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Old 10-22-2003, 07:43 PM   #1
TwinkE
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Question Weird(to me) electrical problem

I started my car tonight and noticed my radar detector kept resetting itself(wired into the power for the stereo). Then my radio started to reset itself at random about 8 times in 3 miles. I noticed that when I hit the brakes my headlights would fluctuate. I turned off the radar detector and my radio kept turning off still. The compass on the rearview mirror would also reset itself when the radio did. While I was idling in the garage, I noticed the dome light was flickering slightly.

Any ideas on where to look? It doesnt seem like a fuse because nothing is permanently out right now. I first noticed this on monday, the radar detector reset itself once, but it hadn't happened since then.
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Old 10-22-2003, 09:38 PM   #2
Mulder
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Check the terminals on your battery, make sure they are clean and the clamps are tight. Also check the main ground connections.
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Old 10-22-2003, 10:40 PM   #3
TwinkE
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I'll check those in the morning but it doesn't make sense since the rest of the electrical is fine, seems like just one circuit.
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Old 10-22-2003, 10:49 PM   #4
Mulder
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The lights and radio/mirror are not on the same circuit.
Another thing to check is the battery itself, if it was really weak you might get these symptoms. When you started the car did it crank more slowly than usual?
If you have a voltmeter check the voltage across the battery terminals. With the engine off it should read 12.5V, lower indicates a problem with the battery. With the engine running at idle with no accessories turned on it should read approximately 13.5-14.5V.
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Old 10-23-2003, 07:49 PM   #5
TwinkE
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The battery was 12.5v with the car off, 14v with the car idling.

My car wouldnt start tonight, had to jump it. When I got home, I turned it off and tried to arm the factory alarm, nothing happened. I tried to start it when I came back out a couple minutes later and no dice. I hooked up my battery charger/starter and it read full charge, yet I couldn't start the car. I took my foot off the brake and it started right up. I don't know why it started with the foot off the brake but it did. It seems to be related to the brakes or something with that circuit.

After leaving the charger connected for a minute or so, the odometer would come back. As soon as I hit the brakes, it went away. I also noticed my tach would jump a bit when I pushed them. I checked all the fuses, they all look ok.

Any more ideas? I have my radio disconnected from the harness, dome light is off, fog lamp switch is off. The little red light for the door ajar works fine.
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:14 PM   #6
Mulder
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Try measuring the battery voltage while you are cranking the engine. It shouldn't drop below about 10V. If it drops much lower than that while cranking the battery is weak. If the cranking voltage is good but the engine still turns over slowly or not at all, there is probably a bad connection at the terminals or main ground.
You can also check the voltage the same way while turning the lights on. Measure the voltage at the battery posts when the lights are on. If the voltage at the posts is ok but the lights are dim this is further evidence of a bad connection.
Check the water level in all the cells of the battery. All should be between the max and min level marks on the outside of the case, and they should all be equal. If any one cell is lower than the others that cell may be shorted. If you have to top them off use distilled water. Get a cheap battery hydrometer from the parts store and check the charge in the individual cells, this will also show if any of them are bad.
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