I can't make an analysis from, "everything tests fine". No doctor would read, "everything's fine" on your lab report. He wants the numbers, and so do I. It is much too common for an inexperienced mechanic to overlook a clue from those readings. I just had one yesterday where the person said, "I found this reading, so I know it's okay". It was not okay.
For your problem, the additional information you just posted includes the glaring clues. Loose or corroded connections will prevent the battery from fully charging. That can lead to slow cranking next time you want to start the engine, and that is typically incorrectly interpreted as there's a drain on the battery. Also, I can't emphasize enough the huge problem GM owners have with their generators, and that is going to be even worse with less-than-perfect battery cables and connections. We are real likely to cause multiple electrical failures on any car if we disconnect a battery cable while the engine is running. I did that every year to show my students how that will cause severe damage. That can also be what is happening with loose battery cables. Once you solve all the cable problems, I would not be surprised if you still have a generator problem. I hope not, but a damaged generator was perfectly fine one minute before the failure occurred. If you still have less-than-proper operation of everything electrical once the cables are fixed, have the charging system tested again. That is not an expensive test. It takes longer to connect the three cables to the vehicle than it does to take the readings. I did this on a friend's van a few nights ago. One twist of the knob, and in less than two seconds we had the diagnosis. (The only symptom and complaint was an excessive whine on AM radio). The cause was one failed diode in the generator that no one ever looked at.
Steve W. Is right about corroded cables. If yours need to be replaced, I would entertain a notion to install a top-post battery with the appropriate cables, only because it's much easier to do any testing in the future, and it's easier to connect jumper cables. The engineers at GM claim side-post batteries don't develop corrosion, but we can see that is not true. Any battery that is about to fail within the next six months will have corrosion around the terminals, regardless of the terminal style. With top-post batteries, it's just easier to see and know that it needs to be addressed. You'll need to be aware that the hoods on some vehicles can hit the posts when switching to a top-post battery, but there are a lot of different sizes available for various car models today. There is a battery that will fit your application.
Also, I know it's more expensive, but given all the grief you've gone through already, please consider replacing the entire battery cables, all the way to the starter and to the engine block / body. You can buy universal cable ends that bolt to the original cable, but those are never meant to be a permanent solution. They are only intended to get you back on the road until you have time to do the proper repair. I'll admit I've used these ends on my vehicles, but I only have me to blame if I end up walking home. I would never risk angering a customer by using these bolt-on cable ends. Also, a lot of cables corrode under the insulation right next to the starter. This is real common on Ford products. Intermittent cranking problems will not be solved unless the entire cable is replaced.
Friday, April 21st, 2017 AT 7:46 PM