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Old 01-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
MadChemist
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Electrical issues. Battery?

Started having electrical issues about a month ago. The car left me stranded twice. The last time that I got it jumped, the assisting car had to be left connected for a while or my car would die. To me it sounded like the alternator wasn't working properly since it couldn't keep the car running. Replaced the alternator, the car had no problems started just fine. Put it on blocks for two weeks, needed to do other maintenance. Finally got to drive it yesterday. Started no problem and went for a 40 minutes drive around town making sure everything was good that I replaced. Went out this morning and the car won't start. When I say the car won't start, I mean the lights are on in the cabin but as soon as I turn the key. Everything clicks off and won't come back on. My guess is it is either two things; battery or I have a short. I have had the battery tested, which autozone says is good. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:08 AM   #2
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Have battery charged and tested. Many Auto Zone, Advanced Auto and Pep Boys will do this for free.

Also search FSU as these fan controller can cause the battery to drain.

Also these cars do have a small current draw all the time, so if you plan on leaving the car for more than 2 weeks at a time, get a solar charger or Battery Tender.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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check positive battery cable on the battery side. its known that the crimp can become loose and cause bad connection.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:56 AM   #4
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How common is the final stage unit, in terms of causing drain? Also, I heard bosch is the best FSU to buy. Is that correct? Thanks for the help!
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:38 PM   #5
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FSU is common, but I would not replace that until you have the battery checked out.

The other way you can check the FSU is make sure the blower is not running when the car is off and also just unplug it for a test as well.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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im sort of having the same problem. my alternator went bad i replaced the voltage regulator and the battery. plugged everything back in and everything works but i get a red blinking battery light. after an hr on my car will die. the alternator isnt recharging my battery for some reason. what else drains from the battery ?
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #7
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If the battery was tested good and the alternator is new, then it sounds like a short in the starting circuit. Something is causing a massive draw when you turn the key to crank, so nothing else gets power. That's assuming I read your post right. Is the starter relay clicking when you crank it?? or does everything just go dead??
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:07 PM   #8
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MadChemist, fully charge your battery, then have it load tested, good possibility that it wouldn't hold very long. Also, if you have a Digital Multi-meter or a Multi-meter, with the car running, check the voltage at the alternator output (heavy wire), it should be putting out 13.0 to 15.0 volts. If the alternator isn't putting out at least 13.0 volts, either the electronic voltage regulator is bad, the brushes worn out or bad armature. If the alternator is putting out 13.0 to 15.0 volts, and the battery load tests ok, then you need to be looking for either bad/dirty connections or a big drain.

DillionMpower, did you replace the alternator brushes? With a Multi-meter or DMM (digital multi-meter) check the output of the alternator with the car running. I suspect you are going to find output below 13.0 volts. However even though you just replaced the battery, fully charge it and have it load tested just to make sure that the new battery you got isn't a bad one, it happens. If the battery checks out and your alternator is putting out 13.0 or more volts, you to will want to start checking connections for loose or dirty ones and you will want to look for a large drain when the car is off 9the clock does drain, but the clock itself shouldn't drain enough to kill the battery.
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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If you have a Voltmeter great, use that, if not use the hidden cluster/OBC menu to watch/monitor the charging and battery Voltage.

Redneck alternator load test, turn on the headlights, high beams, HVAC fan full speed, heated seats or rear window defogger and see what the Voltage is.

You should have at least 13.5 Volts at an idle for most cars.

Option/menu 9.0 is battery/charging Voltage, note it will read about 0.3-0.4 Volts lower than what is actually present at the battery terminals due to in car Voltage drop. Once you measure the battery terminal Voltage and compare it to what the OBC indicates, you can then have this correction factor you can apply, but most cars I have seen are between 0.3-0.4 Volts lower on the OBC cluster than measured at the battery posts.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ht=hidden+menu

Last edited by jfoj; 01-30-2012 at 05:56 PM. Reason: Corrected link
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Old 01-30-2012, 04:49 PM   #10
MadChemist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viktimize View Post
If the battery was tested good and the alternator is new, then it sounds like a short in the starting circuit. Something is causing a massive draw when you turn the key to crank, so nothing else gets power. That's assuming I read your post right. Is the starter relay clicking when you crank it?? or does everything just go dead??
I get a click and then everything goes dead. Nothing works once I had done this. So I installed a new alternator about two weeks ago. Drove it one day for about 20 minutes and then parked it to do other maintenance (didn't use AC). Started it up no problem about a week later (didn't use AC). Did more maintenance the following weekend, didn't drive it at all. Started it up last night and drove around with AC on for about 40 minutes.

The only time that I have messed with the starter would be during my clutch installation.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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If you recently performed a clutch install, maybe you have a bad connection somewhere, but suggest you bring up the OBC hidden menu and monitor the battery Voltage. A good battery and connections should not have the Voltage drop below about 11.2 during stating.

If it drops below 11.2 on the OBC hidden menu you need to figure out what is going on.

Just for kicks, give me the OBC hidden menu battery Voltage with nothing but the key on so you can get to the menu. If I have that value I can give you guidance.

The thing is if you really had the battery fully charged and checked and it turned out fine, then either you have something in your car draining your battery and/or a bad connection. Or you may have a bad cell in the battery.

Again, get me the baseline battery Voltage and I will comment.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:44 PM   #12
MadChemist
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Did not know the OBC had a voltage read out. I'll search to see how to get to it. I do know for sure that my negative terminal cable is lose even though I have tightened down the nut on top. Would that cause a starting issue? I already have the cable on order. I'm going to have jump the car to get the trunk open since the previous owner took out the lock mechanism.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:55 PM   #13
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If you look at my previous post, I linked the hidden OBC menu.

Yes a loose cable will cause problems, not sure why it is loose, you could possibly use tin foil or tooth pick(s) or something to try to get the terminal tight for now. These would be put on the post to take up loss space and allow the terminal to grab the rest of the post with more force. Not a great solution, but might get you going for the short term.
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Old 02-09-2012, 01:38 PM   #14
MadChemist
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PROBLEM SOLVED: So it turned out to be two issues. The main issue was the my negative battery cable needed to be replaced since it was no longer clamping down on the terminal. The second issue was due to jumping the car so many times, my battery needed to be replaced since it was three years old and had been jumped about 10 times. All in all, I have a functioning car with no electrical issues. Thanks for all of the help and advice.
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