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Old 10-20-2005, 12:28 PM   #1
magimoo
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Default Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Our son who is away at college, he has a 1995 saturn SL2 about a week ago he diconnected his BTSI solenoid,all seemed fine but 5 days later he woke up to a dead a battery which he replaced right away and the car started right up, he went back to his dorm and returned 3 hours later to find his car would not turn over.Any thoughts would be very helpful.
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Old 10-20-2005, 12:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Bad alternator?

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Old 10-20-2005, 03:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Probally a dumb question but would a bad alternator drain the battery that quickly? When he is out of school today he is going to replace the battery cables just in case they are the problem.
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Depends on how much he used the car in that three days. With no alternator theres nothing but the battery keeping the electronics going, which is a huge drain.

Tell him to go to autozone after getting a jump, and they will check it. For free.
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Old 10-20-2005, 03:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

After putting the new battery in, it was 3 hours later that it had drained the battery.
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

You mentioned he was in college. Being a college student myself, I know alot of us are into cars sounding good. I know a couple people who have bad wiring especially for amps, and that can drain the battery if its touching something its not suppose to be doing. Does he have any aftermarket hookups like that?
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

No aftermarket hook-ups.
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by magimoo
about a week ago he diconnected his BTSI solenoid
What solenoid is this?
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

It is the brake trans shift interlock located near the shifter.
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Old 10-20-2005, 04:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Let's get this straight- he installed a new battery, drove it afterwards and then 3 hours later it was dead?

And just why did he disconnect the BTSI solenoid? Is it possible those loose hanging wires are touching something and sorting to ground and draining the battery? I know nothing about this solenoid and where it's at.

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Old 10-20-2005, 04:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

I have no idea what a BTSI solenoid is either and I checked the tech speak thread in the How-To forum.

But that's not why I'm replying. You have a parasitic drain and it can be caused by the alternator. Look at this link. If that doesn't help you find it, meaning it's not the alternator, try this link.
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Old 10-20-2005, 05:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

The BTSI soleniod is a safety that sometimes sticks and prevents you from moving your shifter out of park.
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Old 10-21-2005, 11:25 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Hello everyone. This is magimoo's son, I'm going to try and explain everything up to this point.

Ever since I got the car, it had a slight problem getting out of park. The brake pedal would be down, but the gearshift just wouldn't budge. It was an intermittent problem. The stealership wanted $200 to fix it, citing a faulty BTSI solenoid (brake transaxle shift interlock). I did some research and discovered that the solenoid, when powered, locks the gearshift. Pressing the brake is supposed to break the circuit and allow the gearshift to move. A lot of people just unplug the solenoid in such a situation, and that's what I did and the car worked like a charm for about a week...

As soon as the battery died, the first thing I did was check my work on the solenoid to make sure that I didn't cause a short. I couldn't see any obvious short, but I went ahead and wrapped the end of the cable in electrical tape just to be sure.

When disconnecting the old battery, we found that the terminal had split and was heavily corroded to the battery cable. The new battery only lasted three hours and then the car would no longer start. Today my dad tested the newer battery and found that it wasn't dead; something else was keeping the car from starting.

So right now I'm thinking that the battery cables are bad. Right now the battery is removed and I have fully disconnected one of the cables. I'm having trouble getting to the starter solenoid to remove the last cable. I can see where the cable connects to it, but I can't get anything back there to undo the nut holding it on. Keep in mind that the car is sitting in my apartment's parking lot, so raising it up to get to the underside of it would be a challenge, to say the least. Does anyone have any ideas on how to remove the cable?

One I get the cables removed I can take an ohmmeter and compare the old cables' resistivity to a newer set of cables, hopefully that will tell us that the cables went bad.

If it turns out that the cables were ok, what should we be looking for next?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 10-22-2005, 12:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

I provided some links in my last post. My best guess.
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Old 10-22-2005, 07:48 AM   #15
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

I've changed a head gasket in the parking lot of my apartment. Done lots of oil changes too.

I think the only way to access the starter is from underneath.

New cables run about $75 from the dealer.

Was the car driven during that 3 hours with the new battery? If so, I would suspect a bad alternator. Alternators tend to go out somewhat quickly on Saturns. If you can get it restarted, check the voltage at the battery. With the car running you should get 14.4 volts across the terminals with a good alternator. If your battery light on the dash never came on- don't worry. Battery lights on the first few years of Saturns are worthless.

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Old 10-22-2005, 11:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

No, the car was not being driven during the three hours after the new battery was installed.
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Old 10-22-2005, 02:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

I'd still supect the cable (as of now). If you saw corosion on the terminal & battery connector, I would guess the corrosion has traved down the cable inside the insulation where you can't see it. Not sure how that would have drained a new battery in 3 hrs, but it certainly didn't help & you WILL need to replace it. Get a hydrolic jack & some stands (often on sale at Kragens & Autozone) You can jack it up R & R the cable before anyone complains-usually.
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Old 10-22-2005, 08:54 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Update:

Tonight I (finally) liberated my car of its old battery cables. I didn't use a ramp or anything fancy...just way more patience than should be humanly possible. Went to Autozone, bought some new ones, and started putting them on. Before I put them on, I used a multimeter to measure the resistance in the old cables, it was over 200KΩ no matter where I put the leads. The new set of cables had a much more modest resistance, to say the least.

Strong winds and rain soon came by, dashing my hopes of testing it out tonight. I'm really thinking that changing the cables was the way to go...I'll update as soon as I try it out.
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Old 10-23-2005, 11:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

You can have a screwed up cable that will pass enough current for the ohmmeter to indicate "good" but not enough for the starter draw. So for it to indicate bad they must be terrible. I bet you're on the right track.
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Old 10-24-2005, 08:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: Dead Battery!!!Please Help

Update:
My dad stopped by tonight, we finished everything. Started the car, and it came to life after some hesitation. It idled in park for a few minutes before we heard a noticeable increase in revs and then a quick decrease until the car died.

It started back up after a few pumps of the gas pedal. We decided that we had to drive it around to make sure the computer was reset. It drove fine, although I noticed the revs would be just a tad bit off from what they normally were. We stopped in a parking lot and idled in park again. The car wouldn't stay in idle, if you stopped giving it a little gas it would die. Then we idled it in drive, and discovered that it would idle normally.

Drove it back to the apartment and it drove much better. Parked it in the lot and idled it in park. It seemed like it had gotten its bearings and would hold the idle fine.

I'm just really paranoid now, but this is supposed to be normal, isn't it? After driving it around the car's computer understands all its sensors and whatnot. But, if it isn't normal, what could the problem be?

Thanks for all your help so far, it's really made the difference as far as getting the car back on its feet (errr, tires) again...
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