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Old 02-08-2010, 07:43 AM
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Current draw...engine off

On a 2001 Nissan Altima, GXE, 2.4L car, I have noted that the battery current draw with the car off is 25 milliamps. I can also see the momentary blip on my current meter when the security light on the dash blinks. I checked this "car off" battery draw since I was not thrilled at the way the battery was holding charge. I suspected the old battery which wasn't really that old at 2 years but it was a lower group plate size, so I bought a new battery and found that it also seemed less capable than expected at staying over 12.4 volts over several days of no car use.

The car began showing sluggish starts at 20 degrees F on the old battery but the charging voltage with the car running was in the expected range of 13.60 to 14.30 volts and driving trips were in the half hour range each.

When I purchased the new battery, I checked the open circuit terminal voltage on the counter at the store and saw that it was 12.43 which did not impress me but figured that it would quickly come up to full charge with some driving. It didn't recover and started ducking under 12.4 overnight, so I put it through a recommended charging cycle to saturate the charge and finally saw voltages implying 100% charge and specific gravity correspondingly showing full charge. The battery still continues to drop voltage quickly but has stayed over 12.4 volts so far.

Any hints on this car regarding "car off current draw" or prior experience by other owners would be of interest. The car was used in North Carolina at milder temperatures before it was used in Rochester, New York where the average temperature lately has been under 20 F. The crank speed on this car has never impressed me. I don't know if that is typical or not. Some cars cranked so fast that I barely needed to hold the starter switch over for a second or so. This Nissan does a relatively slow crank regardless of a fully charged battery which may be due to the way the starter gear ratio is set.

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Old 02-08-2010, 09:26 AM
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only 25ma is low compared to most cars....

ambient air temp does affect batt charge state...

more and better cable grounds can help cranking speed....
simple test:
hook up one or both your jumpers, batt neg post to a location close to the starter motor body like the bell housing,,,cranks faster=starter motor wants a better ground source conductor path....
cranks the same speed with the jumpers attached,,,,do a voltage drop test on the starter itself to assess it's condition....

scroll down on this link for articles with more details

http://www.aa1car.com/carleyware/library.htm
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:36 AM
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Battery/wiring condition

Thank you for the tip on the jumper cable test of the ground lead. That seems like a good and simple check to rule out a high resistance connection. The size of the ground lead did not impress me at a glance either. The connection to the car was hopelessly hidden, so that could be dodgy too. I'll try the jumper test and keep my eye on what happens with additional use since the last full battery charge.

The 25 milliamps did seem reasonable but I never checked it on any other cars to establish a perspective.
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:07 PM
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You may also want to have the starting current draw checked. This will show if your starer is failing.
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