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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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battery still dying

I had inadvertently posted this in another thread. I wasn't trying to hijack it, just got over enthusiastic.

Well I have a 96 Lincoln. Two batteries and two alternators this year. For the past 3 years the car was flawless, however I didn't use it for over two months last nov and dec. When I did go to use it in feb it was dead. I jumped it and it didn't charge. Auto parts store sold me battery after testing the system, then a week later an alternator. Then replaced both under warranty in june and july. (they tested them and warrantied both) now its dead again after a week or so of sitting (take the bike almost every day).

Well the run to work in the a.m. is about 4 miles (lucky me) being in florida its A/C on usually rear window defogger for part of the trip , stereo going, headlights on. Coming home is the same. I know it probably not charging all the way, but is there enough parasitic loss to drain the battery all the way down, in just a weeks time?

i checked the ground wire to negative terminal draw after the car has been sitting for a while, its .008 on the meter when i unplug the under hood light.

I've heard that these cars sometimes have relays or solenoids that stick as they get older. what should i look for? Or any other suggestions.

i'd rather go slow than not go at all

1996 MKVIII air ride delete
2007 Royal star venture (loaded)
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 03:26 PM
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Before you spend any more money on this - just go ahead and get you a battery minder.

If nothing else, connecting it and running it while you're not driving the car will keep the battery charged.

I presume you mean .008 amp? (Units of measure are somewhat specific in troubleshooting ... )

RwP

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 12:04 AM
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I can't recall if 97's even have voltage gauges but do you have any voltage drops when you turn anything on? Both my engine fan and blower fan did a number on my last alternator and replacing the engine fan made a big difference. I still need to replace the blower fan but at least now I don't don't see the voltage drop under to 12v anymore when I'm stopped at a light. The blower fan still sucks the charge but once I'm in town I try to turn the A/C off which makes all the difference. My last alternator had been only 2 or 3 years old when it started dying had fused diodes which were probably caused by those massive amperage drains.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 07:51 AM
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I can't recall if 97's even have voltage gauges but do you have any voltage drops when you turn anything on? Both my engine fan and blower fan did a number on my last alternator and replacing the engine fan made a big difference. I still need to replace the blower fan but at least now I don't don't see the voltage drop under to 12v anymore when I'm stopped at a light. The blower fan still sucks the charge but once I'm in town I try to turn the A/C off which makes all the difference. My last alternator had been only 2 or 3 years old when it started dying had fused diodes which were probably caused by those massive amperage drains.
No voltage gauge in a 1997. Just Fuel Temp Speedo Tach.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by baylensman View Post
I had inadvertently posted this in another thread. I wasn't trying to hijack it, just got over enthusiastic.

Well I have a 96 Lincoln. Two batteries and two alternators this year. For the past 3 years the car was flawless, however I didn't use it for over two months last nov and dec. When I did go to use it in feb it was dead. I jumped it and it didn't charge. Auto parts store sold me battery after testing the system, then a week later an alternator. Then replaced both under warranty in june and july. (they tested them and warrantied both) now its dead again after a week or so of sitting (take the bike almost every day).

Well the run to work in the a.m. is about 4 miles (lucky me) being in florida its A/C on usually rear window defogger for part of the trip , stereo going, headlights on. Coming home is the same. I know it probably not charging all the way, but is there enough parasitic loss to drain the battery all the way down, in just a weeks time?

i checked the ground wire to negative terminal draw after the car has been sitting for a while, its .008 on the meter when i unplug the under hood light.

I've heard that these cars sometimes have relays or solenoids that stick as they get older. what should i look for? Or any other suggestions.
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Originally Posted by RalphP View Post
Before you spend any more money on this - just go ahead and get you a battery minder.

If nothing else, connecting it and running it while you're not driving the car will keep the battery charged.

I presume you mean .008 amp? (Units of measure are somewhat specific in troubleshooting ... )

RwP
I can't tell you if that amount of circuit drains normal. Posting if it's amps or milliamperes would help. Assuming that .008 is more than a normal rate of discharge the next step would be to start pulling fuses one at a time until the the drain stops. That should isolate the circuit that's draining the battery. And it could be more then one. So check them all. The hood lights are notorious for going bad and draining the batteries. I'd leave that unplugged for the moment if not permanently. Remember that there are a bunch of fuses and breakers in the power center under the hood.

Some circuits in the car are always hot. For example the air bag crash sensors. Radio memory. PCM memory etc. I don't have a full list but I'm sure others do. Others are switched.

But the first step would be to determine what a normal drain rate is. Then try to determine which circuits causing the drain. Then try to track it down.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by baylensman View Post
Well I have a 96 Lincoln. Two batteries and two alternators this year. For the past 3 years the car was flawless, however I didn't use it for over two months last nov and dec
The factory service manual specifies that 50mA (or .05 A) is the test point -that is, if it's below 50mA, don't worry. If over 50 mA, start checking. It also has a pinpoint checklist to walk through.

.008 isn't excessive parasitic drain, unless the vehicle sits very long, which due to the OP posting it sitting for two months.

I'll bet the battery was down enough then that it took out the alternator, which took out that battery, which took out the next alternator and battery.

Hence my recommendation for a battery minder to use when it'll sit for more than a day or two.

(When I have to sit a vehicle for a week or more, I'll put it on a charger before I take it out on the road.)

RwP

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 12:42 PM
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(When I have to sit a vehicle for a week or more, I'll put it on a charger before I take it out on the road.)

RwP
This is the best way to do it; it will save a lot of cash in the long run.

Just an hour on the charger can make the difference between killing something and not.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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I got a solar charger on the back deck (lots of sun every day).
cars starts every time for a month or more. then bang dead. charge the battery then fine for another month.
Autozone offered to refund battery purchase price if I want to get another battery of a different brand.
One odd thing after several hours the big charger only would bring the battery up to 79% charge. So I unplugged charger and recharged, this time the charge level eventually went to 100%, total charge time almost 6 hours.

lately if the weather report calls for rain, I'll plug the charger in the night before. so I don't get a surprise in the morning.

Well now at 3 alternators 4 batteries in one year by the first receipt. I did both the battery and alternator at the same time. I also changed the a/c compressor.
well car runs and idles so smooth and quiet even with the hood open hard to tell its running. only time will tell if this fixes it all!

i'd rather go slow than not go at all

1996 MKVIII air ride delete
2007 Royal star venture (loaded)
2007 Ford free style 3.0 v-6
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by baylensman View Post
I got a solar charger on the back deck (lots of sun every day).
cars starts every time for a month or more. then bang dead. charge the battery then fine for another month.
Autozone offered to refund battery purchase price if I want to get another battery of a different brand.
One odd thing after several hours the big charger only would bring the battery up to 79% charge. So I unplugged charger and recharged, this time the charge level eventually went to 100%, total charge time almost 6 hours.

lately if the weather report calls for rain, I'll plug the charger in the night before. so I don't get a surprise in the morning.

Well now at 3 alternators 4 batteries in one year by the first receipt. I did both the battery and alternator at the same time. I also changed the a/c compressor.
well car runs and idles so smooth and quiet even with the hood open hard to tell its running. only time will tell if this fixes it all!
First things first, any modifications to the electrical system BEFORE your issues started?

I can see if you have something plugged into the 12V outlet that is always on causing a discharge since the 12Vport/cigar lighter is always powered in Fords, but I assume you would have checked that. A batery tender is an easy way to mask the problem, but it won't fix it, and I'm sure you'd rather fix it.

Here's what I would do... If you're getting parts store alternators, I'd take them back and get a higher quality one, motorcraft if you can get one, they'll cost more, but put out good power.
Also, running any underdrive pullies? If so, a later generation "high power" alternator may be a good call.

Other than that, you could try unplugging the fuse to the accessories one by one, see if it helps isolate the issue.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 06:03 AM Thread Starter
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Fixed at last!

I've done the pull the fuses/relays one at a time things. I've hours with a test probe and volt meter.

The issue was the battery or more accurately the brand of battery!

As i said earlier i've changed the battery a total of 3 times in 2 years and the alternator the same, all under warranty from Autozone.
They car died again after being on the charger the day before!

I jumped it as it was raining and didn't want to ride to work on the bike. Well it gave a few weak grunts in the afternoon before it started (thank you) I just stopped at O'reilly on the way and got a new battery. I haven't used the charger in 6 weeks! the car starts every time and the headlights ( wired through relays) seem a bit brigher. I don't have to reprogram the radio anymore.

Life is good in Largo again.
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i'd rather go slow than not go at all

1996 MKVIII air ride delete
2007 Royal star venture (loaded)
2007 Ford free style 3.0 v-6
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:12 PM
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I've done the pull the fuses/relays one at a time things. I've hours with a test probe and volt meter.

The issue was the battery or more accurately the brand of battery!

As i said earlier i've changed the battery a total of 3 times in 2 years and the alternator the same, all under warranty from Autozone.
They car died again after being on the charger the day before!

I jumped it as it was raining and didn't want to ride to work on the bike. Well it gave a few weak grunts in the afternoon before it started (thank you) I just stopped at O'reilly on the way and got a new battery. I haven't used the charger in 6 weeks! the car starts every time and the headlights ( wired through relays) seem a bit brigher. I don't have to reprogram the radio anymore.

Life is good in Largo again.
Good deal, not every battery is a quality part.

I am not sure who made the battery in my 97, but it was in it when I bought the car in 2013, and I had it disconnected all winter that year due to the AC Compressor locking up, and I knew the voltage gauge would kill it (it's currently wired to the accessory circut where the original lighter was, I'll fix that one day). The next year, I didn't unplug it and it would be too weak to start the car in a month of sitting, so I bought a battery tender and that fixed that problem.

This year, the whole engine is out of the car, so I put the battery on the tender in may, and took it off in June when I started to pull the motor. It's been sitting on my work bench, and I measured it last month and it's still at 12.5VDC according to my multimeter.

I'd say that the battery is good for now.

Still not a bad idea for you if your car is going to be parked more than a week to have a battery tender. Car batteries LOVE being full, and getting a workout starting the car every day isn't bad for them, but you do have to drive them to keep them full. Luckily, I live 20 minutes from work, so my battery is always topped off by the time I get to work and again by the time I'm home. But, I have the tender hard wired to my battery, so I just pop the hood, connect it up, and it's good to go.

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