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Bad starter or battery cables?

Old 04-21-2012, 09:55 PM
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Synyster
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Default Bad starter or battery cables?

I've been researching and looking up reasons to what my car problem might be for sure but I figured I might as well ask.
My car had been working fine until one day I started it and it turned right back off 5 seconds later. It makes a click when I try to turn it on which would obviously mean a bad starter but once I do that it kills all the power to my car. Nothing works. I've read up with people that had the same problem but when they changed their starter still nothing. Someone suggested it could be the battery cables and terminals. Mine are stock so you can say they're not good. I've looked up and they don't seem to sell a cable kit for a 1998 gt. Just the 5.0's and such.
Anyways what do you guys think it is exactly?
I'm currently saving towards an engine swap but this whole taking the bus to my far as hell work place and all really sucks. So I would like to get the car running again.
Any help is appreciated
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Old 04-22-2012, 04:41 AM
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cliffyk
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What you describe are the classic symptoms of a battery with a weak or failed cell--take it out and bring it to a FLAPS for testing...
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:42 AM
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I had done that before. With a new battery too, still made one click and killed all the power again.
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:42 AM
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Is the battery fully charged?
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Old 04-22-2012, 09:04 AM
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Bad connection??
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:03 PM
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Synyster
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Yes I bought it, checked it, put it on and it still failed.
I am pretty positive it's the cables. There's no reason for when I try to start it for it to just click once and kill all the power. I want a sure answer though.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:56 PM
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cliffyk
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Originally Posted by Synyster View Post
Yes I bought it, checked it, put it on and it still failed.
I am pretty positive it's the cables. There's no reason for when I try to start it for it to just click once and kill all the power. I want a sure answer though.
Obviously there is a reason or it would not be doing that.

Further that is exactly what will happen with a low or failing battery, or bad cable connections. If the battery voltage drops below 10.0V, the minimum needed to run the PCM and other processor controlled modules (the instrument cluster, GEM and ABS), while you try to crank the engine, the processors will all shut down and the car will not start,and will appear dead.

It happened to me on a Saturday morning after visiting 2 or 3 stores I stopped at an Ace Hardware for 5 minutes. When I came out my '03 GT did just exactly what you describe--checking the voltage while trying the start the engine I found it was dropping off to less than 9.0V, sure sign of a dead cell.

To nail down the problem:
  • Check the battery terminal connectors, make sure they are clean and tight;

  • Check the voltage across the negative and positive battery connectors, NOT the battery posts, while cranking (or trying to crank) the engine--it should be 10.5V or better, if not the battery is likely bad; have it load tested at an auto-electric shop--NOT a FLAPS--they will also be able to test/verify the generator's operation;

    If the voltage does not change at all, or changes just a small bit (<0.25V) then the starter relay is not being activated--this could be the relay itself or an ignition switch issue. The relay is located in the Battery Junction Box under the hood, you should be able to here it click when the key is turned to START--if it does not then it is defection or not getting power.

  • When it starts, with the engine idling:

    • Measure the voltage between the battery negative post and the negative connector--it should be near 0.0V, if not the negative connector is dirty or improperly connected;

    • Measure the voltage between the battery positive post and the positive connector--it should be near 0.0V, if not the positive connector is dirty or improperly connected;

    • Measure the voltage from the generator body to the negative battery post, it should be near 0.0V--if not there is a bad ground path between the generator body and the battery;

    • Measure the voltage from the generator output terminal to the battery positive post, it should be near 0.0V--if not there is a bad connection between the generator output and the battery;

These simple tests will either find the problem, or rule out the battery, connections, and wiring.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:34 PM
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Okay so today I cut the ends of the battery cable, scrapped and cleaned the terminals, tied the cables back to the terminals and the car actually started again for a second before dying out so good sign is I'm getting power. But now it just clicks once like before but this time I still have power. So is this a bad starter?
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