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Old 09-08-2011, 11:13 PM   #1
creamedcorn
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Default Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

I recently bought an 08 Astra from a dealer in FL and drove it home to PA. Thought I got a pretty good deal for a vehicle with 16k on it ($10.2k). I noticed on the service report that it received a new battery from the dealer very shortly before I purchased and thought, "Great, it's got a brand new battery too".

-Yada, yada, yada.-

Something is draining the battery. The vehicle runs fine when it's driving but when stopped, the battery will eventually go dead and I need to jump it to start. I figure that there is a short somewhere and I need to find it or just keep replacing the battery every 1,000 miles; or run a trickle charger every time I stop or disconnect a battery terminal. Could get expensive. I've fiddled a little with no real results.

What I'm hoping from someone is that you have a multimeter and a kind heart to tell me what you're reading from each of the fuses under the hood when the vehicle is running and when it isn't. This weekend I will check all fuses to see if something is getting low current (which would indicate a short) and try to run it back from there.

Anyone willing to help, please write down voltage and current numbers from each fuse terminal so that I may compare.

Again, I realize that this is asking a lot, but I'd rather not have this girl sit in the shop and wallow for many hundreds of dollars so that they can tell me to replace the battery or something silly.

Thanks for the consideration and, optimistically, the help.

Garrett; York, and Yardley, PA
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

I don't have an Astra so I can't read any fuses for comparison. But have you checked to see if your alternator is charging the battery? Your alternator could be out or it may have a broken connection somewhere.

Normally all the electrical components that run your vehicle will run off your alternator but if they can't, then they will run off your battery and that will drain it down pretty quickly. I used to have an old 1998 Saturn SC2 and the belt tensioner went out on it, which means the belt wasn't turning the alternator. I was delivering pizzas and eventually my car started to screw up because my battery went completely dead and the internal computer parts shut off.
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

My problem with that is that if my alternator was bad, it would not provide power when the engine was running and therefore the engine would eventually lose spark and shut off. So, if I have no problems when the engine is running then it can't be the alternator...right?
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

You should get your alternator checked ASAP. Most auto parts stores will check it for free. These are classic symptoms of an alternator that is not providing enough current to both run the vehicle and fully charge the battery.
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Old 09-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

I agree with the other posters. I would get the alternator checked as this sounds like the problem and I have seen at least a couple other threads on the forum with people having alternators die in their astras. I used to have a SC2 that the alternator was going in and it's like bdshaffer said, it had enough juice to run the car once started, but wouldn't charge. So my car was find once running , but wouldn't start after stopping.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:04 AM   #6
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creamedcorn View Post
My problem with that is that if my alternator was bad, it would not provide power when the engine was running and therefore the engine would eventually lose spark and shut off. So, if I have no problems when the engine is running then it can't be the alternator...right?
Simply put, the internals of an alternator contain three sets of windings which work together to provide a total output. Wired in with these are big fat-assed diodes, which are wired up in such a way that if one fails, two out of the three sets of windings produce nadda. If this is the case, your alternator may be producing only a third of its rated output, which might not be enough to recharge the battery under certain heavy-load conditions. Additionally, diodes can short out in such a way that they create a drain when the engine is off.

A good place to start would be to disconnect the negative terminal off of the battery and place an ammeter in series between the terminal and the post (set at the highest rating, and then work your way down). Then, with the ammeter still attached, begin disconnecting fuses until the drain disappears. When it does, you've found your drain.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:04 AM   #7
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

Astra la Vista, thanks for your description. I was hoping someone would talk it out with me. I can see how it could be the alternator and I will try the method that you suggest. I'll report back to let everyone know how it goes. Thanks to everyone who replied.
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Electrical help. Everyone, please read.

Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I had a similar problem on mine right before I took delivery of it new (although it was 9 months old already). They told me that the battery wouldn't hold a charge--something was slowly draining it. They replaced the rear fuse block and it seemed to solve the problem. I still have the original battery and alternator and have had no issues. Just something you might want to bring up with them--sounds like a similar problem.
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