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Posted: 9/3/2010 1:04:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/11/2010 7:52:18 AM EDT by Mech2007]
My Mom passed away about a little over a year ago, and it looks like once the estate is settled I'm going to end up with her 2001 Mustang. It's been garaged for about the last 9 months, and when it was put in there, it had to be pushed in becuase it wouldn't start. Battery appeared to be stone dead. Didn't really worry about it at the time. Figured it was an 8 year old battery whose time had come.

Then about a week ago I went out and bought a new battery. Finally put it in today. Went to hit the power lock button... nothing. Put the key in the ignition and turned it. Nothing.

Stone dead.

Loosened everything up. Cleaned off the terminals and the cables (no real corrosion on them). Hooked it all back up and ... nothing.

WTF???

Checked to make sure that it was in "Park." Yep. Went home with the original battery. Got my voltmeter. Checked it out. Reads about 1.5 V. Yep, pretty much dead. Went back to my folks' house with the VM. Checked the new battery. It was way low too! I figured "Oh crap! Musta got a bad battery! Unusual, but not impossible."

So, I take the battery out, dump it in my car and get ready to take it back to the store for an exchange. For shits and giggles, I check it with the VM again. Hmmm... it's reading a little higher now. That's odd. As I sit there, with the VM hooked to the terminals, I watch the numbers slowly inclease on the digital readout.

So, it appears that something is putting a near instantaneous drain on the battery. When it's unhooked, it slowly recovers.

Have you heard of anything like this? I've heard of slow drains, but never anything this fast. Or is it possible that the battery was drained when I got it and something that I did effectively "woke it up?" Never heard of that, but I'm grasping at straws here.

I've pretty much eliminated Skinwalkers and Hookers and Blow as the cause, so any reasonable ideas (yes, I realize I probably should have posted this in Team if I wanted reasonable ones) would be appreciated.





UPDATE:

OK, went back over there again this morning and checked the battery: still 3V. Decided that must be the problem (as many of you surmised), and went and exchanged it. Checked that one in the store: full 12.6V. Took it back, put it in, everything worked.

Then I went to start it. Turned it over, and fairly quickly it caught and ran. A little rough, but that was to be expected.

Then it stalled, and no amount of cranking would get it to restart. Checked the fuel cutoff switch, that was fine. You can hear the fuel pump kick on. Just won't catch.

Now, as I said earlier, it's been sitting quite a while since my Mom passed away, with about 3/4 of a tank of gas. I figure that the old gas may be the problem. I was considering putting in a few gallons of new gas, and maybe a bottle of fuel injector cleaner. On the off chance that it flooded out, I'm going to let it sit until later today or tomorrow before I try again.

So, thanks for everyone's suggestions on the first problem. Any clues on this one?

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:11:10 PM EDT
Wow-even a near dead battery will usually run the power locks or dome light.

Got a battery charger you could hook up?A draw that big that draws the battery down in minutes should be fairly easy to find.I would start by disconnecting the alternator.Make sure you rule out the battery first though-I've seen NAPA batteries dead and not hold a charge brand new.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:14:22 PM EDT
Got a load tester for the battery?
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:22:05 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
Got a load tester for the battery?


Nope. They seem fairly straightforward, so I was considering soldering one up.

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:38:09 PM EDT
Well, take the battery out and get out the multimeter. Analog or digital won't matter. I haven't a clue as to what resistances should be but I'd measure the resistance from the battery positive cable to ground. If there is a short on that then you will have to do some sleuthing. Maybe bad insulation on the wire shorting it to ground. One thing though, if there is a dead short on that cable you would know it for sure when you attached the battery. Lots of amperage available in a fresh battery so I'd expect to see very hot wires very quickly. If the short theory doesn't pan out then try pulling fuses/breakers one at a time until the fault clears.

Good luck.

PAv
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 1:45:31 PM EDT
Reinstall the battery and take your VM reading while someone turns the key if you don't have a load tester, I think you'll find it drops to it's knees, go buy a battery
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 2:40:30 PM EDT
You might want to inspect the battery cables for an internal break as well as check the other end of the cables for a good connection.
BTDT.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 3:35:50 PM EDT
V6 or V8? I just had this issue with an 03. Starter solenoid meltdown, grounding to the frame There is a cable straight from the batt to the starter/sel. I ended up R2 batt, alt and of course the starter (sel it part of the assembly).
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 3:43:42 PM EDT

Remove that new battery and put it on the charger overnight, if it don't take a charge, return it for another.

There is no gaurantee the the replacement you bought was good.

Even batteries that show 12v on a meter, can be dead. It is the voltage you read when the battery is under a heavy load that matters.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 3:59:11 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 4:05:11 PM EDT
DONT FOR GET TO CLEAN THE GROUND WIRE AT THE BATTERY AND AT THE POINT OF CONTAC ON THE FRAME. I WOULD ALSO CHECK AND MAKE SURE THE VOLTMETER IS ON THE RIGHT RANGE BY TESTING A KNOWN GOOD BATTERY
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 4:40:35 PM EDT

Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions folks. I'm heading back over there either Saturday or Sunday with my brother and I'll print out a copy of this thread to take along. I'll let you know what we find out.

Hopefully it's something simple (aka inexpensive) to fix.



Link Posted: 9/3/2010 4:43:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EMORY308:
DONT FOR GET TO CLEAN THE GROUND WIRE AT THE BATTERY AND AT THE POINT OF CONTAC ON THE FRAME. I WOULD ALSO CHECK AND MAKE SURE THE VOLTMETER IS ON THE RIGHT RANGE BY TESTING A KNOWN GOOD BATTERY



I did at least try this one. Checked the battery in my wife's car when we were there. 12.6V. I already have a 2000 Mustang so I may drive that when I head over again. At least that way I can swap the batteries between the two and either eliminate or confirm that as the problem.

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 4:45:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Lightning_P38:

Any load that is capable of draining a car battery in a matter of minutes should be creating enough heat to draw your attention to it fairly quickly, follow the smoke and ozone smell.




That's the weird part. No heat. No pop. No smoke. No nothing at all.

If the battery hadn't been slowly climbing it's charge I would have thought it was a slam dunk that I had just gotten a bad one from the store.



Link Posted: 9/3/2010 4:58:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2010 4:59:28 PM EDT by WildApple]
Did you check the voltage at the battery while turning the key to start the car? Did the voltage drop? How much?

Did you wire brush the battery terminals?
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 5:03:32 PM EDT
Originally Posted By WildApple:
Did you check the voltage at the battery while turning the key to start the car? Did the voltage drop? How much?

Did you wire brush the battery terminals?



Didn't check the voltage when trying to start it. It was down to like 2 volts without any known load applied to it. Tried the power locks immediately after tightening the cables and it didn't even click like they were trying to go. No dash panel activity. No dome light. Nothing.

Might as well not have even had a battery in there for as much as the car seemed to notice.

Did try hitting the terminals with my wire brush. No difference.

Link Posted: 9/3/2010 5:09:40 PM EDT
As stated earlier, you cannot drain a battery that quickly without a whole lot of sparks, fire, and smoke.....Check and recheck your connections

Maybe they gave you a junk battery....The battery needs to be load tested
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 5:14:00 PM EDT
A draw that big would spark like a mutherfucker the instant you attach the cables to it.

Your battery is shot.
Link Posted: 9/3/2010 5:18:27 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Schadenfreuda:
A draw that big would spark like a mutherfucker the instant you attach the cables to it.

Your battery is shot.



That's my thought as well.

Glad it has the full replacement warranty.



Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:09:08 AM EDT


Update in OP.

Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:36:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2010 7:38:49 AM EDT by SplatSTi]
OK, I can give you a couple things to try, since I just did the same thing with a dodge ram 1500 which had been sitting for 2 years +

1 The fuel has been sitting for too long so Its probably clogging up the fuel system - Check your fuel pressure you should be able to get a reading from the engine side, should be a valve near the fuel rail.
2 Check your wires and plugs. Make sure you getting spark to the wires.
3 See if you can spray some engine start in the throttle body to see if it will "catch on" again.

Things to think about.
The Oil, you might want to replace it, put something thin in there just to get lube going again.
Fuel stabilizer, this should help for fuel that have been siting for a while.

Apart from that... Paging Toiyabe66
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 7:51:10 AM EDT
1st thing to try is starter fluid.....take out the air filter and spray in the air cleaner box. You may find a mouse nest in the air cleaner box
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 3:33:55 PM EDT
Also may want to swap out the fuel filter...It's usually easy to get to and cheap to replace.

I would buy a bottle of sea foam to mix with the fuel and top off the fuel tank with new High octane gas....If you can find gas without ethanol in it, even better.
Link Posted: 9/4/2010 3:43:15 PM EDT
Originally Posted By WildApple:
Also may want to swap out the fuel filter...It's usually easy to get to and cheap to replace.

I would buy a bottle of sea foam to mix with the fuel and top off the fuel tank with new High octane gas....If you can find gas without ethanol in it, even better.




I plan on topping it off with Premium tomorrow. May dump a bottle of fuel injector cleaner or fuel stabilizer in as well. I'll also pop out the air filter and give that a look see. Maybe try the starting fluid deal too.

I've heard mixed stuff about Sea Foam, so I'm a little reluctant to try that.

I'll keep you posted as to how it goes. When I get it home, first thing I'm doing is changing out the oil and filter.

Oh, and by the way, the car only has 7700 miles on it. No, that's not a typo.




Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:32:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Mech2007:
Originally Posted By WildApple:
Also may want to swap out the fuel filter...It's usually easy to get to and cheap to replace.

I would buy a bottle of sea foam to mix with the fuel and top off the fuel tank with new High octane gas....If you can find gas without ethanol in it, even better.




I plan on topping it off with Premium tomorrow. May dump a bottle of fuel injector cleaner or fuel stabilizer in as well. I'll also pop out the air filter and give that a look see. Maybe try the starting fluid deal too.

I've heard mixed stuff about Sea Foam, so I'm a little reluctant to try that.

I'll keep you posted as to how it goes. When I get it home, first thing I'm doing is changing out the oil and filter.

Oh, and by the way, the car only has 7700 miles on it. No, that's not a typo.


Seafoam is good once the car is going to clean out fuel thats jelled up and deposits in the intake, fuel system.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 8:51:56 PM EDT
Change fuel filter, seafoam is great and always works for me.
Link Posted: 9/11/2010 7:57:19 AM EDT

OK, so I went over again today to mess with it.

Still didn't start. Pulled the air cleaner off and shot starting fluid in. Would catch each time I did that and run until the ether burned off, then choke out again.

Seemed like that meant we were getting spark, but pulled and replaced all the plugs anyway. They were pretty gummed up. Tried it again, still wouldn't fire off. Tried starting fluid again with same result. Runs until that burns off and then stops.

By this time the battery was starting to get weak, so I put it on the charger.

I guess my next step will be to try replacing the fuel filter or just presume from the look of the plugs that the whole fuel system is gummed up and needs cleaning.

Any other thoughts before I admit defeat and have it towed to a garage?

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