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26.10.14 0443
The W - Random - Car troubles with Eclipse
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The Big Kat
Kishke








Since: 11.1.02
From: Austin, TX

Since last post: 463 days
Last activity: 1 day
#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
I am having some major problems with my 2003 Eclipse GT. I have tried posting on some auto forums, but haven't come up with any good answers yet, so I thought I would try the always helpful W's.

Lately my car has not been starting. I replaced the battery (old one was 5 years old) at Autozone in October when it wouldn't start, and for about 2 months, everything was fine. Then it died again, and I had to jump start it several mornings to get it started. I went back to Autozone, and the battery tested OK. So it looked like I had something draining the battery overnight. Using a multimeter, I tested the current flow with the key out and found a 120 mA current, which seemed way too high. I started pulling fuses, and found that the current dropped to 5 mA when I pulled the fuse block for the audio system/dome lights (for some reason these two fuses are linked together). Once I pulled the fuses and recharged the battery, the car started fine every time. Except now I couldn't use the radio or the power door locks. Putting the fuses back in, I pulled the dome light bulbs out, pulled out the CD that had been in the player for months, and checked the current again. Now it had dropped to about 10 mA, so I figured by some dumb luck, everything was fine. For 2 weeks, I had no troubles. I drove the car Sunday night without a problem, but when I tried to start it Monday morning, it was dead again.

I took the car to the dealer when the problem first happened in December, and they told me it was the battery. I took the battery back to Autozone, and they told me the battery was fine. The battery seems to be holding a charge if there is no drain on it, so I tend to believe it is OK. So now I am stumped on what to do. Does anyone have any ideas/experience with this type of problem? I found the high current after I took it to the dealer, so I guess I can take it back and tell them what I found, but I don't think they did their job last time. Just FYI, I have a factory-installed radio, so there is no mis-installled wires or anything. Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me. If I can't figure it out I am either going to find an electrical mechanic in Austin or take it back to the dealer as a last resort.



-The Big Kat
When you're tired of wishing on a falling star, you gotta put your faith in a loud guitar. -KISS
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Mike Zeidler
Pepperoni








Since: 27.6.02

Since last post: 74 days
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.96
Maybe the fuse is going bad?



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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
Does your radio work with the key off?




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Mr Heel II
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Since: 25.2.02

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.08
You're going to have to trace the problem further than the fuse box. Clearly, something is either shorting or is improperly grounded at the radio or dome lights (or power locks).

If your radio is aftermarket, there's probably a fuse on its wiring behind the radio, which you could pull, then test the voltage again, to help narrow it down.

If it's getting too deep for you, you should try to find a specialist in car wiring at a local aftermarket shop. Ask around, or even check the yellow pages for someone specializing in automotive electrical systems.
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
So this is where I show how little I know about car electronics...

On some cars there are devices that are only on when the key is on, and some that can be on at all times. Your dome lights, for example, turn on when the car is off.

Some cars have the radio like this. There may be other items, possibly your lighter.

Check each item that could be drawing power with the key off and make sure that none of them are "on". I would guess you haven't checked your lighter. Are you plugging in a phone car charger or anything? If so, is it warm to the touch, even when the car is off?

I suspect you have an accessory that is draining your battery.




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The Big Kat
Kishke








Since: 11.1.02
From: Austin, TX

Since last post: 463 days
Last activity: 1 day
#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
Thanks for the tips. I have checked the lighter outlets, and they don't seem warm, but that could be a problem. Around the same time this started happening, my radar detector that I usually plugged (and unplugged every time I turned the car off) into one of the outlets stopped working. I can't find any lights that are staying on with the key off (besides the dome lights with the door open), nor does the radio come on without the key. I will keep checking and hope to catch it somewhere. Otherwise I will take Heel's advice and find an electrical specialist. My trusty multimeter and I are back to the garage for more.



-The Big Kat
When you're tired of wishing on a falling star, you gotta put your faith in a loud guitar. -KISS
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Since: 9.12.01
From: Bay City, OR

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.53
Does the radar detector work in a different car? I wonder if the lighter has an issue... Can you pull the fuse for the lighter separate from the other fuses?




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Kishke








Since: 11.1.02
From: Austin, TX

Since last post: 463 days
Last activity: 1 day
#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.00
No, the radar detector doesn't work anywhere else. It was pretty old, too, so probably just a coincidence. Also, I tried another accesory in the lighter outlet, and it worked fine.

So the latest last night was that even with the battery fully charged, the car wouldn't start. The voltage would drop from 12.8 or so down to 10.5 as soon as I tried to start it. So now I was back to thinking it was the battery. I had been to Autozone twice previously to get it tested, and both times it came up OK. Both of these tests were done with the battery still in the car. Today I took the battery out and had them test it, and what do you know, BAD BATTERY!

The old one was still under warranty, so I took the replacement home, installed it, and the car has started fine several times. Fingers crossed that it doesn't drain again or something else didn't get messed up in my "repair" efforts, but things are looking up. Thanks to all of you that tried to help.



-The Big Kat
When you're tired of wishing on a falling star, you gotta put your faith in a loud guitar. -KISS
Whitebacon
Boudin blanc








Since: 12.1.02
From: Fresno, CA

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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.54
Do you have an aftermarket stereo? Sometimes they can drain the battery. I had a Kenwood in my old Saturn and it would suck the battery dry.
Zeruel
Thirty Millionth Hit
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Since: 2.1.02
From: The Silver Spring in the Land of Mary.

Since last post: 3 days
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.05
This might not relate to your problem, but on one of my old motorcycles, my battery would drain every three days or so (I rode it to work daily).

I busted out the volt meter and eventually found out I had a faulty rectifier. I ordered a new one and it was as good as new.

So, I guess I'm saying, if you haven't checked the rectifier, it couldn't hurt. For those of you who don't know, it takes the AC current from the alternator and changes it to DC and feeds it to the battery to recharge it. That's why my battery would die, it never got recharged after the starter motor and running lights acted as a constant drain.



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DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

Since last post: 2 days
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.42
We had a similar problem on our Tahoe and after they replaced the alternator, it was still happening. It was a dead short in the stereo system. But I knew something was wrong as the charge was only reading 10 instead of 14 volts. One disconnected stereo and voila, fixed.



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