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Why is my Battery Beyond Flat?? by Barkaroo
Started on: 04-10-2008 11:15 PM
Replies: 16
Last post by: gt88norm on 04-17-2008 01:56 AM
Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-10-2008 11:15 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
I’ve lost total electrical power on my 88 MERA and I’m not sure where to begin.

Here is the progression of events.

I drove the car last Friday to pick up my dog from the vet and the Mera did just fine. It was raining so I ran the wipers. I had also noticed the time on my radio was working just fine because it was a few minutes before the vet opened. When we left the vet I noticed that the radio had no power. Its lights would come on when I turned on my headlights but it would not work. Not even the clock. OK… so the radio went out… big deal right? Then I drove over to Pet Co, got some supplies, started the car OK again and drove on home, no issues.

On Sunday night I checked the fuse for the radio (which was A-OK) and placed it back in the fuse box. Checked the radio again and it was still dead. Oh well… I thought… I’ll work on it later.

Tonight, (Thursday), I tried to take the car for a spin around the block and nothing. Absolutely no power. It was like I had left the lights on or something… which I know I did not. I’ve let that car sit for 6 weeks before and she has always started up just fine. I can’t imagine why the battery would be completely and totally flatter than flat. Not even the interior lights whould try to glow.

Has anybody had any thing like this happen to them before?

I plan to charge up the battery this weekend but if I can not find out how I am leaking power somehow, I’ll be right back where I started before too long.

Any ideas?

Thanks, -Alan.
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Report this Post04-10-2008 11:37 PM Click Here to See the Profile for James Bond 007Send a Private Message to James Bond 007Direct Link to This Post
There are a few causes.
1.Acid buildup,on your battery cables.
2.A bad alternater (if you have a gage on the center dash,the reading should be about halfway,with slight fluctuations).
3.A miss aligned brake pedal switch,keeping your tail lights on 24-7.
4.A bad pin switch keeping your interior lights on.
5.trunk light on.
6. letting your car sit for a month or more is plenty of time to go flat,and once it goes flat,there is very little hope that it will recharge again (it's called memory).Buy a solar powered battery charger with a cigaret lighter adaptor (it charges your battery through the cigarett lighter) or battery maintainer if your car is garaged.

If I missed anything,feel free to add more...
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PaulJK
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Report this Post04-11-2008 03:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKDirect Link to This Post
I'd check the battery cables and the grounds. If you lose the ground going from the frame to the engine / transmission the car will just sit there and do nothing when you turn the key.

If you have an auto trans, check the lock-out switch on the shifter which ALSO will cause the car to do nothing when you turn the key (it makes you have the shifter in PARK before the starter will engage). If you have a manual, check the lock-out on the clutch pedal.

Check the connections to the starter

After all these these are verified, go to WalMart and have them do a free test of the charging system ....

Do a SEARCH and read through the posts on this subject - this will be a learning experience as well as entertaining ...

[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 04-11-2008).]

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Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-11-2008 09:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
Thanks Guys for your suggestions. I'll try and work on her this weekend.

So does everybody think it is just a coincidence that the radio died a few days before the battery went flat? The radio was in new condition when I installed it this past fall and I did not have to “splice” anything to install it. All connections were factory. Could a dying battery cause the radio to go out but still be able to start the car?

PS. Does anybody know how to remove the battery from a MERA? The right rear sail is almost directly above it.

-Alan.

[This message has been edited by Barkaroo (edited 04-11-2008).]

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SpeedDemon
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Report this Post04-11-2008 09:26 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SpeedDemonSend a Private Message to SpeedDemonDirect Link to This Post
If absolutely nothing is working (ie. no interior lights) test the battery (multimeter, test light) and see if it is completely dead. Losing the radio could be a fluke, or an indication that you were starting to lose grounds (or main power connections). That being said, I'm pretty sure the radio isn't the only thing on the 'radio' circuit, but you may not have noticed some other things going dead at the same time.

Chris
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Report this Post04-11-2008 09:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderDirect Link to This Post
I would have the battery checked. I had one do similar things and the battery turned out to be bad. The battery would act as if it was normal, but if you let it drain for 30 seconds, it was dead. A quick jump and everything was fine. The guy who tested it found the problem right away.

J.
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gem1138
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Report this Post04-11-2008 09:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for gem1138Click Here to Email gem1138Send a Private Message to gem1138Direct Link to This Post
A few years ago I bought a used Infinity G20. It had this aesthetic battery cover that made checking the battery water level a half hour job. Thus I didn’t get around to checking before my first road trip. The battery water must have been very low because apparently it overheated warping the plates and completely shorting out. I bought a new battery and threw the cover in the trash with vigor.

I bought my 88gt in August 07 and the previous owner didn’t drive it at all. When I got the car he had just charged it so it would start but I could tell it was very weak. I put it on my charger at home and it would never come completely up, but still it started the car with no problem. The battery condition probably put a strain on my alternator which finally bought the farm taking the battery with it. I was amazed at how low the battery could be and still start the car. I suspect that the compression ratio of the engine is low because of the technology of the era and the desired use of regular octane gasoline.

I have noticed that the size of the battery in a car is related to the compression ratio and not the displacement. Diesels need huge batteries because of there very high compression ratios. Some have a battery to start a small gasoline engine to start the diesel engine.

More modern gasoline engines have knock sensors that Fieros apparently lack. The knock sensors allow higher compression ratios by constantly adjusting the timing to prevent detonation rather that just following a predetermined timing map as with a Fiero.

Your radio may have a protective circuit that shuts it off if the volts drop even a little. Amplifiers overheat when fed lower than specified power, so it is in the interest of a manufacturer to include such a circuit to reduce warranty claims as much as to keep the customer satisfied.
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Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-11-2008 10:47 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
Great info!

I'll start with tossing the old battery and getting a new one. I don't want to risk damage to my alternator by trying to charge up my old battery. (I'll check the water level before I toss it just to see and I'll let you know.) My radio is a Monsoon from a 2000 or 2001 Blazer. I wonder if it had that protection circut?

Thanks, again and I report back later... -Alan.
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PaulJK
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Report this Post04-11-2008 10:53 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKDirect Link to This Post
my favorite place for batteries is WalMart; really good batteries at the best prices AND they can check the charging system while you're there.

 
quote
Originally posted by Barkaroo:

Great info!



hey brother, do not forget where the + button is

[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 04-11-2008).]

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Report this Post04-11-2008 01:44 PM Click Here to See the Profile for topcatClick Here to Email topcatSend a Private Message to topcatDirect Link to This Post
One other thing that will drain a battery on the Fiero fast is a fuel pump that continues to run after the key is turned off. the culprit is typically the fuel pump relay, and in some instances the oil pump relay. After getting it charged, listen carefully for teh fuel pump after turning the ignition off.

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Report this Post04-12-2008 12:51 AM Click Here to See the Profile for spark1Send a Private Message to spark1Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Barkaroo:

Great info!

I'll start with tossing the old battery and getting a new one. I don't want to risk damage to my alternator by trying to charge up my old battery. (I'll check the water level before I toss it just to see and I'll let you know.) My radio is a Monsoon from a 2000 or 2001 Blazer. I wonder if it had that protection circut?

Thanks, again and I report back later... -Alan.

Note that the water level on a discharged battery will naturally be low. The water volume increases with charge. A discharged battery should never be filled more than just enough to cover the plates.
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Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-12-2008 09:53 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
Update…

OK… I pulled the battery and hauled it up to Advance and they charged it up, tested it and it was A-OK. I brought it home and started to put it back in the car when I saw something odd. Sticking out of the fire-wall, directly behind where the battery was is a thick Red wire with an eye-loop at the end. It was sticking out directly below the rear window area and traveled down and was simply tucked behind the battery tray. What the heck is this for?

It was not part of the any I disconnected from the battery and just seems to go nowhere.

Any ideas?

-Alan.l

[This message has been edited by Barkaroo (edited 04-12-2008).]

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Report this Post04-13-2008 02:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Barkaroo:

Sticking out of the fire-wall, directly behind where the battery was is a thick Red wire with an eye-loop at the end. It was sticking out directly below the rear window area and traveled down and was simply tucked behind the battery tray. What the heck is this for?

It was not part of the any I disconnected from the battery and just seems to go nowhere.

Any ideas?

-Alan.l



It sounds like that wire might be what's left over from an aftermarket amp installation, probably can safely ignore it.
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PaulJK
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Report this Post04-13-2008 06:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PaulJKSend a Private Message to PaulJKDirect Link to This Post
The only thick red wire that should be there connects with the positive battery cable and powers the accessories. If you put the cables on the battery and everythign seems to work right, I wouldn't worry about that one. I WOULD however, try to trace it and completely remove it. Definitely sounds like it powered something that is no longer there.

Check the car for other strange wires. If that wire was powering an amp, someone might have connected other stereo or alarm stuff that has not been completely disconnected.

Something you might keep in mind is that there are 2 power wires going to the stereo. 1 provides power when the key is turned ON (this one is fused) and the other provides constant power for memory and the clock (this is NOT fused and connects to a fusable link). If you're still having problems at this point, you might try disconnecting both power leads from the radio.

[This message has been edited by PaulJK (edited 04-13-2008).]

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Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-13-2008 10:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
Ah yes. I just remembered... There was an aftermarket alarm in the car that did not work. I had my mechanic remove it when he did his work to get her running again.

Thanks! -Alan.
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Barkaroo
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Report this Post04-15-2008 05:08 PM Click Here to See the Profile for BarkarooClick Here to Email BarkarooSend a Private Message to BarkarooDirect Link to This Post
OK…Dig this. I think I have found the source of my trouble and it was the dog! LOL!

After blowing a couple of fuses… I have found a short in the wires leading to the cigarette lighter.

When I had picked up my new Britney Spaniel, “Eleanor” from the vet, she had climbed up on the arm rest and must have mashed something down in just the right way to cause the short. I’ve disconnected my lighter and everything is back to normal for now.

I just happen to have taken a picture of her at the moment we first got in the car to send to my wife.

She's still a good girl.... yes she is.

[This message has been edited by Barkaroo (edited 04-15-2008).]

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gt88norm
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Report this Post04-17-2008 01:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for gt88normSend a Private Message to gt88normDirect Link to This Post
Man that looks like one sore fore-paw, she gonna be OK?

Norm
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