not enough power to turn engine over


Old 08-31-03, 01:38 PM
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Question not enough power to turn engine over

1991 Ford Taurus 3.8L-Auto Trans.-4Door
Battery does not have enough power to turn over engine, unless I put battery on my charger for a "Quick Charge" - then the engine turns over and starts immediately.-After stopping and starting again once or twice within an hour the battery will not turn engine over unless given a "Jump".
BAD BATTERY???? I took the battery to my local auto parts store-they did an "extensive" test (took half an hour) and declared the battery "Good"????? I am going today to have it tested at (2) other places to be sure.
I have not been driving this vehicle for a few months since this problem started-but- I must move it twice a week, just back and forth across the street because of "Street Cleaning"
The first "few times" I started and just moved it across the street- no problem-then not enough power to turn over engine-put battery on charger- started and moved "twice"- then no power-"charged and moved"- NOW- Must charge before EVERY move - WIRING SHORT ???? - I thought of this-but-after every "Charge and Move" I disconnect the battery cables- still must "Charge" to move next time.
There may be a "SHORT" but since the battery is completely disconnected within a minute of the car being started and moved and the battery having been "Charged" for "Several Hours" just prior to this- I do not think a "short" is the problem ? UNLESS ? there is a "Short" in the STARTER ? which is either draining so much power from the battery with each start-up that the battery must be "Re-Charged" (OR) a "Short" in the starter may allow the starter to work but only with a "Highly Charged" battery ?????

Another thing- that may or may not have anything to do with this problem and may not be a problem at all ? - whenver I "Re-Connect" the battery cables- I connect the positive cable first-THEN-? when I connect the negative cable I get "SPARKS" I do not know if this is "unusual" or if this is a sign of a "Short"???- I have done the same thing on 2 other vehicles that I own and did NOT get any SPARKS ?????

Any Ideas would be greatly Appreciated
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Old 08-31-03, 04:45 PM
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How old is the battery? If it's more than four years old, pitch it for a new one. It might be low on water, once that happens, it's finished.

At the same time, check the condition of your battery cables. Must be tight, clean and free of corrosion.

Start there and tell us where it nets you.
Old 08-31-03, 04:59 PM
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If you have an underhood light, or an open door or trunk lid (with a trunk light) then yes you will get a spark. These items are all a draw on your electrical system and will cause this spark. Nothing to be alarmed about. It does sound like your battery is bad, there is no reason for it to lose charge so quickly after charging if it is not connected.
Old 08-31-03, 05:08 PM
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I agree with Joe, if the battery is 4 or 5 years old it is time for a new one. ...

As for the battery test , the battery needs to be fully charged and LOAD tested with a good AVR tester to see if the battery is able to hold a charge. Personally I don't trust the little silver hand held testers that come from most parts store.

If the battery tests good, and in fact is holding a charge then have the Alternator Output tested, and check the diodes while they are at it. If a diode is bad it will pass current to ground (same as a short).

The spark while you are hooking the battery up could also be a problem depending on the spark, if is a real small spark probably nothing to worry about, but if it is a rather large spark and the key, headlamps, etc. are all OFF, then you could also have a heavy "draw" on the system discharging the battery.
Old 09-01-03, 02:51 AM
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While you're doing these checks, check out the alternator..
It's possible to be on the low end of the scale, and not completely charging the battery after start ups...

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