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Old 01-27-2014, 01:39 PM   #1
Moon
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Question 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Hi, hoping someone can help. Last year, 2013, I went through three car batteries while trying to figure out why. I eventually replaced the starter, alternator (went Bosch on both) and even put in new BW coil packs (even though the last thing would not be related to a drain). I also decided it was high time to replace the wires and I put some nice plugs in too. I recently flew out of town for a week, came back and my SL would again not start due to battery drain. Another weird thing is that once I got some charge back into it with a home charger, the alarm would go off (which is normal since I armed it before I left) but the key remotes would not shut it off! Completely non-responsive (this is the original Saturn security system, not aftermarket). So I had to wait the 30 minutes for it to get out of armed mode so I could finally start it and drive it around 5 minutes to re-charge it. But the remotes never worked again. Oddly, I thought I had this mysterious drain defeated before and was getting ready to work on the cooling system (replace T-stat, ECTS, flush, etc.) but now I'm back to facing this as prioity again. I'm dying here! Help me hold on to my Saturn! Otherwise I'm kinda feeling like pushing it off a cliff!

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Old 01-27-2014, 01:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Welcome to the forums.

First thing would be to check all your grounds for corrosion. Also, check your battery cables. Mine are needing replacement, even though they look great, because a battery leaked acid into the cable sheath. So now they're full of corrosion. I'm going to be replacing them this month.

...
2014 Cannondale 27spd 29": 30 miles
1999 Forest Green SL2 5spd "Sally" 5spd : 307,100+ miles
1993 White SW2 5spd "Steve" 5spd : 234,984 miles

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Old 01-27-2014, 04:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

I had starting issues until I simply tightened the battery connections - which were already tight, but i leaned on them a bit more and that made a very real difference.

just a thought.

Also I put a car mounted 1.5 amp charger from Advance auto parts ($30.00) into my college age daughters Nissan Sentra - the battery was draining and dying from car sitting too long without use. Its a nice little unit.
trickle Charger.jpg

...
1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
1994 SL1 new traded
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* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg

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Old 01-27-2014, 05:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Check and make sure your trunk light is off, fold down one of the rear seat backs and check.

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Old 01-27-2014, 08:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesl2 View Post
Check and make sure your trunk light is off, fold down one of the rear seat backs and check.
Excellent suggestion. This was my battery drain problem on my 97.

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Old 01-28-2014, 12:20 AM   #6
el diablo viejo
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

If it has an aftermarket sound system that would be the first place I would look.

...
97 sl2 a/t 104 K
1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 01-28-2014, 09:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesl2 View Post
Check and make sure your trunk light is off, fold down one of the rear seat backs and check.
LOL - Hey Bluesl2 ... I just noticed that I recently posted the other point of view of your Avatar...

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...8&postcount=12

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1997 SW2 used 12/29/2011 with 124,200 -27 mpg
2004 Ion3 new 11/2003 (totaled) 11/2011 -23 mpg
1994 SL1 new traded
1992 SL2 new traded for above
* 1986 Yamaha ce50 Jog -100 mpg

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Old 01-28-2014, 10:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Haha, that's too funny. Probably one of the best movie lines/scene of all time.

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Thanks for all the responses so far. The amazing thing is I was able to use a home charging unit and get it to start after the 9 days of non-use I mentioned before and I drove it around a few minutes to charge it back up. I figured that gave me a couple days to figure it all out and either grab some parts at the store, go to my mechanic or both. But then it wouldn't even start the next day! Then, the day after that, with the home charging unit used again and everything, it seems I have just killed my fourth battery!!! I'm shocked at how fast it's killing these new batteries. Okay, couple notes; I did the trunk test and it's off as it should be when trunk is closed (I was piping in power from my home power), there was an after-market stereo installed recently but that would not account for the three battery-killing episodes of 2013. Still, the stereo could be the problem this time but then I have to ask this question: is it not possible to have a nice stereo in my Saturn and have it start when I want to go somewhere too?? Lastly, thanks again for all suggestions and I will def look into that 1.5 amp starter thing. I want to join the half-million mile club quite badly and this 97 SL only has 160 on her but, like I said before, I'm gettin' killed here.

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Old 01-30-2014, 09:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Driving around will not adequately recharge a drained battery. It needs to be put on a charger at preferably a low 2A rate, or ( less desirable ) a medium 10A rate. You can have a nice aftermarket stereo if it is wired into the electrical system correctly. There is a way to systematically check for power drain but unfortunately I cannot remember the details. I know it involves sequentially pulling each fuse; the procedure is in a thread in this or the tech forum. Hopefully a member will pick up on this and know the test protocol.

...
97 sl2 a/t 104 K
1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 05-23-2014, 04:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Just want to say thanks to all the feedback. Guess what... it turned out to be a defective battery! The weird thing though was that it was my third defective battery in a row which, in past times, would have been unimaginable but now that Sears builds all its DieHards in Mexico, there is seriously ZERO quality control!

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Old 05-23-2014, 04:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Wow!? Three(3) Sears Diehard batteries, all dying on your Saturn? How was this determined?

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Old 05-23-2014, 06:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moon View Post
Just want to say thanks to all the feedback. Guess what... it turned out to be a defective battery! The weird thing though was that it was my third defective battery in a row which, in past times, would have been unimaginable but now that Sears builds all its DieHards in Mexico, there is seriously ZERO quality control!
If you vehical has power door locks make sure the two switches are good, I had a drain on my Battery because the switch on the drivers door was internally damaged and caused the locks to stay enaged all the time until the Battery died.

...
2015 Subaru Forester Limited "Prinny"
2000 SW2 Still Running Strong- 160K Traded In
2002 SL1 Still has Its Training Wheels on at 88K Traded In


CHECK YOUR OIL!

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Old 05-23-2014, 06:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

To test for drain you remove your negative battery and hook your multimeter inbetween your negative cable and your negative battery terminal. I believe you set your meter to amps? Someone correct me if Im wrong. It shpuldnt be over 40-50 miliamps. If it is, start pulling fuses one at a time until it drops. When it does the draw is somwhere in whatever that fuse goes to. I've only actually done this once lol. It was on a volvo and the trans module was the culprit.

...
1994 SW2 Manual 290k with a broken odometer... so who knows!
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Also it does seem pretty odd to go through that many batteries. I'd go ahead and check for drain just to be safe lol.

...
1994 SW2 Manual 290k with a broken odometer... so who knows!
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:41 AM   #16
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moon View Post
Just want to say thanks to all the feedback. Guess what... it turned out to be a defective battery! The weird thing though was that it was my third defective battery in a row which, in past times, would have been unimaginable but now that Sears builds all its DieHards in Mexico, there is seriously ZERO quality control!
Just curious - did they have a recall or did someone at Sears admit that all the batteries sold over the past year have been shorting out ?

...
97 sl2 a/t 104 K
1989 GMC 3500 454 129 K, 1969 442 455 rat rod

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Old 05-25-2014, 08:32 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Acting off logic and nothing more, unless you fully test for a drain or have an expert check your car out with the sole purpose of a drain issue..... you cannot point the blame to the battery (s) just yet, especially when its 3 in a row.. That's unlikely, because your electrical system failure(s) and alternator can be damaging each battery slowly... not to mention all the stress caused if true.

malfunctioning electrical components are so common... like someone here said earlier, the electric locks go bad on these saturns all the time, mine was causing a battery drain for months on the passenger side, never could figure it out until I tested for drains! This was a period of 2 months, lots of jumps, and 2 batteries later.

You never said your drain was tested, you just said it was 3 defunct batteries... so if you had it all checked out and it was 100% the bats, disregard my post.

...
1998 Saturn SL2 w/ 270k miles

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Old 11-06-2016, 02:53 PM   #18
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

My 1997 Saturn SL had been running great for a long time. Then, I put it in reverse to back into a parking spot and the car began shaking and acting like the engine would cut out. Then, I turned it off, went into the store, came out, started it and the shaking got worse, the engine very nearly died and the service engine soon light came on. I managed to get home by keeping it revved but am trying to figure out what's going on. Any suggestions?

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Old 11-06-2016, 04:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Guessing is easy; fuel pump/pressure, clogged catcon, fuel filter, misfiring, worn spark plugs, air filter, etc.. It might help to connect a reader and retrieve any error codes.

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Old 11-07-2016, 09:00 PM   #20
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Default Re: 1997 SL MYSTERIES; Power Drain

Everything you mentioned has been replaced in last 12 mos. I'm thinking maybe carbon build-up on throttle?

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