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Old 11-15-2018, 12:43 PM   #1
dummo
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1997 SW2
Default Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

Not My SW2 but rather my Wife's 2007 Pacifica.
Facts:
0). 29 degree morning - car has 138k and on Battery no. 3 - Big 4.0 engine - heavy solid car - If problem is the battery this time well then the batteries seem to only last only a few years (3) whether from dealer or Walmart.

1). slow painful turnover no start

2). 2nd attempt - starts - I move the car 100 feet and turn off

3). 20 minutes later my wife tries it and no start - she panics takes another car to work

4). 20 minutes later after I come back home to a slow painful turnover no start and few more attempts to no avail

5). my Saturn Jump starts the Pacifica and I move it to the front of the garage and put it on a trickle charge

6). If the battery is good and takes the charge this afternoon should I assume it is an alternator problem?

Your comments and suggestions are welcome...

...
• 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 11-15-2018, 01:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

My grandfather's '09 Honda CRV came from the factory with a motorcycle battery (tiny little 6" x 12" x 4" thing). I hacked in a proper sized battery (not much of a hack, just moving stupid crap to fit the 3x larger battery) from one of my Subaru's and it turned over faster at 30f with the 'new' battery than it did at 80f with the factory battery. We both were amazed with the difference and he felt much safer driving around in the winter.

I don't know how long you're letting it idle for, but generally in the cold you want 20-30min of total run time to recharge the battery. You can get away with shorter times with smaller engines, but big ones need more time to top off as they pull more out of the battery.

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Old 11-15-2018, 01:11 PM   #3
SlayZombi
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

I mean not a Saturn but eh, it's all the same. Slow crank usually means battery. And if you live in a hot place like Arizona or the rest of the southwest yeah, batteries only last for a few years. I would say take it to an auto parts store for a quick test if you don't have the equipment handy. The fact that it started up with a jump solidifies my idea that it's battery.

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Old 11-15-2018, 01:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

Every vehicle with a 12v battery used to start an engine needs a good battery, cables free of corrosion, snugged connections, a tight drive belt to turn a good alternator that supplies all the electricity a vehicle needs while recharging its battery. If your Pacifica is used for short trips under 10 miles, the battery may not recharge in short trips. Either measure battery and alternator voltages at home or have them tested by any auto store selling car batteries. They should be able to perform in car tests. They may not be able to comment on loose drive belts.

At home, standby battery voltage should be around 12.5v. With engine idling, alternator output should be around 14.5v.

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Old 11-15-2018, 01:27 PM   #5
dummo
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

^^^^ the short trips are probably what's doing it. She commutes a short 4-5 mile back road trip 5 days a week. stopping half way at the grocery store on the way home usually.

a new battery is the cheapest way out - and I can replace it tonight if needed.

...
• 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 11-15-2018, 01:57 PM   #6
hholbein
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

It could be the battery, but given that you live in the Salt Belt, and Chrysler electrical grounds are prone to corrosion after 10+ years, you might want to check the cables at the battery and connections to see if they're corroded. Can't hurt.

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Old 11-15-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

Quote:
At home, standby battery voltage should be around 12.5v. With engine idling, alternator output should be around 14.5v.
Fdryer has it right. The 14.5 when idling would say the alternator is good. Check that first.

...
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Old 11-15-2018, 02:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dummo View Post
^^^^ the short trips are probably what's doing it. She commutes a short 4-5 mile back road trip 5 days a week. stopping half way at the grocery store on the way home usually.
This sounds like it is what is killing your batteries.

Pull a lot of charge to start the car, drive a couple of miles, then stop before alternator can recharge. Start again after shopping, drive a couple more miles, then stop.

If after charging, the car turns over normally (rather than slow, painful), maybe put it on the charger every weekend?

Side note - I think my '09 Dodge Caravan has the same 4.0L engine. If so, the Wix 57045 is an extended length filter (adds 1.4"). Double check where your filter is located to make sure there is room. I did a comparison of specs for the stock and longer filter here:

https://forum.chryslerminivan.net/sh...or-4-0L-engine

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Old 11-15-2018, 05:49 PM   #9
fdryer
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

dummo, the battery is most likely discharged from many short trips and may need a full recharge to bring it back. There are several ways to maintain a fully charged battery; once a week on a long drive for around an hour or so (round trip) or find a way for a small inexpensive wall charger connected to the battery with the cord dangling out the front grille. Leaving an extension cord out to plug in the wall charger can provide an overnight charge, enough to top off the battery. Small inexpensive wall chargers like the ones below.
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg walmart trickle charger.jpeg (37.3 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg battery tender.jpg (44.3 KB, 1 views)

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Old 11-15-2018, 06:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

Quote:
a new battery is the cheapest way out
Can't you just let her take the Halloween costume? No more battery problems.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 11-16-2018, 12:09 AM   #11
dummo
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Quick Advice - Dead Battery or Alternator time? - How to tell?

^^^^LOL! I lost a night of work tonight. A snow storm perfectly timed for rush hour made my 20 minute commute into a four hour ordeal. I literally turned my Saturn off and killed the lights since traffic was not moving for such a long time that I figured I might conserve gas. Soon after that I was weaving through stranded wheel spinners on the two lane parkway. I’ve never seen or driven past so many stranded drivers.

I was really impressed by how my SW2 with traction control and new tires handled the long drive. I was keeping up with and even outperforming almost anything out on the road. Lots of stranded Audi sedan and GTI type cars with the too wide tires.

I did have to go to Walmart and get a new battery for the Pacifica. The top shelf maxx one for $119.99. (Which turned out to be the exact replacement for the one I bought 3 years and 9 months ago - missing the 3 year full replacement warranty). I got home after 9 and shoveled the driveway, walkways and cars and then installed the new battery and put it on the trickle charger. I’m betting it’ll be good for 3 more years and longer.
Thanks to everyone for the top notch help.

...
• 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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