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Head off a problem - battery or starter?


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Hey all,

 

Found this site to be very informative so far. Wish I could contribute, but my knowledge base pales in comparison to most here. I could use some help on something (did a search, didn't find what my problem is).

 

I have a problem with the batter and/or starter (at least I think so), just not sure which one. Here is the deal - first start of the morning I hear some clicks when I start. The motor turns over and starts (so far at least). Second start a few hours later (for example, after I did some grocery shopping this morning), turn the key and the clicking is barely noticeable and starts up fine. My question - is this the beginning of my battery going bad since the problem lessens after driving it around OR is the starter beginning to go bad on me. OR, is there another problem that I may not know about (some other electrical problem). I am planning on driving to Advance to have them test the battery, but a little up front knowledge would be nice before I show up.

 

Truck:

2006 GMC Sierra ext cab

5.3L v8

about 87,400 miles on the truck

original battery and starter

 

Recent work:

Replaced evaporative vent valve solenoid - engine light is currently off

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Definitely get that battery load tested. That will tell you for sure. I'm still working on my factory battery so it's only a matter of time before it finally gives out. If it does come back good, I'm think the starter would be the next thing to have tested but I think you're going to find the battery is giving up. Also when you reinstall the battery, make sure all connections are cleaned and tight on both end (battery and starter).

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Your 6+ years on the oem battery, your on borrowed time. Also clean all the cable connections including at the starter. Be sure to check the cables for internal corrosion, look for bumps in the cable cover.

 

Mark

 

Your 6+ years on the oem battery, your on borrowed time. Also clean all the cable connections including at the starter. Be sure to check the cables for internal corrosion, look for bumps in the cable cover.

 

Mark

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Just to update - I took the car down to the local auto-parts place and had them run a check on the battery and starter, here are the results:

 

BATTERY

Good - Recharge

Voltage: 11.94V

Measured: 360 CCA

Rated: 600 CCA

Temp: 102F

 

"Battery is good, but low on charge..."

 

STARTER TEST RESULTS

Cranking Normal

Voltage: 10.37V

Amps: 297.8A

Time: 1.62s

 

*Voltage graph starts about 12.00, dips to 8.00 then comes back up

 

CHARGING SYSTEM TEST RESULTS

No Problems

No Load: 14.27V (-3.3A)

Loaded: 14.23V (no amp reading)

 

* Ripple graph shows fluctuation around 0, and reading of 68mV

 

 

DRAIN TEST RESULTS

43.10A (suspect)

 

 

So, it looks like the battery is good but needs a charge. They guy said there was a major drain on the battery - but I've been reading about power drains and 43.10A seems a little unrealistic I think. Thinking about the test - the door was open and it occurred right after shut-off, and I know a lot of the interior lights stay on. I have a feeling this is wrong. And lucky me, I think my multimeter is fried (max out at 200mA and no reading at 20A), so I haven't been able to do a reliable test myself.

 

Based on that limited info, and apparently that the battery is good, but low on charge, what do you all think? Any thoughts are welcome. As a note, based on my current circumstances, I'm thinking about taking a shotgun approach and just replacing the battery and the starter to avoid having no truck for an extended period. If you all think that would definitely get it, I may do that.

 

Thanks for all the help so far.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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If you are low on charge there is a reason. The newer cars do have a constant drain on the battery when parked but not enough to make problem overnight. At 11.47volts you need to look at the connections from the alternator to the battery. If there is any corrosion that will impede the charging. You need to look at all the major grounds also. If there is no return path you will get no charge as well, Good luck.

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Just to update - I took the car down to the local auto-parts place and had them run a check on the battery and starter, here are the results:

 

BATTERY

Good - Recharge

Voltage: 11.94V

Measured: 360 CCA

Rated: 600 CCA

Temp: 102F

 

"Battery is good, but low on charge..."

 

 

You've got 360CCA out 600,,,I'm sorry but that doesn't sound "good" to me. Get that battery recharged, good long slooooow charge, if possible, then retest. If you driven this vehicle to this place then your numbers should be looking better than this. Voltage and amperage is running low. Personally I'd ditch that battery and get a new one. As the other Mark said, your running on borrowed time (I know I'm in the same boat). Just an opinion.

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Hey guys,

 

So after I bit more reading and talking with people who know more than I do (aka - learning) I have to agree that the battery is bad. The question is why? Obviously the fact that it is 6 years old is probably reason enough, but I'm worried about a power drain.

 

The questions I still have (if people are interested in educating me a bit more) are:

 

1. Am I correct that the 43 amp drain when the car is off is just plain wrong?

2. Should I keep looking for a power drain after I replace the batter?

3. Can a bad battery cause the starter issues I'm having by itself, or do I need to keep diagnosing the problem.

 

What I don't want is to buy a new battery and have it go bad in a month or 2 because there is a drain on the system.

 

Thanks for all the help so far. Much appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Also - I think I know how to check for a power drain:

 

1. Disconnect negative terminal

2. Go from battery terminal to battery cable with multimeter set to read max DC amps - look for anything above 50mAmps

3. If a drain exists - start pulling fuses until the drain goes away

 

If anyone cares to comment if this is correct, I'd appreciate the confirmation. Electrical stuff is completely new to me.

 

Thanks.

 

Bob

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Hey guys,

 

So after I bit more reading and talking with people who know more than I do (aka - learning) I have to agree that the battery is bad. The question is why? Obviously the fact that it is 6 years old is probably reason enough, but I'm worried about a power drain.

 

The questions I still have (if people are interested in educating me a bit more) are:

 

1. Am I correct that the 43 amp drain when the car is off is just plain wrong? I think so.

2. Should I keep looking for a power drain after I replace the batter? What Tim said.

3. Can a bad battery cause the starter issues I'm having by itself, or do I need to keep diagnosing the problem. Absolutely

 

What I don't want is to buy a new battery and have it go bad in a month or 2 because there is a drain on the system. What you said on last post about checking power drain.

 

 

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Update:

 

Got a functioning multimeter - with the old (bad) battery, I found 1.25amps draw when I bridged the negative cable with the negative terminal. Started pulling fuses and found the amps drop to .55 (550milliamps right?) when I pulled the Radio fuse (running meter at 20amp max). I kept pulling and got a drop to .26 when I pulled the ICP/DIC fuse (instrument control panel / driver information center). I stopped before pulling the fuses (under the hood) that have the see-thru plastic tops (pliers I had were no good to pull them out and I was too much of a sissy to do it my hand) and it looked like rain so I didn't start doing the cab fuses yet.

 

But, I feel like the radio is an obviously one, but the ICP/DIC then taking out another .19 meaning I hav 3 (or more) draws. Am I right that .05 amps is what I should be drawing with the key off? Are multiple draws like this normal or am I missing something?

 

Thanks again everyone, the help has been very valuable.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

 

Now, I did find

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There has been threads that have talked about the radios causing dead batteries. I'd say you found your problem. I'm not sure what is an "acceptable" amount of draw but I'd think that .05amps should be good. Not sure about the ICP/DIC circuit either. I know if I leave my truck for a couple of weeks it still starts but you can tell that there was some power drain, take an extra second to start up.

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Without having gone through all the fuses, I did find a couple forum threads in other places that talked about a similar problem and the common theme with having multiple sources drawing on the batter that include the radio and the ICP/DIC is a faulty ignition switch sending bad info to the computer making it think the ignition is still on, and causing all those things to draw. Any thoughts?

 

I'll do the rest tonight when I have my helper (i.e., wife) to give me a hand and update again.

 

Thanks again to everyone for your comments.

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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Don't forget that the truck has that retained power thing. If you turn the ignition on by sticking your arm through the open drivers window, then turn it off the same way, the radio will stay on for 10 min, unless you open the door. Simple thing to miss.

An easy way to tell if the leak is enough to cause issues is to use a standard test light. Disconnect either terminal of the battery, connect one end of test light to cable, and the other end to the battery. If it lights up, the leak is sufficient to kill the battery.

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over 25ma is not good as i remember ,

 

GMS scanner has a "power down now" feature to start a paracitic draw test ,,,,

 

you can bypass getting it done at a dealer or shop that has a GM scanner by letting the truck power down by itself but i do not know the time required

 

6yrs for a battery is fair as others have said ,do not replace parts that have not been found as failed.

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