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Old 08-24-2012, 02:19 AM   #1
FosterChild4
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Default 02 WRX lost all electrical

Hey, so I've searched and haven't come up with someone having the exact problem I am.
I stopped at the store yesterday and when I came out, I turned the key to acc and everything came on normally, then when I went to turn it over, I lost all power. No electrical anywhere, I have checked all my fuses in the box under the hood and in the dash. I have a trunk mount battery, and I have checked all my connections making sure they are solid. I have full 12.85v from the trunk to the engine bay, however when I connect the power to the distribution block, with the starter wire and power wire for the fuse box, the voltage drops to 1.58v. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
Oh and if it matters, 2002 WRX, AP stage 2, catless tbe, grounding mod, trunk mount battery. I think that is all that should apply. Thanks again for any replies!
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:32 AM   #2
Uncle Scotty
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yer battery is bad ir ya got a bad connection
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:41 AM   #3
FosterChild4
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Battery should be good, it's an optima yellow top, purchased new in January. And hasnt had any issues.
A bad connection anywhere in the car? If I had a bad connection to the fuse panel, I don't see why it would just quit all of a sudden.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:46 AM   #4
Cougar4
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Since the voltage is dropping down under load that means there is a bad connection somewhere between the battery and the point you made the measurement at. I assume the battery voltage isn't dropping down also which would mean the battery has a problem if it does.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:48 AM   #5
FosterChild4
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Hm, ok. If I tried jumping the car with another vehicle, should my car have power then?because to me, it seems like it should. But when I tried jumping it, nothing happened.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:52 AM   #6
Cougar4
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So that means there is a bad connection beyond the battery and before the point you saw the low voltage at.

A bad connection can look ok voltage wise until you try to run current through the resistance in the connection. Then a voltage drop across the bad connection will happen and you saw the results.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:55 AM   #7
FosterChild4
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Yeah that's what I was thinking! I can get 12.85v all the way to the fuse box under the hood. However, the voltage in the power wire going to the fuse box reads 12.85v when disconnect from the fuse box. And drops to 1.58v when connected. And that is the reading I get everywhere, when everything is connected.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:58 AM   #8
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My bat terminals may need a reallyy good cleaning..they dont look very dirty at all tho. I brushed them with a wire brush, but I will try doing a better job because if what your saying is true, the bad connection MUST be at my terminals and that would be amazing lol easy fix
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:58 AM   #9
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You will find the lost 11.27 volts across the bad connection. Since you tried to jumper the battery it sounds like the bad connection is somewhere else. There could be internal corrosion at the battery clamp inside the cable. That happens sometimes.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:04 AM   #10
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Check the main grounding also for a problem.

I see you live a little north of me.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:11 AM   #11
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Well the power and ground wires coming off the battery are all brand new 4ga. The corrosion would be at the terminal itself. I actually just took off the factory ground because it is hard and stiff, I have more 4ga that I will replace it with. That might do the trick, you think?
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:17 AM   #12
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Well I would tend to say no if the exsisting cable is in reasonable condition. The trouble has to be really bad to have that much loss and it isn't due to a small gauge cable.

To find the problem, connect the common (blk) meter probe to ground and measure the voltage at the battery with the red probe while things are connected and the drop is occurring. If you have 12 volts there then move the red probe to the next connection point on the battery cable. See if you have 12 volts there also. Keep going until you find the drop. The problem will most likely be at a connection point.

Last edited by Cougar4; 08-24-2012 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:50 AM   #13
FosterChild4
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Battery voltage is 12.85v. When I ground to the chassis and put the pos on the pos terminal, the voltage reads 1.7v. Does this mean bad main ground? Or bad battery? I can load test my battery this weekend if that will help..
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:10 PM   #14
Cougar4
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Yes, it could mean the ground wire connection is bad or possibly the battery. To see if that is the case use your meter and check the voltage across the battery posts and not the cable connections to it. If the battery posts read 12 volts then move the common meter probe to the next connection point on the ground wire and see if you have 12 volts there also. If the ground wire is at fault you will find the voltage drop point on it.

Another easy way to find a voltage drop across a bad wire connection is to place one meter probe at a point you know is making a good connection. Then place the other probe to the next point down the line and see if the voltage goes up. Since you are just measuring the voltage across a wire the voltage should be zero volts until you move to a point that is beyond the bad connection. Then you will see whatever the voltage drop is across the bad connection point. When using this method you need to make sure some sort of current is flowing to a load so the voltage drop will be seen by the meter.

Last edited by Cougar4; 08-24-2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:19 PM   #15
FosterChild4
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Oh wow, I'll give that a try today. After thinking about it more, i am wondering if my starter or starter solenoid is bad. I will disconnect the power at the starter and see if that gets rid of the voltage drop. Then have the starter test just because. But if that doesn't work, looks like a volt meter will become my new buddy, testing connections like you said. Thanks for all your help btw
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:24 PM   #16
Cougar4
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If there was a short making that voltage drop happen then you would see smoke from the wires. The trouble is due to a bad connection on the main power wiring from the battery and it appears to be on the ground wire side from what you say. The DVM meter is a very good tool to get familiar with and use. You will wonder how you got along without it.

You're welcome for the help.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:56 PM   #17
FosterChild4
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Well I haven't seen any smoke and didn't notice any when I lost power. I am redoing all the connections on my main power and ground, cutting and installing new eyelet connections. Also, I am going to find a new battery ground location to see if that helps.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:08 AM   #18
Cougar4
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Well if it was me I would find the trouble spot first using my meter to help locate it. Then decide what terminations to replace. The trouble could be just a dirty connection to chassis ground and replacing things will have nothing to do with fixing the trouble.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:11 PM   #19
FosterChild4
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Well I got it fixed! I replaced the connections on my main power running from my battery in the trunk to the engine bay. Replaced the motor to chassis ground and found a new location for it. Also mounted a ground post terminal in my trunk for a better battery ground. This all combined got the 12.8v flowing to where it should and all is good now car idles a lot better as well. Thanks again for all your input. Nasioc never fails
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