2000 Kia Sephia short in electrical system?

Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
  • MEMBER
  • 2000 KIA SEPHIA
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 12,300 MILES
I have had to replace my battery 5 times in 6 years because every time it drops below freezing my car won't start and the repairman(different ones) tell me it's my battery. I have had the charging system checked 3 times this last year and it was fine every time, but even after getting another new battery it wouldn't start when the temperature dropped this winter.

there are also a few other problems that are continuous. First, after driving around for a while then turning off my car for a few minutes to go into a store it hesitates when trying to start it back up again, but does not do this when sitting for a longer period of time, like, overnight. I have also had a new starter put in, but that did not fix it for very long. Second, I have killed three nana ipods using the cigarette charger and now my stereo (after market) doesn't work.

when I think back to when I started having this problem it was soon after I had the stereo installed at a stripmall car stereo place. Now, everytime I take it to a mechanic they want to replace some expensive part of my charging system even though when I get it checked the diagnostioc result says the charging system is fine.

-roberta
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Friday, July 24th, 2009 AT 9:38 AM

18 Replies

Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
I assume that the people that are telling you it's fine are people at a parts store with some simple tester?

What is the expensive part the mechanics want to replace.

Everything you said so far does suggest that you have a charging problem.
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Friday, July 24th, 2009 AT 12:18 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
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It has been at places like pep boys where they are testing the charging system.

So far I have had the battery replaced 5 times in 6 years and all by different places. One from a mechanic, one from pep boys, one from goodyear, etc. Everytime I take it in with a problem they want to replace it again. The new starter is barely 5 years old, same goes for the original when I had it replaced.

The problem seemed to go away for a short time every time I get something replaced and then it comes right back, especially in the winter. I no sooner had the battery replaced at pep boys last winter when my car wouldn't start less than a month later after it dropped below freezing. Then, when I took it to a mechanic, because it wouldn't start, he said I needed a new battery, not realizing the one I had was less than a month old. This same scenario is happening pretty much every winter.

Also, it takes a long time to jump my car when it drops below freezing. I bought one of those batteries with cables attached last winter out of fear of being stranded and it wouldn't even work. In fact the thing lost most of its charge before I even used it, even though it was less than a month old and had been fully charged before I put it in my trunk.

How can I figure out which part of the charging system it is, if that is the problem?.I'm tired of chasing this problem around.
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Sunday, July 26th, 2009 AT 10:13 AM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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Now that's an interesting fact.

Do you drive it everyday, or does the problem show up after you have let it sit?
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Sunday, July 26th, 2009 AT 5:54 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
  • MEMBER
I drive it everyday. It won't start, in the morning, after sitting overnight in freezing temperatures. However, on at least one occassion, after not starting initially, it started after I let it sit in the sun and the temperature warmed up a little.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 1:57 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Time to do some testing.

You will need a test light and a volt meter.
And a couple of wires with alligator clips on both ends.

Is your battery a top post or side post?
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 2:13 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
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It is a top post battery. My roommate is an electrical engineer so he will be helping me also.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 4:08 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
  • EXPERT
Awesome, you have a helper.
That will makes things much easier.

Next time it doesn't start grab your roomy.

Have him work the meter and you working the key.
Get a voltage test with the probes touching the posts with the key off, then a voltage test on the Post while you turn the key to the crank position.

When you are turning the key, I want you both to listen for a light "click" from a relay, and for a heavier "clunk" from the starter solenoid.

Then repeat the tests, with the probes touching the clamps on the battery cables.
********************************
now for something to test for while it's still working.
Get a volt reading on the posts of the battery with everything off, should be 12.6

Start the truck, and let it run for 30 seconds
Volts should be around 14 14.5

Now turn the heater blower motor on high,
turn on your head lights.
Volts should be 13 13.5

and report back with your findings.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 4:26 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
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After sitting 2 1/2 - 3 hours the voltage reading with the engine off was : 12.88v
after running 30 seconds: 14.13v
after turning on blower and headlights:13.7
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 6:37 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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Ok, it's charging like it should.

Now we have to wait for it act up.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 6:47 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
  • MEMBER
Okay, since I sometimes get a hesitation if I drive the car for a while, turn it off for a short period, then try to restart it, my roomie and I are going to drive it around right now. He will take readings after we stop, before we start, at the start and after the start and report back. Hopefully, it will act up because I don't want to wait until it is below freezing to figure out what is wrong.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 7:03 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
  • MEMBER
Hi this is Nik, the roommate :). We drove the car for 10 minutes (headlights on since it's dusk here), pulled over in a parking lot, turned off the engine, sat for a couple of minutes, and re-started. During the re-start, it seems like it doesn't want to turn over. The sequence goes like this:
1. Turn the key
2. It makes a partial rotation sound like it -almost- turns over.
3. It pauses for a second
4. Then it turns over.

We drove back home, parked, turned off the engine, tried the re-start and it did exactly the same thing. When the car sits for about 3 hours, however, it starts more easily. I wonder what causes the difference between starting after we've just driven it vs. After it's been sitting for a few hours.

Here are the voltage readings we took on this test:
After driving, turning engine off, & waiting 2 minutes: 13.1v
During the tough cranking process: 10.6v
After start: 13.9v

Any idea why it's having a hard time turning over?
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 7:57 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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Hi Nik.

90% chance.
The starter is "heat soaked" and the armature windings have high resistance. Or some of the windings are shorting.
Bad starter.

Or,
10%
one of the cells in the battery are bad and heat is causing a short.
Each cell is 2.1 volts so you drop from your aprx12.8 to your 10.6.

I'm betting on the starter.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 8:13 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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PS, since it is happening from expansion and contraction with the extreme heat and extreme cold.

I'm really pointing at the starter having a problem with a short in the windings.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 8:16 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
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Okay, so before I drop $300 on third starter or, $100 on a seventh battery can you tell me if there would be a reason that my car is eating batteries and starters or, alternately, how I can test the starter or, if there is a way to rule out the battery? Thanks. : )
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 8:56 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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Ruling out the starter.
No, not really, unless you can get it up to 240 degrees and then run it up to a parts store for them to bench test it, but it may still pass, because it doesn't have to fight the torque of the engine.

As far at the battery is concerned,
yes, you can test it.
It will need to be very hot or very cold, just like when the car fails to start. And you do a load test on it.

It's basically a huge carbon pile resistor with jumper cables on one end.
Though experience you "get a feel" for how fast the amp meter should drop, and what the before and after volt readings should look like.

I strongly feel that it is the starter at this point, but you can always wait until it's cold and do some more voltage tests.

But I do have to ask something.
When it was hot, and you did the tests.
Did you do the tests on the posts, AND on the clamps like I said?
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 9:50 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
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We did the tests on the posts, but we'll try the clamps tomorrow and get back to you. What exactly are we looking for, to see if the connection to the battery is bad? At this point nothing is corroded.
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Monday, July 27th, 2009 AT 10:20 PM
Tiny
BOBBIPINZ
  • MEMBER
We just took the readings on the clamps, and they are the same, i.E.
When the car has been sitting, it starts pretty much ok.
Run the car for 5-10 min.
Turn it off.
Wait about 2 min.
Check voltage: about 13v
Turn the key, and it makes one short rev, then a pause, then it turns over with some difficulty.
During the difficult start, the voltage dips to 10.5v then goes up to 14 once the engine starts.
Note: In the winter, when it has been sitting overnight in freezing temp, it will not start at all unless we jump it.
Why do you think it behaves this way? In winter, it won't start when it sits. In summer, it's ok when it sits, but has a hard time re-starting.
The starter was replaced about 4 years ago, and the battery is brand new. If the starter is bad, do you have any idea why the car would be eating starters & batteries?
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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
BUDDYCRAIGG
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So far I have no proof that your battery, (or any of the past batteries) were /are bad.

For the last 4 years, you could have had people telling you it was the battery, when it was the starter all the time.

It could have been a bad starter when you took it out of the box. If they scraped some of the film off of the windings when they rebuilt it.
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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 AT 7:08 PM

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