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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
10 months ago I was in 2 wrecks in the same day in my 1996 taurus lx 3.0 dohc. One wreck was to the front passenger headlight the other hit the drivers side doors. The passenger fender and headlight hood and bumper and both drivers doors were replaced. I pulled them off a 96-99 similar taurus. There was no damage besides cosmetics that I know of. In the midst of the repairs the hood was off briefly and the engine and all of the underhood was rained on once or twice in cold temperatures. Ever since then, if the car sits more than thirty mins or an hour, its dead when I go out to start it. It can be jumpstarted right back up. Several new batteries later, I still have the same problem. The car runs perfect once started, but when it is off there is a major drain on the battery. I have had the alternator, starter, and battery tested. All tested good.

Long story short.
car is dead when I go out to start but runs fine once started
could the doors i put on be draining the battery with some electrical component or could that have anything to do with the problem. The only electrical I touched when repair the wreck was the headlight and doors.
could not having the hood on briefly mess something up?
My battery terminals are clean
i just have no idea what is drawing from the battery while the taurus is off

now it has a new problem in the past week. Yesterday it shut off on me while driving from st. louis to kansas city. It did this 3 or 4 times. It only happened at speeds of twenty or less when i would be in stop and go traffic. I was able to put it in neutral and start it right back up. I had the alternator battery and starter tested again today and they tested fine. Ocassionally it also has a rough idle.

What could this be
are the two issues tied together.
i've been just unhooking the postive battery cable if i let it sit that way it isn't dead when i go out to start it. it works but its a pain

please help
im clueless as to what to try next

Thanks
Kevin:mellow:
 

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as far as the battery drain problem goes, you have a parasitic draw.
the challenge is to find where it is. you need to have a voltmeter with
amps function, and put it in series with the battery connection with
the motor off, ignition off and all things off than can be switched on.
then you start pulling fuses one by one and see when the amp level
drops significantly. once you find that, you can trace down what is hooked
to the fuse and continue on. If you not comfortable with electrical work,
your going to have to pay someone to do it. A lot of mechanics are NOT
electrically savvy in this area either

lights are a prime suspect. trunk lights, under hood lights, glove box lights
interior door open lights and such. The other thing to look for is cause and effect.
you worked on an area under the hood. I would be closely looking for any wires
or harness that could have gotten cut, pinched or otherwise damaged. there
are devices in the fender well areas also that may have been affected.

an alternator with shorted diodes could also drain the battery when the car is off
if the alternator is warm when the car has been off for awhile there is a smoking gun
to have it checked
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks for the help i'll try that

any idea what the occasional rough idle is caused by
or the car shutting off at low coasting speeds?
 

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To check for parasitic draw, you have to have a digital meter with an amp meter function. preferably up to 10 or 20 amps. you do NOT measure amps like you do volts. Current readings must be taken in series. So, rather than just putting the test probes across a battery or such, you have to remove a wire and use the test probes to bridge where that wire was.

So, if you are doing a system draw check, first you need to have the key off, all lights and radios off. Then remove one terminal of the battery connection. the put one of the test leads on the battery and one on the terminal you removed. Make sure the meter is on amps setting and the probes are plugged into the right hole on the meter if they use a different connection for measuring current, you have also have to remove any light bulbs of any lamps that stay on such as interior lamp or under hood lamp if you have them.

You now measure the current draw of the car with everything off. You will see some current draw. normally, Its usually around 100 to 200 MA (which is .1, .2 amps). If you see a much higher value, then you have something in the car that is drawing more current than it should. you then leave the current meter connected and load shed. you do this by removing fuses from the fuse box one at a time and see if the current draw reading goes down. replace the fuse after each test if there is no change. when you find which fuses are causing the drop, you need to have the cars electrical schematics to determine which car systems are connected to that fuse. then disconnect those systems one at a time to determining what is drawing the parasitic load. You may also have to disconnect the alternators fat wire to see if you have a shorted diode pack in the alternator.

usual suspects are a light that does not turn off such as a trunk, hood, glove-box light or such, radios and alternators.
 
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