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Thread: Slow battery drain, procedure for checking?

  1. #41
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Battery drain. Not sure why

    Quote Originally Posted by SamPrevia View Post
    Most multimeters can only handle 10 Amp max, and only for a short period of time. 30 to 60 seconds. Here's clear video showing how to measure current using a typical multimeter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lwZkl0yBqA
    Interesting. The 10A max must be a thing with modern meters. My newest one is around 25 years old. The 2 I use the most are rated at 20A, but I wouldn't want to put more than 10A through them for any length of time. Tim

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    Re: Battery drain. Not sure why

    Yes Tim. Most (if not all) multimeters in the past 10, 20 years only support 10A max. They do have a real shunt for the 10A setting. The time limit is mostly for the benefit of the tiny lead wires. Those skinny wires would most likely melt at 10A after a few minutes.

  3. #43
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    Re: Battery drain. Not sure why

    I just watched the video. Good stuff. Thanks for posting. Tim

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    Re: Battery drain. Not sure why

    I ended up just using a light and found the problem the power wire to the starter was grounding out. Never would have guessed that would be it. So glad i can drive this thing now!

  5. #45
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    Finding and fixing the problem(s) with my new van - 5A parasitic drain

    Hey guys! I just joined the proud ranks of Van owners when I bought a 1988 Toyota Van Wagon LE (2WD). The van has a couple of issues that I think I need to figure out (what better way to learn, right?). Iím hoping someone might be able to help me out, though.

    When I bought the van, I was told that the battery drains after a day or two (pretty vague) of sitting, which sounds to me like a parasitic drain. Iíve been keeping the battery disconnected when the van is sitting so that it wonít drain, so havenít really put it to the test yet! When I check the current between the battery ground table and the (-) terminal, though, I get a current reading of ~5A, which I understand is well above normal and means something is drawing current. I plan to look around at some of the posts here about similar problems, but I wanted to pose the question here, since I have a couple of clues that might help narrow it down for this specific case.

    First, does the amount of current say anything about what it could be (or isnít)?
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    Second clue is that when the battery is connected but the key is out of the ignition, there are some green lights that are on behind the dash (see picture). Does anyone know if this might be it and if so where to start looking for the guilty component?
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    Thirdly (and I donít know if this is normal, or relevant) when I re-connect the battery (but there is not key in the ignition) I get a sound of something turning on, which Iíve tried to capture in the following video. I know some systems are on pretty much all the time (?), so I donít know if this is totally normal or not!


    Just as an aside, in case it is relevant, I think that the alternator is also shot. So far, Iíve been thinking of that as a separate issue, unless anyone knows of a reason that a faulty alternator would pull current like this? The info I have about the alternator is: if I disconnect the battery with the car running, the engine cuts out right away. The thing that seems a little strange to me (I donít know tons about this, though) is that the battery voltage reads ~12.22 (+/- 0.1) regardless of whether the car is running or off. It seems like this reading hasnít changed despite the fact that Iíve turned the car on several (maybe 5) times since Iíve had it! It hasnít been on long in total, but to me it seems like the starter motor drawing so much current that many times should drain if the alternator doesnít do anything!? Does anyone know if this sounds normal, or if it could be another issue?

    Anyhow, that you everyone for the help and thoughts. I plan to upload pictures of the van soon, but wanted to get this out there so I can start fixing her up

  6. #46
    Van Addict trestlehed's Avatar
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    Re: Finding and fixing the problem(s) with my new van - 5A parasitic drain

    Well, I'm not an electrician... automotive or otherwise. But my van has an aftermarket stereo.
    I once tried to set up one of those trickle charger solar panels. You plug it into the cig lighter and it trickle charges your battery. So my van was not running, no key in the ignition. I inserted the solar panel plug into the cig lighter and... my stereo came on. I'm guessing that whoever installed the aftermarket stereo hacked into the wrong power lead or something.

    Just an idea for you to check if you have an aftermarket stereo.

    I had a similar problem with a slight voltage loss and ended-up having a remote start button installed.
    When my mechanic buddy did the long laundry list of extensive work to my van, he found several ground wires which were poorly attached to various places... The subsequent clean-up and running a new/clean ground wire did not cure my starting issue though.
    Last edited by trestlehed; 07-19-2017 at 04:50 PM. Reason: .
    "You came in that thing?... You're braver than I thought!" - Princess Leia

  7. #47
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    Re: Finding and fixing the problem(s) with my new van - 5A parasitic drain

    Welcome to the forum! The green dash lights should not be on. I know your new to your van so don't take this the wrong way but do you know how to turn the headlights off and on? Make sure the switch on the end of the blinker stalk is rotated back all the way so the plastic blade on the top lines up. The battery drain very well could be alternator related. Here's a good thread to read through. Be sure and check out the link mentioned in the second post. Also, the search box is your friend. Upper right corner of every page. There are a number of alternator related threads. Try to post any more questions in a relevant thread. This helps keep the forum clutter down, keeps the threads more relevant and organized, and anyone who has posted in that thread regarding their own problems will get a notification and will be more likely to be of help having dealt with similar problems. Good luck!

  8. #48
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    Re: battery draining

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    If you have the courtesy lamps in your doors, then another common place for this sort of problem is where the wires go between the doors and the body (in the door jam area). If yours is so equipped, you might try unplugging the door harnesses one at a time and leave them unplugged long enough to know if the problem still exists or not. If the problem goes away while a particular door is unplugged, but returns when that door is plugged back in, then focus your attention on that door harness. The wires to look at are the red and the red/white. Tim
    Hey, sorry to dig up an old thread, but I'm currently having a similar problem, and I think this advice will help.

    My problem (in my '88 townace) is that the courtesy lights stay on constantly, and the battery keeps going flat. I have taken the fuse out for now. This only just started happening (although the open door warning light has been on most of the time since I bought the car a year ago). I've checked a few of the switches, but I haven't found the problem yet.. Can someone confirm a few things for me?


    • Is the rear door switch in the lock? I can't see any other switches.
    • I tried taking the rear door lock off the bottom of the door this morning, and there are two wires attached, but I'm not sure if they're for the switch or the central locking or both, and the lock is rivetted together, to it's a bit hard to tell..
    • Looking at the '87 van repair manual, it seems like only the front two doors should turn the front courtesy lights on, is that right? But I have checked both switches in the front doors, and they seem fine. In which case maybe there's a short somewhere else? Is there a likely culprit for that?
    • Where can I unplug the door harnesses?

  9. #49
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    Re: battery draining

    When you close all your doors does the open door light in the dash stay on?

    My sliding door if itís not shut properly the door light button in the dash stays on, even thought the cargo courtesy light is off itíll drain the battery in a day or two.

    If you want to disconnect any of the door sensors youíll need to remove the panels very carefully because they are brittle (the clips may break and the panels may crack) and then unplug the sensor. Instead of taking that chance-
    1) I tool some tape and folded it into a square 1/8Ē thick square
    2) put it over the door sensor
    3) taped it into place


    Now when the door closes thereís just enough thickness to make the sensor press in all the way and turn of the door light in the dash. This is for my sliding door, we did all the adjustments on the door to line it up but the main problem was the 2nd screw in the slider rail was rusted out and after welding some metal into it, smoothing it out, adding a large washer/screw to secure it, the door is off by 1/16 of a inch.

    Not sure if thatís even close to what your experiencing but thought Iíd throw it out there in case it could be that simple.

    Good luck

    JDM

  10. #50
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    Re: battery draining

    No, the door warning light was only ever on when the key was turned on. The new problem is the interior courtesy lights staying on constantly (front doors, sliding door footwell. Not sure about the rear light - there's no bulb).

    I've checked the two easy-to-reach switches (2 front doors), they look fine. The slide door switch feels fine, but I'd have to take the whole door off to get it out.

    I have no idea about the rear door switch.

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    Re: battery draining

    There's no need to remove the sliding door to access the switch. You should be able to remove it with the door open as in the the attached image. You could also remove the interior panel directly behind it. Then you would be able to test it's function with the door open or closed. The image is actually a Previa but the sliding door switch location is the same.

  12. #52
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    Re: battery draining

    Quote Originally Posted by originalkwyjibo View Post
    There's no need to remove the sliding door to access the switch. You should be able to remove it with the door open as in the the attached image. You could also remove the interior panel directly behind it. Then you would be able to test it's function with the door open or closed. The image is actually a Previa but the sliding door switch location is the same.
    Thanks originalkwyjibo, yeah, I saw the switch there. I didn't take it out because I wasn't confident of being able to get the rubber sleeve back on - on the Townace, it's just got two rubber plugs that need quite a lot of pressure to reinsert, which is hard with the door in the way (I did the front door ones by pushing a hex screwdriver in the hole in the plug, and it still required a lot of force). The switch felt good, but I suppose the wire might have fallen off and be shorting inside... I will give it another check.

    Hrm.. I just realised that if the switch in the rear door is the problem, then it should disconnect when I take the lock off, and it's no longer touching the body, right?

  13. #53
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    Re: battery draining

    Quote Originally Posted by naught101 View Post
    Hrm.. I just realised that if the switch in the rear door is the problem, then it should disconnect when I take the lock off, and it's no longer touching the body, right?
    The way that rear door light switch works is when the latch is closed, the light goes out.
    Removing the latch does not turn the light off.
    So for testing purposes, you should be able to close the latch with a screwdriver, once it locks closed, the light should be out.
    If it isn't try wiggling/pushing/pulling on the closed latch, if the light flickers you on the right track.

    A visual inspection on door switches has the same value as a wooden nickel.
    If you trying to solve a problem, you have to verify things as you go.
    Using a volt meter would eliminate any guess work, pull the panel and check the wiring
    (can't remember if theres enough length to access the plug by removing the switch)

    As far as those hard to install switch rubbers, everyone always wants to line up the holes and push straight in and your right its nearly impossible mostly because you are trying to push a rubber that has a larger diameter through a smaller hole, pushing only makes it fatter and harder to install but if you put it in on an angle with the far edge seated then use a small (old) flat blade screwdriver, (new works but ya gotta round all the edges) then use it to force the near side into the hole.
    turns this into this

  14. #54
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    Re: battery draining

    Quote Originally Posted by Burntboot View Post
    The way that rear door light switch works is when the latch is closed, the light goes out.
    Removing the latch does not turn the light off.
    So for testing purposes, you should be able to close the latch with a screwdriver, once it locks closed, the light should be out.
    If it isn't try wiggling/pushing/pulling on the closed latch, if the light flickers you on the right track.

    A visual inspection on door switches has the same value as a wooden nickel.
    If you trying to solve a problem, you have to verify things as you go.
    Using a volt meter would eliminate any guess work, pull the panel and check the wiring
    (can't remember if theres enough length to access the plug by removing the switch)
    I meant that I took the switches out and checked them. They're pretty simple devices, there's no way the would be closed when depressed unless the wire came off and shorted on the body. But anyway, yesterday I removed all three and had them hanging out of the body while I checked the rear switch, but no luck. I guess I'll have to try taking the rear door panel off and see if I can disconnect the wires..

    Quote Originally Posted by Burntboot View Post
    As far as those hard to install switch rubbers, everyone always wants to line up the holes and push straight in and your right its nearly impossible mostly because you are trying to push a rubber that has a larger diameter through a smaller hole, pushing only makes it fatter and harder to install but if you put it in on an angle with the far edge seated then use a small (old) flat blade screwdriver, (new works but ya gotta round all the edges) then use it to force the near side into the hole.
    turns this into this
    Yeah, I figured that out yesterday . Little bit of lanolin lube on the rubber really helped too.

  15. #55
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    Re: battery draining

    I have never claimed to be an electrical type of guy but the way I read the wiring diagram, it shows the int. light has 3 positions.
    "ON" which has its own ground point at the light, "OFF" which has no ground and "door" which is a single wire, going off to the door switch, which creates a ground when the door is opened, so the ground is made when the plunger is out.
    So a good ground where the switch mounts would be necessary. and the switch wouldn't work if not installed unless one had a jumper wire from the housing to the body of the van, then the switch could be articulated to see if it is functioning.

    I have also seen cars where the rubber over the pin gets worn (usually pin side and not easy to see), so that when the door closes it is no longer pushing as hard on the pin and not pushing it off the ground, in those cases, the cheap and dirty fix is to glue a thin pad onto the door side at the contact point so that more pressure is exerted on the pin.

    The biggest problem would be one of the ground wires has chaffed and is making a ground elsewhere along the path.
    Harder to diagnose and would require checking each switch but I would think that if you disconnected all the switches at their respective connecters, no light should be on and if it is, theres a wire chafed somewhere, if the light is out plug them back in one at a time until you find the culprit.

    For whats its worth, my door light would flicker from time to time.
    I also had issues with the rear door lock not latching sometimes, bathed it in penetrant and articulated the latch a billion times till it freed up.
    Light never flickered after that.
    Not likely your issue, more to illustrate that sometimes it doesn't take much to create an issue.

  16. #56
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    Re: battery draining

    Quote Originally Posted by Burntboot View Post
    So a good ground where the switch mounts would be necessary. and the switch wouldn't work if not installed unless one had a jumper wire from the housing to the body of the van, then the switch could be articulated to see if it is functioning.

    I have also seen cars where the rubber over the pin gets worn (usually pin side and not easy to see), so that when the door closes it is no longer pushing as hard on the pin and not pushing it off the ground, in those cases, the cheap and dirty fix is to glue a thin pad onto the door side at the contact point so that more pressure is exerted on the pin.

    The biggest problem would be one of the ground wires has chaffed and is making a ground elsewhere along the path.
    Harder to diagnose and would require checking each switch but I would think that if you disconnected all the switches at their respective connecters, no light should be on and if it is, theres a wire chafed somewhere, if the light is out plug them back in one at a time until you find the culprit.
    Yeah.. I took all of the door switches out simultaneously, except the rear door, and the lights are still on. So I suspect the rear door latch switch, or a chafed/broken wire somewhere.

  17. #57
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    Alternator Buzzing / Noise with key off

    Hey folks,

    I just replaced the alternator in the 89 I'm selling and came out to a dead battery. Thought I left lights on or something, so I charged it up and same thing the next morning. Charged it up again and starting poking around. I noticed a buzzing coming from the alternator when the key is off, so my thoughts are there's something internal in the alternator that's drawing current with the key off.

    Thoughts?

    With a fresh battery it fires right up and runs super smooth. Problem didn't start until I put the new alternator in. Before I pull it out and take it for testing I'd appreciate any tips on simple things I might be overlooking.

  18. #58
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    Re: Alternator Buzzing / Noise with key off

    The good news is, I think I know what's up. The bad news is that you've got a brand-new bad alternator. Specifically, the diode.

    I was already thinking about the diode, then I saw the part about the buzz.

    Also, don't take my word as final until you've Googled, heard back from other TV'ers, talked to the folks at your LAPS, consulted the Oracle of Athena, etc.

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