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Battery (?) trouble #4478161
08/03/17 12:03 PM
08/03/17 12:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 623
Canada
weebl Offline OP
weebl  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 623
Canada
Sorry, long post as there is a fair bit of background.


The vehicle I am having issues with is a 2006 Toyota Sienna with over 156,000 miles. Currently, the vehicle cannot start, classic symptoms of a dead battery: wife went to start it, barely turned over, then everything died, nothing electrical works.

Now, for the important background, which I think ties in to some potential underlying problem areas.

First, the immediate background. Battery is about 4 months old. Branded as an "EverStart" from Walmart, but made by East Penn Deka. Dead battery symptoms on this battery first appeared about a week ago, after we were absent on a month long trip. I didn't have it hooked to a charge maintainer, and forgot to disconnect the battery cable. At that point, the dead battery didn't surprise me.

To revive the battery, we used a very old charger that had a 50 amp start option. Got the vehicle home from where we parked while on vacation, then hooked it up to my own automatic "smart" battery charger. Seemed to work, until a couple of days ago, the battery died again.

So, thinking that it may be an alternator not charging, I tested with a multimeter.

Some additional relevant background: vehicle likely needs injectors cleaned, and is overdue for new spark plugs. This is relevant, as the ECU remapped itself to accommodate for this, however, every time the battery dies, it resets the ECU to factory, leading to poor idle until the ECU relearns. (I will address this issue separately, and this isn't directly part of the problem).

On to the multimeter results: after recharging enough to start with the external charger, I tested with the multimeter reading over 14 volts, while the vehicle did its initial elevated idle. When it dropped down to normal idle, which was rough, and barely at 400 rpm, due to the ECU being reset, the voltage reading was 12.5. With my son reading the multimeter, I manually bumped the RPMs to about 1000 with the accelerator, and the readings slowly crept up to near 14 volts. The results make me suspect the alternator isn't the culprit as initally thought. The ECU seemed to relearn quite quickly, so don't think it was a case of idle remaining too low after the boost, plus all the driving would have bumped the RPMs high enough for charging.

Now more background: connected to the battery are two more leads off positive, for the trailer wiring and brake controller added many years ago to the vehicle. Suspecting that there may be a very slight short in the aged wiring, I disconnected those to eliminate that issue, as I continued to monitor it over the next few days.

I also rigged the charger so that when it is at home, it is easy for my wife to plug it in to fully charge the battery, as the cord hangs from the front like a block heater cord would.

This morning, the vehicle didn't start again, same dead battery symptoms, but this time, it was plugged in to a charger (overnight), and should have been fully charged. All electrical load as off, as I ensured all accessories were turned off, and that the parking brake was on to prevent the daytime running lights coming on.

This leads me to believe that the 4 weeks sitting around has actually fried this battery.

But..., there is even more background, the entire battery history before this one:

I replaced the original battery in 2009. I suspected I had to because I had boneheadedly left the interior lights on too many times (manual switch on), and the latest time was just as temperatures dropped below freezing in the fall. Only open choice that evening with batteries was Walmart, and I had to get my wife up and running for the next morning. So off I went, and got their then branded "Energizer" made by Johnson Controls. Also that year, though I made no connection until recently as a possible cause, was all the trailer and brake controller wiring was installed that summer.

This battery lasted until around January 2012. Acid spewing everywhere, it gave up the ghost, but not before severly corroding the factory wiring leads. I had to replace the damaged section with very heavy gauge wire. Fighting Walmart on their warranty, they agreed to replace under warranty based on the manufacturer date sticker, and got a replacement, branded now as "EverStart" made by JCI.

But the battery woes weren't over. Again, the battery died in early 2014. While out of town this time, of course. The local Walmart there agreed to exchange under warranty. Another EverStart JCI.

And again, issues with that battery, with it being replaced again this March, with another EverStart, this time made by East Penn Deka.

Each time, the alternator tested okay with its output. A couple of times, with the different batteries over the years, there were some instances the battery died, but was successfully revived, while towing with the tent trailer, running the 12 volt fridge. Beefing up the trailer side wiring gauge, and avoiding running the 12 volt fridge seemed to elimate the issue, and so the trailer wiring wasn't suspect at that point.

The van was retired from towing after doing a final trip to take the tent trailer out to storage last fall (towing has been taken over by a different vehicle of mine).

Based on the evidence, I suspect that this is where I am now:

There is some sort of parasitic draw, probably a slight short in the trailer wiring.

Sitting 4 weeks without use completely fried this battery.

It only accepted charges for a short while, and even then, not very well, until now, it isn't accepting any charge at all.

Remedy is probably to replace this battery, but also completely disconnect the trailer wiring, to prevent this from occuring again.

Is this the right track, or am I completely missing something?


2006 Toyota Sienna - 3.3L 3MZ-FE
2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 - 6.6L Duramax LML
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478164
08/03/17 12:10 PM
08/03/17 12:10 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,233
Waco, TX
Linctex Online content
Linctex  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,233
Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: weebl
This morning, the vehicle didn't start again, same dead battery symptoms, but this time, it was plugged in to a charger (overnight), and should have been fully charged.
This leads me to believe that the 4 weeks sitting around has actually fried this battery.


I don't think you are going to be able to resurrect it.

DEFINITELY make sure you have no parasitic loads, or you'll just kill the next one, too.


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478165
08/03/17 12:13 PM
08/03/17 12:13 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
EdwardC Offline
EdwardC  Offline
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,916
Chicago, IL
I think you're on the right track. Like mentioned above, finding the parasitic draw should be the top priority.

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478168
08/03/17 12:25 PM
08/03/17 12:25 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,528
USA
mk378 Online content
mk378  Online Content
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 1,528
USA
Soooo many words...

About 90% of these stories end up being bad connections at the battery terminals.

Measure voltage with charger connected, to confirm it is indeed charging.

If car will not start immediately after disconnecting charger, battery is bad.

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478170
08/03/17 12:26 PM
08/03/17 12:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 70
saginaw michigan
saginawmale50 Offline
saginawmale50  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 70
saginaw michigan
Get a new battery every few years. Dont overthink it.

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478173
08/03/17 12:33 PM
08/03/17 12:33 PM
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 119
North TEXAS
oldoak2000 Offline
oldoak2000  Offline
Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 119
North TEXAS
Is alternator the original?

If so, at 156k miles BRUSHES are prolly MOSTLY wore out, making for a WEAK field charge ( below 14v at idle, ramps up to 14v with rpm), not charging the battery, and making battery 'do all the work' at high amps load (running AC/blowers - headlights) and leaving nothing to recharge battery to 100% to restart car.

Google your alternator - some are easy to replace brushes WITHOUT removal; best to just REPLACE with a quality lifetime rebuilt one IF yours is weak. . .

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478178
08/03/17 12:44 PM
08/03/17 12:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,153
The Garden State
Whimsey Offline
Whimsey  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,153
The Garden State
I recently had a very similar problem with a practically new AAP battery in our 2005 Explorer. If I didn't run it regularly it would die after a short period of time. Then I noticed that the "dumb" battery gauge was very slowly dropping below the 1/2 way mark when I drove it even after charging the battery. I read that bad diodes in the alternator can do this, a slow drain on the battery when not in use. Bought a reman alternator from Rock Auto and it's been trouble free since.

Whimsey

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478190
08/03/17 01:08 PM
08/03/17 01:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 11,312
NorthEast
Vikas Offline
Vikas  Offline
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 11,312
NorthEast
Order to fix electrical problems
1) Change battery if it is over few months old
2) Check the connections
3) Take out the multimeter and start monitoring continuously for a day or two
4) Confirm bad alternator via multimeter
5) Get inductive amp probe (very cheap these days) and measure the parasitic current
6) Trace if that current is over 100mA
7) If everything else works out, see if you can rebuild your alternator through a local shop
8) If not, try to purchase a better quality an brand name alternator

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478267
08/03/17 02:09 PM
08/03/17 02:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
Oro_O Offline
Oro_O  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
Quote:
When it dropped down to normal idle, which was rough, and barely at 400 rpm, due to the ECU being reset, the voltage reading was 12.5. With my son reading the multimeter, I manually bumped the RPMs to about 1000 with the accelerator, and the readings slowly crept up to near 14 volts. The results make me suspect the alternator isn't the culprit as initally thought.


Culprit is probably the alternator, and probably the diodes. That can keep a car with a trickle charger on it from charging. The low voltage (well below charging voltage) shows the alternator is shot. The battery is probably 100% OK.

Get the car running and then look for AC ripple voltage with your multimeter (google that).

Replace the voltage regulator with a high-quality one and solder in new brushes and you'll be good to go. Better than a reman. from the auto parts store. My SUV I did that with two years ago charges like a bull. The reman from O'Reilly I put in her car a while back failed 18 months later, and cost more. If you have another daily driver, repair it yourself or take it to a local auto electrical shop (they exist; that's who repair shops will use vs. the failure prone Chinese and Mexican units from auto parts stores).

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478318
08/03/17 03:25 PM
08/03/17 03:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
PeterPolyol Offline
PeterPolyol  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
I'd be a little hesitant to blame the alternator, it's a Denso unit and they're about the least problematic out there. The battery is fried, probably sulfated terribly. There is most likely a parasitic draw, check everything for corrosion. Corrosion between opposite poles acts as a resistive load and will slowly drain the battery and the resistance of that corrosion can vary greatly with humidity.

When you mentioned the low idle, revving it up and watching the voltage slowly recover suggests that the battery is eating amps and frying the shrinking, remaining unsulfated plate area. Repeated draw downs and high amp recoveries in this condition will quickly result in battery death.

Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478325
08/03/17 03:32 PM
08/03/17 03:32 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 968
TX, USA
JMJNet Offline
JMJNet  Offline
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 968
TX, USA
Denso alternator in this car is easy to change and relatively cheap.

You can always have somebody test the alternator.


  • 2017 Toyota Sienna
  • 1995 GMC Suburban 6.5L Turbo Diesel


Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478346
08/03/17 04:02 PM
08/03/17 04:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 9,801
Florida, Cape Coral
Eddie Offline
Eddie  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 9,801
Florida, Cape Coral
I think you have efficiently trashed your battery instead of buying a $9.99 maintenance charger. :-)) ed


CX5 Touring 2.5L :-)
Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: Eddie] #4478394
08/03/17 05:11 PM
08/03/17 05:11 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 623
Canada
weebl Offline OP
weebl  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 623
Canada
Originally Posted By: oldoak2000
Is alternator the original?

If so, at 156k miles BRUSHES are prolly MOSTLY wore out, making for a WEAK field charge ( below 14v at idle, ramps up to 14v with rpm), not charging the battery, and making battery 'do all the work' at high amps load (running AC/blowers - headlights) and leaving nothing to recharge battery to 100% to restart car.

Google your alternator - some are easy to replace brushes WITHOUT removal; best to just REPLACE with a quality lifetime rebuilt one IF yours is weak. . .


Yes, the alternator is original.

Originally Posted By: Whimsey
I recently had a very similar problem with a practically new AAP battery in our 2005 Explorer. If I didn't run it regularly it would die after a short period of time. Then I noticed that the "dumb" battery gauge was very slowly dropping below the 1/2 way mark when I drove it even after charging the battery. I read that bad diodes in the alternator can do this, a slow drain on the battery when not in use. Bought a reman alternator from Rock Auto and it's been trouble free since.

Whimsey


So bad diodes in the alternator can drain the battery when the vehicle is parked?

Originally Posted By: Vikas
Order to fix electrical problems
1) Change battery if it is over few months old
2) Check the connections
3) Take out the multimeter and start monitoring continuously for a day or two
4) Confirm bad alternator via multimeter
5) Get inductive amp probe (very cheap these days) and measure the parasitic current
6) Trace if that current is over 100mA
7) If everything else works out, see if you can rebuild your alternator through a local shop
8) If not, try to purchase a better quality an brand name alternator


Looks like I have to do number 1 regardless of what happens.

Number 2, if the replacement battery cables in there (now several years old) have hidden corrosion, could this be a cause of battery drain? Considering doing what the car audio enthusiasts do, the "big 3" upgrade, and then all my battery cables are completely new.

Number 4, the alternator seems to put out voltage in the charging range. Anything else to check?

Was going to check for an overall parasitic draw, using the multimeter.


Originally Posted By: Eddie
I think you have efficiently trashed your battery instead of buying a $9.99 maintenance charger. :-)) ed


I would say so. lol But I think there is something else going on.


2006 Toyota Sienna - 3.3L 3MZ-FE
2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 - 6.6L Duramax LML
2018 Volkswagen Tiguan
Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478434
08/03/17 06:10 PM
08/03/17 06:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,758
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,758
Upstate NY
Pull the battery, charge it overnight on your smart charger and bring it to Walmart to be tested. Then you can cross that off list.

Look at the two main battery cables, both ends for corrosion.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Battery (?) trouble [Re: weebl] #4478493
08/03/17 07:30 PM
08/03/17 07:30 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
Oro_O Offline
Oro_O  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,416
Seattle-ish, WA
Quote:
So bad diodes in the alternator can drain the battery when the vehicle is parked?


Yes.

Charge the battery and have it tested. Dollars to donuts, it's fine. Check for ripple voltage with the multimeter. Takes a minute or two.

This is the next step in your diagnostic procedure. You have already demonstrated the VR in the alternator is shot, or the brushes. It is NOT making charging voltage (~13.85) at all times.

This is about the time/mileage a Denso alternator in a northern climate will fail in my many experiences with the units. Nothing truly magic about them. Also, that presumes that a) it's Denso (didn't see the OP say that, but maybe), and b) It's the same quality as a Japanese Denso. I believe Hitachi was also making some OE Toyota alternators then. And these cars are made in Indiana, not Toyota City, Japan. I wouldn't presume the same alternators installed in Japan made Lexus end up in Indiana made Toyota models. Quality is not as uniform across the brand(s) as it used to be.

Last edited by Oro_O; 08/03/17 07:36 PM.
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