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Old 01-07-2008, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default 99 SLE Electrical Problem

Howdy all, long time no post! But I have been a frequent visitor. Like some others, I am experiencing a voltage fluctuation. on my 99 SLE, 1290l00 miles. Just a quick explanation: The car used to start with just a flick of the ignition, no pedal or anything. Now it takes two cranks, about three seconds each, stumbling on the first and catching on the second. The voltage is above 14 most of the time, but drops periodically to 8, and the lights dim and blower motor slows down, then it recovers on its own after about 8 seconds. And while this was happening I noticed my antifreeze dropping. I had the UIM and LIM replaced after finding that the antifreeze was leaking into the intake. At the same time they replaced the MAF because it was sludged from antifreeze. I caught this early and there was none in the oil, But I changed it twice anyway. So, today I decided to replace the positive battery cable and when I took the bottom pan off I saw what I thought was the obvious answer to my problem. The cable was touching the exhaust manifold just above the starter and was melted and the cable was worn halfway through. An obvious short! I thought "great I will just replace it and that should take care of it". I replaced it, buttoned everything back up and it started just like it was new again! YAY! I took it for a drive and was in seventh heaven unitl it happened again! Voltage dropped to 8, then recovered. I drove it home, turned it off and tried to start it, and it was the two cranks for 3 or 4 seconds then stumbled and started. So I cleaned the negative connection at the battery, (very corroded) and took it for another drive, and it happened again. (oh,I also I had the fuel pump replaced because it was drawing 10 amps, and they did the fuel filter at the same time. This was one week after they did the UIM and LIM, and replaced the alternator for the same price as what I could get it for, no labor so why not?). Any ideas? I am going to relpace the negative cable in a couple of days to see if that helps. By the way, where does the negative cable attach to the engine? I fully trust my mechanic, but don't want to take it back to him and pay the diagnostic fee for this issue if I can help it. Any commens will be appreciated. Sorry for the long post!
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Old 01-07-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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The negative cable attaches to the passenger side end of the front cylinder head under your ICM and coil packs. There are also some other small grounds on the other stud under there that should be cleaned. In addition, the pigtail should go over to the inside of the passenger side fender. Clean that one as well.

Pull your boots off the positive cables. If you see corrosion, you can try to clean them, but I ended up losing that battle on one of my cars last weekend, and just replaced all 3 cables outright (out of frustration).

All my problems are solved.

Yours however, sounds like a combination. Once you know the cables are good, if the problem persists, have your alternator tested. Any chance any of this was caused by puddles splashing up on your belts, causing the alternator to slip?
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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I am going to replace the negative cable tonight. I am sure it isn't from the belt slipping. It is even worse now that I replaced the positive cable. Also, I replaced the O2 sensor three months ago with a Delco unit from the dealer. I also replaced the blower motor at the same time. This is driving me NUTS!!
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Old 01-07-2008, 04:39 PM   #4
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How old is the battery?
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Old 01-07-2008, 06:42 PM   #5
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It is one year old. I had to replace the other one under a prorated warrantee because the positive side mount came loose inside the battery. It is a Sears Die Hard Gold. The car died at idle twice today during lunch. Like I said, for some reason it is more prevelant now that I changed the positvie cable to the starter.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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OK, I replaced the negative battery cable, (what a pita to get to the bolt on the engine!). The old cable looked clean at that end, but I replaced it anyway. I cleaned the connections at the fender as well as the spade from the positive to the maxifuse center. All of this made no difference as far as my problem goes. I have no check engine light. Can the dealership or any one else find anything by scanning with no light?
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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Bob, I'd have the battery and alternator load tested seperately.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:50 AM   #8
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Thanks, I will do that, can that be done with them in the car or should they be removed? The Battery is less than a year old and the alternator is two weeks old (they put the first one in three weeks ago and replaced it again to make sure it wasn't the problem since they had the car when they were replacing the fuel pump).
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:53 AM   #9
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I'd haul 'em in seperately to isolate them from other possibilities in the car. If they both test good out of the car, we know where to dig.

In between 'em.
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Old 01-08-2008, 12:41 PM   #10
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I will do that in the next couple of days and let ya know. Thanks!
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