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Old 05-10-2009, 04:43 PM   #1
Neophyte
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Default Battery Draining - Don't know why

Hello All,

I hate making my first post one that is asking for help, but I'm at a loss for what I can do. I've been trying to help out my sister-in-law by doing some work on her 2003 Ion. The battery will never hold a charge that can start the car for more than about 6 hours. I.E. you get home for the night and go to bed, you wake up the next morning with dead battery. Here's the symptom list and what I've done so far:

-Had Autozone check the battery and alternator; they said both were in good shape
-Pulled the trunk light, dome light, all other interior lights so that they could not possibly be on to drain the battery
-The battery can hold charge with an external battery charger
-The car can be jumped without a single hiccup
-For around town trips throughout the day the car will start flawlessly so long as the battery has been charged
-There are no SES lights
-The clock above the radio never turns off (is it suppose to?)
-The door alarm constantly goes off like you have left the key in the ignition, or left the headlights on whenever you open the driver's door
-The key has never been stuck in the ignition or shown any other symptoms (that I know of) of the ignition switch problem
-This is still using the stock battery
-I checked the air filter and I'm guessing it was the stock one because it was nasty! I replaced with a new one (could a bad O2 sensor be causing the door alarm?)
-This Ion was bought in the hot Arizona desert and then moved to West Texas so it works in extremely hot environments
-When running the car does not stutter or show any other signs of problems

Anyone have any other ideas of things I can check or what could possibly be killing a full battery charge over 6 hours? I'm a Pontiac guy and can do anything that has instructions, but I need a little guidance as to what to do to narrow this down and fix it. My Sister-in-Law just got through a nasty divorce so she doesn't have a lot of money to throw at the problem. Either a new battery or a new ignition switch, but changing out both might be out of the question.

Any ideas from anyone?
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:57 PM   #2
plato
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

it seems to me that the battery cannot hold a charge. Considering the age of it and the hot location, I'd say 95% you need a new battery.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

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Originally Posted by plato View Post
it seems to me that the battery cannot hold a charge. Considering the age of it and the hot location, I'd say 95% you need a new battery.
I am leaning towards that myself, but the fact that it can take a full charge and run around all day without any troubles throws me off of it. Also, it did not appear to have any bad cells when Autozone tested it. I feel like I only have one chance to get this right due to budgetary constraints.

Any insights on what could cause (what seems like) an false door alarm?
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

There may be two issues here; a 6yr old battery and alarm possibly draining the battery. It might help to isolate the two and one way to possibly check the battery first is simply disconnecting it for the night after a charge. The battery left disconnected overnight should never have a problem being reconnected and starting up but if it does, the battery's dead. Combine 6yrs in very hot conditions and you're lucky to have the battery last so long. Members from Nevada never expect more than 2yrs from their batteries. The alarm may be from low voltage caused by the battery if voltage drops below 12.5v overnight. You haven't mentioned battery voltage and just reading battery voltage can tell you something. Normal battery voltage will be around 12.5v but if the voltage on the same battery, that was left disconnected overnight, reads below this then the battery is dead and not capable of holding a charge, much less have any capacity for starting.
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

First have someone other then Checker and or AutoZone test the battery, KFC or Taco Bell can do better.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

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First have someone other then Checker and or AutoZone test the battery, KFC or Taco Bell can do better.
Where does Burger King, McDonalds, and 2006Ion2 rate?
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

Burger King, McDonalds rate just as well as KFC, and TacoBell. The other one will test between the battery posts with an ohm meter for continuity and claim the battery in working order. Then recount his statement saying he meant something else.

Last edited by SaturnSdn; 05-10-2009 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

no, I would say you have electrical problems with the car, and isolate and fix those first. then I would say checking the voltage of the battery under load is how you check it, otherwise you can get a false good reading, a good way to do this is to use a gauge, I have a scangauge I use for this. another is a voltmeter.
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

It's real simple .......... take the car to some that has the equipment to do a load test. Oh and thats take it to someone that also knows how to use the equipment. Like oh let me guess, your nearest SATURN retailer maybe.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

My girlfriend does a great job of checking me out under full load conditions


Just saying...
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

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My girlfriend does a great job of checking me out under full load conditions


Just saying...

There ya go ............ things need to go to the right people for the job at hand.
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Old 05-11-2009, 08:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

Well, a six year old battery under hot Arizona sun. It's probably time to replace anyway.

But it sounds like something is draining the battery. On another vehicle I have, it had a switch that went to some option that I did not have on my vehicle. I kept getting a dead battery every week. The switch had a tiny light on it and that or the switch itself was draining the battery. The dealer told me there was a Technical Service Bulletin on that situation.

The ION has an automatic OFF (after time) doesn't it for the trunk light and other interior lights?

I'd try a new battery. But do all of the above first.
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Battery Draining - Don't know why

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaturnSdn View Post
It's real simple .......... take the car to some that has the equipment to do a load test. Oh and thats take it to someone that also knows how to use the equipment. Like oh let me guess, your nearest SATURN retailer maybe.
I would love to take it to the dealer and have them screw my sister-in-law out of all the money she doesn't have [/sarcasm] (That's not a shot at Saturn it's a shot at dealership prices.) Plus the nearest dealership is over 100 miles away.

I'll have to try unhooking the battery over night to see if that makes a difference or not. I'd feel pretty confident calling it the battery if it still didn't work after being hooked the next morning.

And like I said, I know the battery is pretty old, but I'm trying to nail this in one shot, so having as much information as possible and as many ideas as possible is key.
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