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Posted: 1/8/2005 12:35:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2005 12:37:53 PM EDT by thompsondd]
My wife's 2000 T&C LXI has developed a CONSTANT 1amp draw off the battery. Only takes a few hours to KILL a brand new battery. No one can figure out where the draw is coming from.  

HELP   This is driving me MAD!  
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 12:42:37 PM EDT
Oh yeah, this has nothing to do with the clockspring recall. We already took care of that and it didn't have any effect on the problem.
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 12:57:33 PM EDT
I'm not a Chrysler mechanic,
but it will take more than a 1 amp draw to drain a battery in a few hours,in my experience.
First thing to do is remove the ciggie lighter,or anything plugged in there.
Then remove all the bulbs from the glovebox,trunk,and under the hood(even those should take overnight to pull a battery down,instead of a few hours).
Then try pulling the fuse or fuses for the accessories like the radio ,wipers , cruise control and such.
If that doesn't do it,take the wires off the altenator (all of them,if you are lucky,it will have a quick disconect plug somewhere) and see if that's it.
Those are basic items that haven't changed in the last 30 years or so,but modern autos just have more of those!

Have you called the dealership to see if there are any service bulletins out on the problem?

Hope this helps,Robert.
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 1:04:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2005 1:58:34 PM EDT by thompsondd]

Originally Posted By gamachinist:
I'm not a Chrysler mechanic,
but it will take more than a 1 amp draw to drain a battery in a few hours,in my experience.
First thing to do is remove the ciggie lighter,or anything plugged in there.
Then remove all the bulbs from the glovebox,trunk,and under the hood(even those should take overnight to pull a battery down,instead of a few hours).
Then try pulling the fuse or fuses for the accessories like the radio ,wipers , cruise control and such.
If that doesn't do it,take the wires off the altenator (all of them,if you are lucky,it will have a quick disconect plug somewhere) and see if that's it.
Those are basic items that haven't changed in the last 30 years or so,but modern autos just have more of those!

Have you called the dealership to see if there are any service bulletins out on the problem?

Hope this helps,Robert.



Nothing plugged in the cigarette lighter. No lights on that we know of or can find. We have been through the fuse box backwards and forwards with no luck.

Took it to the dealer, but they couldn't find the source of the problem. It is chronic, but very slow.  I can replace the battery and it takes approx 3 weeks before the battery will have drained enough that it won't turn the engine over. Once it is drained, it has to be jumped or put on a battery charger but only takes a few hours to kill it again.
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 5:01:59 PM EDT
An electrical problem such as this can be VERY costly to repair.  There are few "experts" in auto electrical troubleshooting.  You will probably end up at a dealership paying near 75 bucks an hour for someone to "try this and that".  Not a shot at fellow wrenches, just this is tedeous troubleshooting.

Here are just a few W.A.G.S.:

Floating ground on a component normally energized with ignition off (power antenna, radio, computer box, anti-skid brake box)

A bad driver on your OBD computer controll system

A chaffed wire

Bad solenoid on power door locks

and so on...

gamachinist gave you the flow chart to start trying to track down this problem.


BTW these sort of problems were common on Brittish sports cars in the 60's, ask me how I know.
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 5:59:30 PM EDT
"BTW these sort of problems were common on Brittish sports cars in the 60's, ask me how I know."
Same here!Along with VW Beetles and Rabbits
But I had every other problem too,including having to tie on a generator on a TR 4 to get home,limping to the shop in 4th gear because the input gear was stripped,coasting to the ramp with a stripped pinion gear,a stripped wire wheel adapter,etc,etc,etc.!I [promise I didn't drive it that hard,must have been the previous owners!
But a fun car anyway!


Okay,this sounds more like a problem with over/under charging,if it is being driven daily:

" It is chronic, but very slow. I can replace the battery and it takes approx 3 weeks before the battery will have drained enough that it won't turn the engine over. Once it is drained, it has to be jumped or put on a battery charger but only takes a few hours to kill it again. "

Sounds like it is over charging and boiling the acid out.
That will ruin a battery FAST!
Do you get a sulfer smell from under the hood?Is the battery box rusty?Is the top or sides of the battery wet or bulged? All these are signs of over charging.
Be very careful around the battery because one will blow easily under these conditions.
Keep a water hose where you can find it,or someone to wash your face off fast if it goes up on you.
Wear saftey goggles!
I've never had one blow on me,but I have seen lots of them,and my father has had it happen a couple of times in the 60 years he has been involved with automotive repair and parts sales.
(I had a Rabbit that started to over charge,and ruined a battery before I could get back to Locust Grove from Macon. The main clue was the sulfer smell that I thought was an odd smell for that part of the state!It was a battery being "hard boiled").
Put a good battery in it,and use a volt meter to see what it is charging with the engine running.
Older cars should charge 13.5 volts (- or +).
A lot of new cars are running higher,14 or a little more. If it is charging 15 with no lights etc on,it is probably over charging it.
If you will let me know what body style it is (My 2001 service manula doesn't show a Town and Country) amd which engine it has,I'll try to find out what the charging voltage is supposed to be,so you can check it.
The newer cars have the altenator controled by the on board processor (comupter),so it could be a computer problem,ground problem at the altenator,a ground problen else where,or something some one did while installing any radio,remote start,working under the hood,etc.
Like ar-wrench said,this type problem can be hard to nail down,unless there is an ongoing problem that the delaers know about.otherwise,it is all look until you find it work,even if you have years of experience ,but as fast as cars are changing these days,even that isn't much help sometimes!
Robert.
Link Posted: 1/8/2005 6:14:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/8/2005 6:15:29 PM EDT by chrome1]
Do you have a DVOM with a fused amp port ?

If you do , disconnect the neg battery cable and put the meter
in series in the circuit , use the 10 amp port and set the meter
to 4000 ma .  

Now you will be able to see the actual draw .  Go to the underhood
power dist box and start pulling fuses till the draw goes away ( if your lucky )
This way you identify the circuit in question .  and then you can leg
out the branches to isolate further .

If no fuse effects draw . then remove the wires from the alternator and the starter
and see what happens .

Good luck , because shorts are usually a PITA to find .
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 12:03:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2005 12:49:44 PM EDT by thompsondd]
Thanks to everyone who has replied with suggestions in an effort to help.

+1 to this being a finanical nightmare trying to troubleshoot.

I have a Fluke Multimeter, but I am like a blind man in a china shop trying to use it.  I am not an electrician and it has been far too long that I couldn't tell you the difference between a volt and an amp.

I put the red lead from the multimeter to the positive post of the battery, black lead to negative post.

With the engine turned off, I get ~12.62 V. Cranked, I get right at about 13.97 V.  

Are you guys suggesting to pull the fuses with the engine turned off to see if the readings change????

I went through the fuse boxes (there are two) and pulled all of the fuses one at a time. I did not see an immediate difference so I replaced the pulled one and pulled the next. I did not remove any of the relays.

EDITED: In the time it took me to type the above, the multimeter reading had dropped down to 12.09 V. I had left the leads wedged into the battery posts. I cranked it back up for a few minutes. The reading while running went right back up to 14.04V and stadyed pretty steady. I turned the engine off and the initial non-running reading was back up at 12.58 V. However, I sat there and watched it and every few minutes, it would drop another hundreth (0.01) off the meter.

There is a fuse box under the hood as well as another under the dash. I am going to start pulling fuses one at a time and leave them out while the engine is off to see if the slow but steady drain will end. Good idea or not????
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 1:48:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2005 1:52:55 PM EDT by thompsondd]
Did the above: slowly removing one fuse at a time and waiting and watching voltmeter to see if it continued its slow drain.  I removed a 20A fuse labeled "MOTOR" located in the fuse panel beneath the hood. Voltmeter seemed to hold steady at that point. I could not locate any reference in the owner's manual to what this fuse does, and since it was labeled "MOTOR", I did not want to try and crank the van with this fuse out.

I slowly started replacing the fuses one at a time until they were all back in except this one. Problem was still not happening at this point.

I eventually replaced the fuse and cranked the van. No problem.

With the engine running, the voltmeter now goes to approx 14.20V and holds fairly steady. This is higher than it was going before. Turning the engine off drops the voltmeter down to a steady 12.30V. There is no gradual drain noticed so far. Keep in mind the battery may need a charge as it has been drained dead on an almost daily basis.

I am going to leave the meter on it for awhile to see if it holds at 12.30V.

As long as this has been going on and coupled with the fact that I have NO IDEA whatsoever of what I am doing (other than trying to observe results and possibly narrow the problem down to a possible cause or area), I seriously doubt  this actually 'fixed' anything.

As a reference, the van was DOA this morning. No door or dome lights upon opening the door. It would not even attempt to turn over. I put it on the battery charger for a few minutes this morning long enough to get it turned over and running so we could get to church. Church is only about 5 miles away and an approx 10 min drive. Hardly enough time to let the battery charge. As expected, it was dead approx 5 hours later when we tried to leave. We had to jump it to get home.
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 3:30:21 PM EDT
Put a charger on the battery and recheck the voltage drop after it is fully charged.
It may already be damaged,so you may have to put another new battery in it to recheck the voltage drop.
I think you are on the track,and I'll see if I can find out what the "motor" fuse does.
It could be ignition system or even the starter seloniod or altenator.
Robert.
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 3:50:38 PM EDT
An hour ago, it was sitting at 12.20 V. I just went out to check it and it was down to 7 V. It did crank though. Jumped back up to 14V. I turned the lights and radio on and turned the heater up full blast. That dropped it down to about 13.8V.

I pulled the 20A fuse and tried to crank it. It would turn over but not fire.

I pulled the fuse out for overnight.
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 4:13:59 PM EDT
If no further battery drain in the morning, you need to identify every component in that "motor" circuit.

For this you will need a copy of the factory maintenance manual with wiring diagrams.  I have not had luck using aftermarket maint manuals for this kind of troubleshooting.

The factory manual will have all the info complete with wiring color codes.

Keep us updated.
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 4:30:55 PM EDT
It only took approx 1hr (1830-1930) for it to drop from 12.2 to 7V with the fuse in. It has been roughly an hour since I removed it and it holding steady. We'll see in the morning.

THANKS GUYS!!!
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 5:03:59 PM EDT
Just pulled up some info on your system........you need a manual


exerpt:

Wiring System Electrical Distribution Wiring The most important feature of wiring is its reliability. A new wiring system incorporating an Electrical Distribution Wiring (EDW) harness provides higher reliability than previous systems. The EDW wiring harness combines several harnesses into one, providing point- to-point wiring between electrical components - switch to motor, sensor to control, relay to light, etc. - without intermediate connectors or splices. The fewer connectors and splices, the greater the reliability. The EDW harness is a 25-pound (11 kg), 21-foot (6.4 m) assembly that stretches from headlights to taillights and many places in between. It includes several key systems such as exterior lighting and power seats commonly supplied by separate harnesses in the past. Also for reliability, the wiring system provides separate ground circuits for each functional system to prevent a single ground failure or circuit failure from affecting additional systems. Ground terminals are provided on seven grounding blocks which are attached to threaded studs welded to the body structure in strategic locations.

The EDW harness is routed along the centerline of the vehicle in a trough stamped in the floor pan. It is clipped to studs welded to the floor pan to prevent rattles and protected by a snap-on plastic cover. In other areas of the vehicle, hole liners and chutes guide the wiring during installation to prevent damage. Clips hold the harness in place to avoid squeaks, rattles, or interference with adjacent components.

As in the past, the air bag circuits include gold plated terminals for maximum reliability.

Power Distribution Center The power distribution center (PDC) provides a central location for high-current maxi-fuses that protect major power distribution circuits, micro-relays and ISO relays for all underhood power equipment. The PDC is also a wiring node to which the EDW and engine compartment wiring harnesses connect. It is mounted outboard of the battery and has exposed terminals to which battery cables connect. The location minimizes voltage drops in the wiring.

Power is distributed through four layers of ribbon conductors that are held in place by grooved plastic separators. Connectors extend from functional component terminals on the top surface of the PDC and from the wiring terminals on the bottom through the insulators to the correct ribbon.

The IOD (ignition off draw) circuit is fed from the PDC. Its fuse cavity includes a snap-in holder, allowing the fuse to remain in immediate proximity to its regular location when removed to reduce current draw during long periods of storage.

Junction Block A junction block mounted on the dash panel above the driver's left foot combines in a single location, connection points for the EDW harness, a central location for passenger compartment circuit fuses and relays, and a mounting point for the BCM. The junction block is a node in the wiring system, distributing power and control signals among the connecting circuits on thin, flexible plastic printed circuit boards. These circuit boards are similar in appearance to those in electronic equipment, but carry higher current. Also like other printed circuit boards, terminals are soldered to them. Five separate boards are needed to provide connections for 180 or more terminals depending on complexity of the vehicle. Localizing this complexity in the junction block, has eliminated 40 to 120 circuits outside the block.

The junction block has also simplified the daytime running light (DRL) feature required in Canada and the subject of a possible US safety standard. To provide DRL, the standard turn signal flasher is replaced by a relay unit with additional terminals that delivers power to the turn signal filaments when the headlights are off but allows them to flash for turn signal purposes. See also Daytime Running Lights under Front Combination Lights in the Body Systems section.

Positive Temperature Coefficient Devices Positive temperature coefficient devices (PTC's) operate as automatic resetting circuit breakers. On the new minivan they are used for the first time in the automotive industry for wiring protection. They permit the uses of smaller, lighter weight wires by preventing electrical distribution system overloading not occasioned by failure. Circuits involved include power door locks, power windows where a circuit breaker is also eliminated, engine compartment circuits that were previously fused and the windshield washer pumps. In several years of use as motor protection devices, they have demonstrated exceptional reliability. For wiring protection they are soldered into the junction block printed circuits for added reliability. Each PTC consists of two metal plates separated by a high-temperature cross-link polymer that encapsulates a matrix of carbon black particles. The carbon black particles conduct electricity with very low resistance under normal conditions. When a high current is applied, the polymer expands, separating the particles. This greatly increases the resistance which has an effect similar to tripping a circuit breaker - reducing current to less than 1/2 A. Each PTC is calibrated to "trip" at a specified current level. When voltage is removed, the polymer cools in about 15 seconds and the PTC is again ready to transmit power. As in the past, PTC devices are used for internal protection from electrical overload of power door lock, power vent window and power seat motors.
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 5:33:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2005 5:34:24 PM EDT by thompsondd]
- man, reading that made my head hurt - but I thank you for the info nonetheless! Where did you find that at????

Last check of the multimeter shows it holding steady at 12.09V.  Maybe I am on the right track.

I am gonna have a helluva' time figuring this one out.  

ARWrench and gamachinst - THANK YOU tons and tons. Gonna' have to meet up with the two of you to thank you (maybe some free trigger time or some extra goodies that I have lying around the house).
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 5:42:51 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2005 6:04:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2005 6:19:07 PM EDT by thompsondd]

Originally Posted By ar-wrench:
Sorry, forgot the link

Very long read, will make your head hurt



Thanks. It already does

BTW - holding steady at 12.08V
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 4:06:42 AM EDT
It was not the 'MOTOR" fuse. I pulled it last night and this morning the van was DOA as usual.  
Link Posted: 1/10/2005 6:23:44 AM EDT
Make sure the battery isn't already ruined or has a bad cell before you go any further.
And try putting an inline battery disconnect on it when you install the next one to keep from ruining any more batteries until you get it sorted out.
It will be a pain to have to raise the hood every time you stop and want to start,but it beats having to jump it off every time too!
I'll try to check on this if I can spare the time today,but my first call will be someone I have to still finish up a job for!
Robert.
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