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Instant total battery discharge, won't start, rapid clicking from ignition area

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by steventadams, December 11, 2014.

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  1. steventadams

    steventadams Active Member

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    I stopped after a 30 minute trip to grab the mail. I shut off the Explorer normally and came back 3 minutes later and the car was completely dead. No lights, no windows, no dash. Nothing.

    I had my wife drive over and we charged it up some and the lights turned on and the dash lit up and etc but still no start. I tried again, this time waiting about 15 minutes while having her keep her car up around 1500 RPM (v8 sedan). No dice.

    After trying to start it up I heard what sounded like a solenoid or relay clicking rapidly for 10 seconds or so even with the key out of the ignition. The car was totally dead again 5 minutes later.

    The battery is ~1 year old. The alternator is about the same. Had no issues with dimming lights. The car started right up last time I drove it before dying. It's not weather as I live in TX.

    I haven't started diagnosing anything yet. First I'm going to hit the starter with a hammer a little bit. I'm going to check the start relay and fuses. Then I guess check power to the starter and starter solenoid.

    I've heard people starting the cars by bridging the leads on the starter with a screwdriver with the key in the ignition. What exactly is the process for that?

    I'll start with the easy stuff but was hoping someone might know what the rapid clicking was from.

    Thanks!

    -Steve
     
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  3. ron72gt

    ron72gt New Member

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    Don't rule out a dead battery. I've had them go bad just crossing the street from one parking lot to another.
     
  4. 1998Exp

    1998Exp Well-Known Member

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    Also, what gauge/quality are your jumper cables? With a completely discharged battery, long and relatively thin cables with so-so clamps will drop too much voltage to operate the starter directly from the assisting vehicle.
     
  5. Vic_Ferrari2002

    Vic_Ferrari2002 Active Member

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    Check the clamps on the battery just a little corrosion or looseness of the clamps will cause that. Could be just that simple of a fix...
     
  6. swshawaii

    swshawaii Elite Explorer

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  7. koda2000

    koda2000 Explorer Addict

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    sounds like an internally shorted out battery to me. most batteries come with a 2 year free replacement warranty. return it and get a new one.
     
  8. steventadams

    steventadams Active Member

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    I'm going to place blame on my tensioner pulley. I pulled and cleaned the battery cable connections and tapped on the starter some just to see. I let it charge via my wife's car for about half an hour then it started right up. I'm getting 12V across the battery when off, ~14.1V when running. The same ~14.1V from the alternator when running. On the low end of the spec but still in spec.

    I noticed that my belt was jumping around some and the tensioner pulley was just there for moral support but wasn't actually keeping the belt tight. I'm going to replace that, the idler, and belt this afternoon. My thoughts are that the belt kept jumping and not letting the alternator actually charge the battery back up. Hoping anyway.

    Going to do the plugs/wires while I'm at it probably (if I can convince myself that I won't break any plugs). At 220k miles I haven't given her the love she deserves so maybe it's time to fix that.
     
  9. Ryan87LX

    Ryan87LX Member

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    I suspect a bad battery cable or bad battery. Check the battery voltage next time it won't start at the terminal (not the connector).
     

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