Will bad alternator diode cause parasitic drain and still charge battery?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by mchammer187, Jun 25, 2012.

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  1. mchammer187

    mchammer187 Diamond Member

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    I replaced my battery a couple weeks ago and have been having problems weak starting ever since. The battery was 7 years old so I figured it was toast when my car failed to start.

    I know that my alternator is putting out 14.0 -> 14.2 voltages while my car is running because the onboard computer tells me that much. I've tested with lights radio ac blinkers on and it still maintains 14.x volts with the car running

    I took the battery to auto zone (where I got the new battery) and they load tested itbattery and it tested fine (after it was charged). After they charged up the battery to full it did not start weak at all but after letting the car sit for a couple days the problem came back.

    So I am thinking bad alternator diode or some other source of parasitic drain. I don't have tools but will get them if an alternator change is in order.
     
  2. SpatiallyAware

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    It sounds like a bad alternator to me, it's possible that your old battery was fine but just not getting charged enough (although at 7 years old it's time to replace it anyway)

    If the alternator was bad, then driving to autozone and then back could be enough to drain the battery - particularly since it sat for a few days after that.


    For what it's worth, I have essentially zero faith in autozone/advance/etc battery and alternator testing stations. I have seen known bad batteries and alternators test good and vice versa. After numerous bad experiences (all at different stores and 'testing stations') I just don't rely on them at all anymore.

    Just because your alternator is providing 14v to the OBD system doesn't mean it has enough amperage to charge the battery correctly. Based on what you've said, it sounds like either bad alternator or some parasitic drain, my money is on alternator.
     
  3. IGBT

    IGBT Lifer

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    seems to be the case with my dakota..had the alt.tested and shure enough it has a bad diode. If I leave the batt connected the bad diode will flatten the battery.
     
  4. Ronstang

    Ronstang Lifer

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    I had this very same issue with my Shelby about 15 years ago. The alternator charged fine and the car started fine as long as I didn't let it sit more than a day or so without running. I took the battery out to have it tested and noticed a rather large spark disconnecting it which means there is a load on the battery....on a 30 year old car that has not memory items or loads when the car is off. After some thinking I figured it had to be a diode in the alternator. Took it off, took it apart, and tested all the diodes only to find a bad one in the tri-diode pack. A few dollars later the problem was fixed.
     
  5. 50 mpg by 2012

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    IF ... there is an alternator/generator/starter repair shop in your area ... you could remove the alternator and take it to them for testing and ... repair or exchange IF necessary.

    IF ... the alternator is not defective ... then anything in the vehicle becomes suspect.

    A clip-on DC ampmeter would be helpful to isolate the leaky path and component.
     
    #5 50 mpg by 2012, Jun 25, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  6. pcgeek11

    pcgeek11 Diamond Member

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    Yes. a Shorted positive diode will drain the battery with the key off and out.
     
  7. vityok3000

    vityok3000 Junior Member

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    If your alternator still shows 14 volts when car is running, all electric stuff on the car works with no sighns of problems when engine on. If you can drive for at least 1 hr with headlights on, and their brightness is not lower after hour with engine on. Than you shut down engine and youre able to start it right back up you shouldnt suspect your alternator. If your old batery was starting the car beter and new one feels weaker, you posibly bought badly remanufactured battery. Which is in worth condition than your old one. If your car doesnt start after siting for a while with everything off, something is draining your battery while it seems to be off. But dont worry there is an easy way to find whats draining. 1) You need amp meter or multimeter with apm meter function, and little plastic tool for puling circut brakers out. 2) Shut down your car. Turn off all electrical equipment, including anything custom on a car or even phone charger. Make sure your doors and trunk are closed and none of the bulbs are lid. 3) Disconnect one of your batery cables from the battery port. 4) Connect one wire of your amp meter to that battery port and another to disconnected from it cable. (Make sure you dont open your dor or dont turn anything on in a car at this point, since it might burn your amp meter.) 5) read how many amps your car drains when everything off. 6) Start puling circut brakers, one by one and watch for amp meter reading changes. When you pull one of the fuses your amps should drop significantly to near zero. (If your fuses are inside the car you can leave windows open ahead of time and get in thru the window. Or leave door open but reliably block the door buton which switches the lights on. Dont forget to place amp meter where you can see it while its reliably connected the neeaded way) 7)When found,fuse that drps amperage to near zero Look what is that circut braker for and look for problems in that component. For example i found in my cadillac that my power seats draining my batt when the car just sits there. I didnt look for problems but just kept that circut braker out. Seats was set for me anyway. And my battery stopped dieing on me even after few weeks siting. If you have fuses under hood try them too. Good luck
     
    #7 vityok3000, Apr 29, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  8. Meghan54

    Meghan54 Diamond Member

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    i think he solved the problem long ago since you revived a 3 year old thread. Sheesh.
     
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