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gokuDX7

blaaaaaaaa damn you!!!

18 posts in this topic

stupid battery and VIP stores! This post is gonna be long becuse im pissed!

As most of you know I just bought a used 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo which has problems that I need to get fixed and I knew about before hand. One of them being that it dies after so many hours of being off. So I've been on and off the phone with my family mechanic. I fill him in on what's happening. I jump start the jeep and drive it around for a few mins and then turn it off. The jeep lasts for about 9 hours being off and then refuses to restart after the 9 hours. I put a multi meter to the battery terminals to see how many volts it was getting. It reads 13.9 volts (which is good) with all lights on, air con, radio...etc. When air conditioner is on the belt connected to the air con and the alternator makes a squealing noise. I shut the car off and keep the multi meter on it and the volts drop to 11ish volts (which is still resalable). Then after 3 hours I go back out the take another reading on the batter and it drops again to 10 volts.

So after mentioning all this to my family mechanic he seems to think its the alternator. He says the squealing of the belt is an indicator that the alternator might be going. He also said that the alternator is probably generating just enough energy to power the jeep but not enough to recharge the battery. So he says a good way to make sure is to take your battery to a local shop and have them do a free battery test to make sure the battery isn't the problem.

So I take it to the local VIP since their the closest. They hook it to the tester and it reads "11 volts, please recharge". The battery was almost dead so they said they would charge it for free and run the test again in 2 hours. So me and my dad leave VIP and head home. Three hours later, I get no call so I figured I should call them. I call and ask if my battery is done. The guy says ya it passed you can come pick it up. So my dad and I head off to VIP again to pick it up. I show up and the kid at the front desk that took my battery in looks at me with a depressed face and says "Your battery hasn't been done yet, It couldn't be tested". My expression goes from happy to mad. So I say "I just called 10 mins ago and someone said they tested it and it passed." So the kid asks the other employees and one of them says oh I thought this was his battery, and points to a different one.

So I'm basically pissed at this point since I drove to and from there and wasted my time and my dads not to mention his gas. So I ask why they didn't test the battery. The kid tells me his manager says no because it looks like it was leaking battery acid. I look at it and he points it out to me. There was a few light lines going down the front of the battery. I mentioned I had filled the battery at home before coming and it was just water. He still told me he couldn't charge it since it was a fire hazard. So I'm like what should I do then? How can I get you guys to charge this for me? He's like "Take it home, wipe it off with a rag and bring it back tomorrow". lol ya, you can guess what my next questions was. "Can I just go outside and wipe it off and bring it back in"? His answer was still no. You have to come back tomorrow. So I'm like fuck this just give me my battery back.

So I have the kid take it to my dads truck and my dad flips because of all the time we wasted. He starts swearing out the window at the staff telling them they should have fucken called if the battery couldn't be charged..etc it was funny but at the same time I was pissed and I knew he was gonna be all ape shitty the rest of the day because of all the gas we wasted.

So in the end I called my mom and step dad, asked if they had a charger. It turns out they did so I ended up charging the peace of shit battery at my own house. It's to late now to bring it in to get tested and quite frankly I don't plan to bring it back to them. So I place the battery in the jeep and it starts right up.

My dad has a theory that it may not be the alternator or the battery. It could be something still running that's draining the battery. So I put the battery back in the jeep, cleaned the terminals with a wire brush and started it up. I shut everything off in the jeep (radio, lights, MPG data screen, inner lights...etc. Now tomorrow if the jeep starts then I'm pretty sure the problem is my radio since the radio panel is all fucked up. Every time anyone gets out of my jeep they get a bad static shock which is an indication that theres bad grounding somewhere. I wouldn't be surprised if it was my radio.

So ya, the rest of my night I've been contemplating on what I should do if it isn't the radio. If I should just give in and bring the jeep to a shop and have them find the real problem and blow $300 or $400 on it or if I should go with the alternator theory and have my family mechanic install a new one.

Any ideas? What would you guys do if you where in my position? I'm tight on cash so I'm trying to go the cheapest way out of this.


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From my own personal experience... These are my thoughts, but you should definitely take it to another mechanic for more opinions.

Any mechanic would tell you its the alternator because its the best job to do. But answer this question.. When you turn on the air conditioner and you hear that squeeling noise, is it a rythmic squeeling annoying sound, or is it a loud almost screeming sound that makes you kinda nervous? Also, while you hear this noise, have you noticed if your power steering is slightly off and its takes more force to turn the wheel?

To check if its your alternator take it to an autozone and have them check the amps it is outputting, not the volts. The correct amperage indicates if its going to charge the battery good or not. But honestly, if you get that noise you're talking about its either your serpentine belt or its your idler tensioner/idler pully. Most alternator problems that I'm aware of, the alternator will make a clickingish sound when you turn the car on or make other clicking sounds for power problems. Its probably your belt or your tensioner, but I'm guessing it is both.

Open your hood, and have someone in your car, turn it on and listen for clicking sounds from either the alternator or the starter. Then have the person turn on the AC to full blast and watch your belt for a couple mins. Once your air compressor kicks on you should see your belt tense up and you should visably see your tensioner move to put more tension on the belt. If it starts screaming at you when that compressor kicks on and that tensioner doesn't move, then thats most likely your problem. If you have bad tension or a bad belt or both, you won't get the correct tension on your alternator, which underpowers your alternator and thus your battery won't get charged.

I had my tensioner nearly break on my saturn, my belt was so slack I'd loose power stearing off and on, the car sounded like it was screaming, my battery was almost dead, etc. I was very lucky the engine didn't overheat because that damn serpentine belt keeps everything running correctly. If your tensioner breaks or your belt ever snaps while you are driving, you are fucked. The only thing you could do at that point is slam on your breaks, try and move the car off the road, shut the engine off before it overheats/destroys itself and call a towtruck to take it to a mechanic.


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From my own personal experience... These are my thoughts, but you should definitely take it to another mechanic for more opinions.

Any mechanic would tell you its the alternator because its the best job to do. But answer this question.. When you turn on the air conditioner and you hear that squeeling noise, is it a rythmic squeeling annoying sound, or is it a loud almost screeming sound that makes you kinda nervous? Also, while you hear this noise, have you noticed if your power steering is slightly off and its takes more force to turn the wheel?

To check if its your alternator take it to an autozone and have them check the amps it is outputting, not the volts. The correct amperage indicates if its going to charge the battery good or not. But honestly, if you get that noise you're talking about its either your serpentine belt or its your idler tensioner/idler pully. Most alternator problems that I'm aware of, the alternator will make a clickingish sound when you turn the car on or make other clicking sounds for power problems. Its probably your belt or your tensioner, but I'm guessing it is both.

Open your hood, and have someone in your car, turn it on and listen for clicking sounds from either the alternator or the starter. Then have the person turn on the AC to full blast and watch your belt for a couple mins. Once your air compressor kicks on you should see your belt tense up and you should visably see your tensioner move to put more tension on the belt. If it starts screaming at you when that compressor kicks on and that tensioner doesn't move, then thats most likely your problem. If you have bad tension or a bad belt or both, you won't get the correct tension on your alternator, which underpowers your alternator and thus your battery won't get charged.

I had my tensioner nearly break on my saturn, my belt was so slack I'd loose power stearing off and on, the car sounded like it was screaming, my battery was almost dead, etc. I was very lucky the engine didn't overheat because that damn serpentine belt keeps everything running correctly. If your tensioner breaks or your belt ever snaps while you are driving, you are fucked. The only thing you could do at that point is slam on your breaks, try and move the car off the road, shut the engine off before it overheats/destroys itself and call a towtruck to take it to a mechanic.

Wow thanks for the info Sledg. The sound is a long high pitched squeal only when I turn on the air conditioner and step on the gas. The AC could be on low or high and it would still make the sound as soon as I step on the gass. The belt is really tight so it's definitely not slack. Maybe its too tight or something. I tried feeling the belt when the jeep was off for any cuts or brakes in it but couldn't manage to move the belt around. It was to tight and the wheels that hold the belt wouldn't allow me to turn them wile the jeep was off :(

I havent noticed any problems with power stearing when AC is on but maybe because I haven't been paying attention. I guess I'll try it out tomorrow and see.

In reality though, the belt cant be the sole problem for why my battery dies, at least I don't think so. I don't use the AC so the belt is never running or making that squeal noise. I also never notice any clicking noise when the jeep is on. In fact my jeep is really really quiet when on.

I've checked volts and Amps both on the battery and Alternator connector by hand at home and it's been within the reasonable area. The Alternators supposed to give off an equivalent of 14 volts when on but in my jeep its just under 14 (13.9). I checked my dads new ford for a comparison and his was around the same too. So I'm about stumped as to what the problem is. I'll try looking more into the belt like you said Sledg. My next step tomorrow, if the jeep starts, is to determine if it's the radio draining the battery or not. The radio's been shut off so if it starts tomorrow without fail then I guess I can take the panels off and replace the radio with my newer one from my old jeep and see if that fixes the problem. If not then I'm stuck again >.<.


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When you turn on the AC and apply gas, and the noise is like that then I would get the tensioner and belt checked. From what you are saying you still have tension, but that noise is usually an indicator that the tensioner is going. Someone told me once that tensioners usually only last about 100,000 miles. Also, even if the tensioner was starting to go, unless it is outright broken you shouldn't be able to move that belt at all by hand when the engine is off.

Of course, all of that could not even be the problem at all and all you have is a squeeky belt. You could go to autozone or advance auto parts and pick up a spray bottle of 'belt conditioner'. Turn your car on, pop the hood and pick a spot to spray, probably near the tensioner, and spray the belt for a second or two. While the engine is running the belt will be moving fast as hell so all you have to do is pick one spot to spray and that belt will more or less get its entire self spray down. Of course if you accidentally spray some of that stuff on a moving part it'll dry up the oil quite a bit and make even more squeeling sounds until the spray wears away, and the same thing will happen if you use too much belt conditioner.

If you had to refill your battery, your battery might still be SOL. My brother refilled his battery for his santa fe and it worked fine for a couple months, but it was like his alternator hated it and in the end he still had to replace it.

So, if the alternator is producing correctly and the belt has tension, I'd say its your battery. Especially if it is almost 5 years old or more and you're having to change the water in it. I bought a duralast gold battery at autozone and it came with a free emergency jump start service. Its a card with an 800 number on it that I can call up to twice a year for a free jump start from some company. I think its good for 2 or 5 years (I think 5), something like that.

btw, is it an after market radio? or is it something someone installed? and does it have an amp powering rear speakers or something like that?


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That makes sense, my jeep has 108,900k miles on it and I doubt the belt has been changed at all. I'll probably have it replaced and aligned when I get my oil changed soon.

Well, today I woke up and tried to start the car but nothing happened. The battery was completely drained again. I don't see how that can happen since I only started the car, backed it up a bit and shut it off for the night. If the battery was going bad wouldn't it still have the charge from before? Its not like I drove anywhere and used the power up. My dad said maybe we should take the radio fuse out and see if that makes a difference. That way we know 100% if its the radio or not.

The radio is the one that comes with 1998 jeeps. It has problems though, the panel that displays the channel your on or time doesn't light up. If I hit a bump sometimes it comes back but then goes away shortly. I have plans to replace it at some point in the future when I get more money though. However if it turns out to be the cause of the problem then I'll get it taken out now and have my dad try and install the new radio I have.

So do you still think it's the battery? Do you think I should go and buy a new one? If it's not the battery then the new ones gonna get drained lol >.<. I mean, if it was the alternator my battery would only be dieing if I drove the jeep around town right? Not like last night where I just placed a fully charged battery in and backed the jeep up 3 feet and shut it off lol.


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*runs naked around the topic and rubs his tush on goku~kun's bonnet* Errrr, I had nothing else I could help out with ... Sledge's knowledge is mighty impressive.

Off Topic:

Sledge, how many years have ya been around jeeps/ bigger 4 wheelers?


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So do you still think it's the battery? Do you think I should go and buy a new one? If it's not the battery then the new ones gonna get drained lol >.<. I mean, if it was the alternator my battery would only be dieing if I drove the jeep around town right? Not like last night where I just placed a fully charged battery in and backed the jeep up 3 feet and shut it off lol.

If you had a fully charged battery in last night and the next morning your battery is dead, either you left your car lights on all night (which wouldn't completely drain the battery, it might not start but it'd still have some juice left). Or you had your radio running all night or something. O_O Try removing the fuse for the radio, recharge the battery and try it again. But I think you're over thinking it. If you have a battery fully charged, then just overnight it looses all its charge, then you have a bum battery cell that doesn't hold a charge. :P

If you have a bad cell, the battery will probably still pass every test once it is fully charged, the way you tell if it has a bad cell is whether or not it actually retains juice, which yours does not. But if you do have a bad cell, then the longer you run a bum battery then you're just killing your alternator at the same time because the alternator will work overtime to try and charge the busted thing. If your alternator is still producing the correct volts AND amps, then I'd replace that battery before your alternator starts underperforming. Besides, if there still is another issue aside from the battery, if the battery is almost 5 years old or older it should still be replaced just for performance issues.

Off Topic:

Sledge, how many years have ya been around jeeps/ bigger 4 wheelers?

Just since I've owned my blazer.. about 1 1/2 years. I've been ripped off by mechanics so much with my past 3 vehicles, I've become obsessed with learning to fix all my car problems myself if I can.


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If you had a fully charged battery in last night and the next morning your battery is dead, either you left your car lights on all night (which wouldn't completely drain the battery, it might not start but it'd still have some juice left). Or you had your radio running all night or something. O_O Try removing the fuse for the radio, recharge the battery and try it again. But I think you're over thinking it. If you have a battery fully charged, then just overnight it looses all its charge, then you have a bum battery cell that doesn't hold a charge. :P

If you have a bad cell, the battery will probably still pass every test once it is fully charged, the way you tell if it has a bad cell is whether or not it actually retains juice, which yours does not. But if you do have a bad cell, then the longer you run a bum battery then you're just killing your alternator at the same time because the alternator will work overtime to try and charge the busted thing. If your alternator is still producing the correct volts AND amps, then I'd replace that battery before your alternator starts underperforming. Besides, if there still is another issue aside from the battery, if the battery is almost 5 years old or older it should still be replaced just for performance issues.

Just since I've owned my blazer.. about 1 1/2 years. I've been ripped off by mechanics so much with my past 3 vehicles, I've become obsessed with learning to fix all my car problems myself if I can.

Sounds about right. The battery still has some power left in it. Just not enough to start the car or even turn the engine over. Doesnt even make a clicking sound when I turn the key haha. When I open the door the lights are very dim lol. So I'll charge it again and take the radio fuse out and see what happens. If the battery dies again then I'll go out and buy a new one. If it ends up getting sucked dry I guess the next step would be just replace the alternator since it's the original Alternator and should be replaced soon anyway. If it turns out to be none of the above, then I'll just bring it into a shop and have them try and find the problem then have my mechanic do the labor for cheap.

sound right?


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That sounds like a solid plan. :nod: Hopefully its just the battery. *crosses fingers*

btw, you might be able to find a step by step diagram online about how to remove your original car stereo. That way you can check the plugs in the back of it to make sure they didn't get loose and then put it back in. I used to buy car stereos and speaker equipment from crutchfield.com because they always sent an installation packet/plug/booklet/diagram whenever you bought a new car stereo. I dunno if they still do that or not or if it costs extra, but their diagrams explained with pictures exactly how to remove the car stereo for your make and model of car. It was pretty helpful, if you can find one of those diagrams online you might be able to check all your stereo connections yourself if it ends up being an issue related to your battery problem.


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That sounds like a solid plan. :nod: Hopefully its just the battery. *crosses fingers*

btw, you might be able to find a step by step diagram online about how to remove your original car stereo. That way you can check the plugs in the back of it to make sure they didn't get loose and then put it back in. I used to buy car stereos and speaker equipment from crutchfield.com because they always sent an installation packet/plug/booklet/diagram whenever you bought a new car stereo. I dunno if they still do that or not or if it costs extra, but their diagrams explained with pictures exactly how to remove the car stereo for your make and model of car. It was pretty helpful, if you can find one of those diagrams online you might be able to check all your stereo connections yourself if it ends up being an issue related to your battery problem.

cool, thanks for the advice. I actually have my radio that I put in on my old jeep with me with the plug adapter already made. the only problem is I cant seem to find the proper wiring booklet or info anywhere on the web or how to take the front panel off. I tried taking the panel off with my dad but it turned into a big deal since theres like 7 panels that all overlap and I'm assuming you have to take all 7 off in order to get to the radio lol. I'll try looking at the site you posted and also on a few of the jeep forums I found last night. I'm sure someone knows where I can get the info. I should probably read the jeep manual too XD.

See the one thing that I may need help with, is the stearing wheel radio controls. I hope the wiring is all straight forward. I have controls under my stearing wheel that can control the radio. It would be nice if I could get them to work with my newer radio.


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Well it's not the radio. I charged the battery last night and took out the fuse and the jeep still died overnight.

I just charged it again and did a test that was mentioned on a site. Start the car and take the ground off. If the car shuts down then its an alternator problem. If it keeps running its a battery problem. So the car was still running after my dad took the ground off.

I guess I'm off to buy a new battery and hope thats the only problem.

Edited by gokuDX7

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well good news, the new battery lasted over night. Bad news is anytime I lock the doors, 5 mins later the car alarm goes off. So I'm guessing theres a wiring problem that may be the cause of the battery draining. Never the less the old battery was probably old and needed to be changed anyway. Now I can actually drive places. Lets see how long that lasts haha.

I guess my next step is probably to take it somewhere and have them do some electrical diagnostic tests to figure out what the hells going on. I wonder how much that costs. Eppy said probably between $10-$30, is that about right?


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Just get another car!


I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

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Just get another car!

lol I would if I could but unfortunately I'd probably spend more money doing that and lose the money that I've already put into this jeep. I bought this jeep for only $3500 so as long as I don't have to sink more then $2,000 into it I'll be happy.

I called up the local car shop and they said they can do an electrical diagnostic for about $35 but if the problem ends up being something big thats over their head, they said I'd have to go to the dealer to get it repaired. Hopefully it's just a bad ground that they can find right off the bat and fix.

I think it's the light switch thats causing all the problems. When turning on the lights, all the inner lights go to a dim. If I press the switch in and hold it in the lights light back up again. As soon as I let go though, the lights dim. It's almost like a loose wire or something. I'll have them check that first since its the most likely case. I might as well get it fixed after by my mechanic friend later on. Hopefully they will find the real problem and I can get this jeep to work for good. I'm sick of all these problems.


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$20-$30 for a diagnostic sounds about right, if its just a loose wire it should be pretty easy to fix it. I think dealerships will charge the same price, so you might be better off to take it to them first to have them fix it, because if the mechanic is saying it might be something the dealership might have to fix you could get stuck paying the diagnostic fee twice. Once for the mechanic and then again at the dealership.

Btw, a dealership should be able to tell you if all the recalls have been fixed too:

http://www.car.com/content/own/service/index.cfm/action/RecallsView/seriesid/7703


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Campaign Number: 00V136000 Date: 2000-May-10

spacer.gif

Component: Service Brakes, Hydraulic: Foundation Components: Disc: Rotor spacer.gifDefect Summary: VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER AND MULTI-PURPOSE VEHICLES ORIGINALLY SOLD OR CURRENTLY REGISTERED IN THE STATES OF CONNECTICUT, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MAINE, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, RHODE ISLAND, VERMONT, OR WISCONSIN, AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE FRONT DISC BRAKE ROTORS CAN EXPERIENCE SEVERE CORROSION IF OPERATED FOR AN EXTENSIVE PERIOD IN THE "SALT BELT." IF THE ROTORS ARE NOT REPLACED, THE CORROSION CAN EVENTUALLY COMPROMISE THE STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY OF THE STAMPED STEEL CENTER HUB SECTION OF THE ROTOR. spacer.gifConsequence Summary: THE REDUCED STRENGTH CAN ALLOW THE CAST IRON WEAR SURFACE TO SEPARATE FROM THE HUB, REDUCING THE BRAKE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE VEHICLE. spacer.gifCorrective Summary: DEALERS WILL REPLACE THESE ROTORS WITH ROTORS THAT ARE COATED WITH A CORROSION PROTECTION.

hell ya, free rotors! I need them replaced anyway so I guess maybe I should taken it to the local dealer and just have them go nuts.

BTW. Battery has been holding up nicely. I left the car off almost the whole day today and it still started right up like a champ. So I guess the "jeep dies" issue was really just the battery being old and dead.

So off to get all my electrical stuff fixed and fluids replaced.


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well so far the battery has been working with no problems at all. So I guess the whole "car wont start" problem was with the old battery.

As for the electrical problem. I'm planning to set up an appointment at the local Jeep dealers monday and have them check it out. I been reading online on how to disable the alarm by putting the key in and turning it right then left. So far that worked yesterday when I went into the movies with friends, the alarm didn't go out, at least I don't think it did lol.


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