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Old 11-15-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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Car won't hold a charge - sound like the battery?

Hi all,

About 2 weeks ago my boxster, after sitting in the garage undriven for 3-5 days and having no problems beforehand, wouldn't crank and showed the signs of a very low battery:

1. Windows didn't go up down upon opening a door or, if they did, very slowly.
2. Lots of rapid clicking happened upon turning the key
3. Dash lights dimmed substantially when trying to start

The car has about a 2-3 year old interstate battery in it, but the battery has seen alot of full drains during it's lifetime. I trickle charged it back to life and it started up and drove fine. Drove it 32 miles to work, started up fine at the end of the day (no unusual effort), then 32 miles back home.

Garaged it for 3 days....wouldn't crank again. Trickle charge'd it. Started up fine. Drove it around onSaturday for about 20 miles with 3-4 stops in there. Each time, it started back up fine. No unusual effort.

Sunday morning (about 16 hours since last start) - wouldn't turn over.

Trickle charge'd it till this morning, added distilled water into the battery (it drank probably 8-12 ounces of distilled water without ever over-flowing). Drove it to work, where it's now sitting outside.

Now to me, this sounds like a clear case of a battery going dead. However, I'm just wondering if there is anything unusual that could be simply draining the battery when its sitting still for more than 10 hours in a row?

Thanks all,

Joe
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Old 11-15-2010, 10:48 AM   #2
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8-12 oz is a boatload of water to add to a battery, when the battery is charged with the lead plate sandwiches out of solution it can ruin the plate, even when the solution is eventually restored to the proper level. I'm betting the battery is bad but if you're still not convinced see if it holds a full charge with it's posts disconnected from any draw.

Last edited by eightsandaces; 11-15-2010 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:00 AM   #3
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use a good DVOM check before charge,after charge,before starting,running at idle......get back with readings
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:22 AM   #4
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Places that sell batteries will often

load test them for you. If your battery took that much "water" I'm betting the plates were exposed and that can lead to them warping and a battery that won't charge up.

Plus a battery that has been drained of charge multiple times is more liable to be unable to accept a charge than one kept fully charged.

3 days to drain the battery is a very short time. Done anything to the car recently? Any aftermarket electronics?

There are lots of batteries that fit our cars listed here.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:33 AM   #5
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Thanks all. My main question was: is there something that can consistently drain batteries that is not obvious - maybe a bad part allowing continuous draw after shutdown or something that tends to happen in these cars. Sounds like nothing that frequently occurs.

When I took the covers off the battery, I could see liquid clearly near the top. Nevertheless, I poured a good amount of water in all 6 holes. More than I would've expected without it coming up into the pour tubes.

I'm going to pick up a Wal-Mart everlast battery.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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Smile yup

also check that all of your lights in the front and back boots are turning off...I think I have read that sometimes a bad switch can keep on a light even after the compartment had been closed...Good Luck!!
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:37 AM   #7
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P.s. No recent major changes to the car. I took ownership of it from my father. In the past 2 years, the horn has been going off in the evenings due to poor bushings seperating the airbag from the horn sensor.

I've temporarily fixed that using folded up business cards (amazing how well that worked!), but the battery did FULLY drain several times. It gave me absolutely no problems for over 2000 miles of driving it, which included about 60 fully cold starts in both boiling summer weather and 40 degree days. Until 2 weeks ago, when it suddenly just completely would not turn the car over.
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Old 11-15-2010, 11:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J'sboxie
also check that all of your lights in the front and back boots are turning off...I think I have read that sometimes a bad switch can keep on a light even after the compartment had been closed...Good Luck!!
Any tips on checking to see if a trunk (boot) light remains on with the door shut? How does one check that, since opening the cover turns the light on?
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Old 11-15-2010, 12:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFromPA
Any tips on checking to see if a trunk (boot) light remains on with the door shut? How does one check that, since opening the cover turns the light on?
put your cell phone or digital camera in movie record mode and place in the trunk then close...

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Old 11-15-2010, 01:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burg Boxster
put your cell phone or digital camera in movie record mode and place in the trunk then close...

Or one of your kids................
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:18 AM   #11
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hehehe....like the cell phone idea better. Less likely to get suspicious questioning

I made it home last night on the last charge that battery will hold. After a 30 minute drive I parked at school, took a 2.5 hour class, and came out....and it JUST started...

But, I had a Everstart Maxx group 48 700 CCA battery in the trunk
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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I know this is pretty obvious, but did you clean the battery posts and clamps? Thats the first thing I look at when I have starting issues with any car. When they get corroded, they don't pass enough amperage to start the car and won't charge up either. After you clean them, put some anti corrosion stuff on the posts to prevent future corrosion.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:24 AM   #13
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For your Car:
Instead of searching blinly for a source of drainage and guessing every bulb individually.. why don't you take a dvom and look at the amp that is drain on the battery? then you'll know if you need to hunt for ghost or not!..
Open you Frunk, plug the Amp-meter in serie with the battery, that front trunk light should go off by itself after a few hours.. after a day or two if it's still taking alot of power out of the battery THEN you can start searching for a cause.. now your just searching for a leakage without looking if there is any water on the ground :P

For your Battery:
Charge your battery, and let it sit on a table with nothing plug on it for a few days, look the voltage often.. Initially it will have a little drop for the first few hours, but if it continue to drop under 12v, then you know you ahve a bad cell and your battery is shoot..
If it keep it charge, you can try a 'battery tester' to see how well it recover from a heavy load..
If it dosn't keep it charges or don't recover well from a load, Get a new one
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