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Weak electric no start, no radio, loose belt squealing? Optima battery, rain, wash by 85 SE VIN 9
Started on: 09-15-2013 05:20 PM
Replies: 10 (320 views)
Last post by: 85 SE VIN 9 on 09-19-2013 08:18 PM
85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-15-2013 05:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
The 85 GT V6 I've had almost ten months seems to have a chronic charging/draining problem. The first thing I thought when I saw the Optima battery. Why would anyone spend three times what should be needed on a battery?

In January one headlight was burnt out, the other wouldn't go up. After installing a headlight motor disable switch and replacing the bulb the lights worked fine, but I left them up until spring. Since then I've kept the power off for the headlight motors except when lowering them. Lately there seem to be electrical weakness indicators, like slower cranking, windows, fuel pump relay, and trunk popper. Even the blue dingy thingy sounds weak. Then this afternoon I heard no fuel pump relay and there was no cranking. There is a little power, but not even the radio comes on.

There have been problems with the neutral start bypass (manual trans) and the gauges looked like when that happens, except no warning light check. My feet are so big that I kick the bypass loose often. Before trying to start this afternoon I had to fiddle with the bypass and tried to tuck it behind the fuse box. Maybe I knocked some fuses or connectors loose?

It's raining here today and I washed it with a hose about Wednesday. I've heard that sometimes the location of the battery allows water to dilute the acid, but isn't the Optima sealed? The cables look good and seem tight.

The belt looks new, but has always squealed on start up. The last few days it has squealed at a slightly later time. This car has leaking valve covers and coolant hoses. My hunch is that other people who complain of belt squeals have these same problems. These are things that are easily fixed, but the belt may be loose anyway. The manual says it should be tightened to "eighty pounds." Is that eighty pounds to deflect one inch? It can be deflected pretty easily by hand. The A/C belt came off altogether back in May or June. It also squealed in exactly the same way, assuming the compressor was running, of course.

The service manual trouble shooting seems to point to low battery and/or charging. I actually have a new battery for my SE, but the GT is at work and the SE doesn't run. Besides the Optima is huge for the car and can't be more than a couple years old. I'm thinking of putting this off 'till tomorrow after work. Maybe the battery will bounce back enough to start.

In thinking about it I can't remember ever seeing the Alt light on this car. Isn't that a part of the charging circuit? I'm thinking of taking a spare bulb, a voltage tester, and a wrench and socket to maybe tighten the belt.

Any other ideas, insights, suggestions?
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phonedawgz
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Report this Post09-15-2013 07:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for phonedawgzClick Here to visit phonedawgz's HomePageClick Here to Email phonedawgzSend a Private Message to phonedawgzEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Charge up one of your batteries and see if it starts.
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85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-15-2013 07:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It's complicated. Long trip with a heavy battery or buy a charger and hook it up at work or take the battery out and hook it up, neither very practical or permissible. Maybe by tomorrow afternoon it will have bounced back.
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msrservices
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Report this Post09-15-2013 08:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for msrservicesClick Here to visit msrservices's HomePageSend a Private Message to msrservicesEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I would suggest Rodney's Idler Pulley: http://rodneydickman.com/ca...th=22&products_id=71

I've had it for years now, I haven't had any slipping issues since.


As far as the drain, are you sure you don't have a short?
I recently had to replace my starter (and solenoid) because of a random short that would drain my batter over night.

Does the headlight motor have short, that's causing a power drain?

Something to think about.
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David Hambleton
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Report this Post09-15-2013 08:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for David HambletonClick Here to Email David HambletonSend a Private Message to David HambletonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
[QUOTE]Originally posted by 85 SE VIN 9:

In thinking about it I can't remember ever seeing the Alt light on this car. Isn't that a part of the charging circuit
?

Sometimes when the alternator belt is too loose, the alternator isn't charging & the voltmeter will read around 12 volts. If the belt stops squealing, it may then be turning the alternator. If the alternator is working, the voltmeter will read higher, maybe 15 volts. What voltmeter readings are you getting?

[This message has been edited by David Hambleton (edited 09-15-2013).]

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85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-16-2013 03:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
msr - might be worth it. I'm dreading trying to tighten the belt, which has to come off to replace the a/c belt. In fact I probably will go that route.

David - this GT is pre-guage, I don't have any volts readout. I have a cigarette lighter unit that's going with me this morning on the bike.

There is another thread that mentions wet conditions combined with slippage to reduce voltage. Sounds like the right track.

There may be a problem with the headlights or something. I figure the PO couldn't find it either - that's why he bought the huge battery - and sold the car.

Gotta run, I mean, ride - to work, leaving at 3:30AM. This is why I haven't sold the SE. It would be so much easier if I could just use it for a few days. Sooner or later I will get the time to finish the brake line project. It was going to be yesterday, but ... and it rained all afternoon.
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GreenPlatypus
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Report this Post09-16-2013 10:55 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GreenPlatypusClick Here to Email GreenPlatypusSend a Private Message to GreenPlatypusEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I would suggest swapping out the Optima first. I have had nothing but problems with them. They don't like being drained, and never come back. Had one in my Mini when I bought it. Left me stranded a couple times, among other issues. I put a factory battery in it and haven't had a problem since. I have never had an Optima last more than a few years in any of my cars. They do good for racing, in the real world, no so good. Replace the alternator belt and tension it properly, or get the tensioner as previously mentioned. The car should have a charging light on it. My old 85 se had one, been a few years since I have driven one, but it should at least have one. The drain issue is a little trickier to find. Spend a weekend with it. Heck, it took me almost 2 months to find a drain on a new Mercedes, bad module, one of 48 on the car Process of elimination.
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85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-17-2013 03:34 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thank you green! I think that's it. I'm getting ready to carry that new battery to the train and then take a cab. There is a tiny bit of power, but not even enough to register on the radioshack dash voltmeter thing. The optima doesn't look so good on closer inspection anyway. This is a GT without gauges that did have warning lights on the center console. The left one is missing. It looks like someone removed it either thinking it wasn't important and they wanted the space for something else, or maybe it was on all the time and they couldn't figure why. I've heard that the charging light is a crucial part of the charging process when it's part of the dash, so its absence may be very significant. Anyway now I have to carry that very heavy battery a mile at four in the morning. It has a handle, but I remember it was awful just getting up the elevator with it. Gotta do what ya gotta do...
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85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-17-2013 08:25 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
New battery starts it, voltmeter shows strong charging. Just a summary: the optima was pronounced dead, but I wish I hadn't left it at the Kmart, it's worth at least five bucks as a trade. The compressor I thought was loose - was. It's missing one bolt, the other is loose. The belt was still there, wrapped around the pulley and keeping the compressor from turning. Perhaps it was also keeping the alternator from turning. Here's the really good news: there is a guy at the Kmart in DesPlaines who not only has worked on Fiero's, he even did a swap! He's willing to do the struts for what I consider a reasonable price. Name is Johnny.
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fastblack
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Report this Post09-18-2013 01:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for fastblackSend a Private Message to fastblackEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Check out the ogre's cave (link at bottom of every page) under battery leeches. Just finished up chasing one down on my car. Can get a bit tedious but it's nice to walk out to your car in the morning and not have to jump it.
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85 SE VIN 9
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Report this Post09-19-2013 08:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 85 SE VIN 9Click Here to Email 85 SE VIN 9Send a Private Message to 85 SE VIN 9Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It's still running, but with a/c on with blower on high and headlights the voltmeter shows 11.6. It does go up without those high-drain items, but you can see how it would drain the battery without anything being on all the time. Btw, there is basically no squealing since replacing the battery. Even on the highway the drain of headlights bring the voltage down to barely acceptable levels. When I first hooked up the battery it showed only 12.3. The Kmart guys did a charging test and proclaimed it fine, but I like the Walmart test with printout. I'm thinking of buying another battery to replace the one in the GT which was meant for the SE, just so I can get the test results. I also need to clean and paint the battery tray, etc. It doesn't seem much better than the SE did.
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