Battery problem?

Started by Billharrison, July 04, 2020, 05:25:32 PM

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Billharrison

1959 Cadillac that runs great once started. I put anew battery in the car last fall when I had continuing problems getting the cart to start without a jump. Had the problem again today after using the car as recently as Thursday. I drove the car for a long time this morning in an effort to sufficiently charge battery. I even went back to the store where I bought the battery and when tested  it read need charging but battery life good. Two hours later after sitting it’s dead again. Advice please.
1959 Cadillac Series 62 Flat Top
1964 Cadillac Eldorado
1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

TJ Hopland

I wonder if you have a regulator problem that is causing your system not to charge and is sticking on also causing a drain?

Do you have a battery charger?   Do you have a volt meter?   If you have those tools I would disconnect it from the car and get it charged.  After its charged I would start it up and check voltage at the battery and see if there are signs that its charging,  I would expect the voltage to be at least 13.

People that know more about the 50's will have to give you specifics to check as far as wire and device locations and specific procedures. 

Volt meter and small chargers can be had pretty cheap these days from many stores.   A small charger will work on any battery just takes longer if its really small.    Under 5 amps will take a full day to charge,  15 most of a day,  30 you are into hours.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

35-709

Yes, sounds like you have a constant drain somewhere, bad VR, glove box light staying on, trunk light staying on, etc., etc.
1935 Cadillac Sedan resto-mod "Big Red"
1973 Cadillac Caribou - Sold - but still in the family
1950 Jaguar Mark V Saloon resto-mod - Sold
1942 Cadillac 6269 - Sold
1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
1935 Glenn Pray - Auburn Boattail Speedster, Gen. 2

savemy67

Hello Bill,

You may have a combination of minor troubles adding up to a big headache.

"...I put anew battery in the car last fall when I had continuing problems getting the cart to start without a jump..."

Needing a jump start, and a new battery to reliably start the car would indicate to me there is resistance in the starting circuit - corroded terminals, dirty grounds, bad battery cables, maybe even the starter needs attention.

"...I drove the car for a long time this morning in an effort to sufficiently charge battery. I even went back to the store where I bought the battery and when tested  it read need charging but battery life good. Two hours later after sitting it’s dead again..."

Since your battery is relatively new it should be able to recover from a discharge, as the test at the store indicated.  If the battery is relatively healthy, your long drive should have charged the battery enough to start the car after a two hour period (assuming you were not using all the acessories at the same time, or at all).  This condition would implicate the charging circuit.  The generator and or the voltage regulator may be malfunctioning.  Or, the wiring to these devices needs to be checked for loose, corroded, or dirty connections.

As both TJ and Geoff posted, you could have a parasitic drain.  A new battery can recover from such if the charging circuit is in proper order.  If the battery is new or old, and the charging circuit is not putting out the correct voltage, the battery will be drained enough to prevent the car from starting.

Your car may have any one of these issues, or a combination.  None is terribly difficult to resolve, but they can be time consuming (cleaning the ground connections under the car, pulling fuses for each circuit to check for a parasitic draw, checking the output of the generator, etc.).

I suggest that before any parts are swapped out or rebuilt, that all wiring and connections be inspected, and any deficiencies corrected.  This would need to be done regardless in order to obtain a proper diagnosis.

Respectfully submitted,

Christopher Winter
Christopher Winter
1967 Sedan DeVille hardtop

Billharrison

Thanks all, god input. I have arranged to have the car picked up by Penn Dutch for other repairs but need to provide more guidance on the starting issue.
1959 Cadillac Series 62 Flat Top
1964 Cadillac Eldorado
1966 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham

76eldo

No doubt they will diagnose it quickly. It’s a simple system and they are very qualified to repair this.
On my 60 the courtesy light on the back of the front seat was staying on which was a small drain but completely killed the battery after a day or two. If your car has one if these lights check it because it’s not obvious that it’s on during the day.
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443
I prefer email's not PM's rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Conv with Factory Tri Power
1970 DeVille Conv
1970 Eldo
1970 Caribu (?) "The Cadmino"
1973 Eldorado Conv Pace Car
1976 Eldorado Conv
1980 Eldorado H & E Conv
1993 Allante with Hardtop (X2)
2008 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 XT
1956 Thunderbird
1966 Olds Toronado

TJ Hopland

I only mention the voltage regulator because I just helped a friend remote diagnose similar symptoms on an old 6v military engine.   It wasn't charging and he said he could see a spark when he made the connections to the regulator even with the key off so something was wrong internally that was causing both the draw and lack of charge.   Luckily he had more than one machine so he was able to swap and compare. 

I don't know how common of a failure mode this is but it apparently can happen.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Jeff Rose CLC #28373

Simple test would be to disconnect the battery and then reconnect it. Does it spark? If so then you have a draw. If not then look at the charging circuit. We just went thru this with our 55 and it was the regulator. Good luck.
Jeff
Jeff Rosansky
CLC #28373
1970 Coupe DeVille (Big Red)
1955 Series 62 (Baby Blue)
Dad's new 1979 Coupe DeVille

Dan LeBlanc

Remember - generators DO NOT like charging a dead battery.  It is there merely to top up the battery and supply the electrical needs of the car while in operation.  It's not great on alternators also, but they're a little more forgiving.
Dan LeBlanc
1977 Lincoln Continental Town Car

The Tassie Devil(le)

I thought Generators were good at charging batteries, but Alternators need a voltage to excite the thing before it will apply a charging voltage.

Bruce. >:D
'72 Eldorado Convertible (LHD)
'70 Ranchero Squire (RHD)
'74 Chris Craft Gull Wing (SH)
'02 VX Series II Holden Commodore SS Sedan
(Past President Modified Chapter)

Past Cars of significance - to me
1935 Ford 3 Window Coupe
1936 Ford 5 Window Coupe
1937 Chevrolet Sports Coupe
1955 Chevrolet Convertible
1959 Ford Fairlane Ranch Wagon
1960 Cadillac CDV
1972 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

TJ Hopland

You can have a self exciting alternator same as you can a generator.   Its mostly in the design of the regulator and cars with alternators usually don't use that design.   Both can be designed so the residual magnetism once its spinning is enough to trigger the regulator to turn on which will then send that power to the field which will eventually ramp up to full output.     This is why generators need to be polarized when new or have been sitting a long time.  What you are doing during the process is magnetizing part of the generator so it will generate some power without the field coils being powered by the regulator. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason