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Old 02-15-2011, 02:54 PM   #1
HeWhoKillz
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electrically dead car

I have a 91 corolla. It will not start. The lights come on fine and everything. When you go to start it, all the lights and everything shuts off and the car makes no attempt to turn over. By wiggling on the cable on the battery, the lights come back on. The car never starts though. At first I thought battery corrosion so I clean the terminals and cables off. Still no start. I was starting to wonder about the positive terminal cable end. Its top post and the end of the cable I replaced years ago. Its one of those 3 dollar replacements they sell. Could this be the problem? I wasn't for certain but if I were to run a meter from the battery to the alternator or starter or maybe even the cable end itself and get 12V while the lights are on, if I do that when the lights shut off and everything dies while trying to start the car, would I still get 12V? Or should I not get the same reading because of the voltage short? IF, again, I say IF the cable end is the problem. Is there anything else I can try? Oh, and the battery was tested good at autozone.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
danielsatur
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Re: electrically dead car

You might need to get a new battery cable, because battery cable corrosion is resistance.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:13 PM   #3
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Re: electrically dead car

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Originally Posted by danielsatur View Post
You might need to get a new battery cable, because battery cable corrosion is resistance.
Is there any way to check the battery cable itself? I know the positive is pretty easy, just goes to the alternator and starter but where does the negative go?
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: electrically dead car

If you replaced the battery terminals, you could probably see a blue/green battery corrosion work itself into the cable. The cable insulator could mask over your problem.
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:50 AM   #5
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Re: electrically dead car

would i see a change in voltage with a meter if i ran it to the alternator and starter?
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:16 AM   #6
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Re: electrically dead car

If you're using a digital multimeter you probably would not see much of a difference in voltage from one end of the cable to the other since the high input impedance of the DMM does not load the circuit. However, under a load you would see a drop in voltage from one end of the cable to the other if it is damaged or has a loose connection.

If you used one of those "temporary" cable ends where the bare cable sits in a cradle then a strap gets bolted down to hold the cable in place, throw that and the cable away and purchase a molded cable for your application. Those ends are only intended for temporary use and offer no protection from the copper cable corroding. If you plan to keep the car, a new cable will be worth it even if it doesn't fix this issue.

If it doesn't fix this issue, then you could have a battery with an internal break that goes open circuit under load until you wiggle the terminal.

-Rod
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:42 PM   #7
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Re: electrically dead car

I finally got out today to mess with it. It seems to be the positive cable. The little fuse box right there on the positive cable. It has a 100amp which is blue. The other two were maybe 50 and 60 but I think the 100 is the problem but I know its got to be close by. I pulled all th.e plastic beneath it down and wiggled on the wires when the car died. Everything came back on and the car started. I went through that process a few times so I guess I either have a break in the wires somewhere or maybe corrosion is down in the wires but they are like heat wrapped or something, extremely tight so there is no way I can get down there to clean them or look at them. I did get the box open from the bottom and where the wires are screwed in didn't look bad at all. I never did see a drop in voltage when the car would try and start and everything died. What else can i do?
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