Battery drain may be warning of catastrophe

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: November 3, 2010 - 3:47 PM

Q I have a '99 Lincoln Town Car that is afflicted by an intermittent battery drain. Whenever the air bag light is on while I'm driving, I have a dead battery the next morning. The last time this happened the battery would not take a charge until after I disconnected it. However, when the battery was connected there was a hissing sound, but it didn't hinder the starting. Do you have any suggestions?

A I hate to tell you, but this scenario is a bit scary. Anything that can kill the battery overnight and continue to draw enough current to prevent the battery from being recharged is a potential fire hazard. Assuming you're using a 6-10 amp battery charger, that means there's a current draw in that same range.

Clamp an inductive ammeter around the positive battery cable to determine how much current is being drawn after the ignition is switched off. Then, pull each fuse and relay one at a time to see if a specific circuit is the source of the draw. The fact that the symptom occurs when the air bag warning light stays on while driving may point to a problem with the headlamp/highbeam multi-function switch on the steering wheel and/or its harness running down the steering column.

Personally, I'd be hesitant to drive the vehicle until this problem is identified and corrected.

Q I own a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer with approximately 130K miles on it. While driving, the engine will stall. I can continue to hit the gas pedal and slightly increase RPMs until the engine finally stops. This only happens after it rains or it's extremely humid outside. It only occurs 1.3 to 1.5 miles into the drive from a cold start. Once I pull over, stop and restart the engine it will run fine all day. After happening for a few days the problem will disappear until the wet conditions occur again. I replaced the O2 sensor, No. 2 and No. 4 ignition coils (they looked rusty), the fuel regulator and the ignition switch. The SES light has never come on. Any ideas?

A The rusty ignition coils might be a clue. My Alldata automotive database pulled up TSB 06-06-04-048B dated January 2007 that identifies possible water leaks dripping on the engine cam cover, collecting around the ignition coils and seeping into the spark plug wells. A revised Air Intake Plenum with a foam weatherstrip seal has been released to prevent this water intrusion.

Since there are no DTC fault codes, TSB 03-06-04-057 from October 2003 suggests updating the programming for the PCM to reprofile the Evap purge valve test cycle that could cause lean operation shortly after start-up.

If the charcoal canister is soaked with fuel, this "open" cycle for the purge valve can cause a rich fuel mixture that the O2 sensor tries to adjust by leaning the mixture. If the purge cycle ends while this is occurring, the engine is temporarily too lean and may stall. Cycling the key resets the system, allowing the engine to return to normal operation.

Q The cruise control on my 1987 Bronco drops out when I turn on the headlights. Otherwise it operates fine. Could this be a voltage drop problem via a bad connection due to headlight amp surge, or is something else happening?

A I think you're on the right track. I suspect the harness from the multi-function switch in the steering column has a frayed, worn or open connection. Otherwise, make sure the brake lights are not coming on with the headlights -- this would cause the cruise to drop out or not engage.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 100 4th Qtr 1:08
Denver 107
Oklahoma City 42 2nd Qtr 2:43
LA Lakers 44
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 3rd Prd :28
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
NC A&T 57 FINAL
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 46 2nd Half 10:12
California 51
Idaho State 38 2nd Half 7:37
Utah State 47
Arizona 17 1st Half 9:26
Texas-El Paso 7
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 71 FINAL
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
NJIT 62 FINAL
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
ULM 42 FINAL
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 56 2nd Half 11:25
New Mexico St 40
No Dakota State 67 2nd Half 4:42
Cal State Fullerton 77
Utah State 76 2nd Half 4:38
Sacramento St 89
Bethesda (CA) 51 2nd Half 7:24
Fresno State 65
Utah Valley U 42 2nd Half 3:38
Montana 62
LSU 32 2nd Half
UC Santa Barbara 24
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close