Main IndexAuto Repair Home Search Posts SEARCH
POSTS
Who's Online WHO'S
ONLINE
Log in LOG
IN









Search Auto Parts

Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain?


  Email This Post



travis200270
New User

Apr 20, 2013, 6:31 PM

Post #1 of 10 (1418 views)
Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

Hi, I'm having a problem with my car and figured someone may be able to give some advice. I want to apologize for the wall of text but most of it could be needed info.
Any suggestions are welcomed and appreciated! I have a 2005 ford focus ses zx4 2.0L with around 80k miles (I believe been a while since I looked) A little over a year ago my girlfriend was driving it home
during her route it stalled and she called me to go pick it up. On the way bringing it back home I didn't notice anything different then normal. A few days after that I went to crank it and the battery was dead.
After charging the battery it cranked fine but sometimes it wouldn't crank even with a freshly charged battery (battery was new and tested by a few different places as well) the solenoid just clicked rapidly.
One day I couldn't get it to start just click so I tried every 10 minutes finally the 3rd or 4th time it cranked and ran fine. I had it tested at an auto part store and was told the alternator had an opened diode but was
informed that would not cause these issues. They mentioned it could not be charge the battery properly while running but a freshly charged battery should crank every time. Being we had just purchased a new car and life
moving too fast I parked it for a little over a year. During that time it was ran about 4 times.

Fast forward to today. I researched and learned much about battery drain and how to test it. Through research I know a stock car should be pulling 50 milliamps or less while completely in standby mode. Eager to get to the bottom of the issues I got started and noticed a huge battery drain but it was a rookie mistake and wasn't nearly draining what I thought. I even disconnected the alternator to test for drainage there. After learning and fixing my mistakes I noticed a 150 milliamp drain but figured out it was the battery saver relay which powers the ECM for 10-40 minutes. Testing it at about 40 minutes after any activity (locking/unlocking/opening doors/ect...) and the drain was at 20 miliamps or less which is where it should be. So it seams like when testing I have no drain. After testing all day for drain and electrical problems my car won't crank, charger says its sulfated....it may be dead but its pushing 12.4 volts. I do notice when starting the car even with a fully charged battery the interior dome lights go out while cranking and my cluster needles flicker a bit. Seams like even though its cranking its taking all available power to do so. Now I'm scared it will start clicking and not starting again even with a good charge on it. Also is there a way I can test the battery's load (available amps)? I'm testing 12.4 volts but we all know no amps = no crank no matter the voltage but at 12.4 currently it won't even power the headlights. Testing the alternator while car is idle is giving me 14.xx volts so I know the alternator is working but possibly still has (if it ever did) a open diode.
A little info on drain testing I've done today:
Freshly connected cd player searching for disk and moduals powering on = 1.5-2 amps
after cd player finishes .15 amps
40 minutes or so after battery saver relay puts ecm in standby = .05 amps

I've gotten it mostly back together and will finish tomorrow. I'll also bring it to run alternator/battery and diagnostic testing again tomorrow and see if the battery dies on me in the next few days or clicks with a charged battery or stalls again. But what should I be testing in the mean time. Please give any advise on what to test or what i can be. If you have questions just ask. Thanks!


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 20, 2013, 7:59 PM

Post #2 of 10 (1380 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

So you're saying you don't have a drain?

One thing I didn't see you mention is that you cleaned the battery terminals. They get corroded and can cause the exact issue you're having. If the cables have that rubber grommet on them be sure to pry it off before cleaning. You really want to get them as clean as possible. If they are already clean it's possible it's just a loose or dirty ground somewhere. I had that happen to me a few months back after rebuilding the transmission in my wife's minivan. I planned on cleaning some ground wires that ground to the transmission, but I was so close to being done, I decided to skip that step since they didn't look too bad. Sure enough, I go to crank it over, and the gauge needles go crazy, lights flicker, and I hear the starter click. I went back and cleaned the grounds and it started right up.

I'm not sure where all of the grounds are on your car. There are usually multiple grounds anywhere from the engine compartment, on the frame, even under some trim. I would check the ones that are in an area that get wet. They're usually just held on by a nut. Remove the nut, get some emery cloth or wire brush, and shine them up good.

Those would be the first things to check. Once you do, be sure to come back and let us know. I'm no professional mechanic but there are a handful on this site who volunteer their time to help out and they really know their stuff. I have never been to another auto forum after I found carjunky. They have always figured it out for me!


travis200270
New User

Apr 21, 2013, 4:42 AM

Post #3 of 10 (1352 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

Thanks for the reply. I do not belieave I have a drain unless its intermittent , 40~ minutes after last activity on the car the ECM goes into standby and the whole car only draws 20 milliamps which is well within specs. I have not cleaned the terminals yet but they aren't really corroded, I did remove the terminals dozens of times to test battery drain yesterday and nothing is loose there. I put the battery on charge last night and it didn't charge (charger is saying F03 which is battery sulfated. I put it back on charge this morning hopefully its taking a charge now. I will clean the terminals and grounds after i get the battery charged. I will also test the battery today and post back on my findings. I'm also tempted to pull the battery out of my other car and cross test them. I believe its even the same size battery.

Oh I also forgot to mention. I can't seam to jump it from another vehicle when the battery in the car is dead. I've hooked up the jumps and even waited 15 minutes or so to give it a bit of a charge and the best I'll ever get on jumpers is a few weak turn overs. The jumper cables I have aren't in the best condition though and may be unable to transfer the amps effectively so I don't really know.


(This post was edited by travis200270 on Apr 21, 2013, 4:51 AM)


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 11:45 AM

Post #4 of 10 (1332 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

Maybe that new battery is faulty. I had that happen once with a new battery and had to return it. A new battery should take a charge with no issue at all.

When you jump a car I always ground the negative jumper to the vehicle and not the battery. That seems to make a difference.

One thing I didn't know until the mechanics on here talked about it one day is that jump starting a vehicle from another vehicle can sometimes cause damage to the vehicles including the one doing the jumping. The recommended using a battery jump pack.

Just check and clean those connections and grounds. It might not be the problem but you always want to start with the basics.

I could be way off on this one, and not sure if it would make a difference, but maybe clean the wires that connect to the starter too. Maybe one of the professional mechanics on here can comment on this one.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 2:08 PM

Post #5 of 10 (1325 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In


Quote
When you jump a car I always ground the negative jumper to the vehicle and not the battery. That seems to make a difference.


The only benefit to that is getting your face away from the battery in case it blows.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 6:23 PM

Post #6 of 10 (1309 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

I never knew that HT. The reason I mentioned it is that there have been a few times in the past where the car wouldn't start when the cables were hooked up to both terminals on the battery. Seems like every time I ground it somewhere else it started. Guess it was either coincidence or I didn't have a good connection when it was hooked to the battery.

I learn something new everyday on here.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 6:25 PM

Post #7 of 10 (1306 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

That would indicate that there was a problem with that battery cable because that is what you were bypassing.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 7:43 PM

Post #8 of 10 (1297 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

That makes sense. It always worked on an old Scottsdale I had. That truck wasn't anything special but I wish I still had it.


travis200270
New User

Apr 21, 2013, 8:31 PM

Post #9 of 10 (1295 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

Well this morning I put the battery back to charge and it said it was full, I'm guessing the battery wasn't even dead yesterday and it just had a loose connection. I took the terminals off and cleaned them the best I could. even though the terminals didn't look bad it started right up after that. I also took it to an auto parts store to see if it still showed open diode and battery and alternator tested no problems. I cranked it many times today with no issues. I'll start using it and if I end up still having an issue then I'll start testing again but so far all is well.


MarineGrunt
Enthusiast
MarineGrunt profile image

Apr 21, 2013, 9:01 PM

Post #10 of 10 (1291 views)
Re: Possible electrical issue. Maybe battery drain? Sign In

Sometimes all they need is a good cleaning even if they don't look completely corroded. Might not hurt to pickup some dielectric grease to smear on them.

Hopefully it's good to go now for good.






  Email This Post
 
 


Feed Button




Search for (options) Privacy Sitemap