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Old 06-06-2005, 02:24 PM   #1
jdurham
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Default Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

I have had the problem of my battery being run down and have to jump it off. The restart will last for a day and be dead the next morning when I leave to go to work. The dealership tested the battery (2 dead cells on original battery) and tested the alternator and starter, both of which were said to be good. They replaced the battery and this lasted a week. I went out to my car to go to work this morning and it was dead again. Now what happens is when I turn my ignition all the startup lights by the guages come on then everything immediatly goes south and goes out. I try to turn it over and nothing, not even a click from starter. I went and had it tested my self, after jumping it off, at a local parts store here in my town. The battery was in good condition and when he tested the alternator, the battery was in the lower part of the green (good) field. When I turned AC on, it went into the red zone then back up to lower green. He says its the alternator. I take it back to the dealership, talk it over with mechanic and he says that he tested the alternator and found nothing wrong, but he said it might be the regulator on the alternator that has a bad switch that is staying open rather than closing and that could be a slow drain on the battery, which a slow drain somewhere sounds right.
What are your thoughts on the problem?
Jason Durham
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:23 PM   #2
IMkenNY
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

By chance do you have onstar on this Vue?
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:34 PM   #3
jdurham
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

no, i sure dont.
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Old 06-06-2005, 11:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

If you have a simple voltage tester, you can check the voltage of the battery when everything is off and it should read abotu 12.6 Volts. When you start your car and let the engine idle, the voltate should be closer to 14 Volts. If you are having a massive voltate drop, you may have a bad connection or bad ground somewhere. It's worth asking, do you have any massive stereo equipment, lights, or any other non-factory electrical accessories?

From what you describe, it does sound like a slow drain. If your alternator wasn't working at all, then you would probably get a couple starts and/or a couple hours driving out of a fresh battery before it died. If you got a new battery and it lasted a week before it was insufficient to start your car again, then something is obviously draining the battery. The question is, is this drain going on all the time, or only when the car is running.

If you have a voltage meter (buy or borrow a cheap one from Radio Shack or some place if you don't have one), get one! Test the fresh battery with the car off. It should read 12.6 Volts. When running, the alternator should be charging the battery, and the voltage should read between 13.5 and 14.0 Volts or thereabouts. If it still reads 12.6V or lower when the car is running, your alternator isn't doing nearly enough to keep your battery charged. If the voltage is much less than 13.5V when the car is running, I'd say your alternator is working, just not well enough.

If your voltage does read around 14.0 V when the car is running, then after you drive for a bit, and shut off the car, the battery should be fully charged and read 12.6V or thereabouts. Test it immediately after driving. Then wait an hour, 3, 5, 8, 12, etc. and keep testing it. If the voltage is slowly dropping, then obviously you have a circuit drawing power all the time.

Also, make sure your battery cables are clean and clear of any corrosion or signs of battery acid. If the posts have leaked (especially the positive, as it tends to leak more), have them replaced. The corrosion will continue inside the cables even if you clean them up on the outside.

Good luck!
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

Ok, talked to service manager and here is what happened. They were able to start it up all day long that day i brought it in. The next morning they were able to crank it up, no problems. 30 minutes after that when he went to get it to bring into the garage bay . . . it was dead as a doornail. He checked it and found that the regulator in the alternator was shot. So they called the Saturn dealership and got a new alternator. The great thing is that my extended warranty covers all labor involved with a covered part. All I pay is $50 deductible. Whew, I got off easy with that. Just think what the Saturn dealership would have charged me. I wonder how much the alternator is from the dealership.
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Old 06-09-2005, 11:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

Wow, that's cool. That sounds like it should fix it. That's a pretty whacked out problem. Hopefully you won't be going through batteries so quickly any more!
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Old 06-09-2005, 11:45 AM   #7
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

Yeah the alternator cost $475 bucks. total bill was $560. I only had to pay $54 bucks as a deductible. Very cool and relieving.
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Old 06-09-2005, 12:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

Jdurham,

List price for an 02 VUE 6 Cyl Alternator = $367.97.
02 VUE 4 cyl Alternator = $287.37.

You might get a quote from a Saturn Facility next time.
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Old 06-09-2005, 12:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Battery Drain on 2002 Vue

yeah, the only problem is that i bought the saturn used and the extended warranty is cheaper to use at the Ford dealership I bought it from. If I took it elsewhere it wouldnt be the $54 copay. Honestly, I am not complaining! LOL! I figured it would be $250-$275 because that'w what I found them online for.
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