yesterday my battery went dead all of a sudden. i had been driving all day, no problems starting at all. i stopped for gas, and went to start the engine and got the clicking sound famous to samurai's. i disconnected the cable to the starter and cleaned the connections, but noticed that the cable had some corrosion in it(beneath the sheathing that covers the connector to the starter). after that, i tried again, and the motor turned over, but slowly and still would not start. i got a jump, and the motor started easily. i drove it home, and turned off the motor, and instantly tried to re-start the motor, total silence.
my question is this, if the battery is totally dead, and say its because the alternator isn't charging, how did i manage to make it home with no issues? where was the power for the coil coming from? i am going to replace the cable to the starter, but i am wondering if the alternator is good, or if i have an electrical gremlin. by the way, the battery is brand new(2 weeks tops).
Put the battery on charge right away. Don't let it sit discharged for more than a few hours or you will ruin it for sure.
With the engine running, the alternator and battery voltage should measure over 14V. Measure the voltage at the terminals (not to chassis) -- alternator (+) to alternator case, and battery (+) to (-). If the voltage is much different between the alternator and the battery you likely have a bad connection -- could be either (+) or chassis (ground) connection. Samurais are notorious for flaky grounds.
A good, charged battery should measure over 12.6V after sitting overnight, & before starting.
Even a mostly-discharged battery could easily have enough energy left to run the ignition only, but not to run the lights or start the engine. It needs charging now.
i've got the battery on a trickle charger, hopefully that will keep the battery from ruining. when you say flaky grounds, are you refering to the grounds for the battery and alternator only, or also the grounds for the tail lights, etc.? i had to rewire the tail/brake lights and re-used the grounds i found in the back area of the vehicle. the lights work fine, so i am assuming that those grounds are ok. also, the battery light on the dash lights up when starting the engine, but goes off and i never noticed it coming on during driving, so i am hoping that means that my alternator is ok.
I've seen loose connections and/or corrosion result in a failure to charge the battery. The connection between the alternator and the ignition system can be fine, so the alternator produces voltage, but the connection to the battery is poor so it does not get charged.
This can actually result in a condition where the engine will start, due to the high amperage of starting causing a momentary connection good enough to start, but the connection is then lost and no charging occurs.
'88.5 Samurai JX, mostly stock
ok, got her started again and drove to get the alternator tested. the battery light stayed on the whole time, unless i revved the motor really high, but as soon as i let off the gas, the light comes back on. the tester said "battery drain" and would not go further.
also, i noticed that now, when i turn off the engine, there is a sound like something is winding down. it kinda sounds like when an old motor wont crank, and you turn the key off, and you can hear the starter winding down. at least that what my dad's 1950 studebaker motor does. could my starter be sticking?
also, i am thinking about replacing all the fusible links with circuit breakers.
... i am thinking about replacing all the fusible links with circuit breakers.
That's not going to solve anything. Your fusible link prevents the wiring from catching fire in case of a major short circuit. Keep yours (I've got a spare, although I'm unlikely ever to need it). The Suzuki ran well enough when delivered from the factory. Seems probable that the Suzuki engineers know more about electrical than most owners. Get it back to that condition before making modifications.
As for flaky grounds -- all of them! But start with the most obvious high-current connections first -- the battery post connections, and the battery (-) to engine block connections are those that carry the highest currents. If your starter keeps running, you should be able to quickly diagnose that. An inexpensive multimeter can be very useful. Harbor Freight sells 'em for just a few dollars on sale.
A trickle charger is going to take a VERY long time to recharge a discharged battery. My trickle charger, actually a Harbor Freight "battery maintainer" (#42292), puts out less than ½ Amp. The OEM battery is a Group 51, about 40 Ampere-Hours or so. Since your battery is completey exhausted, you'll want to put that much, plus a finishing charge back into it.
if your battery light was on the whole time then either your alternator or the wiring from your alternator to the ignition is damaged or shorted. If the battery holds a charge while the vehicle is off but doesn't hold a charge when it's running then the alternator is not charging it and your vehicle is draining the battery. It could be one or more of several problems. the voltage regulator, the signal wire for the exciter, the rectifier... see about getting the alternator tested, it's easy to remove (3 bolts), and they can put it on a test bench at autozone for you free of charge.
i think i will take the alternator to get tested, and replace all the cables and connectors between the battery and alternator. again, when i revved the engine really high, the battery light would go off, but as soon as i let off the accelerator, it immediately came back on. also i still think the starter is dragging or something because of the sound when i turn off the engine. maybe the ignition switch isn't fully disengaging the starter and therefore the starter is constantly pulling from the battery. this would kind of explain why the battery went dead in the short time it took to pump a half tank of gas.