96 Bonneville slow battery drain... - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 01-31-2007, 04:20 PM   #1
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Default 96 Bonneville slow battery drain...

Hi All!

Man am I glad I found this site...

Im trying to keep a 96 SSEI alive...I really love this car and I've had only minor issues with it up til now. Just recently, the Twilight Sentinel system for the headlights packed it in, and I've had to turn the lights on manually. Before fully quitting, it used to flicker quite a bit at dusk. If checked around on some other forums (before finding this) and it seems to be a reoccuring theme with people with this vintage of Pontiacs with the Sentinel system. I drive the car almost daily, but just recently left it sit for a few days when I found it wouldn't start (click-click). Other Pontiac owners with similar issues have narrowed similar problems down to the headlight circuit and have replaced H/L switches but it has not fixed it. As soon as it stops snowing, I'll go out and confirm it'* the H/L circuit, but I thought I'd throw it out there in the mean time.
Thanks in advance for any help!
*,
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:28 PM   #2
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Lots of things can cause slow battery drain, even a broken power antenna motor that continues to run even after the antenna is down, a miswired aftermarket stereo, a miswired aftermarket anything like an alarm can cause it.

Perhaps your battery has reached its end of life..Repeated discharges will result in capacity loss and early failure, as the electrodes disintegrate due to mechanical stresses that arise from cycling.

I read somewhere that the first discharge to the point where the car will not start is 30%, 3 times is 60%...so once its died 3 times your battery is only 40% as new.....

But if we have a serious drain issue we need to figure out why. I'd make sure that there are no aftermarket electronics installed and that the grounds and ground busses in your car are clean and tight.
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply Hans...after I posted, I looked at it and thought about how much more info I should have added.

The car is basically untouched, as a matter of fact, I did disconnect the pwr antenna because it had issues when I first got it. I actually replaced the battery a few months ago when this first happened because it had the original green-eye Delco in it, and I was sure it was on borrowed time anyway.

Otherwise the car is unmolested (original radio, no added electronics or mods) this Twilight Sentinel system is the ony issue I've had. I guess I really need to check it out, but looking around on the net made me think something was up in this area due to similar issues I was seeing. I'll try to confirm it tonight and post the results later.

thanks again!
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:07 PM   #4
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:33 PM   #5
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Well, charged the battery this a.m. and wired in a little light and sure enough it'* lit showing a ground. I then pulled all the fuses one by one to see if I could find the problem circuit. No luck. Pulled the relays too, but the light stays on. Does anyone know how to check the headlight circuit? I didn't see a fuse or anything else for this circuit.
Must be smewhere in the chassis...just my luck...
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Old 02-01-2007, 09:10 PM   #6
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Do you have a current (amp) meter? If you have one that you can connect between the battery and the cable, and let us know what the reading is, that will be helpful. With the electronics that stay "hot" even with the key off, it can draw enough current to light the lamp under normal conditions. The reading should be in the milliamp range, with I think 30 being the highest expected.

Here'* a good explanation about parasitic drain from a GM TSB. It'* for a 2003, but the basic information is still accurate.

Parasitic Drain
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archon
Here'* a good explanation about parasitic drain from a GM TSB. It'* for a 2003, but the basic information is still accurate.
Excellent info, Dick. You can use a digital multimeter set up to measure DC current. Disconnect the negative lead from the battery, place the multimeter in series between the negative post & ground. Just make sure ignition is off as well as any & all accessories that do not run off an ignition bus.
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:50 PM   #8
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...just checked it with an ammeter(thanks Archon!)...pulling almost 3 amps...also checked to see if the trunk light was staying on, (it'* been pretty cold here)but it'* not that either. Must be a short somewhere between the battery and the fuse panel(*).

Thanks everyone for your help on this!
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Old 02-01-2007, 11:28 PM   #9
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Thanks, Mark!

Masco, not necessarily. The bulb is a good test to see if you are getting power somewhere, but not when looking for an unusual draw. Putting the bulb in series like that will allow just the amount of current through that the bulb draws at full brightness. You could remove a large load from the circuit, and the bulb could still be at full brightness. Now that you have the meter on there, you can start to again pull the fuses and relays, and watch the current reading to see when it drops, and by how much.
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