Dead battery after 2 days of siting?

Tiny
RUPLESTILSKIN
  • 2004 CHEVROLET VENTURE
  • 107,000 MILES

I have a 2004 Chevy Venture with 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 go dead. 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 didn't find any more info 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 shouldn't draw anything more than 2-3 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 Chevy dealer could not figure it out also and they came out to my house twice and replaced the battery free of charge! Hahaha

The third trip to the dealership they let me stand by the technician in the service bay while the hood was up. I dont 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'm 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:
Ok, I am on my 3 battery in the last 6 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 1-3 day then dead when sitting). Since then this battery completely died (as of 3 days ago), because it sat outside in below freezing temps without a charge for about 3 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 3rd battery.

So, river, I did your test and according to my multimeter all the numbers came out as they should. I did this test twice, once with the 1st and 2nd batteries. I plan on doing it again with the 3rd, but assume the result will be the same.

Ok, 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 Frost 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. Its all good because they are under warranty, but I can imagine that it's frustrating.

So, I will do your test again river, with the new battery. And if that comes out ok 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'm thinking Forest is getting at is that maybe your alternator isn't charging properly. You can check the output voltage of the alternator at the battery with the engine running. You're looking for an absolute minimum of 13.2 volts. But you'd prefer to see between 13.8 and 14.2. If you have a meter capable of testing higher currents, you're 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 didn't 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 3 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's 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 didn't 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 didn't 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's an LED, drawing milliAmps or Amps. I've 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 2-3 amps. Stupid question, but I've 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 Chevy Venture owner's manual. In mine, its on page 60-6 "Underhood Fuse and Relay Center".
After going through 3 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 8 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's the main Ignition Relay. It has nothing to do with the charging system. If that relay is fried, what's 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 wouldn't that cause a battery drain when the ignition is in the off position? I haven't 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 Chevy dealership) because its the last thing you would think of as causing the problem.

The service manager down at the local Chevy dealer told me that he shared my experience with the manufacturers, and Chevy 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 ot 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'm 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 wouldn't 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'm guessing you'll 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 didn't answer your question on that before river), but maybe I missed it or something. I can't 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 Sat. That's 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 exes 99' 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

Ok guys, I know this has been a long time coming, but I found my electrical problem with my Venture.

It's 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 wasn't cracked or anything like that, but you could clearly see where the battery cable was arching on the starter housing.

This and 4 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 walla 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's 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 wasn't 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 4 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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