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Old 06-10-2013, 12:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chasing shorts...

Hello everyone, newb here with a new to me 1994 geo tracker that I'm chasing two seperate electrical shorts in and need some help. The tracker is a U.S. (I think) 4cyl, 5spd manual, 2wd. That about all I know about it lol. I have a short that drains the battery when vehicle is off. I have been using my electrical meter in line with the battery while testing so I don't drain my brand new battery. Place the positive meter wire on the negative cable, and the negative on the negative post to take my readings. It's draining the full 12.8X volts and I chased it to two seperate fuses. From one fuse I found that there is a black box under the driver side dash behind the pedals. If I unplug the green connector when I hook my meter up it pulls 12.8X volts and then slowly drops to 0. with connector hooked up it pulls full 12.8X volts constantly. What is this box? Can it be shorted inside? Thanks and sorry for the long post.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Checking the voltage is not the correct way to chase a drain, you need to measure current (amps/Mamps)... Philip
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I will check that instead soon as I get a chance, thank you. Any idea what that box is or what amps it should be pulling/ why it would be pulling amps at all with key completely off?
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjoker View Post
Hello everyone, newb here with a new to me 1994 geo tracker that I'm chasing two seperate electrical shorts in and need some help. The tracker is a U.S. (I think) 4cyl, 5spd manual, 2wd. That about all I know about it lol. I have a short that drains the battery when vehicle is off. I have been using my electrical meter in line with the battery while testing so I don't drain my brand new battery. Place the positive meter wire on the negative cable, and the negative on the negative post to take my readings. It's draining the full 12.8X volts and I chased it to two seperate fuses. From one fuse I found that there is a black box under the driver side dash behind the pedals. If I unplug the green connector when I hook my meter up it pulls 12.8X volts and then slowly drops to 0. with connector hooked up it pulls full 12.8X volts constantly. What is this box? Can it be shorted inside? Thanks and sorry for the long post.
You make no mention of how long it takes to drain the battery.

Look for a part number on this black box, then google it to give yourself more clues what this box is.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The black box that is affixed to the firewall behind the pedals is the rear wheel anti lock brake computer.
You can try using a test lamp to find the circuit that your drain is on. Presumably you have made sure that there are no accessory lights on when the car is off. If you take a test lamp, key out of the ignition, disconnect the negative terminal to the car's battery, and put one lead from the test lamp on the negative terminal of the battery and one lead on to the battery's negative ground wire that you just disconnected. With a drain, the test light should light up. Now pull each one of your fuses under the dash, one at a time, and check to see what the light does when a fuse is removed. If it dims considerably, or goes out, then you have found your problem circuit.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Bex View Post
The black box that is affixed to the firewall behind the pedals is the rear wheel anti lock brake computer.
You can try using a test lamp to find the circuit that your drain is on. Presumably you have made sure that there are no accessory lights on when the car is off. If you take a test lamp, key out of the ignition, disconnect the negative terminal to the car's battery, and put one lead from the test lamp on the negative terminal of the battery and one lead on to the battery's negative ground wire that you just disconnected. With a drain, the test light should light up. Now pull each one of your fuses under the dash, one at a time, and check to see what the light does when a fuse is removed. If it dims considerably, or goes out, then you have found your problem circuit.
While Bex illustrates a way to track down a problem circuit the inexperienced reader needs to understand that when connecting any lamp in this manner - the lamp will act as fuse fuse and likely will pop immediately because ALL of the current is going thru said lamp. Depending on the current draw some headlights (when connected this way) may also "pop" IF too much current is drawn.

Likewise any ammeter connected this way can also blow its internal fuse for the same reason.

Also keep in mind many of the newer cars have accessories that always draw power from the battery with the key removed from the ignition.
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01 Chevy Tracker 4D, 2.5L auto trans, A/C, ps, 125k, mi. auto locking hubs
----------------------
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95 Tracker 2D Conv. 16v VIN#6 171k mi. 5sp A/C ps
96 Sidekick Sport 4D 1.8L, auto AC 114k mi.
----------------------
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well I got my boxes mixed up. The one that is drawing power is a silver box that I think is the ECM. I was using a test light at first in the fashion Bex described and that's how I found out I had two fuses to pull to stop current from draining battery. The computer is only pulling 1.07 amps when I had the meter on 20mA setting. When I put the other fuse in that I think has a short, my meter jumped up to 13.8.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Which fuses were you testing? The ECU (silver box) runs off the F1 fuse (main relay) which is hot at all times, independent of ignition. Perhaps you should advise more detail about the fuses that you are testing. It is more probable that it is one of the ECU sensors or wiring to it, that has the problem, rather than the ECU itself. Be careful around the ECU - it is a sensitive electronic component....
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Likewise any ammeter connected this way can also blow its internal fuse for the same reason.
If your meter is suffering damage connected in series, you are either using the wrong range/instrument, or need lessons on the use of a MM...

50yrs with a MM and never lost a fuse.. Philip
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanaut20 View Post
If your meter is suffering damage connected in series, you are either using the wrong range/instrument, or need lessons on the use of a MM...

50yrs with a MM and never lost a fuse.. Philip
Neither have I - but then Some meters won't go HIGH enuff to chase a short either.
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----------------------
96 Geo Metro 84 k mi 3cyl 5sp Lsi
01 Chevy Tracker 4D, 2.5L auto trans, A/C, ps, 125k, mi. auto locking hubs
----------------------
Under Repair
95 Tracker 2D Conv. 16v VIN#6 171k mi. 5sp A/C ps
96 Sidekick Sport 4D 1.8L, auto AC 114k mi.
----------------------
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