Drained battery after two days of siting

Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
  • 2004 CHEVROLET VENTURE
  • 107,000 MILES
I have a new battery and a new alternator that I recently put in. I had this problem before I replaced the alternator and battery.

In the beginning it would take a week of sitting (I have been unemployed so I only drive when absolutely necessary) before the battery would drain. From day one after purchasing this vehicle the electrical system always seemed low on power. Ie; power windows going up slowly, hard starting due to what seemed like low battery juice, dim lighting, etc.

I did read something online about a battery drain issue associated with the power sliding doors (PSD), but the information was very vague and did not find any more information about this anywhere else.

I have cleaned and physically inspected all connections, tested for a good ground, etc. The only other thing that I suspect is the factory alarm system (light on dash constantly flashing after vehicle is off and locked).

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Ps. I would donate, but I am unemployed currently. Will in the future when I start working again.
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Sunday, December 4th, 2011 AT 10:12 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
With everything off, remove the battery ground and see if you get a spark. The stereo should have a constant power lead for the memory, as will the alarm system. They should not draw anything more than two to three amps together.

With the key off, see if any of the accessories work. Wipers, washers, fan blower motor.
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Sunday, December 4th, 2011 AT 11:41 PM
Tiny
FORESTGUMP
  • MEMBER
Hi Ruplestilskin,

In case you still have not figured out the problem, I would suggest checking the charging relay switch located on the main fuse panel above the battery.

I had the same problem with my 2005 Venture and it drove me bonkers! And I am an electrical engineer! The local Chevrolet dealer could not figure it out also and they came out to my house twice and replaced the battery free of charge! Haha

The third trip to the dealership they let me stand by the technician in the service bay while the hood was up. I do not remember what made me think to ask him to check all the relay switches, but after a few minutes he said, "Bingo!".

Cheers,
Forest
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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 AT 7:38 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Forest, I am guessing you mean the fusible link.

Ruplestilskin, any word in this?
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Thursday, December 29th, 2011 AT 7:58 PM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
First off thank you rivermikerat and ForestGump for the responds.

Update:
Okay, I am on my third battery in the last six months, but let me clarify.

The first battery I replaced was the original (no surprises there, except it still hold a charge out of the van and works in another vehicle? Go figure?).

The second was a working (but used) battery from the vehicle that I put my old original battery into. This battery worked fine in the other vehicle, but did the same thing in my van (Last one to three days then drained when sitting). Since then this battery completely drained (as of three days ago), because it sat outside in below freezing temperatures without a charge for about three days. I think it froze and this caused it to go bad.

Installed a Everstart Maxx 800CCA from Walmart. I know, I know, Walmart, but they are actually rated very well and are my by Johnson Controls who make Die Hard, which are rated the best. This is the third battery.

So, River, I did your test and according to my multi-meter all the numbers came out as they should. I did this test twice, once with the first and second batteries. I plan on doing it again with the third, but assume the result will be the same.

Okay, now I think Forest might be on to something. A relay switches is basically the same thing as the fusible link that you are referring to river (I am also an engineer and understand what Forest meant by relay switch) and this could easily be my problem to. My ex-wife also has this same problem with a 1999 Montana. Her batteries only last about a year. It is all good because they are under warranty, but I can imagine that it is frustrating.

So, I will do your test again River, with the new battery. And if that comes out okay like I expect, I will then switch out the fusible link and post my result after that.

Thank again both of you for your help!
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 2:59 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
The fusible link is a length of wire that is calibrated to melt when the current across it exceeds a specific value.
A relay is a type of switch that allows a low power source to switch a high power source.

What I am thinking Forest is getting at is that maybe your alternator is not charging properly. You can check the output voltage of the alternator at the battery with the engine running. You are looking for an absolute minimum of 13.2 volts. But you would prefer to see between 13.8 and 14.2. If you have a meter capable of testing higher currents, you are looking for at least 50 amps.

See the images I have attached.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 3:22 AM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
I know the wire that you are talking about and I did not know that they refereed to it as a fusible link. There is also an item in electrical engineering that they call a fusible link and it is sort of like a relay switch that burns out and/or switches off at a given amperage.

I guess maybe "fusible link" is a more general term and can be applied to different applications. Just a thought.

Anyway, back to your other suggestion. I have already (about thre months ago) torn out my alternator replaced the brushes and actually had it professionally load tested both before and after the brush replacement. I use to work for a company the engineers and manufactures fire trucks. I called a friend that still works there and he had the guys out in the shop test it for me both times. I will however double check while it is in my vehicle to check the output. It tested about 14.0 on the machine at my old work, which was much higher than what I expected. I should of mentioned this before, but for the sake of less typing I just stated that it was new and did not bother to mention that I had it tested and everything.

So, one would assume that the alternator is good. I guess I am left with a wiring issue, which is where I did not want to end up.

Any thoughts?

Thanks again.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 4:47 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Circuit breaker.
In your original post you also mentioned that you thought it might be the alarm system with the blinking light. That is an LED, drawing milli-amps or Amps. I have let my car sit with the alarm enabled for over a week with no problems.
You mentioned that you performed the current draw test with everything turned off. And that your results were within spec at two to three amps. Stupid question, but I have got to ask: Open circuit current or inductively tested?
Narrowing the problem down to a particular circuit/accessory is where it begins to be (as my son would call it) a beeyotch. You need to put your meter inline on the ground or power lead (I prefer ground for safety, but either works). Note the current draw reading. Now, remove fuses and relays, one at a time, until the current draw drops noticeably. Once we know what circuit is at issue, I can know which one(s) to send you the schematics for.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 5:21 AM
Tiny
FORESTGUMP
  • MEMBER
Gents,
Let me clarify about the relay.
Get your Chevrolet Venture owner's manual. In mine, it is on page 60-6 "Under-hood fuse and relay center".
After going through three batteries in one week, I discovered that relay number 11 (IGN MAIN) was faulty. The number stamped on top of the grey square relay is '3604'.
The technician at the dealer plugged in a new relay and I have not had a problem since (going on eight months now).

Happy New Year to all you guys.
-ForestGump
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 5:55 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Hey Forest, that is the main Ignition relay. It has nothing to do with the charging system. If that relay is fried, what is happening is that current is being allowed through a small portion if the ignition circuit with the key off.

Happy New Year.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 6:03 AM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
River, per your last statement would that not cause a battery drain when the ignition is in the off position? I have not looked at the schematic on this yet.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 6:25 AM
Tiny
FORESTGUMP
  • MEMBER
Yes Gents, when that relay starts getting weak, it causes a constant current draw even with the ignition in the off position. That is why this problem has stumped so many of us (including the boys down at the Chevrolet dealership) because it is the last thing you would think of as causing the problem.

The service manager down at the local Chevrolet dealer told me that he shared my experience with the manufacturers, and Chevrolet will be issuing a circular to all service centers to add this solution to the items to check when other Venture owners come in with mysterious battery drain problems.

Cheers,
Forest
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 7:08 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
That sounds like GM should be issuing a TSB soon for dealerships to replace the ignition relays on all cars they service that have that part number. It sounds like a weak clamping/return spring on the coil armature. I am not an engineer, but I am an Avionics Tech/Aviation Electrician's Mate (Navy) and I used to assemble micro relays for Matsu****a/Panasonic.

Yes, as Forest stated, it would cause a parasitic draw. Said draw would not be huge, but it would be enough to drain the battery over a period of a couple/few days.

So, Ruplestilskin, I would say check open circuit current drain with everything as is, then pull the main ignition relay mentioned by Forest. I am guessing you will see a marked drop in current draw.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 7:50 AM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
I agree with both of your assessments and will be checking this out later on today. To me this sounds exactly like the culprit that is causing my problem.

The only thing that concerns me is that I all ready did an open circuit current test on it (sorry I did not answer your question on that before river), but maybe I missed it or something. I cannot believe it would be a small enough draw that I would of missed it, but who knows.

Either way I will report back here tonight or Saturday. Thanks again for all your help. Both of you! This has been a thorn in my side not only for my current Van, but also when I was married with the ex's 1999 Montana.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 10:04 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
I look forward to hearing what you find out.
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Friday, December 30th, 2011 AT 10:09 AM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
Okay guys, I know this has been a long time coming, but I found my electrical problem with my Venture.

It ended up not being something one would expect. All my problems were due to a bad starter that was causing the battery cable to short out on the housing of the starter. Strange I know. The starter housing was not cracked or anything like that, but you could clearly see where the battery cable was arching on the starter housing.

This and four bad fusible links that were coming off the start were the source of my battery drain problems. I replaced the starter and re-soldered the new fusible links in and voila all my problems went away.

So as we all know, one never knows when it comes to electrical problems

Thanks for all of your help!
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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 AT 7:42 PM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Sounds like it was more of a problem with the battery cable not having sufficient insulation where it came too close to the starter. Unless the arcing was occurring where the cable connects, then it was probably increased internal resistance in the connector terminals.

Wow. Glad to hear it is finally fixed, though.
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Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 AT 8:21 PM
Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • MEMBER
I think in the end Rivermikerat I think it was a combination of things going on. I still have the same battery cable, but after putting the new starter in (which was physically bigger) I made sure it was not making contact with the starter housing. I really believe that the battery drain was do to the battery constantly arching though the starter housing. I also had to replace all four fusible links (3 2.0 mm and 1 5.O mm) coming off the starter. I am sure they fried due to the arching. All my strange electrical problems are gone now and battery holds a charge.

Thanks to both of you for all your help.
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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 AT 12:22 AM
Tiny
RIVERMIKERAT
  • MEMBER
Glad to hear that all is well now. Thanks for using 2CarPros.
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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 AT 1:50 AM

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