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Old 07-20-2008, 05:42 PM
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1964 Impala SS - Battery Not Holding Charge

Can someone assist with trouble-shooting a electrical problem:

Make: Chevrolet
Model: Impala SS
Year: 1964
Engine: 327
Transmission: 3-speed Auto

Problem: "New" 12V battery not holding charge.
Background: Replaced all new wire harnesses under-dash, lights (front/back), purchased a new battery (old one failed test for not holding charge (dead cells).
After installing new battery, car started, all lights functional, drove car for about 8 miles, let car sit one day, attempted to turnover engine, no cranking power. Placed multimeter on new battery, reading at 1.4 Volts. Currently recharging new battery.
Attached is my current wiring diagram, below is my equipment:

Mallory Unilte Electronic System Distributor with ECM.
Mallory Masterpro Coil
Ballast

Any suggested steps or tests on existing systems would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance..

UPDATE: After charging the battery for 1hr. , I took a voltage reading on the battery, now reading 12+ volts, started/cranked the engine right over.
Question: With the battery charged, and engine able to start, what tests
can I execute to make sure the entire electrical system is correctly
charging the battery? Keep in mind I do own a mulitmeter but very
little experience with electrical, but I can follow instructions!
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Last edited by 64Joker; 07-20-2008 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 07-20-2008, 09:52 PM
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Charge it!

Check for around 14 volts at the battery while the engine is running.

Clean all grounds with a wire brush, and make sure the positive cable on the battery and where it connects (usually the starter solenoid) are wire brushed clean.

Finally, after checking the volts at the battery while running, shut the car off. remove the battery cable (either one) and with everything turned off in the car, set the multi-meter to amps,and put one lead on the battery terminal you just removed the cable from and one on the loose battery cable itself.

If you show current going out, start pulling fuses, one at a time and check again for current. This will help to narrow where you have a current draw when the car is shut off.

Did you have the alternator tested when you had the battery tested? Even with a bad battery, there's a good chance you have an alternator issue anda good parts store will be able to diagnose.

Steve
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Old 07-26-2008, 01:57 PM
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Follow-up Question

Steve, Just a follow-up question, I'm in the process of repainting the dash, so most switches and fascias are removed or unconnected (except ignition switch and lights), therefore I was inadvertently turning the key to the "ACC" position versus the "Lock" or "Off", could this be a contribution of my problem? Regardless, I will follow up with your previous suggestions (generator/alternator), grounds, and battery tests... Thanks again..
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Old 07-26-2008, 02:27 PM
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If certain items are on yes it will. Those old radios would kill a battery in a matter of hours. Take the recommended steps above, make sure it is charging, I bet it is, pull the negative cable and check as described. If you dont have a multimeter most garages have one that will wrap around the cable and they can test both if you have a draw and also if the alternator is charging. My guess is you have a pretty good draw.
Side note actually 2
1 You will ruin the new battery if you keep running it flat.
2 Dont use the alternator to charge the battery, use a good slow charger or you will be buying a battery also.

Chet
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Old 07-27-2008, 04:17 PM
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Follow-up AMP Test

As suggested, I performed a amp test by disconnecting the cable positive battery terminal, and taking a "amp" reading from the disconnected cable back to the post (with the key in the "off" position) and got a "zero" amp reading. For comparison, I placed the key in the "ACC" and with the same configuration, and the multimeter registered .786 amp. So it appears that I was putting drain on the battery by inadvertently placing the ignition switch in the "acc" position versus the "off" position"! Does this sound correct? I will follow-up with a test on the alternator.
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:25 PM
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On the right track

Yep! That 3/4 of an amp is a pretty good draw that will run the battery down in a few hours.

Although I'd put a slow charge on that battery and have the alternator checked out just to be sure.

Steve
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:37 PM
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Battery Drainage

Is it normal for the battery to fluctuate a few amps, I took a reading at 3pm and 3 1/2 hrs. later it dropped from 12.64 to 12.61 volts? It should hold at least 12+ volts for at least 24-48 hrs if the cars is not started or driven, is that correct? Are there any voltage parameters or readings that I can compare to?
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:06 PM
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Yes temperature humidity and a host of other things can effect the voltage. At rest a good battery will usually be about 12.5 or so. You draw you found is fairly substantial and is probably your issue. If you havent already I would run a nice long low rate charge on that battery.

Chet
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:14 PM
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Volt Readings

Took a volt reading on the battery this morning and this afternoon, here are the results, it appears the battery is now holding a charge without any further assistance:

6am reading: 12.58 Volts
6pm reading: 12.57 fluctuating to 12.58

I was able to start the car with no problems, while running, the volts reading was at 14+ volts at idle for about 4-5 mins.
I will check the battery voltage one more time tomorrow, if the reading remains close to 12.58, then I presume my issue is resolved?!
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