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Old 10-30-2009, 09:25 AM   #1
kwiklip
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Default 97 Saturn SL1 Power Drain

I have been having a problem with the electrical system in my Saturn for a couple of years. It will run fine for a while, and then suddenly the battery will be dead when I try to start it. I did have the alternator replaced about 1.5 years ago, and I don't think that is the problem. I thought the problem was a short that caused the blower fan to start with the car off, but I just discovered that it is supposed to do that. I had an incident where I whacked the side of the console with my fist and the whole car just turned off (luckily, I was parked). I know it is a problem somewhere in the instrument panel, because when I pull the IP BATT fuse when I park for long periods, the battery doesn't drain. I'm skittish about messing around with the wiring myself, but haven't found a mechanic that wants to do it either. Does anyone have any ideas about what the problem might be? It's driving me nuts!!!

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Old 10-30-2009, 09:56 AM   #2
madpogue
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Default Re: 97 Saturn SL1 Power Drain

Not sure what you mean by "with the car off", but the blower fan on your car should only run when the key is in the RUN position. Only the gen-3 cars had the configurable "afterblow" option that would run the fan after the key is removed.

The IP BATT fuse feeds other fuses downstream. I *THINK* the owner's manual describes which downstream fuses are dependent on IP BATT. So you could use that as your guide to do the same kind of diagnosis as you've done so far. That is, pull all the dependent fuses, see if you get no draw. Then, reinstall each one, one at a time, until the parasitic draw returns.

You may be able to accelerate this process; rather than simply waiting until the battery either does or doesn't drain, disconnect the negative battery terminal and connect an ammeter between the battery post and the terminal. The ammeter completes the car's electrical circuit. Make sure the ammeter is rated for several whole amperes (say, 10A). Then you can plug in each fuse as above, and check at each step for a jump in the current reading on the ammeter.

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