1990 suburban battery drain

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  #1  
Old 05-24-06, 08:32 PM
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1990 suburban battery drain

Hi
I have a 1990 GMC suburban/ 454 /2wd-3/4 ton. I have had a recent problem of the battery going dead. I had both the charging system and battery checked and both were in good shape. I did a search here and it was suggested that maybe the ignition switch need to be replaced. I purchased one today, but dang if I can locate the original in the vehicle. I removed the lower panels on the dash beneath the steering column, but couldn't find the switch. Is it located on the top of the column behind the dash? Do I have to completely lower the column to get to it? All I could find under the dash was the headlight dimmer switch. I am going to check the door and glove box switches tonight. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks Brad
 
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Old 05-24-06, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by llih
Hi
I have a 1990 GMC suburban/ 454 /2wd-3/4 ton. I have had a recent problem of the battery going dead. I had both the charging system and battery checked and both were in good shape. I did a search here and it was suggested that maybe the ignition switch need to be replaced. I purchased one today, but dang if I can locate the original in the vehicle. I removed the lower panels on the dash beneath the steering column, but couldn't find the switch. Is it located on the top of the column behind the dash? Do I have to completely lower the column to get to it? All I could find under the dash was the headlight dimmer switch. I am going to check the door and glove box switches tonight. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thanks Brad
Why would ignition switch drain batt ? check your fuse box for an open circuit ( pull fuses one by one , check for spark when replace ).
how old is the battery ? an old battery will just lose its charge over a couple hours or will not retain any charge at all.
Disconnect batt at night and see what happens, go from there.
 
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Old 05-25-06, 06:40 AM
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I read on this forum, that the switch can become worn or defective because it is a multiple point switch. It is not a simple on off, but has other hot points. When worn the switch doesn't totally shut off. The batter is new and I had the whole charging system checked at the auto parts place on their machine. I will try the fuse trick today and get back. Does anyone know where the ignition switch is located?
 
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Old 05-25-06, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by llih
Does anyone know where the ignition switch is located?
the "ignition switch" is where you put the key. did you mean something else ?
 
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Old 05-25-06, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by llih
I read on this forum, that the switch can become worn or defective because it is a multiple point switch. It is not a simple on off, but has other hot points. When worn the switch doesn't totally shut off. The batter is new and I had the whole charging system checked at the auto parts place on their machine. I will try the fuse trick today and get back. Does anyone know where the ignition switch is located?
The ignition switch is probably towards the bottom end of the steering column. It's the one with the heavy gauge wires going to it. It is driven by a linkage from the upper end of the column.
 

Last edited by SLJ2137694; 05-25-06 at 02:02 PM.
  #6  
Old 05-25-06, 12:23 PM
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Thanks I am going to lower the column from the dash and see if I can find it.
Brad
 
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Old 05-25-06, 02:03 PM
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it probably has a draw on the system probably not an ignition switch problem an ampmeter would tell you if you had a draw.
 
  #8  
Old 05-25-06, 07:34 PM
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battery drain

This may sound silly but does your Suburban have under the hood lights or lights that are in hidden places? I once had a car that did the same thing to me twice!. Drove me crazy until I found that the under the hood light was ON!!!!! Couldn't see it in daytime but at night it would show.The second time the trunk on/off/constant switch was on constant. Check those lights in hidden places, glove box door, hidden compartments wherever.
Also, have you added anty electronics to the auto? Cellphone holders w/speakers, power converters for tv's/laptops? Some of these devices will continue to draw power if left on, depending on the vans circuitry.
 
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Old 05-25-06, 07:57 PM
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[QUOTE=Bob M]. Check those lights in hidden places, glove box door, hidden compartments wherever.
QUOTE]
a couple of other thing that I have seen;
brake light that stayed on. Depending on how a car is parked, they can be overlooked.

a cig. lighter that is "stuck" in . although when this happens, you usually know. It gets hot and usually smells.

although it seems like you would notice but I have accidently left the interior light on. When the door is open it's supposed to be on so I ignored it. Only when it was dark and I looked at the car did I realize it.

dirty battery. new battery so I would doubt it but make sure the top is clean and dry.

battery terms in good condition, clean and tight. both ends of battery cables, the same.

The problem with trying to check for a draw is there is a small constant draw when things are working right. ecm's require a small amount of current to maintain memory.


and god forbid, a short in the wiring that is a light draw, not enough to pop a fuse but enough to be a PITA.
 
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Old 05-27-06, 07:47 AM
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HOoboy.
I guess the question is, what's the symptom?
My guess is the battery is dead in the morning.
Hardly any chance it's the ignition switch, which is located at the top of the lower part of the steering column, a small rectanglur black box with heavy gauge wire going to it. Actuated by a metal rod like a coat hanger.
But you need to measure the parasitic draw with an ammeter, and perform isolation procedures. A draw of around 25 milliamps is permissible, anything higher is too much. Yours probly draws around 10 or 11, which keeps your clock and ecm memory. A draw of 250 milliamps would be the equivalent to a 194 bulb, such as a glove box light or something.
 
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