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Car Battery goes dead overnight - Nothing been left on

1999infinitiqx4 1999infinitiqx4
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 11/09
Posted: 11/23/09
01:04 AM

Hi NICK, Please need your advice desperately...
I just bought a 1999 Infiniti qx4 with 90k miles. The battery kept draining out so I would jump it and it would drive fine. Than The car completely died and wouldnt start
after jumping. I've changed the alternator, battery, and the starter but not luck with
starting it. It put a hole in my pocket and still wont start. Please help, no one
knows what the problem might be.


waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4547 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 11/23/09
07:58 AM

just curious.......    does the engine crank when you turn the key????   do you get any sound?? clicking..

have you checked the various fuses up near the battery????   some of them can blow out and prevent any power from getting to the ignition switch...

there is a 40 amp fuse near the battery .  this powers the ignition switch...   do the dash lights come on when you turn the key on???

and a 10 amp fuse in one of the fuse blocks    fuse number 18...  it does not say were the fuse block is... that fuse controls the park neutral position relay... so the starter cannot be turned on when the car is not in park or neutral...

you might also want to test the battery to see if it is fully charged...   with a digital volt meter...   refer to my post on page 3 of this thread...

there are so many circuits on this car...        i would also think hopefully that if the car cranks... that you have an OBD2 scanner that displays live data so you can see if the sensors are all working on the motor...   you cannot tell if you don't have a scanner... that does more than code reading... does have a free online repair manual... that covers some of systems...

so information we need...

battery voltage ... measured with a digital volt meter..  over 12.45 volts would be good enough to start it..

crank or clicking noises when you turn the key to the crank position .????

was the check engine light on after you started it the last time....    if so.. did you find any codes????/  

shaunpwee1 shaunpwee1
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 12/04/09
03:41 PM

Hey Nick,
You sound like you know what you are talking about. I have a 05 scion tc with a 12in kicker and RF amp...I have a 30 amp fuse with connects to the battery. If I dont start my car frequently throughout the day the battery is dead and thus results in jump starting. How do I fix this problem?  

wjhonson wjhonson
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 12/13/09
11:10 PM

1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee

For some time I've had the following (possibly) electrical problems.  "Coolant sensor bad" for several years, even though I've had it replaced and it's still "Bad" according to the car computer.  My key fob always open the driver's side car with one jab, but sometimes it takes three or four jabs at it (instead of two) to open all the other doors.  Sometimes the sound it makes when trying to unlock the doors seems "sick" (i.e. weak?).  If I go over a bump just the right way, the speaker on the driver's side door gives out a crackle sound if the radio is on.  Car has an alarm system and an after-market radio/cd-changer.

Okay so anyway, recently the following odd behaviour.  Start the car, starts fine, but the battery dashboard gauge reads only at the 1/4 mark, just above the red.  Drive it for five minutes or so and suddenly the gauge drops to zero and the "Check Battery" message comes on.  Turn it off, start it up again, starts fine, gauge goes back to 1/4 mark or sometimes all the way up to the normal 1/2 mark.

If the gauge is at the 1/2 mark, it always is fine, until the next time I have to start it again.  If the gauge is at the 1/4 mark, it sometimes, but not always, exhibits this odd dropping to zero behaviour.

Took it to Sears, the diagnosed the battery, and charging system is working fine (and they are in the business of selling batteries so you'd think they'd err on the side of telling me it's broken).  I lived with this bizarre behaviour for a few weeks until the other day, when the next thing occurred.

It's raining. I'm driving the nine miles to my office, gauge is at 1/4.  I have the wipers on, headlights, heater AND radio (silly me).  Gauge drops to 0, turn on the headlights and the radio goes off.  Turn off the headlights and the radio comes back on.  (Weird isn't it.)  Drove it to Sears, they measured the battery at "65" (which I guess means 65% charged? Not sure.)  At any rate they recharged the battery and everything was great that day.  Next time I go to start it after sitting many hours... gauge is at 1/4 again.

Parasitic draw?  Or Twilight Zone?  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4547 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/14/09
08:51 AM

96 jeep grand cherokee

measure the charging system voltage with the engine running...

are you getting over 14.1 volts????   usually 14.5 to 14.7...

while the engine is running.. the alternator keeps the battery charged and keeps all the electronics powered...

intermittent charging system problems can be harder to diagnose...  

but i would bet that your alternator may be starting to fail....        the brushes may be going bad on the alternator...

these units are controlled by the ECM or power module... there is no internal voltage regulator in the alternator..

does your volt meter on the dash board have voltage reading?????

if you charging system is working.. properly.. there should be a steady reading of the gauge without any movement  while running...      the gauge will drop when cranking the motor.. and once started will rise above the engine off key on reading...  but once the engine is running .. it should be steady..  if everything is working properly..

comparing your dash board readings to a volt meter...  when the charging system is working at 14.5 volts or so..

also.. which coolant sensor did you change???    there may be 2 or 3 different ones...  

one for the engine control ...  called the coolant temp sensor..   thesse do go bad.. as do their connectors.. replacement pigtails to replace the connectors are available...

one for the dash board gauges...   called a engine temp sender

one for the dash over heat light called  a   engine temp sending switch..

you did not say if you had the 6 or V8 motor...  

wjhonson wjhonson
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 12/09
Posted: 12/14/09
09:01 PM

The gauge I'm referring to on the dash is the voltmeter, the middle setting is 14.  I asked a guy what exactly does this measure ?  I've always thought that it measures your "battery" but he said what it's actually measuring is your alternator!  I'd always thought it's measuring the amount of charge IN your battery.  Silly me.

So when this gauge, which normally is in the middle (14 volts) is dropping to the 1/4 mark it's trying to tell me...  hey your alternator is not pumping!  Yet the light that actually comes on says "Check Battery".  Why can't they say "Check Alternator you idiot" (maybe without the idiot part).

So anyway, if the alternator is *going* bad, but not quite bad, would it exhibit a sometimes-I-work-sometimes-I-fail type of symptom?  So basically sometimes it would be charging up the battery normally (while the car is running), other times when it's not charging the battery, then the car is just sucking the battery dry while its running?

So the symptoms a car owner would see would be sometimes the battery gets low, sometimes its fine, then it gets low again, then its fine again.   And really the problem all along is the alternator.  Is that about the size of it?  Or am I totally clueless?

By the way it's a 6 cylinder, straight 6.  

FerdiJansen FerdiJansen
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/11/10
02:54 AM

I've recently had the same problem with the battery being drained overnight. Checked the drain - was approx. 5.8 amps.
Took it to auto-electrician and he replaced the alternator with a brand new unit.
Car was fine for two days. this morning the battery was completely drained and the 6amp drain is back. When I disconnect the (new) alternator the drain disappears.

What else can cause the drain?  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4547 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/11/10
08:02 AM

still could be the alternator... even new.. what ever damages the first alternator might have damaged this one...

is the battery bolted down firmly... so going over a bump.. it cannot jump up and short out to the inside of the hood...   the cables have been cleaned....   any body been using your car to jump start deeply discharged cars???  that will really tax an alternator...   leaving the cars hooked together for 5 minutes... then shutting off the running car before trying to start the dead car is the safest way to do it..    this lets the battery is the dead car receive some charge... shutting off the running car before trying to start the dead one... the additional amp draw of the dead car starting will max out the alternator diodes and shorten the life of the alternator..

could be the circuit that supplies the alternator..

many alternators are controlled by various circuits being switched on ... some get signal through the alternator light... others are controlled by the computer in the car...  

this is the first post for your user name...    how about a hint of what type of car...

most wiring  diagrams for newer cars have the charging system drawn on a separate diagram...

there are so many different styles of charging system... so many different ways cars are wired..  

rt07 rt07
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/14/10
06:34 PM

actually I have had this problem with many different cars, in one case the alternator was charging the battery but wasn't charging enough (due to old age)and had to be replaced. In another case the alternator was responsible for draining the battery overnight by somehow shorting out. In another case it was just a loose battery connector, in another case the battery didn't have enough water in it. Maybe try disconnecting the battery overnight and see if that helps. Also when you start the car you can check the alternator by disconnecting the battery and see if the car keeps running

stooge2990 stooge2990
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/16/10
09:17 AM

our 99 Bonnyville had the same problem. My mechanic could not fix it. My attempts to troubleshoot the problem were frustrated by faulty test equipment (2 different ammeters)and the curtesy lights going on during fuse pulling. The inaccessable fuse block also made the job about impossible.
I had given up on finding the problem and was reduced to charging the battery overnight-everynight.... when.... while driving I decided to turn on the radio. The car has a Bose am/fm/cd stereo. Since the car is my wifes auto, I was not familiar with the radio operation and fumbled till I found the CD light was lit. I tried to eject the cd but the eject would not work,  later my wife succeeded in removing the cd.
Since then the problem is FIXED!  The car was parked for two days and the problem is GONE!  The correct current draw for this car while parked is 10 milliamps.  

marpag marpag
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 12/10
Posted: 12/19/10
05:05 PM

I have a variation on this problem which is driving me nuts. My 2009 Caravan started going dead overnight. The battery was dead, showing 9 volts. I put in a new battery. This did not solve it. I took the vehicle to a Dodge Dealer. After $1600 parts and labor (the problem started in September roughly 1000m after the electrical warranty expired), including another new battery apparently because the old one failed a load test. (However, when I later took the battery to where I bought, it passed the load test). The new dealer Mopar battery lasted 2 days. I have to boost it each morning. Throughout the day it is OK. I seems that I can park for 6 hours or less and the vehicle will start. I then connected an ammeter to the battery and found that the draw is only 11 to 14 milliamps when the car is off. This is not significant. If I disconnect the battery at night and then reconnect it in the morning, the car starts fine. So my conclusion is that after a time (when nobody is looking), something fires up and consumes juice at a rate enough to drain the battery by morning. I have now brought the car to a different Dodge dealer and he has put it through a complete electrical check. Everything seems to be fine but the car will not start for him in the morning either. His technician is scratching his head and he called the technical support people at Dodge HQ and they are mystified too. So there it sits, parked in a dealer's lot. Does anyone have a suggestion???  

waynep7122 waynep7122
Addict | Posts: 4547 | Joined: 08/09
Posted: 12/19/10
05:38 PM

almost all new cars have various device that can take 3 to 5 minutes to shut down after you turn off the key...

get a battery cut off switch....   put in on one side of the battery....   with the switch connected...  start the car...   let it run for a minute or two...  shut it off..    get out and lock it like you normally ***  wait 5 minutes...  hook up your amp meter to both sides of the SWITCH...  then loosen the knob...    this forces all the current to go through the amp meter....    you should be getting less than 0.025 milliamps...  

i worry that the 0.11...  you have posted.. is actually a tenth of an amp.. and thats to much...

0 point 025... ...

here is a well written article on it..

you will also need something like this...  

CJDaab CJDaab
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 04/11
Posted: 04/27/11
10:38 AM

I have the same problem with my Toyota Echo.  We've checked the doors, the dome light etc.  How do we check the amperage on it?  where do we put the amp meter?

Could it be the hood light or the trunk light?  can we unplug them or maybe they are unplugged and need to be plugged in?

We took it in and they just tell us that we must be leaving something on while it's parked, but we are really careful about it. It doesn't happen every day, but at least once a week or so the car is dead in the morning but fine after it's jumpstarted.  Battery is good, we had that checked.  

CJDaab CJDaab
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 04/11
Posted: 04/27/11
10:41 AM

sorry..didn't read the article before I asked..  

frustrated3 frustrated3
New User | Posts: 2 | Joined: 05/11
Posted: 05/01/11
04:38 PM

Help....I have a 2003 Ford Escape and since I had the alternator replaced I'm going out to a dead battery quite often in the mornings.  I had it in to the electric shop and he tells me that the truck is not shorting out anywhere ....what the heck is happening?  I don't know what to do next....any ideas?  

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