Suzuki Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
328 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
... 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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Crank the engine up and disconnect the positive terminal from the battery. If the engine keeps running the alternator is ok. Chances are the battery has a shorted cell and thats why it shows a battery drain. The alternator will keep the engine running even with the battery disconnected. If the engine dies your alternator is the problem. This is a quick shade tree mechanic check of the alt. Also if the alt is good the back of the cover(on the alt) where the bearing cover is located will be magnetic while the engine is running. My bet is on the battery.



GIZMO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,230 Posts
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.
The starter motor is a DC brushed motor that when spun by the engine will actually generate electricity. some light vehicles actually use the starter as a dual purpose generator/starter. Once the engine is spining the starter motor, the starter wouldn't be putting much of a draw if any on the battery. Your starter motor bushings would probably be burnt out by now though since it's not designed for continuous running. The noise may be something in the alternator. Good way to see if the starter is running while the engine is running, is to put your hand down there and see if it's hot. It shouldn't be. (try not to burn yourself)

Once the engine reaches a high RPMs the alternator self excites. If the battery light is shutting off at higher RPM's that would indicate that the exciter is not recieving the signal at lower RPM's where it does not self excite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Crank the engine up and disconnect the positive terminal from the battery. If the engine keeps running the alternator is ok. Chances are the battery has a shorted cell and thats why it shows a battery drain. The alternator will keep the engine running even with the battery disconnected. If the engine dies your alternator is the problem. This is a quick shade tree mechanic check of the alt. Also if the alt is good the back of the cover(on the alt) where the bearing cover is located will be magnetic while the engine is running. My bet is on the battery.



GIZMO
ok, three things. #1 the battery is not draining with the key off :) #2 the back cover of the alternator is not magnetic when running. #3 when i disconnect the positive terminal of the battery, the engine shuts off.

so either my alternator is gone, or i have a bad connection somewhere. i want to replace all the connections anyway for good measure, but i think i will take the alternator off and have it tested to be sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Sounds like you made progress toward the problem. One more thing to check is with the ignition in the on posistion check and see if there is 12v present on the small wire on the back of the alt. This is the voltage that turns on the DIODETREE in the alt. This is the heart of the charging system. The 12v must be present for the alt to charge.



GIZMO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
... this would kind of explain why the battery went dead in the short time it took to pump a half tank of gas.
Your battery is NOT discharging in the time it takes to pump gas. I rather think you ARRIVED at the gas station with a VERY weak battery. After pumping gas, you did NOT have enough energy left in your mostly discharged battery to run the starter -- it takes a lot, perhaps a couple of HUNDRED Amperes to engage the starter. Your weak, discharged battery had enough energy to run the ignition, but not the starter.

You should check your alternator. It sounds like it is not charging (it might be as simple as a broken wire or a bad connection). Measure the voltages at the alternator and the battery and you will know for sure. Meanwhile, put the charger on the battery when you are parked. If you had followed the advice you requested, you would already know by now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
i agree, and the battery is on a charger inside my apartment, so it should be ok. pretty sure i am looking at a new alternator. any advice on the best place to buy one?
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top