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Old 10-27-2015, 01:19 AM   #1
robb_sc2
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Default Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

Three times now in the last two days, I went to start the car and got a brief fraction of a second of power, then the whole car is completely dead. No lights, gauges stereo, chimes,nothing. The first time, carwas cold, sitting for a day, I checked cked a few of the mall n fuses all looked good. The battery is a.bit loose in its bracket, but not in danger of going anywhere. Tried restarting, fired right up. The stereo was totally reset, indicating loss of constant power. I don't know the circuit but am assuming this points to a battery issue possibly corrosion at terminals, etc. The second time, the car was warm, after a short drive less than ten minutes. Moved the battery a bit, started right away. Again, stereo system was reset, indicating loss of constant power again.

Most likely battery connections (grounding straps, terminal corrosion, etc), I will check ASAP tomorrow. Could it be starter? I only have experience with worn brushes and contacts on starters, which never killed batteries.

Input and suggestions....?
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

It's a connection problem (maybe even internal to the battery), not the starter; 99% sure...
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

Not starter. Start by checking battery connections and get battery hold down for battery. May need a new battery but more likely connections.
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

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Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Not starter. Start by checking battery connections and get battery hold down for battery. May need a new battery but more likely connections.
Yeah, what I figured, too. I will wire brush and reattach posts tomorrow.
...
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:46 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

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Originally Posted by billr View Post
It's a connection problem (maybe even internal to the battery), not the starter; 99% sure...
Battery is around 4 yrs old, don't imagine it would fail internally, but who knows? I was pretty sure it wasn't starter related either, just a weird coincidence that it died when trying to start, though a weak connection would show up under the biggest load (starter in rush).
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Old 10-31-2015, 09:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

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Originally Posted by robb_sc2 View Post
Battery is around 4 yrs old, don't imagine it would fail internally, but who knows? I was pretty sure it wasn't starter related either, just a weird coincidence that it died when trying to start, though a weak connection would show up under the biggest load (starter in rush).
Batteries absolutely can fail internally. I've seen it happen both in my own car and at work. Clean your connections by all means, but also get your battery load tested. I think most parts stores will do it for free.
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Old 11-01-2015, 01:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

just a follow up... while driving home at 8pm on a 110 kph freeway, I tapped the brakes and presto! no car! no lights, gauges, engine, absolutely nothing electrical worked. The semi trucks in front and behind must have thought I was insane... The one behind nicely pulled 2 lanes over, I went to the shoulder, coasted up an offramp, down into a truck stop, and proceeded to pry my smashed hood and bumper (more on that in another thread...) open, clean battery connections, and carry on my 3 hr drive. So yes, cleaning the terminal posts made a huge difference.
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Old 10-27-2015, 01:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

Your descriptions seems to be more about main power issues than starter problems. That 30 lb battery shifting a little might not be of any concern in warm weather when battery cables flex but they won't flex as well in cold temperatures. Stiff battery cables and a loose battery mount is a recipe for both battery cables to loosen up from the battery shifting around and breaking one of both battery side terminals - a major cause of acid damage as battery acid leaches into cables to courier and dissolve copper. If both cables are corroded, this adds to losing power from intermittent main power disconnects. A warm solution of baking soda and water with a toothbrush dissolves the dry powdery deposits and neutralizes it as it reacts by bubbling. A water rinse cleans up everything. If corrosion is severe, copper wires may be eaten away from this battery acid over the years. It won't be seen unless the heavy insulation is peeled back to examine the extent of corrosion. Loss of copper results in the crimped connection failing, allowing loose connections.

Examine both battery cable connections carefully, clean them off necessary and ensure the battery hold down configuration is secured to prevent this battery from shifting as you go into cold weather. It won't be fun when temps drop below freezing and power loss fears it ugly head again when you have time to prevent it.

Securing the battery from weight shifting and better connections goes as long way to keeping the battery charged as the alternator has less loads with a good electrical connection. This also depends on a tight drive belt going into winter to prevent a slipping belt. If the battery is lead than a few years old, in should go thru this winter without problems.
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Old 10-27-2015, 02:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Your descriptions seems to be more about main power issues than starter problems. That 30 lb battery shifting a little might not be of any concern in warm weather when battery cables flex but they won't flex as well in cold temperatures. Stiff battery cables and a loose battery mount is a recipe for both battery cables to loosen up from the battery shifting around and breaking one of both battery side terminals - a major cause of acid damage as battery acid leaches into cables to courier and dissolve copper. If both cables are corroded, this adds to losing power from intermittent main power disconnects. A warm solution of baking soda and water with a toothbrush dissolves the dry powdery deposits and neutralizes it as it reacts by bubbling. A water rinse cleans up everything. If corrosion is severe, copper wires may be eaten away from this battery acid over the years. It won't be seen unless the heavy insulation is peeled back to examine the extent of corrosion. Loss of copper results in the crimped connection failing, allowing loose connections.

Examine both battery cable connections carefully, clean them off necessary and ensure the battery hold down configuration is secured to prevent this battery from shifting as you go into cold weather. It won't be fun when temps drop below freezing and power loss fears it ugly head again when you have time to prevent it.

Securing the battery from weight shifting and better connections goes as long way to keeping the battery charged as the alternator has less loads with a good electrical connection. This also depends on a tight drive belt going into winter to prevent a slipping belt. If the battery is lead than a few years old, in should go thru this winter without problems.
Well put! I have some #6 stranded lying around, maybe I will replace the wires from battery this weekend. Meanwhile I am 300 kms away from my main tools and work space... I will try to rig it to stay at in place better, and clean what I can. Is dielectric grease applicable here? Any known problem using it on battery terminals?
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Old 10-27-2015, 03:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

You might hear from one member throwing out his fear mongering (personal) rules against using dielectric grease anywhere in car electrical systems but that's just the opinion of one person against the industry creating this grease for specific purposes. It's amusing for this member swearing against dielectric grease when a new ($$$$$$) electric motorcycle showed during assembly a liberal amount of dielectric grease smeared everywhere on the main electronics with the narrator stating this is used to prevent any corrosion from normal exposure to everyday use. My guess is there's a definite application for dielectric grease as in spark plug boots, some electrical connections where moisture inadvertently enters and elsewhere. While not normally recommended for battery terminal connections when other coatings are used, my guess is this shouldn't hurt as long as long as the battery and cable terminals are cleaned of corrosion to ensure a good physical/electrical connection before dielectric grease is used as a light coating. There are spray coatings that combine baking soda and grease as a corrosion preventative. Motor oil, petroleum jelly, regular grease works without spending money.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

The symptom i recognize -- a brief/intermittent start/solenoid connection , followed by Nothing (no more of the normal start procedure ; no IP indications , no radio/lights , etc -- has occurred a half-dozen times in my car.
Each time one of the battery cable connections had loosened (sometimes because the terminal ringlet had 'sunk' into the soft lead 'post') , evidently other times the terminal screw was not properly torqued.

Sometimes i fixed by simply tightening the terminal screw. This time of year , i'd remove the loose terminal(s) , scrape off the oxide from the battery 'post'/washer, wipe with grease/dielectric and reassemble/test.
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:41 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
You might hear from one member throwing out his fear mongering (personal) rules against using dielectric grease anywhere in car electrical systems but that's just the opinion of one person against the industry creating this grease for specific purposes. It's amusing for this member swearing against dielectric grease when a new ($$$$$$) electric motorcycle showed during assembly a liberal amount of dielectric grease smeared everywhere on the main electronics with the narrator stating this is used to prevent any corrosion from normal exposure to everyday use. My guess is there's a definite application for dielectric grease as in spark plug boots, some electrical connections where moisture inadvertently enters and elsewhere. While not normally recommended for battery terminal connections when other coatings are used, my guess is this shouldn't hurt as long as long as the battery and cable terminals are cleaned of corrosion to ensure a good physical/electrical connection before dielectric grease is used as a light coating. There are spray coatings that combine baking soda and grease as a corrosion preventative. Motor oil, petroleum jelly, regular grease works without spending money.
More of your half baked personal opinions. Go fly away.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:08 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

AWG 6 is pretty small for battery cables, I would use at least #4; #2 or 1/0 is more like it.

Edit: Oh, by the way, I just use regular chassis grease on terminals.
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Old 10-28-2015, 10:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

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More of your half baked personal opinions. Go fly away.
WHy so flippant?
Dielectric grease is a good thing, right?
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: Dying starter or battery/circuit issue?

When using my tablet, unless I proofread it several times, it likes to substitute words...
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
.... to courier [corrode] and ............. power loss fears [rears] it[s] ugly head ...... goes as [a] long way...... If the battery is lead [ less] than a few years old in[ it] should go thru this winter without problems.
While confusing to some and amusing to others, perhaps this puts new meaning into the phrase mangled English, or as I personally prefer - manglish.
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