2003 Chrysler Sebring Battery Drain

Tiny
CARINFONAIF
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 CHRYSLER SEBRING
Electrical problem
2003 Chrysler Sebring 6 cyl Automatic 78k miles

I have a 2003 Sebring that is having problems with the battery draining to zero power. I just got a new battery installed and they checked the alternator at the same time--it was fine. I don't leave anything on (radio, etc.) When I turn off the car. What should I check first to fix this problem? Could it be the fuses themselves, perhaps? I have extremely limited funds, so am looking for the most likely--and cheapest--fix possible. Thanks.

Add'l Info: Takes about 5 days from full industrial charge to begin showing symptoms, but then will go completely dead within hours--overnight, while I'm working, etc.

Already Tried:
New battery. Extra charging (industrial machine). Turning off radio. Unplugging all chargers in cigarette lighter ports.
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Saturday, October 17th, 2009 AT 1:40 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
I need you to check if there is a constant draw on the battery when everything is off. Here is a how to for checking:

http://www.2carpros.com/first_things/why_is_my_car_battery_dead_over_night.htm

Let me know what you find. IF there is a draw, remove one fuse at a time to see when the draw stops. Then you will know aprox where the problem is coming from. Also, I understand the alt is good, however, it can show good, have a bad diode, and drain the battery when the car is off.

Let me know what you find.
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 1:21 AM
Tiny
CARINFONAIF
  • MEMBER
Well, this is interesting, in a perverse sort of way. Went through the whole checklist (with the exception of checking the alternator again) and sequentially removed the fuses both from the box under the hood and the one inside the driver's side. I got a strong light on the test light for every one, except these two:

#5 - light went on, then quickly faded. This is a 10-amp red that runs the "power door lock and door lock arm/disarm switches; vanity, reading, map, rear seating, ignition and truck lights; illuminated entry; radio; power antenna (which I don't have); data link connector; body control module; and power amplifier." This sounds like the key to the problem.

#6 - Once I removed this fuse, the test light slowly "pulsed" brighter and dimmer, but never went out completely. This is a 20-amp yellow that runs the daytime running lights (Canada). I'm U.S. And I'm not even sure if I have daytime running lights. Don't know what year it became mandatory.

Now, I don't really know what a "data link connector, " body control module, " or "power amplifier" is. But here's a possibility or two--see what you think:

In late June I had a local stereo shop connect an iPod cable. They had to hard wire it because there's no auxiliary plug on the factory radio setup. I didn't have any problems for weeks thereafter (until early September), but maybe a wire has shaken loose? I haven't noticed any sound changes, however.

Also, because I have one cigarette lighter auxiliary port in the dash and one in the console, I put them to good use, keeping various items charged (GPS, iPod, etc.) On a frequent but not constant basis. Maybe there's something amiss with those systems. I stopped leaving things plugged in, however, and have still experienced the drain. So if it's that it would have to be the wiring I would think, and not the port itself.

If it were you, what would your next step be? Thanks for the tips. I'm learning more than I ever wanted to know about cars!
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
"I'm learning more than I ever wanted to know about cars!" LOL If you're like me and can't afford to pay others to do things, that is the way it goes. Hell, I built my own house from ground up. Had some help along the way to show me how to do things. It took 3 years, but I did it all. Even dug over 100 ton of stone out of the surface of the ground with a pick, shovel and a sledge hammar to stone case the house. Thankfully I live in the PA mountains where stone is everywhere. My 80 year old father taught me the trade. Picture a 5'2" Italian man still speaking broken English after being here almost 60 years yelling at me because I couldn't keep up with him laying stone. He was 5 scaffolding bucks high and seemed to forget, I was the one going up and down carring the stone and cement, mixing it. I don't even like to remember it. I thought I was going to die.

Regardless, learn as much as you can in life. You sound like a young man. My dad always told me to do that, and now I thank him for it.

Now, I'll shut up and get back to the problem at hand. Yes, I think you found the problem. Based on your description, I think I would have the stereo shop retrace their work or at least remove it to see if that changes things. It almost sounds as if power is backfeeding through the amp and stereo to ground. That will kill your battery over time.

Keep in touch. I would like to know if this is the problem. And, sorry for being so wordy.

Joe
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 10:12 PM
Tiny
CARINFONAIF
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Haha, I feel your pain and can see the image of your father cracking the whip. However, I'm pretty much the antithesis of a young man--I'm a mature woman, divorced after leaving a 20-year marriage. All that time I did a lot of things--including owning the power tools, the kitchen, the child raising and the yardwork. But cars were his job. Er, his job to take to the shop, hah, on the way to the golf course. Learning never hurt anyone, including me, and I appreciate the counsel. It's always good to be alive.

I'll definitely start at the stereo shop this next weekend. Thanks. Very much.
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Sunday, October 18th, 2009 AT 11:40 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Sorry about that. I'm coming up on the 20 year mark myself. I own the responsibility or the power tools, the yard, the cars, helping in the house, the kids, and holding down two jobs. I'm a teacher too. Funny, I feel like you and I am a man. (LOL)

Let me know how things work out, and again sorry. I never know who I'm speaking with.

Joe
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 6:36 AM
Tiny
CARINFONAIF
  • MEMBER
No worries--life is funny, isn't it. You have a full plate, for sure. I'm even more grateful for the help in that case.
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 7:24 AM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Glad to help. Let me know how things work out for you.
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Monday, October 19th, 2009 AT 7:45 AM
Tiny
TRENDLASERED
  • MEMBER
To Carinfonaif: Have same problem, worse when I don't use the car for a day. Even when everything is off so I unhook the battery's ground cable (easiest to get to), When done with the car. Noticed, in the dark, when touching the cable to ground, a spark, indicating power drain. Here's the cheapest way to fix it, if you cannot find or until you find the source: Interrupt the ground wire from the battery, attach to a simple on/off switch, then attach another cable (same gauge/thickness as batt cable) to ground/car frame. Get a good heavy duty switch, insulate it from touching car frame. Wanna get fancy? Run wires to under dash mount. [Well, you wanted cheap].

I'm liking JACOBANDNICKOLAS idea about a bad diode in the alternator. Gonna have it checked.
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Wednesday, December 27th, 2017 AT 7:55 PM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Here is a guide to help you check the diodes

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-a-car-alternator

Great addition to this thread! Please feel free to help out whenever you are on the site :)

Cheers, Ken
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Sunday, December 31st, 2017 AT 1:02 PM

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