Car dies while driving.. (battery problems) - need help.

Home  \  Repairs & Maintenance  \  Car dies while driving.. (battery problems) - need help.

I have to charge my battery about.. every 15 cranks.
My car will die on me when im going down the road, i try to crank it.. and the battery slowly dies as i try to crank it up.
The only way to start the car up again.. is to charge the battery,and it then runs fine. any clue whats wrong with it?

posted by  65t0wel

Do ya suppose you might have a charging system problem? Read this thread, the same basic information applies to your situation.

http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?p=80951#post80951

posted by  vwhobo

i have a brand new alternator..but it shouldnt cause the car to die all of a sudden should it?

posted by  65t0wel

I don't know. As is normally the case on these forums, you want people to hand out information without any background. Try reading this first;

http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=2200

and then get back to us. :banghead:

posted by  vwhobo

Car:
1965 Ford Fairlane 500 289 V8
I have recently put, a new solenoid on it. New alternator.
I bought the car not to long ago. Had no problems until about 2 weeks later, this is the only problem. Guy said some kid stole the battery about 1 week before I bought the car, and that he went to his friends house and got the current battery the car is using which is a 12V battery.

Yet again, car dies when running, brand new alternator. I have to charge the battery about every 15-20 starts, I usually charge it for 1-2 hours.

posted by  65t0wel

Sounds to me like you have at least two different things going on here. You don't have ANY computers so good voltage, while important, isn't critical. My guess is that you have a charging system problem (voltage regulator?) and that it's not just "shutting off" but that it's petering out from low voltage and you, for whatever reason, aren't realizing there's a reduction in performance until it dies.

posted by  vwhobo

so any suggestions on what I should do? Should I take out my alarm system? Could that be the problem?

Or could is possibly be the battery? Because the battery had been used before. And was just given to the guy I bought the car from.

If none of this.. what should I do? Go buy stuff? Go get it checked out?

posted by  65t0wel

Oh, now we have an alarm system. Maybe you don't get it Ace, I'm sitting if front of my computer who knows how far away. I DO NOT HAVE A CRYSTAL BALL. The only thing there is to work with is the information you provide. I don't have the time to dig it out piece by piece, so... When you decide to spill your guts and tell us everything that may be pertinent, let us know. :banghead:

posted by  vwhobo

haha dude, im not trying to be a hardass or anything, but i will try my best to explain EVERYTHING to you. There are 2 alarms system i do believe. a glass breaking alarm sensor, and a shock detector. They're both on and working, I currently have the brain unplugged, so it doesn't go off. If you would like the models, I can probably get those, but I have done research on them, and they are very hard to find on the internet, so I suspect they are old or obsolete..???
But I called the guy i bought the car from and he said all he could think of that could be wrong is that the alarm system is draining the battery, and he told me to unplug the alarm system, but the wires all bundled up in such a tight space it's hard for me to get to them without taking out the entire dash. So I took out all the fuses from and to the alarm system(s). But SOMEHOW the alarm system still unlocks the doors... it's insane. But it COULD be a possibility. And thats what I was wondering, if it IS a possibililty that it's draining the battery.

posted by  65t0wel

... Alarm systems have 1 shock sensor. The only way to detect a broken window without a shock sensor is with that special conductive tape they put on buildings, and I'm betting your car doesn't have that to say the least. Why would you need two? Last time I check to break a window you needed to bash the glass (unless you have one of them glass breaking spring loaded things, but even that will set off a shock sensor, saw it first hand) which would set off shock sensor. Anyway, back to the topic.

Do you have a test light?

With the ignition in the off position, remove the negative battery cable, clamp the test light to that cable, then touch the negative terminal on your battery, if it lights up, you have a drain, if it doesn't light up, you don't.

You have a multi-meter/volt-meter?

With the truck running touch the positive and negative terminals, should give 14.4 or so.

If this all checks out, take it to a local mechanic and get them to put an AVR on it to check the charging system, may not be putting out any amperage.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

so, let me get this right, clamp the gator teeth part of the test light onto the negative cable, that is currently taken off the battery, then touch the end of the test light onto the negative side peg?

If it lights, I have a drain? Correct?

posted by  65t0wel

well, i just went outside. took off the negative, clamped the gator teeth clamp to the negative cable, and touched the negative, no light.

I grounded the test light gator teeth clamp onto a metal part of the car, to get it grounded, touched the negative with the test light. and the test light - lighted up.

posted by  65t0wel

You must no't have been making good contact on the cable then, because the ground cable is connected to the body, so it should make no difference, really.

So you have a drain, hook your battery back up. Now what you do is you go to your fuse box, with the ignition off still, and all possible other things turned off (ie. if it has a dome light, close the door if possible). Touch the top of the fuses (the metal parts of course) and if there's current, your found your drain (nothing should be getting power with the ignition off).

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

wow 1965.. i get even get a wiring diagram for it..

so we need lots more info on ur car.. the alternator. how many wires does it have? internal or external regulator? does ur car have a battery light(charge indicator light) if so, does it work?

edit: please explain the test light procedure. i thought it will always light because of the other constant drain.. ie clock. we are suppose to use a DVOM on amps and drain cant be more than 50miliamps.. (.050 amps.)

posted by  thongsai

GO TO PAGE 2 PLEASE :)

posted by  65t0wel

welp, i went outside again, and tried it over and over with connecting the test light with the negative cable, and then, I touched the negative peg on the battery, after clamping the gator teeth onto the negative cable, and the LIGHT CAME ON.

So yeah, I guess I have a drain. Any possible way on how i could find out where it's coming from??? Test the fuses im guessing?

posted by  65t0wel

Told you :P. So yep, you forsure have a drain.

As I said in my previous post, quickest place to look is at the fuses, check every one, I'm not sure if your vehicle has them in the cab and under the hood, but check them all, both under the hood (if applicable) and in the cab.

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

thing is, i have a set of fuses under the dash, (the glass ones(with metal))

then i have some other kind that the guy i bought the car from, said they used in the old days when the car was made. they are just cylindrical type fuses that are about ------------ long, and are plastic.???

posted by  65t0wel

by the way...do you have aim or msn or yahoo that i can contact you by? :)

posted by  65t0wel

Oh yah, forgot about those old style fuses, those are even easier to work with :thumbs: All you gotta do is touch the metal part of the fuse, easy as that.

I have MSN: liquid_0xygen@hotmail.com (the 0 is a zero)

posted by  88GrandPrixSE

Those fuses might be ceramic if they are originals. Tracking down shorts in electical systems are sometimes difficult without the proper tools and may take too long to explain here. Take it to a shop and have the starting/charging sytem tested.

posted by  srober32

yes, b/c even if you have a drain on the battery at rest, if it will start and drive, the charging system will keep it going (if it is charging). if your battery dies while you are driving it, that's a charging system problem, not a drain.

posted by  dodger65

for the price of a new battery and the particularly general group sizes i would cough up the money for a new one. especially since you don't know how old it is and how many people i've seen go nuts over bad battery.

posted by  carls47807

Usually (not always) when you test the s/c systems they test the battery too.

posted by  srober32

if you're not going to take it to a shop, then take the alt. off and get it tested. they may be able to test the regulator, too. if it turns out to be the harness, you can go to the library and make copies of the wiring diagrams (and if you are electrically inclined at all) you can fabricate a new charging system wiring harness, if need be. or the aftermarket might make harnesses for old fords now (year One, etc) i've had to do a '65 Galaxie, a '65 Marauder, and a '65 Dodge Coronet, but harnesses weren't available then, and the reason for replacement was butchering by previous owners & an engine fire...

posted by  dodger65

External voltage regulator on his car.

posted by  srober32

i know. according to autozone, they can test them off the car. i know how to test them on the car, but i need to look at a wiring diagram first. it's been a while... but let us know about the alt. first.

posted by  dodger65

hmmm wouldn't you have a generator on that car? i dunno im young, but i know the 56 2-10 in the shop now has a generator. and yes i understand they are all generators for whoever wants to jump on that one :wink2:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

most automakers switched from the generator to the alternator in the early 1960's...

posted by  dodger65

alrighty :thumbs:

posted by  BanffAutoSpa_ap

I found a wiring diagram for my car.
http://www.tocmp.com/tOCMP/wiring/5765wiring%20diagrams/Ford/MWire5765-231. jpg

see if you can help me out.

posted by  65t0wel

Is the external regulator still being used? I haven't seen a voltage/current regulator for decades, but I used to calibrate them. They need servicing after some years because of contact burn and loss of arm tension.

You can either have an auto electrician or someone knowledgable calibrate it for you, or if it was me I would replace the alternator with one incorporating an integral internal solid state regulator.

posted by  Wally

ok, this test assumes that you pulled the alt. & had it tested, so if you haven't--do it. if the alt. tested good, then from what i can glean from the diagrams...

this is how it should be

first. there should be battery voltage between the positive battery terminal and the regulator casing. make sure it's grounded.

"I" terminal - key on engine off= grounded
key on engine running= +12V (or slightly more)

"A" terminal - this is +12V at all times. if you don't have this, that could be your problem. this comes IN to the regulator, so if voltage is not present, there is a break in the wire between the battery "+" terminal and the "A" terminal.

"S" terminal - key on engine off= +12V (or slightly more)
key on engine running= +12V (or slightly more)

"F" terminal - key on engine off= +12V (or slightly more)
key on engine running= +12V (or slightly more)

Disclaimer: Fords are not my chosen discipline. if any Ford folks have an addition to this or think i'm just plain wrong-let me know.

posted by  dodger65

on modern cars, not that i'm aware of. on a '65 Ford, absolutely. :thumbs:

edit: that was in response to your first question.
if i'm not mistaken, if this reg. is not solid-state, i think parts stores have superseded the P/N to a solid-state unit.

posted by  dodger65

the alternator is completely new. got it about 2 weeks ago. old one was pretty worn out. so the alternator SHOULD be good... i do believe it was a rebuilt one, so it might be a dud.

posted by  65t0wel

after getting a few dud alternators for cars that suck to change them on, i started having them test them before i even leave the store... they're kinda pissy until they test 2 bad ones in a row while you're standing there :mrgreen:

posted by  dodger65

how can i tell if it's a dud or not?

* a good way to tell*

posted by  65t0wel

you are lighting up a light bulb.depending on what kind of bulb you are using,the current draw will appear different. (I = E/R). get cheap meter from
radio shack 100kohm per volt or higher,and test the current draw.THEN pull out fuses,one at a time.the circuit that is causing the problem will cause the current draw to go away.or use a lamp if you find that easier,but the problem is that you cannot see a minor current difference like a meter can.
if i was to venture a guess,i would say get the battery load tested,then start pulling fuses out.if you have a decent battery and charge system and you are driving any sort of distance it should charge it back up.....

posted by  the lobster

when the guy at the parts store bench tests it, and says "hey, this one's a dud!" :thumbs:

posted by  dodger65

so where'd ya go. didja fix it or what? :drool:

posted by  dodger65

This is more common than you would think. Check to see if you have a good engine to frame ground. Sounds simple but you could be grounding through the throttle cable or transmittion linkage.

posted by  DaveC

My husband and I are having similar problems with our 68 olds 442. I have found, that most parts stores i.e. Autozone...Orielly's, will test your battery and alternator for free, on or off the car. I think wal-mart even has a tester they can hook up to your car now. We are still having charging probs with our car, but it has helped to narrow down where our problem is coming from. Just a thought. Also, we have also been through enough brand new alternators, that now we have them test them before we ever leave the store with them. These parts stores, can also check your voltage regulator to see if it is bad..they tested ours for us.

posted by  Diblue1121

BEFORE you start your car with the new alt, make sure the battery is in good condition, with a full charge (I suggest 4-6 hours on about 10 amps), and has good connections. Otherwise you may pop a diode or two inside of the alt. Having the voltage regulator tested beforehand is a must as well to ensure the alt is putting out the proper voltage.

posted by  srober32

Your Message