Battery, solenoid or starter?

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  #1  
Old 03-02-08, 05:59 PM
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Battery, solenoid or starter?

Hi, I have a 1991 Blazer I'm having some problems with.

The truck won't start. The problem appears and sounds like a dead battery. After I tried tostart the truck I measured the battery with a volt metre and there's between 10.5 and 11.75 volts left in the battery. The truck will start when I get a boost/jump from another vehicle. I had the battery replaced last fall so am reasonably confident the battery is not the problem. The charging system is functioning (showing 14 volts when the truck is running at idle).

Could the problem be the solenoid or starter motor?

This has been an ongoing issue. Last fall, I thought the issue might be a voltage drop or drain on the battery. I installed a battery protector to ensure that battery would always have enough juice to start the truck. This seemed to solve the problem but now it's back.

Any insights would be helpful.

Thanks

Phil
 
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  #2  
Old 03-02-08, 06:27 PM
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The fact that truck will start when you get a boost/jump from another vehicle tells us that there was not enough amperage in the truck's battery to turn the engine, meaning the battery is weak. The solenoid and starter motor are functioning reasonably well, as the engine does turn with the aid of a jump from another vehicle. If the vehicle is not run occasionally, the charge will leave the battery eventually.
 
  #3  
Old 03-02-08, 06:44 PM
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10.5 to 11.75 volts on the battery indicates the battery is not fully charged. Either something is draining the battery, the battery has an internal problem preventing it from accepting a charge, or the alternator is not properly charging the battery. Measuring 14 volts when the truck is running is only half of the charging test. I wonder what amperage the alternator is producing.

How frequent does this problem happen? If you put the battery on a trickle charger overnight how long will the truck start before the problem happens again? If you disconnect the negative cable overnight then reconnect it in the morning will it start then?
 
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Old 03-02-08, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for the ideas....

How do you measure the amperage from the alternator? From the battery?

On a 12 volt battery, surely 11.5 volts is enough to start the truck? At this point the battery is not turning the engine over even once.

Disconnecting the battery does not seem to help (this is what the battery protector does). The truck will not start.I boosted the truck last Sunday and let it run for about 90 min. Battery read 12 volts. I disconnected the battery. The truck would not start on Wednesday even though there were 11.75 volts (after attempting to start the truck) left in the battery.

Unfortunately I do not have access to a battery charger to test a slow trickle charge (there's no place to plug a charger in).

thanks
 
  #5  
Old 03-03-08, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by pcourterelle View Post
On a 12 volt battery, surely 11.5 volts is enough to start the truck? At this point the battery is not turning the engine over even once.
That is what I used to think. Just about 1 1/2 weeks ago during a cold snap here, the neighbors van would not hardly even turn over. It has done this every time the temps are way below zero. So this time I decided rather than jump start the vehicle, as it always QUICKLY cranked over just after the jumpers where applied, I tested the posts of the battery first, with my volmeter, and to my surprise, I too got a reading of about 11.5 volts. I was expecting say 8, or something.

Yet, I have tested other batteries that have started cars under 10 volts, and if the meter read correct, this may indicate that the battery was other wise good, but simply wore down some.

Volts is a deceptive gauge of measurement, actually. You can have a pretty poor battery that does not produce the necessary amps, steadily, yet can show the volts are pretty good. You can have some kind of resistance somewheres, even in the battery itself (like from bad cells, or even a loose or corroded cable connection somewhere), where the volts show good, but when it goes through a what in essence would be a resistor or bad connection from the outside or from within), the available AMPS are just not there.

One example of this would be if say your battery was good and at 12 volts, but your big cable from the battery post to the starter had broken or corroded strands (make sure YOURS is not like this!) and only one good wire strand was left (or 2,3 or 4). If you volt-tested even one good strand, it would show 12 volts. But you can bet, your car would not turn over.

If you test your battery up against a new one, where you had them load-tested, you might find that the new one could repeatedly withstand a draw down of current during cranking, yet repeatedly the voltage would automatically restore and be able to crank off that battery, again and again. But on yours, you might get one crank-over out of it, and find that it no longer can do it again; let alone again, again, again, and again, as a new/good battery could.

Someone else here may have more technical information on what I said.
 
  #6  
Old 03-03-08, 08:02 AM
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When you say it is not turning the engine over even once is there any effort at all from the starter? Does it groan but just not have enough energy to turn it over or is there simply no action at all not even a clicking noise? Does it always start if you jump start it?

How often is the truck driven? If the battery is nearly discharged from sitting for long periods of time, the trucks alternator will not fully recharge the battery unless you drive for 12 hours or so because the regulator reduces the alternator output to just over the electrical needs of the truck. That is why I suggested a trickle charger overnight; to ensure the battery is fully charged.

I'm inclined to believe either the battery has an internal problem or is nearly discharged. Even with a battery protector installed the battery will still loose charge over time especially if the truck sets for periods of time followed by only short driving trips.
 
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Old 03-03-08, 08:05 AM
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REMEMBER when your jumping a vehicle with another vehicle your are taking 2 things outta the equation. 1. The battery as already stated, and 2. The battery connections. Make sure the connections are nice and clean and TIGHT.

If you suspect a faulty part why not take it in to Advance or AutoZone and have them test them FREE?
 
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Old 03-03-08, 09:53 AM
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Thanks again.

I'll ask the local garage to test it and apply a trickle charge to the battery.

I take local transit to work every day but use the truck regularly on weekends. I have not had the truck out on a long trip in a while (more than 10 kms).

The battery is new from last September. I had the charging system tested as well last fall and no issues came up.

I've checked the cables and there's no corrosion. All connections have been cleaned and tightened. (I've checked everywhere but the connection to the solenoid, where it's in accessible on the 91 Blazer...you have to remove the starter to see it).
 
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Old 03-03-08, 03:27 PM
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Keep us updated. It's either going to be battery, connection, starter, or - even the engine locking up for some reason.

I can't recall reading in any of yor posts whether or not the engine tried to even click or turn over at ALL when you hit the key to start. If it does not even make a sound, then that opens the door for other things like even an ignition switch, or other not-so-good contact points, relays, etc..
 
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Old 03-05-08, 11:33 PM
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When the local garage load tested the battery they determined it had a dead cell.

This is the second battery within a year that has had a dead cell. I've made an appointment to have the charging system checked out. In the meantime I will take the battery back to the dept store where I bought it...it's still on warranty.

Thanks for all the input

p
 
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Old 03-06-08, 06:14 AM
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All good answers, but why not take it to a parts store and they will check the batt. for free! that will tell if it has a weak cell or not. in my experience, (i replaced mine this year) 12 volts does not mean anything to starting. it is the COLD CRANKING AMPS that count. NEVER hurts to check EVERYTHING when a problem occurs. my son called and wanted me to check his batt.(new). seems his cable connections were dirty. simple huh! check the EASY stuff first.
 
  #12  
Old 03-06-08, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pcourterelle View Post
When the local garage load tested the battery they determined it had a dead cell.

This is the second battery within a year that has had a dead cell. I've made an appointment to have the charging system checked out. In the meantime I will take the battery back to the dept store where I bought it...it's still on warranty.

Thanks for all the input

p
1. Dont buy a walmart/kmart battery for your car.
2. If you can, take the Alternator off the car and have it tested first to see if its OK, if it is then test it on the car and that may reveal a bad wire/connection somewhere.
 
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