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Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 03:47PM
Thanks to Newtons Wendy's deal post... I moved up some errands from tomorrow to today to go get a jr bacon cheeseburger.

Or so I thought.

Turned the key and "Click"...
No turn-over at all.

Put my battery charger on the battery, read 4 amps.
Within 20 minutes, it was down to under an amp.

Remove charger; turn key, "Click".
Sounds like the starter solenoid is moving, but nothin's turnin'.

Put the charger back on the battery..
Back up to 3.5 amps or so.
15-20 minutes, it's back down to under an amp.

Repeat.
Same result.


So..
Question is... Does this sound like a bad battery, or more likely something more serious?

I have today through the weekend off, but have to work monday... so I need to get the problem worked out pretty soon!
If it's a battery, I can bum a ride to get a new one... but if it sounds like something more, I better get a tow truck to get it in some place before the weekend!

Appreciate any learned mechanics sage advice!






Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: microchip13
Date: December 29, 2005 03:50PM
As I'm told, it's probably the battery.



_______________________________________________________________
Security is just a word. The act of being secure is entirely different.
"...but I think that to make your dream a reality, having a dream itself is a mandatory prerequisite"
From A Book: Walking Through The Impossible

Just because it has two clutches, shifts faster, uses a torque converter or has near-infinite gear ratios, requires less driver intervention and is more efficient doesn't make it better in my opinion.
Save The Manual Transmission
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 03:55PM
That's what I'm hoping!







Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: dbow
Date: December 29, 2005 03:58PM
Did you check the cables, I have had lots of strange problems from a loose connection.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: chopper
Date: December 29, 2005 03:59PM
How old is the battery? I'd swap that first. Will it start with a jump?
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 04:03PM
Don't have anything to jump it with/from...

I'm definitely going to pull the cables and clean 'em.


I have another bad feeling..
Yesterday, I had to ford some water in my pathfinder.. up as high as a few inches over the wheel hubs (had I known it was that deep, I wouldn't have crossed it...)..

I'm thinking now that I got something important wet that doesn't like to BE wet.

I'm going to attack the problem with a flashlight and see what I can see under thar'.






Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 29, 2005 04:05PM
Happened to me rcently with a 6 year old battery.

Although, trying it a couple dozen times would get it to start normally.

Do check the connections by removing them and inspecting though, unless you have a meter to disprove bad connections.

A bad starter relay (Ford ?) will just click, too.
Jumping the in and out contacts will start the car.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: December 29, 2005 04:08PM
Check the connection on the battery, remove the cables, clean them and put them back on tight.

Also, check the end on the starter, you said you forded some deep water.

Also, a quick check.:
Turn on your lights, are they bright?
Try cranking the engine, do the lights go dim?
If they do, your battery is bad.
If not, it is probably the Solenoid/Starter.

BGnR
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: onthedownlow
Date: December 29, 2005 04:32PM
Can you add some water (distilled?) to the battery?

Clean the connectors/terminals real good...use Coca-Cola or something to pour on them. Eats anything off right away.

But definitely the battery it sounds like...so that is a good thing.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: TheCaber
Date: December 29, 2005 04:43PM
Some WD-40 (WD for Water Displacer) sprayed across relay and battery and coil/plug wires may help reduce the likelihood of stray discharge to ground.

Good luck!
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 04:46PM
Terminals are now cleaned... (one was pretty bad).

No overt signs that water got up as high as the alternator.

Letting the charger work for a while with one terminal disconnected, just in case I've got a short somewhere that was discharging the battery.

Then I'll try lights/no lights etc.





Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 05:17PM
Bad news (?)...

Lights nice and bright, and stay bright when the key is turned...
Sounds like the solenoid is kicking... but nothings turning.

Can't actually FIND the starter... no work light, and it's damn dark under there.


Fortunately, I've arranged to borrow my dad's truck if necessary through next week if I have to.






Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 29, 2005 06:54PM
Well, if you ever do find it, there's always the whack it with a heavy hammer option.
(the starter, not the battery)

One click (rather than multiple clicking) sure sounds like the starter, though.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: rgG
Date: December 29, 2005 07:25PM
We had a brand new car once that had an intermittently bad starter. I think one of the brushes was bad or something because it would start fine one day and nada the next. It always seemed to happen when I tried to start it and seemed to work fine when my husband started it. When it finally wouldn't start for him we had the guy from the dealership come out and he tapped the starter with screwdriver just enough to get the brushes to make contact, I suppose, and it started. Needless to say, once they got it started they drove it in to the shop and replaced the starter.

So, if you can find the starter, you might want to use something a bit smaller than a heavy hammer. Of course, chances are there isn't enough room to get a big hammer in there anyway.

Good luck.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: December 29, 2005 07:45PM
Hey, I have hobbies from jewelry to blacksmithing...
I have hammers that will fit in a variety of spaces grinning smiley

I kinda have this feeling I drowned the lead hamster when I went to the store yesterday.
The road I live on was flooded.
And, with up to 5 inches of rain expected in the next three days, I'm guessing it'll be flooded again.





Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 29, 2005 07:51PM
I'm a firm believer in the fine art of persuasion when it comes to mechanical things:
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: December 29, 2005 08:10PM
I've seen them not start even if the posts looked clean, but start after the terminals were rejiggered. My aunt carries a $3 Wal-Mart hammer for hers; she pops the positive terminal and it starts.

Get thee to a Sam's or Wal-Mart and get a $50 jump starter.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: hwystar
Date: December 29, 2005 08:14PM
I think everyone has it pretty well covered, but I will add my two cents anyway, of course.

First I would suspect the connections: battery to cable, cable to solenoid, sol. to cable, cable to starter, etc. Don't just make sure they are clean, make sure they are tight.

Then, if the battery is apparently charged and you get the same results, I would suspect the starter has met its maker. BGnR has the right idea: if the lights don't dim when you turn the key, it is narrowed down to the solenoid or the starter.

You can short across the terminals on the solenoid to test it, which will bypass it, and send the juice right to the starter. If it doesn't crank, then the starter is your most likely culprit. If it does, the solenoid is bad.

If the starter is bad, once you locate the starter, your best bet is just to pull it and get a friend to give you a ride to the auto parts store, and test it there, before buying a new or rebuilt one, IMO. Most stores have test bench starter testers (right on the counter, most of the time) and can check your starter right on the spot.

HTH

hwystar
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: December 29, 2005 08:28PM
TheCaber Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Some WD-40 (WD for Water Displacer) sprayed across
> relay and battery and coil/plug wires may help
> reduce the likelihood of stray discharge to
> ground.
>
> Good luck!


contrary to popular belief, and even what they have on their site, WD-40 doesn't stand for Water Displacing, it stands for Wipe Down. The 40 does actually mean the 40th formula they tried.

I was told this face to face by the VP of Lockheed-Martin Missle Systems back in '99, who WAS the program manager for the Atlas II-IV missle program several decades ago, It was developed in the '50s for wiping down the Atlas missle bodies to cut down on corrosion.

Lockheed sold the formula to the current owner.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2005 08:37PM by Racer X.
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: December 29, 2005 09:29PM
Racer X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> contrary to popular belief, and even what they
> have on their site, WD-40 doesn't stand for Water
> Displacing, it stands for Wipe Down. The 40 does
> actually mean the 40th formula they tried.
>
> I was told this face to face by the VP of
> Lockheed-Martin Missle Systems back in '99, who
> WAS the program manager for the Atlas II-IV missle
> program several decades ago, It was developed in
> the '50s for wiping down the Atlas missle bodies
> to cut down on corrosion.
>
> Lockheed sold the formula to the current owner.


Sorry RX, your buddy is pulling your leg.
I don't care what your VP buddy said, WD40 never purchased anything from Lockheed, and they own all the patents. In fact, I just saw a History Channel show where they did a profile on the WD40 company, it is still in San Diego, they showed the lab where Norm Larsen on his 40th attempt got the formula correct, and they also pulled the original patent papers out of the wall safe. Go ahead look it up, Lockheed is not on the patent papers. Your buddy BS'ed RX.

BGnR

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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: December 29, 2005 10:51PM
Racer is very close though.

Lockheed didn't own it, but it was for what he said.


[www.wd40.com]
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: December 29, 2005 11:28PM
Jimmypoo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Racer is very close though.
>
> Lockheed didn't own it, but it was for what he
> said.

Of course it was for what he said!
But that wasn't even in question, the "WD" part was in question
It is "Water Displacement", and not "Wipe Down" as RacerX got told by a BS artist.
Also, Lockheed never owned, nor invented WD40, only four people in the world know the formula, and none of them ever worked for Lockheed!
The alleged VP BS'ed him good!

BGnR
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: December 29, 2005 11:35PM
so no Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger?

sad smiley



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Jimmypoo
Date: December 29, 2005 11:37PM
anyone with a gas chromatagraph knows the formula!

smiling smiley
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: December 29, 2005 11:58PM
Jimmypoo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> anyone with a gas chromatagraph knows the
> formula!
>
>


LOL!
You been watching way too much CSI.
If that was even remotely correct there would be no secret formulae on the planet.

BGnR
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: December 30, 2005 02:52AM
Well, Lockheed bought Convair...why do you think the Convair name went away? And Lockheed merged with Martin (you know, the folks who built the Martin medium bomber during WW II) So that is where Lockheed-Martin came from. And Lockheed-Martin has a strategic business alliance with Aerojet (who i contract with, and back in '99 when I was told this face to face, was Olin Aerospace)

Same reason Rocket Research went away. It became Rockor, then Olin Aerospace, then Primex Aerospace, then General Dynamics Aerospace, then Aerojet (a division of GenCorp) And during all this, no ones desks actually moved......

Once again, I trust a former manager for the engineering workgroup who had this stuff formulated to meet their requirements far more than some marketing weenie at the current patent holder's business.

There is absolutely 0 reason for him to have said anything but the truth. When it comes to defense and aerospace contracts, your word and reputation are almost worth more than your product. I could dredge up the S-VHS tape and post a QT .mov file if you want. I was video taping it for the company archives.

You get caught lying, even if your product meets spec, you get the boot, and can't be part of Uncle Sam's White Collar Welfare train....
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Anonymous User
Date: December 30, 2005 10:30AM
Paul since you are in CA. Some autoparts stores Kragen / AutoZone / PepBoys will test your starter for you, if indeed that is the problem.

And since you went in deep water, over the wheel hubs, you will more than likely need to repack your front and back wheel bearings.

Carm
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: BW
Date: December 30, 2005 12:36PM
You also need to have the old starter with you to verify that you get the correct "new" starter.

Once in a while, I think I can just waltz in and grab the correct part without comparing it wiht the old part. And I get burned every time.

Plus, you'll avoid the core charge hassle.

You'll actually probably end up with a rebuilt starter, which is fine if it was rebuilt correctly. I usually pony up the extra $5 or $10 for a lifetime model if they have it.

Also, it's worth remembering that quite a few bad starters test just fine on a bench. On many, you can easily pop out the solenoid and/or brush covers to take a peek. If it's water-related, you probably got water inside the solenoid, which caused it to corrode and stick. Back in college, I was able to clean out corroded solenoids sometimes if I could get the plunger to come out. The corrosion would eventually come back, but if you don't have the $50 that week...
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Re: Car won't start... battery, or something more serious?
Posted by: bill b
Date: December 30, 2005 01:14PM
If you have not a hammer, one of these will substitute:


You might even accidently whack your head on it, which should provide sufficent shock to loosen a corroded /sticking plunger.
Your head may dent it though. smiling smiley
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