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Old 07-20-2010, 02:10 PM   #1
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battery dying


Having a heck of a week here Can anyone tell me the best way to isolate whatever is killing my battery overnight?

No lights left on but every morning its dead. Battery is only 6 months old.

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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Need more info on the particular vehicle, why? IF it is a GM vehicle 2007 model year of after, there were a lot of BCM's (body control modules) which would not shut down as they should have. This would create a "parasitic" draw in the electrical system and kill a battery in about six hours. The dealer's have the TSB's (Technical Service Bulletins) on this and instructions on how to perform the test over a 24 hr. period. Ask me how I know all of this. David

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:56 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply David Unfortunately I'm not rich enough to afford that vehicle Mine is a 98 Ford Windstar
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain

Be safe, Gary
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:03 PM   #5
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Quite often, if it's not something such as a light on or something like that, it'll be the altenator.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:41 PM   #6
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For a 60 A-h battery to die in 8 hours you're looking for at least a 7A drain. That much current has to make heat, light or noise.
Normal parasitic drain might be less than 100 mA.

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Old 07-20-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
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Since I bought the vehicle, used, the chime sets off like I still have the keys in the ignition...no big deal. I noticed a clicking sound from the fuse panel, even under low power. I took out the relay which was labelled auto lights...even though I dont have have auto lights...hoping that was the problem. Still a dead battery. If I put an amp meter on, what reading should I expect to see? I suppose I will have to pull fuses one by one.

Since all of my friend is working, is it possible to do an Amp check myself? I thought that the use of booster cables may work, being 4 conductor, but has anyone tried this?
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:58 PM   #8
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Sorry Gary, I missed your post,,I will try that tomorrow and thanks
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadaclub View Post
Since I bought the vehicle, used,
This reminds of something.
Let's say the regulator was bad and the car's electronics were exposed to 17 vdc for months on end. As the battery electrolyte boiled out the previous owners just replaced the batteries, thinking they were defective.
If this is true, the car is creamed even though everything looks fine.

It could also be that your battery is low in charge. With the engine running at a fast idle and all acc. off you should be seeing at least 13.3 vdc on your battery. In the winter it could go to 15.5 vdc.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:12 PM   #10
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But it runs fine after a boost..just loses charge over night
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadaclub View Post
But it runs fine after a boost..just loses charge over night
A boost doesn't fully charge it.

I ran an experiment back when I "was a kid": I purposely left on the headlights.
After 3 hours the headlights were still bright but the car wouldn't crank.
After 4 hours all was dead.

So I jumped it and went for a drive with the first wife and kids to recharge. Unfortunately I somehow stalled the car at the end of the block [it had auto transmission].
To my utter surprise it cranked as if the battery were fully charged but once running the ammeter was still way over on the charge side and stayed that way for almost four hours.

Welcome to "surface charge".

[My ex got that car].

[This forum is more fun when I'm half drunk].

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:26 PM   #12
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I always turn headlights on after a boost to supply load, something I learned years ago and a good spin on the highway helps as opposed to just idle ( which I hear can do more damage to the battery?)
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:29 PM   #13
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Since your problem is reproducible rather than intermittent, with a DVM/clamp-on ammeter and with pulling fuses you should be able to find it.

Too bad you don't live near Rockville, MD. I cannot resist a challenge.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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A '98 Ford Windstar is just fine. Hmmm, Windstar, van, sliding door on passenger side? I work for a friends auto parts store part-time (when needed, and often), I do go into many shops and hear stories at the store. Seems like somewhere in the back of my feeble mind there was a problem with a connection for interior lighting on Ford Windstar's and a similar problem with Chrysler vans some years back. Something to do with a "pin connector" where the door closes not making good contact and leaving the computer to think the door was not actually shut correctly. This MAY be a problem leading to a "Parasitic draw" on the electrical system. I would to the test Gary recommended-first. I would also highly recommend, if you have not done so, to purchase a "Haynes" or "Chilton" manual for your vehicle. NO, I don't make money off of these, they are valuable for anyone who owns a vehicle that does not have a warranty-IMO. David
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:47 PM   #15
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Got a boost this morning and let it run for about 45 minutes. Then I went for a long drive, about an hour.

I put a meter between the neg side of the battery and the cable. It read 0 but flickered off and on with 1 miilliamp. I then did a voltage reading and got 12.97 vdc. I waited an hour and it read 12.54. Was enough to turn over the engine once but not enough to start. At least I had enough power to shut the window because its supposed to rain.

So, next I disconnect the neg terminal again and waited for 2 hours. Voltage now is 11.99vdc. I guess the battery is shot. Sheesh, I've only had it 6 months.

I also disconnected the red lead while the car was running and it continued to run so I assume the alternator works fine.

Sure appreciate the help folks. Tomorrow I'll take it in and get a replacement.

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