Very strange. Both vans die. Hot weather.

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Very strange. Both vans with dead battery.

    Background: very hot, humid weather here in the East

    Yesterday, my 99 Voyager 2.4 refused to start after sitting
    at a YMCA parking lot for about an hour. (My teenage daughter
    had the car.) I went out there and the headlights would not
    light, and when the ignition switch was turned, all we heard
    was a bunch of rapid clicking from what sounded like several
    relays. Speedometer needle oscillated wildly during this.

    I was able to jump start it, and the battery was very old, so
    I figured a new battery would fix it. So I got a new battery,
    and that van runs fine.....for now.

    TODAY, my wife was driving our 94 Caravan 2.5 stick shift,
    stopped at a convenience store in the afternoon, and when she
    tried to start it, it was headlights, no nothing.
    It has a long-life battery bought just last November.
    I took the newer van, with the brand new battery, and jump started
    her, but the first time I disconnected the jumper cable, the old van
    died. I jumped it again, let it run for about 10 minutes, disconnected
    it, and it stayed running, I reconnected it for a while, to hopefully
    charge it more, then disconnected
    it and we high-tailed both vans home (a few blocks away), because it was
    too late in the day to go to a repair shop. When we got home, my wife
    turned the engine off, and the old van would not restart.

    We have had no check-engine or service-engine-soon lights flash on.

    What's going on here?
    Both vans have bad alternators?
    Both vans have bad regulators?
    Both vans have bad connections or bad computers?
    Both vans have loose belts that I don't detect?
    Is the brand new battery in the newer van going to die out because it's
    not being charged?
    Is the relatively new battery in the older van really dead, or is it
    not getting charged by the (bad?) alternator.
    And what role does this hot, humid weather play in this?

    I need advice. It's Friday night, and we really need at least one van
    on Monday!

    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  2. Satan Himself

    Bill Putney Guest

    Statistically, it's going to happen to someone that batteries in two
    vehicles they own will go bad within a day of each other.

    Also not that unusual to blow an alternator (or maybe a fuse to an
    alternator) when jumping another vehicle especially when the dead
    vehicle has a problem such as a battery with a shorted cell - combined
    with running its own vehicle, quite a load on an alternator. So
    statistics ganged up on you and you compounded things when you jumped
    the second vehicle off with the first.

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Aug 6, 2005
  3. Satan Himself

    Bob Shuman Guest

    Work on one van at a time. Start with the one that you put the new battery
    in already. Verify the charging system is working properly by checking
    voltage at the battery before starting and then when the van is running.
    Make sure all the battery connections are clean and tight. If these are
    good and the alternator voltage output looks good then it should be OK.
    Then look at the other van. Sounds like it has a bad alternator. You need
    to do some analysis and determine the problem.

    On the heat and bad batteries, from personal experience I've found that
    extreme high temperatures cause more problems than extreme cold on batteries
    so your experience is not a surprise to me. By the way, it is possible
    9although not likely) that the battery you bought in November is bad.

    Bob Shuman, Aug 6, 2005
  4. Is the fuse to an alternator near the alternator,
    or in the regular fuse box?
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  5. Define "very hot". Sure, 90/90 days are hellish, but compared to AZ and
    Probably a permanent fix. Batteries don't last forever, and heat is a
    notorious finisher-off of batteries nearing end of life. Let's move on.
    This one's a little more interesting. The less-than-year-old battery
    cannot be dismissed as a suspect. Some batteries fail early; that's why
    they have warranties.

    You've no reason to assume the alternator is faulty (the one in your van
    is certainly not failureproof, but is of a generally troublefree and
    durable design), and even less reason to assume the belt is slipping. Poor
    connections are much more likely to be the problem given the symptom
    described. Your first step: Locate the hard plastic main disconnect in the
    positive battery cable, about 6 inches down from the battery terminal
    clamp. Lift its lock tab carefully with a screwdriver (it will probably
    break -- not a big problem; they stay together well enough without the
    tab). Examine both ends carefully. You may well find corrosion and/or a
    spread-out female end that no longer grips the male end securely. Poor
    contact here = zero power to anything.

    Even if the disconnect is in good shape, the battery cable itself could
    easily be internally broken. The Chrysler cables of the '90s aren't nearly
    as poor as the Ford cables of the '80s, but yours is almost 12 years old.

    Daniel J. Stern, Aug 6, 2005
  6. Satan Himself

    Bill Putney Guest

    Very well put considering who the OP is!! 8^)

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Aug 6, 2005
  7. I *wish* it was a DRY heat like that!

    Thanks to DS for the suggestions. I'll check it out
    in the morning. But my uneducated gut feeling is that
    it's going to be a more expensive fix. I just don't
    trust many mechanics and the one that I do trust is
    backlogged, and I need a reliable car on Monday.

    Can anyone answer my question about the location
    of the alternator fuses on the 94 and 99 models?
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  8. Do you have a volt-ohm meter? You shouldn't be replacing
    car batteries without one. Harbor Freight puts them on sale
    for $5 all the time. Go there and get one.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Aug 6, 2005
  9. Satan Himself

    David Guest

    LOL!! Dry heat? christ, it is over 110 here were I am in AZ, The humidex is
    over 70 for the last two weeks (monsoon season). It is not dry here in July/
    August. Makes me miss Canada.
    Now, here were it is over 100 from june through October batteries go a
    minimum every two years. Does not matter what you have . Heat kills
    batteries more then cold does. I use Optima batteries know. My last regular
    exide battery lasted 18 months.
    David, Aug 6, 2005
  10. Satan Himself

    Steve B. Guest

    Was the alternator light on in either car before they quit? If not
    then chances are good that you are just having a bad battery day. If
    your worried that the charging systems are not working properly have a
    good fully charged battery, engine running, and check the voltage
    across the battery. Should be above 13v and below around 14.5 volts.

    If you don't have a meter take it to most any auto parts store and
    they can check the battery and charging system for you (they can't
    check a dead battery so make sure it is fully charged before you take
    it in or be prepared to leave it to be charged)

    Steve B.
    Steve B., Aug 6, 2005
  11. Well, we were just able to get the older van into
    a shop. We, of course, had to jump start it, but
    it stayed running after we removed the jumper cables.
    As I was driving, I turned a reading light on, and
    that light (as well as another reading light) flickered
    all the way to the shop, which is about two miles away.

    My hunch, like someone else mentioned, is that, in the
    process of using that van to jump start the newer van
    on Thursday night, I fried the alternator/regulator/something
    else in the older van. However, I did not accidentally
    reverse the cables. I did it right.

    I forgot to mention that I did smell a rotten egg smell
    near the newer van (with the really old battery) prior
    to attempting a jump start of it. If I had known there was a
    risk of damaging the older van in the process, I would
    have called AAA to do the jump start. Live and learn.

    I'll report what the shop finds out either later today
    or Monday. I just hope they are able to figure out the
    problem easily.
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  12. I wasn't there, but I can answer that question: No, the "alternator light"
    wasn't on in either car, because neither *has* an "alternator light".
    Daniel J. Stern, Aug 6, 2005
  13. Okay, the van is back from the shop.

    Remember, this van's battery (which is only about
    7 months old) was used to jumpstart
    my other van on Thursday. This van worked fine
    on Thursday and up until Friday afternoon, when
    it would not start after stopping at a convenience

    Remember, this van would not restart on its own
    after a jumpstart.

    Remember, after I jumpstarted it this morning and was
    driving it to the shop, the interior reading light
    were flickering as I drove.

    Remember, this was NOT the van that had the rotten-egg

    Guess what the problem was.
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  14. Satan Himself

    TNKEV Guest

    dead cell in the battery

    TNKEV, Aug 6, 2005
  15. nope, try again
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  16. Satan Himself

    CaravanGuy Guest

    Bad Battery Cable?
    CaravanGuy, Aug 6, 2005
  17. Apparently not. Try again.
    Satan Himself, Aug 6, 2005
  18. Satan Himself

    Bill Putney Guest

    Missing alternator belt?

    Bill Putney
    (To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
    adddress with the letter 'x')
    Bill Putney, Aug 7, 2005
  19. Loose or missing 7mm nuts holding one or both of the field wire terminals
    onto the back of the alternator?
    Daniel J. Stern, Aug 7, 2005
  20. Nope.
    Satan Himself, Aug 7, 2005
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