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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I am a proud owner of a 2002 Chevy S10, 6cyl vortec. I am the original owner and have about 165k miles on the truck.

I can honestly say that I have had next to nothing go wrong with my truck minus brakes and normal maintenance items. But it has been a VERY DEPENDABLE truck.

I'm not engine savvy so I am posting in hopes of a quick response.

Last night when I got home, I turned the truck off like normal and noticed that my battery light/odometer light was staying on. This has never happened before. So I put the keys back in and restarted thinking that it could just be a computer brain fart. Not the case. Although the light did turn off after I started it up, I turned the key off and removed it. Battery light remained on as well as the odometer.

I started asking around and the people I spoke with seemed to think it was my alternator. So I took it on my own judgement to go purchase a new one in hopes that it would work. I installed the alternator today and to my surprise, it didn't fix the problem.

So by this point I can't return the alternator cause it has been installed. So I grabbed my multimeter and started testing the battery as well as the alternator and all voltages are perfect. All is well.

I started checking all cables and couldn't find anything loose. I took the terminals off the battery and checked them, no corrosion. Very Clean. SO I put them back on and continued to look around the engine for other possibilities. NOTHING. so by this point I am very frustrated, I walked over to the dash and checked to see if the light was on....IT WASN'T!!! THE LIGHT WAS OFF. WAHOO!!!!

Not sure what I did but maybe the battery terminal was loose or losing contact at some point. oh well i WAS happy.

About 4 hours later, I left to run to the store. Truck is running well and didnt think about it anymore. I get to the store, turn the truck off to go inside and guess what? The DAMN light came back on!!!!

I am at a total loss of what I can check next. Right now, when I am done driving it or if the truck will be sitting for a good amount of time, I am disconnecting the negative battery cable so whatever is drawing power from the battery will not be able to.

Can anyone lead me in a direction of what else I can check? I am trying to avoid the dealership at this point since I already wasted $150.

Please Help!
 

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you may have parasitic draw from battery, and computer is smart enough to tell you this. my wife's Lexus turns little yellow light bulb on dash if one of the light bulbs is burnt.
i'd start with removing ECU fuse overnight, to see if it's gone.
if the car is turned off, it has nothing to do with alternator.
sometimes a simple thing like cabin light left on can do this.

also, read codes at parts store, just for the heck of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
ok, i will double check. but if the light is now off, im searching for something that is not there.......................that light is not on at all anymore
 

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I agree with ukrkoz; I don't generally try to avoid potential problems, but if the problem has gone away on its' own, I would not go looking for it. If it were a starter problem, or something like that, yes, you may find arc marks, or whatever, but not very likely in this case.
 

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he has it fixed. buddy of his, a real mechanic, not like us here, traced it down to - what's new - dashboard. stupid me, I forgot it's GM product.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
not sure if I said something wrong UKRKOZ, but I would like to thank you all for the advice..............It was much appreciated.

I was able to dodge the bullet of having to dish out more money, at the moment :thumbup:
 

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oh, no no, you good. it's this:

What lesson have I learned? Start off by getting car looked at by a mechanic and not assume I can be a rent-a-cop.

no, we are not mechanics here. tree shade ones, but that's about it. i still don't get rent-a-cop thing though..
yes, GM has ****ty clusters, that's a fact. so is mine in my Silverado. fuel gauge.
 

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I have a '00 S10 ... the light and odo come on when you turn the key one click forward from "lock", this is before you see all other lights, etc turn on (that's "run").

I suspect a bad ignition switch...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
hmmmm, now I'm wondering about the ignition switch......

It has been roughly a month since I posted about this and allow me to give you a run down, since I last commented.

I was told that the "cluster" could be causing the issue, and that the load of this wouldn't kill the battery in just a days time of not running. So as I continued to drive it, the light went off and would only come on every once in a while. Very inconsistantly.

Well, the past few days, the light has remained on while the truck wasnt running. This morning, when I went out and tried to start it to go to work and NOTHING. Lights were on inside the truck, radio came on and all seemed fine but I got nothing but a loud clicking noise from under the hood. So now, I'm thinking that it is not the cluster.

The alternator is new (couple months old) and the starter is fairly new (maybe a year old).

What could be causing this? If it could be the ignition switch, how do I go about testing it?
 

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The alternator is new (couple months old) and the starter is fairly new (maybe a year old).

What could be causing this? If it could be the ignition switch, how do I go about testing it?
A few thoughts--
- I don't recall if you said you replaced the battery or not? If it's not a new battery (under a year old), I'd consider replacing it now that you've run it dead a few times with this problem

- The "clicking" despite having lights/radio is classic weak battery--my guess is that your lights/radio dim to almost non-existent when you have the key turned to start (and hearing the clicking)?

- Just because the alternator is "new" doesn't mean it is working, you probably have a rebuilt alternator and it's possibly it is not working properly, you should have it tested at a place like Autozone (they wheel a cart out hook a big inductive ammeter to your battery cables and alternator output then apply various loads to test things out. It's possible your alternator is not outputting as much current as it should. This will NOT cause the battery light to illuminate with the ignition switch OFF, but may cause it illuminate when running--does your voltmeter show at least 12.4V when the truck is running (ideally it should be 13-14.5V when running just above idle or faster)

- How to go about testing the ignition switch... well, I'd say disconnect the battery and then test for continuity (and resistance) between the feeds into the switch and the feeds out of the switch. Based on your description (odo and battery light remain on w/ switch in LOCK and key removed) it sounds like this is pretty clearly the problem. So you want to see that the circuits that are supposed to be closed are closed (close to 0ohm) at the right positions, and the circuits that should be open are open (open line or maybe in the mega-ohm range at worst) at the right positions... If you have a Haynes manual or something similar it should have an ignition switch wiring diagram somewhere
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The battery is not new. When I first ran in to this issue about a month ago, I had my battery checked and all was well. Voltages were showing up the way they were supposed to. So I took that out of the equation. Since then, this was the only day I couldn't get the truck to turn over.........Even after jump starting it with my wifes car.....NOTHING but the clicking

"The "clicking" despite having lights/radio is classic weak battery--my guess is that your lights/radio dim to almost non-existent when you have the key turned to start (and hearing the clicking)?" I will check this tonight when I get home...


When the truck is running, I have no dash lights that come on, everything runs normally.

I will check the manual tonight for the wiring diagram and see what I come up with.

Thanks for your help, I will keep you updated. (This time I'm not going to start replacing parts till I know for sure of the problem :) )

on a side note, I notice that when this battery light is on and the key is removed......the truck alarm system will not activate when I push the remote button. But when the light is off and all appears normal, the alarm can be set when exiting the vehicle................
 

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The battery is not new. When I first ran in to this issue about a month ago, I had my battery checked and all was well. Voltages were showing up the way they were supposed to. So I took that out of the equation. Since then, this was the only day I couldn't get the truck to turn over.........Even after jump starting it with my wifes car.....NOTHING but the clicking
How did they check the battery? A simple voltage test is not sufficient, it really needs to be load tested. Another thing, depending on where you bring it the "testing" is very suspect. I brought a battery to AZ for testing once, the test came out "charge too low, charge first then re-test", so they charge it (incidentally they charge at about 100A+/hr which is murder for battery life) then almost immediately re-test it and it will test as good... however I let the battery sit overnight (outside the car), brought it back for re-test, got the same result "charge too low, charge first", I told them no way, you need to warranty this thing because it is not holding a charge even when not installed in the car.

The fact that the truck has been starting is a pretty good sign the alternator is working...

Couldn't jump w/ her car... what is your procedure? A poor connection at either car might not result in much current getting through. Are you idling your the good car up to at least 1200rpm for at least 5-10 mins?

When you say clicking... do you hear repetitive & fast click-click-click-click-click when you hold the key in START, or do you hear just a single click? If it's just a single click it's possible the starter has an issue... a friend w/ a VW had the braided cable between solenoid and starter go bad, so he'd hear the click of the solenoid, but that was it... this was solenoid mounted on the starter too, so it was an "integrated" unit...

If you suspect the starter, the lights stay bright when the key is in START you might have someone repeatedly move the key between RUN and START while you give the starter a few smacks w/ a hammer or tire iron (just make sure you're clear of moving parts!) ... I had a Cadillac w/ a bad starter, giving a wack w/ the tire iron while someone held the key in start would get it going.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The battery was tested with a voltmeter and all was well. we tested it on normal idle as well as having the AC kicked on......all checked out well.

When i jumped the truck with my wifes car, i rev'ed it up a few times, let it run at idle as well...........but nothing......no turning over at all.

the clicking i heard was in fact multiple clicks, coming from the under the hood, not the dash. The clicks were quite loud also.

I will also try wacking the starter to see what happens.
 

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The battery was tested with a voltmeter and all was well. we tested it on normal idle as well as having the AC kicked on......all checked out well.

When i jumped the truck with my wifes car, i rev'ed it up a few times, let it run at idle as well...........but nothing......no turning over at all.

the clicking i heard was in fact multiple clicks, coming from the under the hood, not the dash. The clicks were quite loud also.

I will also try wacking the starter to see what happens.
- Voltmeter test isn't very good/accurate... it doesn't test if the battery can deliver decent current or not. A battery might read 12.3V or so, then you put a 5-10A load and it drops to 10.5V... You should have it load tested.

- The fast clicking sounds like a bad battery to me... I'd try to jump it again being doubly sure I had the connections good on both sides (don't forget--always connect the dead car negative side LAST and connect it to some piece of metal other than the battery itself... be sure to throw on a pair of sunglasses or something too just in case the battery decides to explode--yes it does happen). Or, you could also borrow a charger, putting 10A into it for 12-15 hours would be good... or remove the battery altogether and bring it to Autozone, I believe they will charge for free I believe (but as I said, they do the 100A charging is which does not help your battery's life). Do you have AAA or some other auto club? Call them for a jump, they'll show up with a dual battery jump pack and get you started in no time...

- Check for the date sticker on the battery... if the battery is 2007 or earlier I'd say it is fair game as needing replacement... even the most expensive 84mo warranty battery does not mean you will get 84 trouble free months, it just that that somewhere after month 36 or so they will start giving you a discount (which gets smaller with time) on buying a new battery from them...

The fact that your ignition switch may be having a fault (sounds like it is leaving the OFF circuit active, meaning you have battery light and odo on all the time) could be a large enough draw to weaken/kill the battery if it's left to sit for 24hrs or so, particularly if it's an older battery... but it wouldn't be enough to kill a healthy battery that is being charged up at least 1-2X/day by a 30+ minute drive. If this has been a problem for a month+ that means you've have an atypical current draw on your battery between uses, car batteries are not designed for that type of use so it could accelerate your demise... I had a friend who used to love to leave his CB radio on 24/7 (I have no idea why)... he said it doesn't drain the battery enough to kill it... he was right that it didn't kill it overnight, but he needed a new battery every 2 years...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
thanks bubbler........even if the battery is replaced, this battery light that stays on when the truck is off is still the problem.......right? If the battery was replaced or charged, it would just get me backto where I have normal power, right?

But the battery isnt causing the issue, prior to it not starting...........right?

Like I said, let me do some checking tonight and I'll see what happens.
 

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thanks bubbler........even if the battery is replaced, this battery light that stays on when the truck is off is still the problem.......right? If the battery was replaced or charged, it would just get me backto where I have normal power, right?

But the battery isnt causing the issue, prior to it not starting...........right?

Like I said, let me do some checking tonight and I'll see what happens.
right on both counts... it's my arm-chair internet opinion that your original problem--ignition switch malfunction causing odo and battery light to stay on after switch is turned off/lock--has caused (or accelerated) your battery issue now with the non-starting.

Solve the ignition switch issue, and potentially replace the battery (in that order preferably, though perhaps reverse it if you need the truck to drive to work! :))
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I'm hoping to be able to tackle it tomorrow..............at least to solve the problem that revolves around this battery light and it staying on.......
 
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