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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Crazy battery.....super secret start mode..solenoid contacts

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91 replies to this topic

#26 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 07 January 2003 - 11:02 PM

I used to live in pennsylvania, which is where the car spent most of its time. I did a "pre" cleaning, which seemed to help a little. I will do a more thorough cleaning and sealing of the connections hopefully this weekend.

Plus I'd still like to get it tested.

#27 Guest_TinyClark_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 01:00 AM

If drawing a bit of current from the battery would help heat it up, then you could theoretically make a 12 volt battery heater blanket and turn it on for a few minutes before starting your car. This would heat the battery up in two differnet ways!

What a concept!

#28 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 08:17 AM

It did it again this morning.......except I held the key in the start position for 2-3 seconds.....let it off to just the "ON" position, and then tried again, and the car started.

I'm pretty sure I wasn't able to do that last time. So I think there may be some connection issues. I need to go buck nutty and take everything apart this weekend.....anyone recommend some type of grease or sealant type stuff. The red battery spray stuff doesn't seem too good....it may just be an anti-corrosive spray. What about di-electric grease? Would that work to smear all over the connections?

#29 Guest_pmonro_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 10:46 AM

Hi Josh
It has been common practice to use Vasoline.

#30 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 02:57 PM

you mean valvoline grease?

#31 Guest_kelowna kid_*

Guest_kelowna kid_*
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Posted 08 January 2003 - 03:45 PM

Assuming the 4 degree temp. rise to be correct and using
meep`s exide numbers(assuming lineararity):

A 1 degree F temp rise in the -20 to 32 degree range gives a .77% increase
in battery capacity expressed as a % of capacity at 80 degrees F.

Given that a battery at -20 is already at 25% of 80 degree capacity, and a
4 degree F warming brings it to 28.08%, the actual capacity increase for
this battery is 12.3%. Not insignificant.

#32 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 08:18 PM

Damn thing did it again....AFTER work. It wouldn't start.....several times. Thought it was the battery.....had a friend come to jump me.....tried one more time...turned on the driving lights and left them on....and car started.

I then went to have the electrical system checked. Battery tested good. So did alternator. Alternator was putting out 70amps at 2000 rpm.

I've got corrosion some where. I'm just goin to have to rip off all the connectors and connections that ground and lead to the starter.

It may be a short, but I sorta doubt it because if it were my battery would be goin down, and I don't think it is. If it gives me hell tomorrow morning I'm goin to check the voltage with the volt meter.

Aghhhhhhh this stupid car!!!

#33 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 08:31 PM


yes, but...

how much energy did you use to get that 12%?

Is there any payoff?

PS-- I'm just asking-- didn't do the #'s myself

#34 Guest_pmonro_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 11:02 PM

Vasoline (to which I have referred) is also known as Vicks vapour rub. It is a medical ? for smoothing muscular aches containing menthol, Camphor etc.
Sounds just the right thing for your (I mean your battery) problems.
I use it because it is readily available on the few occasions when I need it. However any product that excludes water and oil should work

#35 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 08 January 2003 - 11:48 PM

Hi Josh,

After looking over the numerious posts on this I am wondering if it is really the battery that is at fault here. Have you tried measuring the battery voltage on the posts to see if the voltage is really dropping under load OR is there a cable at fault? Like internal corrosion or something like that. If you have full voltage on the posts while you try cranking and have no action then look at the main cables for a problem. Also you may have a fuselink connection problem if the other electricals are dying to.


#36 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 08:27 AM

Vasoline.....my bad.....my brain some how read it as Valvoline.....(I was like....there's tons of Valvoline stuff...haha)

Yeah that will probably work, I will look at that this weekend.


Yeah it doesn't sound like the battery....especially since it checked out ok yesterday on a load test.

My problem is most likely a cable or connection. I doubt it is a neg ground cable because I've got like 3 of those things on there. I do have an extra positive lead going to the alternator, but don't have anything extra going from the positive lead on the battery to the starter. So the plan is go over ALL of the stupid main connections, clean & seal them up, including the positive lead on the starter.

If I still have problems after that. I'll probably either just replace the cable going to the starter if I can do so without ripping all the other wires out. Or may just run a jumper line to the POS of the starter for trouble shooting purposes.

Where/what fuselink might cause something like this? Any specific ideas?

#37 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 11:02 AM

Josh, if you have a manual trans, I would look at the clutch pedal starter defeat switch.
Next time your car does its thing, just push the brake pedal in and out a few times, trying to start each time. I would not be surprised if that's the problem.
OK FORGET IT! Just went to your page and saw you have an auto.

#38 Guest_kelowna kid_*

Guest_kelowna kid_*
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Posted 09 January 2003 - 11:34 AM

Dave used exactly 7200 joules.
An average smallish car battery has a capacity of about
800 ampere hours.Therefore at -20 it has a capacity of 200 ampere hours.
Warming it 4 degress brings it to 224.6 ampere hours.
The 24.6 amp/hrs gained = 1,062,720 joules for a 12 volt battery.

Legacy- You don`t mention hearing your starter solenoid click.
I think the problem lies w/the control circuit(ign. sw. etc)
I would run a wire to the solenoid terminal and monitor the voltage
w/an in car voltmeter.
If all seems fine here, you may have a sticky solenoid. Try rapping on it.

#39 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 11:54 AM


Cool dealio. I also agree w/ your suggestion. I mentioned way back that I think the problem will be found in the low-current side of things. Even the IGN switch is culprit since his lighting IS wired through it, as is the solenoid. THAT is a common piece.

PLUS, it is a mechanical device, prone to wear in addition to the laws of thermodynamics...


#40 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 12:10 PM

Meep....how does the lighting affect some of the stuff I've mentioned? Just curious to try and better understand. Yes the normal lights are wired into the ignition.

The driving lights which I have commonl been playing with are not. They are pretty much hard wired to the battery, which does go through a relay to cut the power when the ignition switch is in the ACC position.....but that seems to be working fine.......like I said....maybe I'm misunderstanding things.....

#41 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 09 January 2003 - 06:19 PM

Hi Josh,

I am not sure where your fuse links are in a Legacy. I have only worked on the Loyale style mostly. I would look for a small plastic box near the battery for these and you may find mention of the location in the owners manual. If the problem is a bad fuse link connection the current that is drawn for the ignition and solenoid and such while trying to crank causes a voltage drop across the bad connection and that leaves little if any voltage to the things that are supposed to be turned on by the start position of the switch. This also could be a power relay problem.

Your problem may also be in the lead that supplies voltage to the main fuse box. This is a lead that either ties to the main positive battery post or is tied to the hot side of the starter post and goes to the fuse panel. It most likely will go through a fuse link.

Using your test light or meter, test each connection from the battery to the fuse panel and solenoid while trying to crank the engine and the problem is occuring. When you finally reach the point where you don't have any voltage or it is low, you have found the bad connection point. Bypassing the main battery lead with a jumper cable is a fast way to try and eliminate it as a problem. Seems like you had a remote starter switch to test for problems like this didn't you?


#42 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 08:48 AM


Thanks for the tips. My only problem really is that it doesn't do this all the time. So trying to track it down using the method you described is going to be rather difficult.

Something a buddy and I were discussing yesterday was. He said he was surprised my car hasn't stalled or cut out. I got to thinking. That's right.....it hasn't done that, so I would venture to guess that it make the probibility that it is the ignition less likely.

I will check out the main fusable link. What I think I may try and do is pull the battery out and take some resistance readings between the battery post terminals and the starter, and then the battery post terminals & fusable link, as well from the starter to the fusable link. I should see a resistance there if things are not good.

#43 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 01:03 PM


Here is what I am thinking --

We know that your battery is good, we know that your alternator is good. You also seem to have redundant high current connections for the starter and for ground.

Temperatures certainly affects the battery, but we have eliminated that. What else does it affect? Moving parts and loose connections. I doubt you have many loose connections... that brings us to moving parts. Basically, this narrows us down to switches and relays. I will not swear to it, but I am pretty certain that the starter circuit does not use a relay between the ignition switch and the solenoid. If I recall, the ignition switch is fed with pretty beefy wiring, meaning that it is designed to carry some current. Some of the subsystems will be relay driven, but not all.

Ignition switches wear out just like any other mechanical device, and at that temperature it would not be surprising if there has been just enough thermal contraction (shrinkage -- is that the right term) to separate the contacts. Unlike the battery, it would not require a lot of current to heat such a small device. Especially, if the surface area of the contacts has decreased because of the temperature -- decreased surface area would increase resistance, increasing heat given off when energized. So, turning on any load through the accessory position or on position might be able to generate enough heat to expand the starter contacts to the point where they reach.

Experiment, granted, the switch itself is at the farthest end of the lock mechanism, so I don't know if you will be able to wiggle it much with the key, but you might try just that the next time it happens. Vigorously wiggle the ignition key and see if that makes a difference.

Let me know what that does...


#44 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 02:48 PM


Thanks for the tips.

I think you miss understood me. I don't have redundant high current leads going to the positive side of the starter. This is the only lead I have not added some sort of extra lead.

I've got the ground points taken care of, and the lead going from the alternator to the battery. But that's it. So I'm not ruling out cabling going to the starter quite yet.

As mentioned I'm going to do the connections and wires just for posterity's sake, and see how things go from there.

If I have the problem again, I will try the wiggling of the key in the ignition and or beatin the steering column...hahaha :lol:

#45 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 03:27 PM


It will be kind of hard to find since it is intermitant. Your idea of a resistance test should work fine.

I agree that the ignition area is most likely ok. I meant to imply wiring in the starter circuits which could be the ignition switch and wiring to it, main battery cable, and solenoid connections.

Good hunting,

#46 Guest_kelowna kid_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 03:59 PM

Put a voltmeter on the solenoid terminal and quit wasting your time.

#47 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 10 January 2003 - 06:55 PM

I haven't done jack squat yet to it....so I really can't be wasting too much time.

What exactly am I looking for in hooking the volt meter to the starter solenoid..... Low voltage, high voltage?

I'm planning on looking at everything tomorrow.

It did act up today......and sorta how it acted up was that when it finally started to crank it was acting like the battery was low on juice......which in my mind sounds like the high current side of things.

#48 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 04:42 AM


Doing the checks you are looking for a low voltage to the starter. I think your problem is due to a faulty battery cable to the starter. They can get corrodid internally and look good to the eye on the outside. The problem your are having is just the type of thing that happens with this sort of thing.

Placing the common side of the meter lead to a good ground point put the positive lead on the starter lead. While cranking the engine and hopefully the problem occuring, you will see only a small amount of voltage (less than 9 volts) getting to the starter. The rest of the 12 volts is being dropped across the battery lead due to the excessive resistance of the lead. You may also have a faulty solenoid causing this problem. If the battery lead is ok then I would check that next. If that is fine then I would suspect the motor itself.

Another way to test the cable with the meter is to measure across it. Placing the leads on the positive post and to the starter. You will be then measuring the voltage drop across the lead while cranking. You should not see more than 2 volts across the lead doing it this way if things are good.

I will check your progress tomorrow.


#49 Guest_Legacy777_*

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 04:25 PM


Thanks for the explanation.

I got some more info.

It did it again this morning. I opened the door, and I do hear clicking, so I think the solenoid is engaging. I ran a resistance check in the pos battery cable. It looked fine. I cleaned the contacts, but they looked pretty good.

I'm beginning to think it's the starter. I will try and do the tests you mentioned about measuring voltage drop from the pos. lead on the starter, to the neg/ground point on the battery. I gotta try and grab a buddy to help me though.

I will let ya know what I find out. I did wrap on the starter a little with a hammer.....never know ;)

#50 Guest_meep424_*

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Posted 11 January 2003 - 08:15 PM

solenoid contacts....

though that would make moot the whole "electrical warmup" theory.


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