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1971 GT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please give me thoughts on the best places to start looking .......

Got into the GT a couple of mornings ago. The car was dead. No power at all. I charged the battery all day. It started no problem. Next day - same thing. Charged it up. Next day - same thing. Something is draining the battery but nothing is on except the clock! BTW, the only electrical thing I've touched recently is the new Bosch blue coil I put in last month.

Corey
 

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Opel fan
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Are you sure the battery is dead, a bad ground can act like a dead battery. I had a bad ground and the car would power on ok, but as soon as I turned the ignition switch, the solenoid would click, then nothing, all gauges dead, no power for anything. Usually a dead/bad battery will still power something up. The connections looked good but after I cleaned them and reconnected them my problem went away. Do you have a battery tester? Does your battery charger show how much current the battery is drawing to recharge? When you are connecting the battery, is there an arc/crackling noise when the connection is made to the battery? If the only thing drawing power is the clock, there would not be much arcing/crackling noise happening. A bigger draw makes a bigger arc/crackling noise. Do any wires feel hot to the touch? Any problems with the headlights, turn signals, etc? Has the wiring to the head lights ever been replaced?
 

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Corey,
It just sounds like a bad battery. Once a plate starts to short internally, it might take a charge for a while, and then discharge internally. Try disconnecting it (remove the negative terminal), charge it up and check the voltage (it should be at least 13 volts, preferably 14 to 14.5 volts), and check it after a day or two to see if it held the charge.

HTH
 

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1971 GT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jim Branham said:
Are you sure the battery is dead, a bad ground can act like a dead battery. I had a bad ground and the car would power on ok, but as soon as I turned the ignition switch, the solenoid would click, then nothing, all gauges dead, no power for anything. Usually a dead/bad battery will still power something up. The connections looked good but after I cleaned them and reconnected them my problem went away. Do you have a battery tester? Does your battery charger show how much current the battery is drawing to recharge? When you are connecting the battery, is there an arc/crackling noise when the connection is made to the battery? If the only thing drawing power is the clock, there would not be much arcing/crackling noise happening. A bigger draw makes a bigger arc/crackling noise. Do any wires feel hot to the touch? Any problems with the headlights, turn signals, etc? Has the wiring to the head lights ever been replaced?
Wow - That's alot of questions. Here goes...

The gauges have power, the clock is running etc. When attempting to start the car there is literally nothing - the starter doesn't even click. The gauge on my battery charger is not of much use. I assuming the battery is dead because after I charge it, the car starts and runs fine. When I connect the battery, there is an arc but it's hard to measure as my alarm horn goes off! All of the other systems seem to work ok. I don't think the charging system is up to snuff as I don't have 14v across the battery but I don't think that explains why the battery dies when the car is just sitting. Thanks for the response.
 

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1st - test your battery as Kwilford recommended.
2nd - Check both cable-to-battery post connections. (by checking - I mean take them off, clean them with a battery post cleaner, put them back on)
3rd - Check your main grounds at the starter solenoid. (take them off, sand them down to shiny metal)
4th - with everything hooked up, battery charged, and engine off, key out of the ignition, disconnect the negative battery cable. Slowly touch it to the negative battery post. If it sparks or snaps, you're drawing current somewhere that you should not be.

If you still have the original clock, it's a wind up with an electrical solenoid that draws some current for a second once every day or two - so worry about this as a constant current draw.

At this point pull out a multimeter and connect in-line from the positive battery post to the positive battery cable. If you don't have a meter, go buy one - you're driving an old Opel and you will need it again, and then again some more. If you are drawing any current, you've got a problem. Now you need to isolate the circuit involved.

Start pulling fuses, one at a time. After each fuse is pulled, check your meter to see if you are still pulling amperage from the battery. Once you've pulled a fuse and you find no amperage, that's the faulty circuit. Check for grounding, check the device or switch involved for faulting.
(It's probably the lighting circuit as these are notorious for grounding - see threads on this)

Once you have corrected the faulty circuit, replace all the fuses and test for amperage flow again. This is to make sure you don't have a compound problem here. If you detect amperage, run through the procedure again til you find the other circuit causing problems. Fix it, replace all fuses, test again until you have no amperage flow with all fuses installed.

If this doesn't work, come back here again. We'll have lots more ideas for you.
 

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Here is what I had in my Opel notes. I checked Classic Opels tech files and it wasn't in it. I don't know who the author is, to give credit to. It sounds a lot like what WestCoast Gt wrote. Hth. Jarrell

Arthor unknown
"There is only one way to really track down a battery drain.

1. You need to take a standard "Test Light" that uses a regular 12V bulb (not one that uses an LED).

2. Next you disconnect the (+) Battery Cable, and connect the Clip of the "test light" to the (+) Battery post & connect the Probe end of the "test light" to the
(+) Battery Cable end.

-If you have a Battery Drain, then the Test Light bulb will be illuminated. When the test light bulb is "ON" bright, it indicates that there is a sufficient Current Draw, in the cars system, to drain the battery. These draws can drain a battery from over night to a few days.

-If the Test Light Lamp is "ON" dimly, it usually is a Memory Draw for a stereo or alarm system. These smaller draws will drain a battery in usually 1x month.

-If the Test Light Bulb is not illuminated at all. You do not have an external battery drain, and you may want to have your battery tested for a bad cell, or for internal shorting. (Yes-internal drains are possible.)

If your Test Light lamp bulb is "ON" continue.

3. Next you will want to pull ALL of the cars fuses.

4. Check to see if the Test Lamp light is OFF. Test Lamp light OFF, go to step 4a. Test Lamp light still ON, go to step 5.

4a. Begin to install 1x fuse at a time, until the Test Light illuminates again. Once the Test Lights bulb illuminates again, you have found & isolated the circuit that is causing the battery drain.
4b. Next you will need to refer to the cars wiring diagram to see this circuit controls. You will want to highlight all of the wires on the diagram & disconnect 1x item at a time to determine "which" component in that circuit is draining the Battery. Once the Test Lamp light goes out again, you will have found the failed part.

5. If you have disconnected every fuse & the Test Lights bulb is still ON, you need to try a few more things.

5a. You will want to disconnect the fuse/s for any Aftermarket Stereo components, alarms etc. that are wired directly into the car (that are NOT hooked to the cars stock Fuse Box).

-If none of these disconnected fuses cause the Test Light bulb to stop glowing you will need to disconnect more components.

5b. You will want to Unplug the Voltage regulator harness from the voltage regulator. -Did the Test Light bulb go off, if not go on to 5c.

5c. Disconnect the B+ terminal wire from the back of the alternator.

One of these systems described above can drain a battery. If you did not find the cause of the drain, go over the system again in a day, preferably with a friend who may ask questions that make you think."
 

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West Coast GT said:
If you still have the original clock, it's a wind up with an electrical solenoid that draws some current for a second once every day or two - so worry about this as a constant current draw.
Oops - meant to say, "...so don't worry about this as a constant current draw."
 

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1971 GT
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Lonnie. I appreciate the offer. After reading some of the previous posts, I went into the garage and turned on the markers and they were fairly bright. I put a voltmeter across the battery and it read about 10 volts. Not good but it should be enough to at least get the starter to click. So now I'm thinking the problem might be elsewhere. Got some work to do ..............
 

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10 volts could be your problem. At this voltage, you might not hear the click. Opel starters like full voltage. If they don't get it, then they just sit there. Hook up a battery charger, with a "start" function on the terminals of the battery. If the car starts, then you have a bad battery. You can also take your battery to a parts store and they can put a "load" on it to determine if is going dead. I would go this route before tracing the wires.

Just my 0.02
 

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1971 GT
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636 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
General Battery Question

More general than my previous post on my discharging battery......

If the charging system is not working properly, can this damage a battery? I have noticed for some time that this may be the case. It has caused me to change the alternator and regulator in the past. The voltage across the battery when the car is running is only about 12v. If the RPM's get too low, my stereo will cut out. I have been replacing batteries every couple of years!

Where should the needle on the amp gauge be when the car is running normally?
 

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After you start your car, the amp needle should go positive. Mine goes to about 15 amps right away and then drops to about 7 and slowly goes to 0.

A fully charged battery will be at 0 when the engine is running. The only time it may go negative is at idle and you have a decent load on the electrical system(lights, fan, wipers). As soon as it is off of idle, it should return to the positive side and then return to 0 when the battery is fully charged.

Is it bad for the battery? After a few years of this, yes, but it won't hurt it in the short term.


There are ways to test if the alt. or reg. is bad. Consult your FSM if you have one. Another spot to look at is the wires between the alt. and reg. Replace them!! I've had ones which look good, but were not working. OGTS sells this replacement.

You should have between 13.5-14.0 volts coming directly off of the alt. when running properly.

Sorry to run on but I've been there :)
 

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Two quick and easy checks for a battery that won't hold a charge.

1. Disconnect the battery ground cable. If the battery discharges over the next few days, the battery is obviously bad.

2. When the battery is discharged connect it to a charger. If the battery reaches full charge quicker than normal, the battery is bad. Usually a bad battery will go from drawing 8 amps on an 8 amp charger to 2 amps in a matter of 20 minutes.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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car loses charge as i drove around today

11.6 v at the battery with car running and headlights and fog lights on

..step 2 if i disconnect the battery(car still runs) but voltage drops futher.

step 3- with car running and headlights on,voltage was 12v, when i added the load of the fogs.. the car died...i repaeated the test with the same result.

i have been fighting this problem for 2 years last year. 2 new batteries, 2 new voltage regulators,2 confirmed working alternators.


( i have just been plugging in to a trickle charger everytime after a drive to combat the loss of battery juice...now its worse tho)
 

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Here is something I saved concerning battery discharging. I don't remember where I got it from, or who to give credit to. Sort of long but makes sense. HTH, Jarrell

There is only one way to really track down a battery drain.

1. You need to take a standard "Test Light" that uses a regular 12V bulb (not one that uses an LED).

2. Next you disconnect the (+) Battery Cable, and connect the Clip of the "test light" to the (+) Battery post & connect the Probe end of the "test light" to the
(+) Battery Cable end.

-If you have a Battery Drain, then the Test Light bulb will be illuminated. When the test light bulb is "ON" bright, it indicates that there is a sufficient Current Draw, in the cars system, to drain the battery. These draws can drain a battery from over night to a few days.

-If the Test Light Lamp is "ON" dimly, it usually is a Memory Draw for a stereo or alarm system. These smaller draws will drain a battery in usually 1x month.

-If the Test Light Bulb is not illuminated at all. You do not have an external battery drain, and you may want to have your battery tested for a bad cell, or for internal shorting. (Yes-internal drains are possible.)

If your Test Light lamp bulb is "ON" continue.

3. Next you will want to pull ALL of the cars fuses.
4. Check to see if the Test Lamp light is OFF. Test Lamp light OFF, go to step 4a. Test Lamp light still ON, go to step 5.

4a. Begin to install 1x fuse at a time, until the Test Light illuminates again. Once the Test Lights bulb illuminates again, you have found & isolated the circuit that is causing the battery drain.
4b. Next you will need to refer to the cars wiring diagram to see this circuit controls. You will want to highlight all of the wires on the diagram & disconnect
1x item at a time to determine "which" component in that circuit is draining the Battery. Once the Test Lamp light goes out again, you will have found the failed part.

5. If you have disconnected every fuse & the Test Lights bulb is still ON, you need to try a few more things.
5a. You will want to disconnect the fuse/s for any Aftermarket Stereo components, alarms etc. that are wired directly into the car (that are NOT hooked to the cars stock Fuse Box).

-If none of these disconnected fuses cause the Test Light bulb to stop glowing you will need to disconnect more components.
5b. You will want to Unplug the Voltage regulator harness from the voltage regulator. -Did the Test Light bulb go off, if not go on to 5c.
5c. Disconnect the B+ terminal wire from the back of the alternator.

One of these systems described above can drain a battery. If you did not find the cause of the drain, go over the system again in a day, preferably with a friend who may ask questions that make you think. I traced a weird electrical problem back in 94 with my GT. I went over the same procedure 4 or 5 times. Finally my Dad came out and asked if I have located the problem. When he found I had not yet, he decided to help. After just a few minute (and I had been at it for hours) he asked if I have checked "This" is the circuit. Well.......I had deer in the heads lights look, and realized that I had been skipping this step every single time, and guess what...........That Was the Problem.
 

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Alternator "charge" idiot light

opeldean said:
11.6 v at the battery with car running and headlights and fog lights on

..step 2 if i disconnect the battery(car still runs) but voltage drops futher.

step 3- with car running and headlights on,voltage was 12v, when i added the load of the fogs.. the car died...i repaeated the test with the same result.

i have been fighting this problem for 2 years last year. 2 new batteries, 2 new voltage regulators,2 confirmed working alternators.


( i have just been plugging in to a trickle charger everytime after a drive to combat the loss of battery juice...now its worse tho)
When you turn the ignition key on without starting the engine, does your "charge" idiot light come on? :confused:

This light is connected in series with the alternator/regulator "tickler" lead (D+ - Diodes power lead) and comes "on" (provides 12V to "activate" the alternator/regulator) when the ignition is on. It MUST provide this voltage for the alternator to go into "charge mode", i.e. function properly. It acts exactly like a fuse in this circuit so, if it doesn't turn on with the key, you've got a "blown fuse" and the alternator never goes into "charge mode". :eek:
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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bypass the voltage reg to check alt output

tickler bulb lights.

the problem is voltage is less than 13 at the battery.

i was told by jared and dave to bypass the regulator...with a jumper...

voltage shot up as the alt was putting out.


my second new regulator seems to be the problem...it is unadjustable
 

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Otto's right on the bulb function so now you can work backwards to find the cause. Ohm out the curcuit to ground and end to end to find the fault. you have eliminated the alternator so next is the bulb and wiring. In Diode mode just past ohms a Fluke 80 series will give a noise for a short or continuity. No noise on bulb or exciter curcuit is not a good thing.
 

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Pathologic Opeler
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regulator

so dave, you dont think its the regulator? I think you are right. this is the second new regulator, the prior one behaved similiar.
 

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Electronic voltage regulator - VW Beetle

opeldean said:
so dave, you dont think its the regulator? I think you are right. this is the second new regulator, the prior one behaved similiar.
There is a potted replacement electronic voltage regulator in a chrome case with the same wiring plug (used in a VW Beetle) that you should get. Can't remember the P/N, but got it from NAPA, IMS.
 
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