Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process - Team Camaro Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical.

 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

About a year ago I got a new battery and went to 1-wire alternator. Now after the car came out of winter hibernation I've been experiencing the following symptoms:

1. Battery doesn't hold a charge for more than a couple days.
2. Once running the car doesn't ever quit/die but on occasion when voltage starts getting low enough the turn signal lights don't flash - just stays illuminated w/o flashing. Once this happens - I know that if I shut it down that it will not re-start. But this is w/alternator running (supposedly) so why would it be draining quickly with car running?

3. When I pull the alternator wire with car running it shows on meter that it's charging at 14V.

4. Once I charge the batter the car will restart if I attempt to start within the same day, sometimes two days but if I wait more than 2 days it's dead.

I just took both the Alt. & Battery to Autozone and both tested GOOD. First the battery tested bad and then they charged for 10 min and tested good so they say "it's good." Hopefully they're right about that.

I'm in process of converting to CS130 but will likely still have this lingering issue that I need to figure out. Seems like something is draining on the battery but at times more so than others. WHAT'S A GOOD WAY TO NARROW DOWN WHAT IT MAY BE??? Could it be a grounding issue. I currently have neg from battery to eng. block and from there have a ground that goes to frame.

Car does have an alarm system also which is old and I'm thinking 'bout disconnecting it. Car also has Elec. Fan, basic stereo sytem & MSD Ign.

Any advise/help/tips/first-hand experience greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 02:20 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Hook up an ampmeter in series with the battery ground. That will show you how many amps are being pulled with everything off. After that, start pulling fuses to identify the suspect circuit. If the alarm is wired to the fuse panel, chances are it has an inline fuse, pull that as well.

You will never get a reading of 0.00 as the radio and clock pull a few milliamps constantly.

If you have a trunk light, check that. On another forum, a member had the same issue and it turned out to be the trunk light being on constantly.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 02:31 PM
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Thumbs down Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by 68RS-SS View Post
... took both the Alt. & Battery to Autozone and both tested GOOD. First the battery tested bad and then they charged for 10 min and tested good so they say "it's good."
Hopefully they're right about that ...

I'm in process of converting to CS130
Nope, they're wrong ...
Was the battery kept on a maintenance charger over the winter? If not, it has probably sulfated or warped it warped a plate during your first recharge this spring.
The battery has no 'deep-charge' capacity left - they would have to set the battery up with a 'pile-test' for a given amount of time to show this.
Just have them warranty the battery if it is still covered and you problem with the discharge will probably be over.
The "one-wires" will develope shorts of the isolation diode that can cause a slow discharge also - but it usually take weeks, not days, to show up as a drained battery.

Changing over to a CS130 will be one of the best upgrades you can do - they are very reliable and will keep up with modern upgrade elec. loads.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Well I just got back from Autozone and they refuse to warranty the batter cause their tester gives them a good reading after recharging. I'm still skeptical but will proceed with checking circuits for improper amp draw when vehicle is off. Can someone explain a little more on how this is done with Amp Meter in Series with the battery ground. Will a typical multi-meter do this or do I need something more elaborate? Is this a job for that clamp on attachment that my meter doesn't have? Thanks for the help.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 04:11 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

You can use a multimeter (if it has a 10 amp scale) or a test light.

While the meter is invaluable cause it gives you a number, you will damage it if you exceed the current scale.

Disconnect the neg battery cable.
Touch or attach somehow the neg meter lead to the neg battery terminal.
Touch or connect the pos meter lead to the disconnected neg cable.

Read the current draw in amps.





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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Thanks Jim - sounds simple enough. Appreciate passing on the knowledge. So I'm assuming anything more than a reading of a few milliamps should be a reaon for concern and further investigation. Outside clock and alarm system which continuously draw small amounts.

I can't wait to get to the bottom of this so I can really get out and enjoy my car this weekend. The family and I went to the dragraces this weekend and it was fun but wasn't the same just watching from the stands.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 04:57 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

sounds like battery no good. charge it and leave it alone dont connect anything to it. let it sit over night and read voltage from it see if it died overnight. if it does bring it to them and tell them let it sit overnight and check again
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 05:29 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage 68 View Post
Nope, they're wrong ...
Was the battery kept on a maintenance charger over the winter? If not, it has probably sulfated or warped it warped a plate during your first recharge this spring.
The battery has no 'deep-charge' capacity left - they would have to set the battery up with a 'pile-test' for a given amount of time to show this.
Just have them warranty the battery if it is still covered and you problem with the discharge will probably be over.
The "one-wires" will develope shorts of the isolation diode that can cause a slow discharge also - but it usually take weeks, not days, to show up as a drained battery.

Changing over to a CS130 will be one of the best upgrades you can do - they are very reliable and will keep up with modern upgrade elec. loads.
I use to work there, if the battery has a 'cell' dead it will say its good. IMHO, what Im getting here is a bad battery.....
cs130 is a good idea....Once again vintage steps up to the plate...

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 2nd, 08, 05:34 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Battery.bad.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 08, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Update: I charged the battery but did not install it and has held 12.6 Volts for the last 2 days. If that's the case could it still have a warped cell or be bad? This weekend I will start checking the circuits for draw.

I mounted up my CS130 Alternator last night. There has been some discusson on how they work with the March Pulley System and those that have the short water pump setup say they work fine. However, I have the March SB mid-mount kit for long water pump system. The CS130 case is different and I had to modify the March tension adjustment bracket to make it work. You have to cut about 3/8" off the end of the bracket at an angle to custom fit the alt. case. It works well though and actually even better than how it mated to the older case design. I'll let you all know what this elec. gremlin turns out to be but have compiled a long list of potential sources based on what I found in other people's posts in the archives:

1. Starter
2. Horn relay
3. Alarm System
4. Bad diode in old 1-wire Alt
5. Corrosion somewhere
6. Gauge wiring
7. Gove box light
8. Trunk light
9. Basically any circuit or component
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 4th, 08, 07:33 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

If you find no light on, only clock works, and alarm system is a must, then get a battery tender. Harbour Freight- $29.95.

No battery tender, then kill the alarm system. Get a new battery.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 08, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process-FIXED IT



The problem turned out to be the 15-yr old $99 alarm system which was drawing about 2.5 amps when car was off. Once I disconnected it the amps went basically to nothing. I made a custom bracket for the rear mount to finish my CS-130 retrofit also and took the car out for about a 150mile drive through the mountains yesterday and it's runnin great. This forum has really helped over the 18 months I've done the Cardone box upgrade, Tremec 5spd., ZZ383, coil-overs, new axles, & suspension parts, perf. alignment, 4-wheel discs,etc, etc. Thanks for all the help & tips. During yesterday's drive I realized how it's all come toghether and the car is driving far better than when new. Heeehaw! I will invest in one of these batter tenders also before winter. I've lost 2 optima batteries over a winter in the past and this would have prevented that.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 08, 01:23 PM
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Two dead Optima's? They can sit flat-dead for a month without harm.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 9th, 08, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Please Help w/Elec Problem Troubleshoot Process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Ficarra View Post
Two dead Optima's? They can sit flat-dead for a month without harm.
Ya - Optimas left untended over winter. The first one lasted about a year which they replaced with the 2nd one that failed in under a year and then that one I used as credit toward a Duralast Gold which is what I had for 7 years before trying the Optimas. I realize there supposedly the best but my personal experience with them has proven opposite. Using a batter tender probably would have helped but I never had issues with that Durlast Battery that I had for 7 years which sat for long periods of time also.
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