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Old 12-20-2005, 09:17 AM   #1
Gil
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Member#: 20872
Join Date: Jul 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: Rochester, NY
Vehicle:
t3h rubber-neckers
must die!

Default Persistent problems with starting.

Sounds like a weak battery, where the cranking is slow and low-toned, and goes on to just going click-click-click-click-click but the starter does not crank. Usually starts right up if I just jump it with another car, or more recently, I bought a jump box. The battery (Interstate) is new from Feb 05, and the alternator (re-man) is from Jan 04. I donít know if this has anything to do with it, but I had accidentally drained the battery twice over the summer.

A little over a week ago, I brought the car to my mechanic (~30-minute trip) and everything tested OK. Battery tested 12.x volts and alternator 14.x volts. He also has me start the car while him computer/diagnostic equipment was hooked up, and it showed OK too. Of course, this is while things have been warmed up a little, with the battery at ~40*F.

Things are usually OK for a little while (4 -7 days) after I charge the battery, or after a longish drive of 20 minutes or so. This does not happen frequently as I live a little over 3 miles (and 10 minutes) from work.

This morning was rough. It was cranking sluggishly, and I was hoping that the damn thing would just catch but it didnít. It just kinda stopped cranking and then nothing happened. NOTHING AT ALL except for the ding-ding-ding that usually happens when I insert the key into the ignition.

Sorry, I know I'm not doing the best job with describing the problem.

Any thoughts??
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Last edited by Gil; 12-20-2005 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 12-26-2005, 02:29 PM   #2
mike_b49431
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Silverthorne, CO
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2005 Impreza RS
Crystal Grey

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does your battery have enough cold cranking amps when it's cold to start the car?
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Old 12-26-2005, 03:57 PM   #3
Charlie-III
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: 07456, North NJ
Vehicle:
1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

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OK.....your first issue is short trips. The alternator does not charge below maybe 1200RPM and it takes a bit of driving to get the battery fully recharged after starting.

I am on my original battery (1998 and ~146K miles) but I rarely do trips less than 20 miles.

If you can....plug a small trickle charger onto your battery (I happen to really like the BatteryTender from DeLand, FL IIRC.) Let it sit on charge while the car is parked.

If this helps, you need to do some longer trips every week to keep the battery fully charged.

Also...have you checked the water level in the battery? If not, try to do so (some are sealed and you can't check) and refill to the proper level with distilled water if required.
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Old 12-26-2005, 08:57 PM   #4
Gil
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t3h rubber-neckers
must die!

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the bty is rated at 550CCA.


i'm kinda in a pickle. a detour to and from work might work, but will likely extend my trip by 10 - 15 minutes and a fair bit will involve sitting at lights. i'll tey the making a few longer trips up and down highways a couple times a week and see how things go.

i can't plug in a trickle-charger. i live in a apt complex and park the car out in the parking lot. even though my trip is short, my car idles at 1500rpms until it warms up a little, and i was hoping that that might helps matter slightly. also, i typically keep the enigne buzzing between 2500 & 3500 rpm once i get going. the water level was one of the first things i checked. it's OK.

i'm really frustrated at this point simply cos i have yet to be able to definitively diagnose what is wrong with the car.
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Old 12-26-2005, 10:37 PM   #5
kdogae86
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bluey

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im not sure about the alternator not charging below 1200 rpm. the charging should be at 14 volts at warm idle and the voltage regulator will prevent it from going higher when the rpms are higher. having your batter go dead twice during the summer will have an effect on the battery. try replacing the battery and it should make a difference. i sometimes have roadcalls on brand new cars where the owner left the lights on all night. it kills the battery and i end up putting a battery in a car with 3000 miles on it because theres a good chance ill end up going back again
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:13 AM   #6
Charlie-III
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1998 Legacy 2.5GT
Silver Sleeper Wagon

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gil: try this. Check you battery voltage after it has say all night. Then, start your car and let it warm up. Using a voltmeter, check the battery voltage at the battery several times as the car warms up and at different RPM's.

Like I said, most charging systems DO NOT charge at a low idle, only a high idle or more. The test above will prove/disprove the statement.
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Old 12-30-2005, 10:42 AM   #7
dougkmcse
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2004 WRX
WRB

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Honestly if every person that only drived short distances had this issue there would would be a lot of mad people out there. If the issue only happens when the car is cold check the voltage before you start it. If you need to put a trickle charger on the battery something is wrong!!!! Did they test your battery with a load tester. Get a new battery under warranty. Have you checked the wiring going to the starter? If you had drained the battery before it could have caused damage in the battery.
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Old 12-30-2005, 12:50 PM   #8
tdxflex
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The alternator charges below 1200 rpm. I've measured 4 amps going into my battery at idle with a current transducer.

It's not good to completely drain lead-acid batteries. Usually they are near dead after 3-4 deep cycles. Even if the battery still shows 12.x volts, it may still be too weak to start the car. My stock battery after 2 years had trouble starting the car in cold weather, measured 12.6 volts fully charged.
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Old 12-30-2005, 01:46 PM   #9
obxtoy
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blue

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Ive had 3 friends in the past 2 years lose the Interstate "junk" as they call it after each less then 1 year. Went with a DieHard or a Optima, no issues...maybe Interstate just wont cut it anymore?
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