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Electrical Problem

Discussion in 'General Explorations!!' started by dmasini, October 1, 2002.

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    1. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      I'm having some issues with my X getting juice from the battery. Lately I've been noticing that the power seems to be low when I start my X (it has the classic sound of starting on a low battery). But I tested the battery with a multitester yesterday and it's holding a charge (just above 12v). As well, the alt. is charging the battery so it isn't that either (truck running I'm getting 14.8v steady). The couple times I started it while testing it seemed normal. So I went to the store and when I came out I tried starting it it wouldn't turn over for like 2 sec. and then started. Problem is all of my electronic stuff was reset, i.e. radio (since that's what I noticed first.

      Anyone else having this sort of problem on a 97 or any other year X?? I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to go out one day and have to find someone to jump me :(
       
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    3. Robert

      Robert Well-Known Member

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      If you've never replaced the battery, the time has came to replace it. My Ford's batteries last about 4 years here in Arizona. Another possibility is dirty (or bad) cables. I'm betting on a failing battery though.
       
    4. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Robert, I recently cleaned the battery connectors, they had gotten pretty corroded. Is there anyway I can test the cables? I never thought that they would be the problem but I've had my battery completly drained before a couple months ago and couldn't figure out why really. I thought it was a bad ground on the Hella's I installed but that wouldn't have drained the battery completly dead in under an hour, plus I fixed that problem a month ago... Anyway, I would like to test the cables if possible so I don't go out and buy a new battery for no reason. Also, how hard are the cables to replace?
       
    5. kandtholman

      kandtholman Guest

      My battery is the original from 1992. The previous owner kept 100% record of every dime spent on the truck from oil changes to washer fluid to car wash's. I am just looking for the time that I can get a new one but this battery is so strong and it has lasted through all the harsh North Dakota winters with out a problem

      Kurt

      P.S. I've also seen articles about Miata's keeping there same battery's.
       
    6. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Yeah, a couple times when I started it it seemed like I was getting little to no juice and then all of a sudden I would get the power. I'm not completely ruling out a new battery but this problem doesn't seem consistent (with what I know) with just a drained battery. Plus, Robert, your right, I haven't changed the battery since I've had it and I don't know what the previous owner had done to it.

      I guess I just want to make sure I know all the possibilities before I put the money into something I'm not quite sure about.
       
    7. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      It sounds like you have a dead cell in the battery possibly buckled plate which sometimes shorts out and flattens it. A new batt should sort out all your probs. You could get it drop tested at any garage. Normal standby voltage should be in the region of 13.2V.
       
    8. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Howard, with a dead cell, would it still hold a charge? Also, does anyone know what the battery should be holding while the truck is on?
       
    9. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      The remaining cells are fully functional and so there is charge but as soon as you try and get large amps out ie: when starting then the dead cell simply does not allow the amps to flow through it. So when you test with a voltmeter you get a reading of 12v not 13.2v indicating the missing cell. But the voltmeter does not draw any amps to speak of. If you use a drop tester which loads the battery and measures the amps produced I think you'll find very few ie: not enough to overcome the starting resistance of a motor. You can always prove it by borowwing another batt and try it. A ten year old battery is almost a record most clap out around four years with the constant drain/recharge cycle. It is also possible that when the battery drained recently this buckled the plates inside damaging the battery beyond repair. It you short it (apart from the big bang) the plates will overheat and buckle result dead batt. When hot the electrolite boils and is lost this drops below the level of the plates and the damage is done.
       
    10. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Howard, I'm sold. Thanks so much for the explination, it makes a world of sense! I'm going to get this thing tested tonight. I'll keep you updated on the progress. And thanks again to everyone who posted a suggestion.
       
    11. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      There is one other simple test that you can do provided your batt has the little screw down plugs along the top. They may be two plastic plates. If it has undo them (lift them) and get someone else to cranck the engine (if it will) look down the batt (not too close, nasty acid stuff in there) you may see bubbles from one cell. If so thats the dead one. It doesn't fix it but just proves it. Works with a seethru batt as well.
       
    12. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Cool, I have one with water fills so I will check that first. Thanks again!
       
    13. Skugga

      Skugga Active Member

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      I read about that in Road & Track a few months ago. There was something special about the batteries used in the Miatas so they would last for people that store their car for the winter. That also made the batteries last a lot longer than normal car batteries.
       
    14. JDraper

      JDraper Somewhat Functional Moderator Emeritus

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      You can test the cables with an ohm meter. You should have very low resistance from one end of the cable to the other (to correctly test the cable, it needs to be disconnected at least at one end). If you are reading values above 20 ohms or so, the cable is probably bad.

      Replacing the cables is just an exercise in flexibility, pain tolerance and patience. I had to replace the positive cable assembly in my '92, and it took about an hour of cussing, a couple of beers and lots of skinned knuckles. The hardest part (from what I remember, it's been a couple of years) was feeding the new one into place along the passenger's frame rail.
       
    15. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      Ok, so I go to check to see if I have any bubbles in the water and my positive terminal is fully corroded again. I swear I just cleaned it a little over 3 weeks ago (I didn't notice this in testing it with the volt meter yeterday because of the plastic covers). Why is it corroding so fast and so bad? Anyway, I looked for any bubbles and noticed maybe 5 or 6 coming out but that's it Howard. Should there be more than that?

      JDraper, thanks for the post, I'll try this out as well...
       
    16. Robb

      Robb Explorer Addict

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      The corrosion is prolly causing your problem (although a battery after 5 years is a good investment). When you clean them and replace them, a little grease on everything will help keep the corrosion away.

      Robb
       
    17. dogfriend

      dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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      I have had a battery fail the way the Howard is describing. In this case, you need to have a load test done to verify the problem.

      In my case, the reason that one cell went bad (after less than one year) was because the moron who installed the battery hammered on the terminals to put them back on the posts. This weakened the plate attached to the post which eventually failed. This was obvious from the hammer marks that he left on the soft lead terminals.

      When I took the battery back, the tech first tried to convince me that the battery would be ok after they put it on the charger. When I showed his manager the hammer marks, they replaced the battery with no further argument.
       
    18. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Ok so clean all the terminals and grease lightly. Top up the cells with distilled water (level should be above the plates). Bubbles are not good they do indicate a dead cell. You could try a battery reviver pill. They used to sell them over here they increase the acid ratio and sometimes will extend the battery life. But you are getting very close to the end so start saving $$$ for a new battery. All the best.
       
    19. dmasini

      dmasini Well-Known Member

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      I'm just going to get a new battery. Chances are this is the original so more than likely it's seen 96,000 miles and 5 years worth of use like morrisey0 said. If this keeps happening after I put the new battery in (and a load test on the old one just to be sure). Thanks to everyone for the help once again!

      Howard, I was looking at the pics of your X, the UK version is pretty bad ass! Is everything on it standard?
       
    20. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      dmasini

      That's bog standard. Apart from the new rear vents in the centre console that I put in. Next job side steps and a new exhaust system (possibly twin outlet).
       
    21. JDraper

      JDraper Somewhat Functional Moderator Emeritus

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      Hey Howard,
      Looks like you aren't too far from a bunch of my friends!! I've got friends in St. Albans that work for Hocking NDT (Actually, my company owns half of Hocking NDT). I've been over there several times and quite enjoyed the area.
       
    22. Howard

      Howard Moderator Elite Explorer Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Hi Jeff
      That's right St Albans is just 25 Miles away. Next time your over lets get together:cool:
       

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