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Old 12-06-2018, 09:07 AM   #1
Legendary70
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Battery issue advice...

i have a 2005 explorer. i noticed that when it started getting cold here in El Paso my battery would have a hard time starting up the car in the mornings. after about a week of struggling to start up the truck it died. one morning it just did not start anymore. I went to wal mart and got it exchanged since i had just bought it about 7 months ago. so i went ahead and put the new battery into my expedition and put the one in the expedition into my explorer. It never had issues when on my expedition. Well that was about 3 weeks ago and started to notice the battery again having a hard time starting my truck....well this morning it is dead again. I am not sure if it is the cold weather or what. what do y'all think?

thx

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Old 12-06-2018, 01:35 PM   #2
J_C
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Either your alternator is failing, you have some fault causing a parasitic drain pulling the battery voltage too low, or least likely (not very likely at all now that you have change the alternator so you took the cable off and saw it) there is corrosion on the cable from it to the battery.

You could take the alternator to a local auto parts store for testing, or try to determine how long it needs to sit before starting becomes difficult, disconnect the battery next time you shut the vehicle off and see how much that helps, or use a multimeter to measure the voltages running, right after turned off, and next time you try to start it.

You can use a multimeter to see if current is flowing through the cable to the battery with the engine is off. There should be none but sometimes an alternator can fail with a leaky diode(s) in it and cause loss then.

You can also use a multimeter to check parasitic draw though it probably has a high and low resting power state depending on a battery saver feature, meaning it may draw what seems a high few hundred mA current for some period, maybe 45 minutes or so after the last event like opening a door, unlocking a door, etc, anything that triggers power to something, but then it should settle down to a few tens of mA.

The thing about testing parasitic drain is if you disconnect the battery to do a current measurement with a meter, it will probably reset the timer and do another 45 minutes (or whatever period yours uses) til it settles down to a lower power state again. For this reason such a test should have meter probes on both the battery cable connector and the battery terminal while it is being disconnected to keep a connection between the two through the meter.

Meter clamps can be very helpful for this, then if you observe more than a few tens of mA after the vehicle should be in the low power state then you can pull fuses to see which circuits are drawing the excessive power.

If I recall correctly one possible cause of excessive phantom power could be a sticking Power Saver Relay. I don't know for certain where that is on an '05, maybe a relay box up under the dash in the driver's footwell. Obviously it could instead be some other fault, even a live wire with damaged insulation shorting against something. Pulling fuses and noting changes in drain should narrow it down.
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Old 10-29-2019, 06:47 PM   #3
herb
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I have the same problem on my 2004 4.0 XLT and it has been driving me crazy. I wind up having to replace my battery every 12 to 18 months since it gets totally depleted a number of times. Have not found the cause yet and am still troubleshooting but this problem is very intermittent! Once the engine starts the voltage goes to around 14 volts immediately which means the alternator/regulator are working properly. In the mean time, I put my charger on it once in a while to keep the battery voltage up to 12+ volts.

Have pulled all the fused from the engine compartment fuse panel but that did not narrow it down. The inside fuse panel is too hard to easily pull fused for this old guy whose body won't twist like it used to. I am thinking now that it is a faulty Power Saver Relay and that on the top side of the fuse panel under the driver side dash. Have not figured out how to get access to those relays. Any help would be appreciated.

Also if you find a resolution, please let me know ([email protected]) and I will do likewise.
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:28 PM   #4
J_C
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I don't know about an '04 but on the earlier generation, the relay box with the battery saver relay was under the dash, up and to the right of the gas pedal.

I don't know what to say about not being able to pull fuses as it is a pretty important step, but I do think a faulty battery saver relay is a very common problem.
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Old 11-05-2019, 05:59 PM   #5
herb
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I was able to pull this C2048 Battery Saver Relay and left it out overnight. The next morning the battery voltage had not dropped at all so assumed this relay was the problem. I swapped it out with the C1188 (Trailer Tow Relay, Left Turn) relay and that caused the problem to return, so it is not the relay itself, however that relay was warm to the touch the next morning while the outside temperature was in the 30's. Not hot but warm compared to the other relays and components. I got 54 F with an infrared thermometer on the relay case. So the relay coil does not appear to be deenergizing.

Checking the wiring diagrams from here, the hot side is fed from fuse F2.17 and the other side from the Instrument Cluster (10849) page 60-2. This instrument cluster appears to be a solid state device of some sort so am not able to figure out how to disable that lead which should be going to ground nor where it is located. Anyone have any ideas where to go from here?
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Old 11-05-2019, 08:27 PM   #6
J_C
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Look at the wiring diagram to see what is powered through the battery saver relay. You can then selectively pull fuses for each in turn and measure battery drain, or you can use a multimeter to measure voltage across each fuse.

A fuse (necessarily) has a very small resistance which is what generates the heat to cause it to blow with an overload. If current is flowing through a circuit, the fuse for it will have a tiny voltage drop between one blade of the fuse and the other. I am assuming your fuses have tiny assess holes on the top to stick multimeter needle probes if not normal probes in. If not, you will have to do it the slower more tedious way.

That the relay goes to an instrument cluster circuit is not necessarily relevant. I mean it is possible that cluster circuit has a problem but it is just one of a few different circuits after the battery saver relay. You should get the wiring diagram and look at everything after the battery saver relay, and everything will have a plug you can disconnect to see if that changes the current through the fuse or from the battery.
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Old 11-05-2019, 10:30 PM   #7
herb
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JC, I don't think you understood what I was trying to say in my last post. Forget about what the battery saver relay feeds, I am talking of the what energizes the battery save relay which appears to have its coil energized at all times, so the relay never drops out. I would suspect it is supposed to time out after the car is shut down and the doors are locked but it remains energized. The hot side goes directly to fuse F-2.17 and the return side of the coil goes to the Instrument Cluster and appears to never go away, so the relay stays energized at all times. So my problem appears to be caused by the Instrument Cluster device for which there is only a box in the diagrams. Any hints as to where to go to next?
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:18 AM   #8
J_C
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Can you post the wiring diagram or a link to it if it won't show in full resolution attached to your post?

Are you aware that the battery saver relay is supposed to stay activated for dozens of minutes after it is triggered? I don't know the exact # of minutes but on my '98 it's close to 40 min. It will reset to zero minutes and stay live till it counts down that period from several events including the ignition on, accessory on, door open, or power (battery or fuse) connected after being disconnected.

The return side of the coil should go to the body computer. On a 2nd gen Explorer that's called the GEM (Generic Electronic Module) or CTM (Central Timer Module, for defeatured base model vehicles that didn't have other features the GEM handles, otherwise the CTM function is built into the GEM) but at some point (model year) they integrated it into the PCM?

Anyway it is possible the computer has failed but just as possible you have one of the triggers failed, like the ignition switch or a door latch switch, or a frayed wire to one of the triggers could cause it too, but if you were not waiting till the time out period for the battery saver relay, you are not getting the real low-state current draw reading.

Normally the way I'd find that low state reading is open the hood, leave it open for an hour, then put a multimeter in (multi-amp range) current measurement mode and remove the battery terminal while the meter leads where touching both the battery terminal and the battery cable clamp so the circuit is never broken.

Before the battery saver times out it is typical to see a few hundred mA current but in the timed out low state, under 50mA.

Otherwise if it's in the high state of hundreds of mA you can still pull each fuse one by one to see how much the current drops and as I described previously, still measure voltage drop across the fuse to see which circuits are drawing current.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:51 AM   #9
BobW
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Feel your pain Legendary70 & herb.
I have had the same problem with my 2005 and have yet to find the cause.
Did the same as you pulled all the fuses and found nothing.
Mine is intermittent, so I have to believe weather related.
Now I just disconnect the battery between rare uses ( second less fuel efficient vehicle).
Everything tests fine ( battery, alternator, starter. . .)
The starter seems to short out the battery even though its new and the old one tested fine at auto store.
Mine dies and goes to 2 volts initially.
Reconnect with a second battery or a jump and it will sluggishly start.
Wish I could help, but this seems to be more common than I thought?
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:46 PM   #10
herb
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J C thanks for your suggestions and comments, however my wife came down with a major medical problem which takes priority for now, so this troubleshoot is on hold on my end. I discovered some to things I said apparently are not the same now so may have jumped to some wrong conclusions during my previous posts. My problem is NOT the battery saver relay as I swapped it out without any change. My battery is discharging at a rate of around 200 to 300 ma which drains my battery to below 12 V in about two days!

Since this project is currently on hold, I have disconnected my negative lead from the battery to keep it from going dead. If anyone comes up with any further hints, I am all ears. Thanks.
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