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Old 10-30-2005, 08:38 PM
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How much draw should I have?

ok, here is my situation. I am having issues with an electrical draw on my battery while shut off. If I leave it for 2 or 3 days my battery will be totally dead. As long as I drive it every day, all is good. I had the battery checked and reported good. I know there are a few things that keep a continuous draw but I always thought that was just a trickle and any decent battery should be alright for a week or two, not just a few days. Things I know that have a draw: Note:1983 K5 Chevy Blazer w/ 350

1. In-dash clock
2. My kenwood stereo (and yes, it is switched on/off w/ the harnass except for the trickle for memory settings (yellow wire))
3. I know there is power to some other things but they shouldn't have any draw (lights, etc)

How can I test this situation to narrow down the culprit? Does anyone have any idea how much draw that indash clock should draw?

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Old 10-30-2005, 09:45 PM
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You will kill your battery in a few days if you have over a 50 milli amp draw. The best way to check for a draw and the correct way is to put a digital amp meter in series with the negative batt post and battery. But the old shade tree way is to use a test light. unhook the neg batt cable. put one end of the light on the batt post and the other end on the unhooked cable. Make sure the dome light isn't on. If the bulb in the light is "on" even if it is very dim you have a draw problem. If the light is on, get somebody to watch the light while you pull one fuse at a time. If the light goes out on any one fuse you know the draw is on that circuit. In modern cars this can be a real pain because some circuits carry as many as 20 loads in the form of a combo of modules, lights, relays, etc etc.... Also try unplugging the alternator a bad regulator is common draw esp old fords. Good luck keep us posted!
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Old 10-31-2005, 07:50 AM
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Yes, the guy at the parts store who checked my battery also showed me the trick with the light. I don't have a light, but I used my multi-meter and when connecting the negative terminal to the post results in a 12 volt reading (draw). What I don't know is how to check the amps being drawn.

I do have a dual battery circuit installed as follows:


x all loads
x |
x Dual Shut (Can be set to bat1 bat2 both or off)
x Switch
x / \
x battery 1 battery 2
x \ /
x Isolator
x |
x |
x alternator
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Old 10-31-2005, 06:18 PM
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To check your amps, move your red lead to the amps terminal of your meter, and set your amperage for 1 or 10 amp scale if you dont have autorange. unhook the negitive cable, put one lead on the cable and one on the post
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Old 10-31-2005, 09:10 PM
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Draw

Doc here,

In order to save you some head-scratching time...

Charge the battery to Full .. 6 amps 10 hours...

Disconnect the Alternator from the system...

Let it sit an equal amount of time (1 day, 2 days..), If when you return it's still full charge (fires right up) then replace the diode pack and / or regulator inside the alternator, or the alternator itself..one or more diodes is bad, reversed biased and causing a draw on the system just sitting..

If that dosn't produce the desired results..

Measure the current draw..It should be between 0.03 and 0.08 on a modern vehicle with clock , computer, and CD/RADIO memory presets..AND remember to CLOSE the door, or pull the dome light fuse while testing or you'll get way wrong readings..

As said do the fuse method..to isolate the draw..and if you find one troubleshoot that line and effect repairs.

Common Causes of draws are Stuck power antennas, Audio amps wired wrong, Glove box lights stuck on, vanity mirror light stuck on, ANY obscure outside courtesy lamp (Corvette puts one on the bottom of the car, that illuminates with the exit lamp timer to light your footing around the back of the car...What the hell were they thinking?)

That method may save you a little time..the Alternator/regulator Diode packs are usually the primary offenders...

Doc
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:42 PM
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k, sorry to take so long...time tells all....things have been good since last post but now the starter circuit is giving me grief...seems like I may not be getting enough current to the starter when turning over....

see thread Starter Problems in 350 SBC

docvette, can this be related? I am so frustrated with this thing, I am seriously considering a new harnass....Chevy
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:30 PM
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Doc here,

I have read both threads..and frankly I'm a bit confused as to the exact problem..

Does it grind and not engage , Or does it act like a low battery?

In either case, ground could be a culprit..you can test by simply putting a jumper cable to the starter housing and see if the starter works OK..In either case, set up your ground system as such:

Run a properly gauged Ground cable from the battery to any handy bolt at or near the starter, From that same bolt get a Battery cable at the parts store, that has two 3/8 ring terminals on each end and attach it there and to the Frame.

Next get some 10 gauge wire and ring terminals and run that from your bolt on the block to the Firewall, and another to the Alternator bracket or mount bolt.

If the Bracket and alternator is power white remove them both and their hardware, sand or pressure wash them until clean semi shiny metal, dry and reinstall.

You have electrolysis there..and it will also eat a water pump impeller up faster than any acid..The Alternator Bracket and Alternator housing is Aluminum and the block is Steel..(what were they thinking?)

When you go to reinstall the brackets, go to the hardware store and get some aluminum wire compound, and coat everywhere the mount hardware meets steel (bolts, mount surfaces Ect..)

Next get some Wire Braid, (Radio Shack) and install braid from the radiator support to the frame, Fenderwells to frame , hood to firewall, Doors to door posts, gas flap to body, tailgate / Trunk to body.

At each point the wire is grounded, Burnish ALL the paint and grease off to bare metal. Use a proper star-washer and lock. Use sheetmetal or Tech screws where no screws are available.

It sounds like a lot of work, but after you assemble all the parts, it's only a few hours to do..and you'll end up with a system that will work reliably for many years to come..and can eliminate that from your troubleshooting list.

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Old 11-17-2005, 07:03 PM
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k, no offense but I have worked on my own cars for many years and frankly have a good common sense to it and this is what gets me. To answer your question, it sounds like the starter needs shimmed out. I bought a shim set from Napa and spent a good couple hours trying shims....I gradually shimmed it out until it was spinning completely. (starter sounded ok when spinning except for the fact it was spinning out). I gradually shimmed it back in and nothing helped. I left a 1/64 shim in it as I had to work and was frustrated.

It will engage and start (I drove it to work today) It just sounds soooooo bad..........!! Gonna try a direct Main wire to the starter from battery alone and see if it helps.

I am fairly sure my grounding is good. I have direct grounds from each battery to the block (one to alternator bracket, other to a/c bracket), Braid wire to firewall&frame.Not sure without looking beyond that. Things work good when it is running. No grief, just the starter.

The alternator is fairly new and there is no electrolysis happening that I can see. All wiring is new since I put the dual battery system in.

The 'ghost' lives!!
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Old 11-17-2005, 07:32 PM
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Doc here,

Well, If it is a grinding issue, Two things could possibly be suspect...

A weak solenoid (or the spring/plunger assembly burred or burned) Not allowing the starter drive to fully engage, OR a bad Starter drive/burred shaft itself..



It could also be a worn snout bushing, Cracked Snout spacer, Or the motor drawing more current than it should (past runout)

If your mount bolts are stretched or out of round it can allow the starter to move at an angle to the Flexplate..new STOCK bolts would be a plus..and a rear mount for the starter if you don't have one...

A real shade tree method I have used in the past, has been, loosen the bolts to where they are still tight but will allow movement of the starter under load..Using the closest shim you can find. Start and stop the engine a few times and see if it won't "Center" itself..If so torque it down..

If you don't have the inspection plate on there, it will sound pretty bad also..

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Old 11-17-2005, 08:46 PM
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quote Or the motor drawing more current than it should (past runout)


Can you elaborate more on this? I thought about the method you listed to let it self center but haven't had the balls to try it yet...seems like it could be a way to destroy a perfectly fine starter.

This topic has drifted over more to my other thread. Reading back on this one I do believe I found the culprit. My electric choke was hooked up to a 'always' on circuit therefore killing my battery. I fixed that and now my drain is at .05 Milliamps. I left it for the last 3 days and it fired right up (starter grinding, yes but there is juice still)

A guy in my other thread mentioned possibly having bad bolts too....think I found new ones at Summit for $11 and change. Gonna order some!! Can't hurt.
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Old 11-18-2005, 02:37 AM
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Doc here,

Starter past runout..means brushes worn, armature carbonized, windings breaking down, bearings seizing up..

That choke will do that, Stock it should power a relay from the alternator field output, and the contacts to a switched fused source and heater element..That way it only senses power when the engine is actually running.

Done the centering starter several times with no ill effects and it has always worked..It was a last ditch effort though.

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Old 11-26-2005, 10:26 AM
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Seems that nothing I did helped the situation with the starter. Finally just took it down for a new one as it had a lifetime warranty (remanufactured). Guess the one I got a few months ago was a dud!! They bench tested it and said it was ok but that is without a load. My ring gear looks fine but the gear on the starter was a little chewed up. Since I put a new one on it has been fine!!


Thanx for the help.
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