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Old 01-27-2004, 01:30 AM
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electrical problem(battery dies)

I have a 73 Mustang Mach 1 and i recently put in a stereo system consisting of two 6x9 speakers in the rear, two tweeters, a 250 watt amp, and a 50 watt cd player. I believe im running a stock 60 amp or possibly at most 70 amp alternator, dont know which, but i assume the 70 cuz the car has AC but i could be wrong. My problem is that my battery keeps dying. I noticed at a stop light that the ampmeter bounces from charge to discharge while idling, and only charges when first started up and everything off. I was looking at the wires and what not and tried to start it, one time a nice big spark flew from what i think was the starter selenoid/relay .......and it didnt even try to turn over.....the brake light barely came on... I checked for loose wires and i cant seem to find any, all are secure to the alternator, selenoid, voltage regulator, etc etc. What could be the problem??.......the wires are quite old and i will be replacing them shortly.....but any ideas on why the spark and dead battery?.......any suggestions or answers will be greatly appreciated....thanks

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Old 01-29-2004, 01:54 AM
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Diodes in the alternator are leaking voltage. This will drain a battery in a day or two. I had the same problem on a 89 Ford Bronco II, brand new battery and in 2 days dead. Also make sure your power amp is not on all the time, there is a circuit built in the amps that turns them off and on with the ignition switch. Sometimes that circuit fails causing the amp to ran all the time. Just a few places to check

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Old 01-29-2004, 05:26 PM
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I think the alternator is one possibility, but there is another and both are easy to test. Your solenoid has an 'always hot' lead directly from the battery. If there is some sort of conductor between the hot post or internal parts and ground, it could leak there. If the solenoid does not completely and properly shut off, it could be a source of excessive current drain. A small possibility is also the wire from the battery through the ignition switch.

To test the circuits, you need to install an amp meter in series with the battery (or have someone familiar with using one) WITH EVERYTHING OFF. Start off on a high current range and work down. If it shows a current draw greater than a few milliamps, start disconnecting cables until you see the current drop back to near zero. A clock or digital radio will draw a tiny bit to maintain operation with the key off but it should be in the low milliamp range.

My bet is on the solenoid only because of the visible spark - it was not designed to operate this way! If any fuel leaks under the hood, this sort of problem can cause a fire or explosion...
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