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Old 02-03-2005, 07:06 PM   #1
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Default Electrical drain

Hey gang!
For 2 weeks I've been searching for a electrical gremlin thats got me stumped. The car willl be fine, then all the sudden the next time I start it the battery will be totally wasted.

The first time it happened it was very cold out (below zero). I stopped at Menards & came back out and no juice, not even enough to turn it over once. Nothing was odd before this. With the key on the gauge would struggle to reach 8volts. I snagged a new battery and drove it home with no trouble. I checked the alternator & it was putting out 13.5volts at idle, but seemed to drop & not recover too quickly as accessories were turned on, so I got a new alternator. Thought I had it fixed but...Three days later, I go out in the morning to start it & no juice again.

It has to be a battery drain but where could it be? I've gone through the fusebox & everything that should not be hot when its off is fine. I freely admit I suck at chasing electrical gremlins

This might be a red herring, but..The windshield leaks bad when it rains. That combined with it being winter means the front carpet is all wet & soggy. While I was fishing through the fusebox I noticed I can use the wet carpet as a ground Do you think theres a chance the carpet is so water logged that theres a hot wire underneath there somewhere causing a short/battery drain?? Possibly some seat wiring or something??

Shes old & crusty, but with 255K on it still runs like a Caddy!
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Old 02-03-2005, 07:57 PM   #2
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have you cleaned your battery terminals lately?
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:29 PM   #3
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You could have a drain on the battery at rest. A multimeter will be your best friend as you track down the problem.

Connect the multimeter in series with the positive battery cable to see how much current is being drawn with the car off. It should be minimal... say .50 amps. If it is noticably higher, have a friend remove fuses one by one until the current appears to be normal. This is to isolate what circuit is draining the current. Once the circuit is known, it is much easier to find the exact fault.

If the current at rest appears normal, I would suspect a faulty alternator or battery/ground connections.
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Old 02-03-2005, 08:45 PM   #4
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With everything off, the drain should be under 50 MILLIamps (.05a). Mine usually run 17-20 ma and is mainly the radio, ecm, and rke keep-alives.

From experience I can tell you that a 200ma (two tenths of an amp) drain can kill a 680 cca battery in less than a week
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Old 02-04-2005, 09:11 PM   #5
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Thanks gang-excellent idea
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