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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This started when I installed a new alternator. I have a remote battery, so I just took loose the wire to the wheel well battery connection ground. That should have killed all power. All connections from the old alternator (a plastic piece with two connectors, and the ones on the post connection.) The post connection consists of a wire going to the positive post (in wheel well), a red wire from the plastic connector, and two red wires going to relays (two-lights, two-fans). Those are the alternator connections. It takes about 4 hours or so to get the battery down to where the starter won't turn over. The battery is completely dead from overnight. The battery is now charged and disconnected to see if the battery (new) is leaking down internally.

Now, is it possible for a bad relay to cause this to happen? My next thing to check will be to disconnect all four relays (if the battery remains charged), and see if that cures the problem. Understand, the relay setup is pretty well jury-rigged by the previous owner, and I just haven't had the time or inclination to redo that rat's nest. Well, the time has happened upon me, so when I get this fixed, I have a weatherproof box with relay holders/wiring to redo the whole works.

Since everything was reconnected to the new alternator (oh, yes, sent back for replacement and old alternator which works is back in) prior to putting the ground wire back for grounding, is/are there any fusable links that might have blown and cause this? When battery is charged, car starts fine, and all gauges function properly, including the voltmeter.

Any ideas, suggestions, claravoidance on the problem??? I could surely use some electrical help. Thanks for reading.
 

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If a fusible link is burned or done, there will not be power going through it so there should not be drain from whatever it was hooked up to. I take it that the battery kept discharging and you thought it was the alt from the start. I don't think the relays could be causing it unless they may be connected straight from 12v and not through the ign or seperate switch.
 

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Get a test light and remove the negative battery cable at battery and connect the test light one end to battery and other end to neg. cable. If you have a draw it will light up. Start removing each fuse to find what circuit the draw is in and work from their.

Buzz
 

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If you have clock or an ECM you will have a power drain.But this could be a bad cell in the battery or possibly bad diodes in the altenator.I take it this drain is when it is sitting?Have you had the system tested?If you did and it checked good try this,the wire going to the back of altenator,the one with the nut holding it on,disconnect it and let it sit as you have been doing to see if it still goes dead.If it does go dead then the altenator is most likely good(diodes)and your problem lies elsewhere.At this point you leave the altenator connected and you disconnect the battery to see if it still goes dead,if it does the battery is bad,but a load test should identify a bad battery in a case like this.If the battery doesn't go dead start pulling the fuses for the ECM and the clock and attach a light as discribed above and the light is still lit pull fuses until the light goes out,when that happens that identifies the bad circuit.Keep in mind that anything in your vehicle that has memory such as aftermarket stereos will keep the light on and like the ECM and clock will do the same.
I hope this helps and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Randy, the 12V for the activation of the relays is disconnected, BUT the power source for the lights/fans are connected to the post connection of the alternator. That would be the same as the + connection on the battery, as there is a lead going to the + post to the battery. Can a relay's contacts be melted together causing the drain? I guess that was the relay question.

buzz, not sure I understand what you're saying to do. Well, maybe I do. The neg cable from the battery is already disconnected. You're saying to test light the cable's end and against the common vehicle's ground?? The actual cable runs from the battery to the pass side front wheel well. Insulated standoffs for connections are for both + and - and both are there. This is a remote battery setup. The battery is NOT in the engine compartment. It's in a custom built box in the bed of the truck.
 

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If a relay is stuck then the accessory it drives will be on.

Attach the test light between the cable and whatever it was you had it attach to. If the light is dim, you are probably seeing the ECM and or radio/clock memory, if bright, something is turned on or it is a drain. Also, make sure when doing this test that you have the doors closed.

If this is a problem you did not have before the alternator swap, I would suspect you have another bad alternator. As Cruiser mentioned, a shorted alternator rectifier diode can drain a battery in short order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With the battery disconnected overnight, it was still charged this morning. When it comes right to it, I think the old alternator (now in use) and the one I sent back to Summit are both good. I now have the plastic, two wire plugged in, the wire from the post to the postive connected, the two wires to the fan relays disconnected. NOW, there is a wire from the + that goes to the headlight relays. One is low beam, and the other is hi beam. They have the same power from the +, but the hi beam relay is activated by the dimmer switch on the steering column. THAT relay is warm to the touch, I replaced with NEW one, and it's now warm to the touch. About 5 hours now, the battery has been connected, and it starts the car. This is VERY similar to having a light burn and run down a battery overnight. I have a continuous + to the radio for memory (NOT original) and I don't think that's the problem. All interior lights go off when doors are closed. This only started when I switched alternators. The old one was functional, but relays chattered (lights flashed on/off) when hi beams used. I got a 140A to replace it so I would have enough power for any future additions to keep battery charged. ALL wiring was put back into the same connections. The - was disconnected when this took place. That was the LAST thing reconnected, just as it's supposed to be. As stated before, the battery is not under the hood, but in the bed of the truck (in an enclosed/protected environment).


If a relay is stuck then the accessory it drives will be on.

As noted, the warm relay is a headlight relay, but no headlights are on. AND, the relay was replaced with same results - warm. With the - disconnected and a test light between the cable from the battery to the post where it is to be connected, there is no light indication. There is no light indication to any ground on the car/engine. I don't think the alternators are to blame, as I'm talking over night to discharge the battery (or somewhere there abouts). Four hours doesn't drain it enough to not start the truck, but, apparently longer time will.

Somewhere I have a connector/connection problem that is not a full, direct short to ground, or the battery would drain in rapid order. When I use the light switch, the lights function as they should, going from lo to hi beams with the switch.

I've had nothing but troubles with this sukker ever since I bought it. The PO didn't know diddly about anything, so that's why it's in the circumstances it's now in. If the battery is dead tomorrow, I plan on rewiring ALL the relays with holders/pigtails to get rid of this conglomorated mess.:let_it_all_out:
 

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So you are saying you have a headlamp relay staying warm to the touch even though the lights and everything else is off?
 

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That's my question too Robert. Seems like there is a draw on that relay that shouldn't be there......maybe some wiring in the head light harness needs to be checked out. (?)

I guess the relay could be un-hooked, or removed etc, to see if the draw goes away.....

People get carried away with relays sometimes, and use them where they are not really needed. Heavier gauge wiring may be a better way some times....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The relays in the truck were in the truck and wired the way they are by the PO. I am slowly, but surely trying to correct. NOW, to the warm relay. Well, it's still warm, but with what I disconnected last night, the battery was charged this morning. I had disconnected both fans, so it appears one of them (or relay) is the problem. I have changed the alternator back to having only three wires connected to it (the fans' 12V came from the post of the alternator). I have hooked up the puller fan (the one with the diode to the AC clutch) and the ignition wire to the fuse box, with the power lead on the + cable, rather than on the alternator (which electrically is the same place). Waiting to see if there's drainage again. Will check in about another 2-4 hours. FWIW, when I rewired the puller fan and ran the truck to temp, the fan came on, and functioned as it should. Shut off when I turned ignition off. Sooo, we shall see what we shall see. If this works, I'll connect the pusher fan tomorrow and see how that works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, the battery was charged this morning. That left one relay (for the pusher fan) to connect to the pos post. When I placed the lead on the post, I could hear the relay click. Hmmm, none of the others did that. Checked the way relay was wired, and, the pos and neg leads were reversed. The fans have never worked properly since I got it, and this is probably one of the reasons. Swapped the two leads, and no clicking. Now, to see if my drain has disappeared. Oh, and the warm relay (hi beam lights) is still warm, and it's wired correctly. Only drain should be to the radio for its memory circuit. I had used the trouble light on everything, but the light never lit on anything. Yes, the light is good.
 

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no relay unused should be warm. either there is a problem with the relay or its wired incorrectly or being fed by something. i have relays on my high beams only and they are never warm when off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I replaced the hi-beam relay, and it's no longer warm. I surely do hope this is the end of that. Next project is to put all four relays in a sealed box to protect from weather and to clean up the wiring rat's nest.
 
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