Battery keep dying - Impala Tech
Electrical & Wiring Troubleshooting electrical problems

 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Battery keep dying

Okay... First off, I realize that the answer is.... find out where the power is going.

1. Bought this 65 SS a couple months ago and the previous owners have done a number of things to this car. HEI, Holley, Battery relocated to trunk, 1 wire Alternator, wildwood brakes, aftermarket water pump and intake, NO A/C, so on and so on.
2. Battery that was in the car was toast. Took it to Advance, and it wouldn't even connect to their machine. Whatever. Bought a new batter, took it home, hooked it up with all new battery leads and new connections and the whole 9. FIRED RIGHT UP!
3. 2 weeks goes by and I start it up yesterday and nothing. Dead. Won't even click. Okay... so i now have the battery on the charger.
4. What could make this battery die? I should also add that this car is in a state of restoration. The rear lights aren't even hooked up because I'm waiting on a new wiring harness for the rear. There is no antenna on this car, so i don't even screw with the radio (original). Because of all the "NEWER upgrades" I'm seeing on this car, there are wires cut all over the place that go nowhere. But, even before the old battery took a dump, this car had sat for over a month while i was traveling. Came home and it had fired right up.
5. As I was charging the battery today, I was just walking around trying to think what I may have hooked up recently (new wiper motor that isn't even hooked up to the switch yet.) While doing so... i checked the radio. It was on. Keep in mind, there's no speakers in the car. except for the dash speaker, and its not even hooked up. But wouldn't the radio be hooked up to the ignition wire? And not a constant feed? I tried craning my neck behind the dash. I only see 2 wires coming out of the radio. I think. I was going to try to chase down how the radio gets power. Beyond that, on the fuse block where it says stereo.... there's not even a fuse there. Hmmm.... All i could think was, maybe i inadvertently bumped the radio dial on whilst reinstalling the steering wheel, and other random items that i'd been tinkering around with. No clue
6. Anyway... There appears to be a gremlin roaming around this car. I'm taking it to the body shop in 2 weeks to more or less finalize the restoration on this car. But, I need to track down this power draw somehow.

Any ideas???????

Thanks y'all.
Mark

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Update;

Turns out the radio wasn't even hooked up. It's just sitting there. I took it out... the wires coming out the back weren't hooked up to a thing. Dang... was really hoping it was wired in a really stupid way to drain the battery.

Also, i should say that I ASSUMED the batter was dead. It's on the Charger now with the "Charging" light blinking.

Now i know there has to be something up.

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Ok.... So.... Not the battery. Been charging for about 8 hours. Threw it in the car... Hooked it up... turned the key... NOTHING.

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 03:20 PM
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Posts: 11,059
 
Check fusible links. The battery was protected by a fifty amp fusible link. The car wiring has a 30 Amp fusible link that is buried in the wiring that comes out through the fire wall below the master cylinder and traverses the top of the fire wall to get to the alternator.



If your battery has no charge that means it isn't being charged. The nominal 12 volt lead acid battery when fully charged should read 13.6 volts. Your alternator has to out put more than this to charge the battery.

Second problem is when you put the battery in the trunk you lengthen the wire. Wire has a natural resistance to current flow based upon the length and the diameter of the wire. the bigger the wire gauge the less voltage is lost. If you are charging the battery from the front of the car you need to increase the wire diameter to handle the voltage loss per foot and the current flow through the wire.





Back in the early sixties while copper ore was easily found and mined by open pit mining the wire gauge on the alternator was 8 gage and the battery used 00 gauge cables. By 1967 copper had doubled in price as supply dwindled and the size of the wires got smaller even though the amperage load of newer cars increased. The alternator gage dropped to a 10 gage wire and the battery cable shrank to a 4 gage cable. Today virgin copper is hard o find as most wires are made over seas from recycled scrap that is far from virgin copper.

Here is what I used to wire my battery in the trunk of my Impala.

Screw on battery cable terminals from Taylor wire.


Moroso through panel battery terminals to jump or charger in the pits:



Moroso 200AMP disconnect switch (required under NHRA rules):



Taylor 01 gage battery cable:



Ground and battery leads joining the cars wiring on the fire wall:


Note the black ground cable that comes up from the frame to join my Ford solenoid that starts the motor and compare it to the factory black ground battery cable to appreciate the increase in size of the cable.

If your wiring is too small to charge the battery you can use a higher voltage alternator. There are 16 volt (as opposed to a 12 volt) GM alternator used on race cars with a battery in the trunk.

Big Dave
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Ok. Big Dave, you're awesome.

I should have put this in the above posts. Cables running from battery are 1 gauge. Thick as hell.

Since i bought the new battery at Advance on 31 March, I've literally started the car twice. Once to see if it would start, and once more a day later to make sure it would start again. That's it. Yesterday i tried to start it... Got nothing. Today i just got back from Advance to have them test the battery and it won't even register. So... they're charging it... and we'll see what we get.

The fusible link. I don't think i've seen this at all. Maybe i don't know where this fusible link starts and stops. I've included a pic of my alternator.

The part i can't figure out is; Maybe my original battery wasn't bad at all? Maybe something is drawing power away? I've literally done NOTHING electrical to this car except REMOVE a wiring harness from the rear. Since i purchased this car, i've replaced vacuum lines, replaced interior, replaced turn signal switch, replaced window regulators, and bought a new battery. I've started and stopped the car with OLD battery a dozen times and even drove it around the neighborhood. Like i said, few weeks ago i go to start the car and got nothing. New battery, one week later, Nothing. I'm so lost right now.
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'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Battery Cable (Pliers for scale) and Ground Location (Frame directly below trunk)
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'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:42 PM
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You are correct if kept off a cold floor a battery should hold a charge for a month (they discharge at about 3% a day even if stored with a full charge).

I have discovered that in a situation like yours the best solution is a disconnect switch. You basically isolate the battery from the entire car's circuit by unplugging the positive terminal. I have found on customer's cars bad door light switches that were flattening the battery, or a light left on in a console or glove box due to a dad switch that would drain a battery.

Corrosion in the fuse box can also bleed off power. Corrosion of the terminals can prevent a battery from charging. Every connection is suspect.

Big Dave
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Okay. Battery back from Advance. Back in the car. Once i get my son back from the VW Bug Meet I can have him assist me. I throw the positive cable on the battery and then the neg. Soon as it touches, I hear something either engaging or turning on. Is that the solenoid?

Anyway.... It left Advance with with a charge of 12.43 I'm not even sure if i should hook it up yet. This whole scenario has me gun shy. Batteries don't just die on their own. One thing i thought about doing was leaving the cables off overnight, take the battery back to Advance and see what it tests at. Maybe it really is just a bad battery? But i'm kind of doubting that.

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
I like the way you think Big Dave. When it rains, the drivers side floor area near the pedals and fresh air vent are wet. I have a leak bringing water in somewhere. It is possible that water got in and around the fuse panel area. Possible. Door switches... I'll check those. Dash lights... all that. Dag Gum Gremlins are driving me bananas. I like the idea of a disconnect switch.

Here's another thing... Maybe this is a possibility? Let me see if i can explain it correctly.

Okay... Ignition. When i put the key in, I can turn it to On and Start. Every so often it will go to Accessory. Sometimes when i turn the key off, it goes directly to accessory. As of late, i can't get it to go to Accessory. Is it a possibility that something in the switch/housing area (I'm terrible at explaining things) is misaligned and when i turn the key off, its somehow in accessory mode? And possibly something in that mode is draining the battery? Because right now i can't even turn the key left to get to accessory mode and I've been fiddle F**cking with the key with grace and force to get it to go there, just to SEE if i could get it there. My first thought was... Damn, was the car in accessory?? (Yesterday)

Anyway.. just a thought. If i can't turn the key in accessory mode, is that the switch that's not allowing me to do that????

Thanks guys. And Big Dave... I appreciate every time you chime in.

MB

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
safetysoc is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Alright... "The Noise" is the horn relay turning on. When i put the neg on and off back and forth again to track down the noise, its the horn relay turning "on"?? Here the deal.. .there's no horns on this car. (Previous owner... ugh...) Also, when i put in a new turn signal switch i put in a new horn plate thing ma-bob with it. Just figured, I'd replace it. It was cheap.

Should the relay be engaging like that when i put the neg cable on? Or is it somehow sending power to the relay turning it on because maybe i screwed up the horn switch/plate thing?

Can you tell i'm not that savvy with words? HA! Sorry.

MB

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
safetysoc is offline  
post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 08:23 PM
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Yes the horn relay can be activated by a defective horn button spring or contact. A broken turn signal switch can also cause electrical gremlins in the steering column. If the horn relay is activated it is pulling current and probably flatening your battery fairly quickly.

Big Dave
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Yeah. I'm taking tonight off. I tried to figure it out earlier and it's ****ing me off. I took the steering wheel off and traced the wires... it all appears to be grounded (black wire). Only thing that is suspect is that after the turn signal cluster of wires is connected (black curved plastic connector), the black wire that heads to a cluster of wrapped wires seems like the coating is baked. Same with a number of wires under the dash. None of them are touching each other and I can't SEE any bare wire on the backed outer coating on the wires.

Anyway... Here's the order in which i assembled the horn button. horn button through the steering wheel. Then metal plate, plastic bushing, then outer horn ring, then triangle shaped plastic bushing and screws. I do all that.... horn relay is still clicking when i connect the neg.

I'm not sure what's going on. The only reason i replaced all this horn switch/button business was because whomever tried it before, it was all loose and rattling around. So it was cheap and i thought it would be easy. It was easy. Sort of. Seems the only reason the horn relay is clicking or drawing current is because the horn button/switch isn't grounding.

Does that about sound right???? Ugh... time for a margarita and UFC 210.

Big Dave... I seriously VALUE your comments. Thank you very much.

MB

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
safetysoc is offline  
post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
 
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
Posts: 22
 
Also.. its a brand new turn signal switch as well. I did it all at the same time.

Ugh.

'65 Impala SS
'71 Super Beetle
2011 Dodge 2500 6.7L Cummins
2013 GMC Acadia
2014 Corvette Stingray
safetysoc is offline  
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