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Old 07-13-2018, 10:08 PM   #1
THOR74
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2002 SC1
Default Battery draining overnight - help!!

Hello all!

I am the original owner of a 2002 Saturn SC1. The car has never let me down until recently when it wouldn't start because the battery had gotten run down somehow. I tested the battery with an electronic tester and it showed up OK - it is only a couple of years old. I then put a new (not remanufactured) AC Delco alternator in and it has not solved the problem. I figured that one of the diodes in the old alternator may have failed and was draining the battery when the car was not running.

The car is all original and has never has any electric or electronic parts replaced, except for the alternator, which replaced the original one. It has 171 000 kms or 103 000 miles on it. The electrical system has never had anything wrong with it before and has never been worked on or potentially compromised by any aftermarket remote starters or alarms or stereos etc.

Can anyone shed some light on what may be causing this?

Thanks.

...
Original owner 2002 SC1 manual shift A/C - 90 000 miles - in top shape and still lovin' it!!

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Old 07-13-2018, 10:40 PM   #2
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2002 SC1
Default Re: Battery draining overnight - help!!

Further info: For quite a while now I have been only using the car for one or two short trips every day (about 5 minutes each) and from what I've been learning here on the forums is that this may have ruined the battery due to a failure of enough run time to properly recharge it - thus leaving the battery in a perpetually undercharged state.

The battery is 2.5 years old and branded "Carquest". It has a 3 year warranty.

I will disconnect the battery, fully charge it, let it sit for 16 hours and THEN test it with my electronic tester which performs a load test. Last time I tested it right after I had charged it.

Either way I'm going to try and get the battery replaced under warranty and then make sure I drive the car long enough throughout the week (with as many options shut off as possible) to let it properly recharge. I can also use a battery maintainer that I have.

I hope that this will solve the problem. I will report here again with the results.

Also, my car does not have power door locks which have been mentioned on this forum as a potential parasitic drain culprit.

...
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:18 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Battery draining overnight - help!!

Some easy things overlooked; battery cables, their terminals and their connections (battery positive/negative, starter connection and two grounds - chassis and engine block). Powdery deposits on battery terminals are dried battery acid. Moisture reconstitutes this back to acid too eat copper wires and corrode steel. If battery cables aren't severely covered in powdery deposits, a warm solution of water and baking soda with a toothbrush will dissolve and neutralize acid. Water rinse. You may have to examine battery positive connection to the starter to be sure connections aren't loose. Battery negative, chassis and engine block should be free of corrosion too. Once battery cables are examined and ruled out as a possible source of power loss, move on.

Unless you have a multimeter to measure battery/alternator voltages, a load test doesn't tell you enough. Good batteries will show 12.5v on standby. With engine idling, alternator output should be between 13.3v-14.7v. 14.5v is a good place. A slipping drive belt won't transfer engine power to turn the accessory driven items - water pump, power steering pump, and alternator. If you see the drive belt flopping with the engine at idle or the belt can be depressed easily with fingers, the belt tensioner may be worn out and allowing belt slippage.

Short trip driving under 10 miles won't allow the battery to be fully recharged. One long trip per week of an hour or simply connecting a battery maintainer every day will keep a battery fully charged without over charging it. If you use a maintainer, you might be able to convert battery clips to a cigarette lighter plug for plug n' play convenience instead of popping the hood every day. The tip is positive, side connection is negative. This presumes the power adapter is hot all the time so ignition doesn't have to be on for recharging the battery.

If the battery still loses its charge, either the battery is failing or troubleshooting the electrical system for draining the battery is next.

Last edited by fdryer; 07-13-2018 at 11:29 PM..

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