old and needed replacing anyway.

Really, I can't change my driving habits. It's not an option. So I need to find a way to get this to work so I don't need to pay $100 per month for a battery so I can use the car!

Anyone have ideas? Is there something yet wrong that I have to check into?

Battery and alternator are under warranty. So if it's a defective alternator, that can be replaced free (incl. labor). Battery is past free exchange period but can be replaced very cheap under warranty.

My plan is to wait for a friend to get around to getting the battery out and exchanging it. But that can take awhile as they don't always have time. So that's why I wonder if while waiting I'll be locked out of the car.

Any ideas would be appreciated.
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Old 01-02-2009, 09:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Have the battery tested to make sure it's good. It will require a good charge though if it's that dead. About 8-10 hours on a low charge to fully charge it. But check to see if there is anything drawing on the battery while it's sitting. To do that you'll need an amp meter to do a parasictic draw test. The parasitic draw shouldn't be too high, if it's 50ma or more it's really excessive. Also when doing this test you'll have to wai about 20 minutes or so for all the modules to go into sleep mode.
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When the alternator was replaced in November, the mechanic did test everything and the only problem was the alternator. So it was replaced and the battery was recharged. So now it's dead again.

My friend is hooked it up to his car for a couple hours. If this doesn't work, back to the mechanic it goes. This time I'm sure they'll go over it with a fine-tooth comb.
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Old 01-02-2009, 02:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, 2 hours hooked directly to my friend's car battery and my car starts up like as if the battery is brand new. I'm going to wait an hour and try again though, just to see what's going on.

There's also more info. Please see my thread on PATS here:

http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/inde...howtopic=63982

So I don't know exactly what's going on but I'm watching this carefully and taking notes. My car's next oil change is due in February so I hope to have the mechanic check into it then. But before then, I still would like to figure out what is going on. I'm not good with checking amps and all that so that'd have to be at the mechanics unless someone tells me how to set up the VOM (reads amps, AC/DC, diodes, transistors - one of those meters) and where to put the + and - leads, and what the meter should read and I probably could do it.

Also, my friend has a scanner and hopefully sometime this month he will bring it down and we can check for codes. But the engine light doesn't go on. Oddly, the low battery light never went on through any of this either.

The fuse box was checked today. ALL relays are ok, and everything is fine, no blown fuses. So the box is ok.

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Old 01-02-2009, 04:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Have the battery tested to make sure it's good. It will require a good charge though if it's that dead. About 8-10 hours on a low charge to fully charge it. [/b]
I just got back from the stores and it started like it was a new battery both times. So the 2-hour fast-charge on my friend's car did it some good.


Quote:
But check to see if there is anything drawing on the battery while it's sitting. To do that you'll need an amp meter to do a parasictic draw test. The parasitic draw shouldn't be too high, if it's 50ma or more it's really excessive. Also when doing this test you'll have to wai about 20 minutes or so for all the modules to go into sleep mode.
[/b]
Questions:

1. Is this done with the ignition off, accessories off, I assume?

2. How do you know if all the modules went into sleep mode? Does it do that automatically after hooking up the meter?

3. What do I hook the + and - of the meter too? (And in the case of ground, let me know what exactly to hook to that is ground).

I'll try this but have to wait for my new meter to arrive. Stupid me blew the fuse in my old one putting + to center of cigarette lighter and - to outer shell of said cigarette lighter, getting a spark and then no reading from the meter. Opened the meter (after turning it off, of course) and saw a blown fuse. Didn't hurt the car any, though, it seems.

I got back from the store just now no problems and the Theft light acted normally, too. No problems starting.

I'm watching it but more info. on doing that test would be appreciated. Between that and my friend coming down sometime with his scanner to check for codes (even though the engine light isn't coming on), I think we might have enough info for the mechanic in February (waiting it out until next oil change, if possible).
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Pop the hood and close all doors with no key in. Wait 30 minutes at the bare minimum.
Loosen the negative cable on the battery-DO NOT REMOVE.
Set the meter to ma/A(this might vary between meters). And put the probes in the appropriate spots on the meter.
Now you can do this 2 ways.
1.If you meter has a clip as an option for leads, clip one to the ground wire for the body on the right of the battery.
2. If you have 2 pointy probes, take either, and using your thumb hold the lead on the side of the metal connector for the negative terminal (it helps to grab the wire with the rest of your hand.)
Wiggle the connector/cable about half way up the post on the battery.
With your other hand, hold the other lead on the side of the battery post.
Now just pull the connector all the way off and get the reading. (It is VERY IMPORTANT that you have one wire/lead on the negative cable and one on the battery terminal at all times).
Then just put the connector back on and take off your test leads.
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Pop the hood and close all doors with no key in. Wait 30 minutes at the bare minimum.
Loosen the negative cable on the battery-DO NOT REMOVE.
Set the meter to ma/A(this might vary between meters). And put the probes in the appropriate spots on the meter.
Now you can do this 2 ways.
1.If you meter has a clip as an option for leads, clip one to the ground wire for the body on the right of the battery.
2. If you have 2 pointy probes, take either, and using your thumb hold the lead on the side of the metal connector for the negative terminal (it helps to grab the wire with the rest of your hand.)
Wiggle the connector/cable about half way up the post on the battery.
With your other hand, hold the other lead on the side of the battery post.
Now just pull the connector all the way off and get the reading. (It is VERY IMPORTANT that you have one wire/lead on the negative cable and one on the battery terminal at all times).
Then just put the connector back on and take off your test leads.
[/b]
You have me completely confused.

I got lost at "wiggle the connector/cable about half way up the post on the battery". Which connector cable? Negative?

And then hold the other lead on the POST of the NEGATIVE cable?? That sounds like a short-out to me. Sounds like you're saying, Move negative battery terminal halfway up, then put the negative lead in that terminal. Then take the positive lead and put it on the post of the negative post. Which would probably blow the meter's fuse, if not anything else.

Then pull the terminal all the way off? Why? It's halfway, why do half and then all the way?

And then put the connector back on and take the leads off?? All this with the negative post and terminal on the battery??

Just doesn't make sense to me.

Why move the terminal up and down like that?

What I would expect is that you put the negative lead to ground and then the positive lead to something else. And what is that something else and where is it located?

A friend of mine told me that there is a "special hole" in some cars to put that lead, then start pulling fuses until the current drain is not there.

None of what I'm hearing so far is making much sense. I've used a VOM before to check voltage, and such. And I know black (negative) goes to ground and red (positive) goes to something you're testing. I've done this for continuity testing as well.

Also, while the meter has thin leads, I do also have alligator clip wires just for testing things where the leads have to be somehow fastened. So I clip one end of the alligator clip wire to the lead and the other to whatever I wanted the lead attached to. Makes things LOTS easier!

Now if I can just figure out how the heck to test for the current drain...

Also, while under the hood, my friend (not the one that mentioned the other test) found that one of the battery terminals was loose so he tightened it up. We aren't sure if that was part of the problem or not though, yet.

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Old 01-03-2009, 03:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There's no short that you're going to cause by doing this how Dark-Fire mentioned. By doing it the way he explained is keeping the circuit from breaking it's connection from the battery when you do get the battery cable removed. If you were to remove the battery cable first then hook your meter up, (negative lead on the negative battery terminal and positive lead on the negative battery wire), then you'd have to wait the 30 minutes for all the modules to go into sleep mode again. When the modules get power restored to them from making the connection back to the battery they stay "awake" for a while.

Also doing the draw test as Dark_Fire stated also is better because by loosing power a relay may "reset" itself possibly hiding a problem.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Reading it over yet again, the instructions are very vague and one would have to know how things work in electronics to fill in the missing pieces in those instructions. Thinking it over, I think I see now what they are trying to accomplish. However I would have worded it much more specifically since much is left out as to what wires to put where. I'm not up to typing up what my instructions would be right now though.

However, the above test won't tell me if it's the PATS, or the defroster or the radio or WHAT it is. I will also need to find a way to check what it IS that is doing that.

The entire amperage draw might be useful, and is something I'd do but I also want to be able to have more info on what to check next if I'm going to go out in 20 degree weather under the hood. I want to at least get as much done in one session as I can.

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Old 01-03-2009, 06:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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When you check the parasitic draw, if it's excessive, you start pulling fuses one by one until the draw on the battery drops a significant amount. After pulling a fuse though do not put it back in until you are completely done doing this test. By putting a fuse back in you may "wake" a module, thus possibly throwing you off of what is actually drawing from the battery. Just make a note of what amperage fuse goes where. This is how you find what is drawing on the battery. It's really the only way to determine where the power is going to.

Sorry I should have mentioned this in my earlier post.
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