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Eldorado's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
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flakey battery when cold?

I've experienced a problem last winter, and it's back this winter.
When the weather gets cold (sub zero), I find that my battery will not hold a charge. Even if hooked up to a trickle charger...
I can jump the car, and start it that way... and it's typically fine for the day, but will be dead again by the next day...

I can go all year and it's fine, but once the weather dips below zero, I get this problem...

any ideas? No amount of testing of my battery shows that it's bad.. I've take it to 4 different places to get tested on different machines, and they always tell me the same thing... it's in perfect working condition.

it's just a motomaster 72...
product id is 10-5857

600 CCA
720 CA
and a 95 (or 90, not sure which) minute reserve time, whatever that means..

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Kyle

2008 Mini Cooper // '83 Porsche 944 // '01 Mazda Protege [sold] //
"Never break more than you fix!" - SoCal Driver
Old 12-03-2007, 10:11 AM
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I've been fighting this problem for years. The problem is that the battery is on the other side of the firewall and never gets any heat. From what I've learned, it seems that a battery will freeze when it's dead. So as the cells drain and don't get heat, they freeze. My solution is to get a Canadian tire battery blanket and heat the battery on cold days.
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Old 12-03-2007, 11:03 AM
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smart justin... i'll do just that... thanks! never thought a battery could actually freeze.. didn't really give that any thought...
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Kyle

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Old 12-03-2007, 11:17 AM
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excellent...
so far it's working like a charm.. my battery is nice and warm, and the charger is reading 100%... looks like that was just the ticket...
I recommend one of these to ANYBODY who has trouble with bad cold weather starts due to a discharged battery... when i go to start it tomorrow, I'll let you know if I think differently..
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:48 PM
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you need to find out why the batt is discharging and make sure it's fully charged

i grew up in colorado and dealt with winters to -25, yours may be more severe but a fully charged batt and starting on the 1st attempt is a must in cold wx.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:24 AM
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The blanket absolutely did the trick... started up better than ever this morning... thanks for the great idea..
For $22 or whatever it cost, it's a great idea to keep that battery warm. Takes a while to warm up, but once it does it's fantastic.
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Kyle

2008 Mini Cooper // '83 Porsche 944 // '01 Mazda Protege [sold] //
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:00 PM
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Your CCA rating is TOO LOW (and wrong), according to the battery I found in my 944... =)


Freezing batteries suck too... also heating it gives you more cranking amps...
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:18 PM
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Glad it worked out for you

You guys are getting a taste of winter just like us out west.
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Old 12-04-2007, 01:48 PM
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the battery is made for an 03 mustang... if it has the CCA's to crank over a mustang, it'd do our car no problem.

the problem wasn't that it's CCA's were too low... it wasn't holding a charge... i'd charge it over night and it'd have 6 or 7 volts in the morning... the blanket cured that problem... yay!
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldorado View Post
the battery is made for an 03 mustang... if it has the CCA's to crank over a mustang, it'd do our car no problem.

the problem wasn't that it's CCA's were too low... it wasn't holding a charge... i'd charge it over night and it'd have 6 or 7 volts in the morning... the blanket cured that problem... yay!
OK, I've got to call BS on this one. If your battery really is going from fully charged to 6 or 7 volts overnight then you have one or more problems that a blanket is not going to fix. Either the battery is toast or your car is drawing some amps when it's off. Or both.

I used to use a heater plate or silicon heater pad or a battery blanket on my batteries during cold weather (below -20F) but I quit doing it because it can cause the water to boil out of your battery if you over use it.

Normal "good" voltage on a battery is what, a bit over 13 volts? If it's down to 10 volts it's too low to start most cars. If it's down to 6 or 7 volts repeatedly it's probably a goner.
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldorado View Post
the battery is made for an 03 mustang... if it has the CCA's to crank over a mustang, it'd do our car no problem.

the problem wasn't that it's CCA's were too low... it wasn't holding a charge... i'd charge it over night and it'd have 6 or 7 volts in the morning... the blanket cured that problem... yay!
Sorry, that's the wrong logic. The Porsche CCA I found in my car (Now if I have the wrong battery and it's out of spec I apologize) has a WHOPPING 700CCA... I think 800 regular. That's more than/on par with my 2000 Monte Carlo SS (3.8 V6)...
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Old 12-06-2007, 12:26 PM
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the bigger the engine, the more CCA's you need. that's just plain logic... the more 'oomph' you need to spin the starter to make the engine go 'round...

push starting a 944 is insanely simple... try push starting that 3.8 v6 monte carlo - I'm willing to bet that you need to get it going quite a bit faster for the engine to actually turn over..

my old battery that I replaced 2 years ago had 550cca's and in my first winter, I had absolutely no problem starting the car. ever. It had to be replaced because it was too tall.


So i'll repeat my problems and findings again.

- I'd put my charger on at night when weather would start to get cold.
- When i woke up in the morning, charger would read somewhere around 13.5V and 100%.
- I'd take the -'ve clamp off of the ground on the car and immediately put the clamp back on, and the battery would read somewhere in the 80% area... and drop like a rock.
- It would do this whenever it got really cold. say -10C or so. The car would obviously not start, and need to be boosted.
- Ever since I bought the battery warmer blanket, the car starts on the 2nd or 3rd crank - every time... no matter how long it sits. I would *almost* agree that it's a CCA problem, but the fact of the matter is, it wasn't the amps that were dropping (although i'm not sure about that) - it was the volts... considerably... and immediately.

this illustrates to me that there was a problem with the battery holding a charge when cold and sitting for 10 hours or so over night..

and the idea that the warmer blanket would cause a battery to boil is just plain crazy. it's not like I'm putting it on a grill or something... it just supplies 20 to 30 C degrees (my guestimation after feeling it the other day).. Now, I dont know what temp water boils at up in Alaska, but here in Canada we like to set our water to boil at 100C (or 212F for you up there...)
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Last edited by Eldorado; 12-06-2007 at 01:57 PM..
Old 12-06-2007, 01:50 PM
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Ok, just trying to help out - don't want to see you stranded!

I really think there is a problem and the blanket is just a band aid.

"charger would read somewhere around 13.5V " usually a charger reads in amps? not volts? you probably have a volt meter on your charger? or a separate volt meter. Note that the voltage reading just after charging is probably showing the "surface charge" and does not mean that the battery has a full deep charge.

"- I'd take the -'ve clamp off of the ground on the car and immediately put the clamp back on, and the battery would read somewhere in the 80% area... and drop like a rock." I think you're saying that the voltage is much lower after a short time - this is another indication that the first reading was from the surface charge and the battery was not really charged. Probably a bad battery. Could be one of the cells going bad.

The car starts fine with a jump. Probably a bad battery - possibly due to a bad charging system or overnight draindown.

To look for a unwanted amp draw pull the battery cable off and check for amp draw in series, between the cable and battery post. Use a meter or a test light. If there is some amp draw with the key off you can try pulling one fuse at a time to find the bad circuit or device.

Once a battery has been repeated drawn down to low voltage it may never be good again - sometimes you can save them and sometimes not.

Battery heaters - Your battery blanket may not get hot enough but some battery heaters do get plenty hot to boil out a battery over time.


You said you've taken your battery to 4 different places to get it tested!? It is best to fully charge it, then take it out and wait a day to discount the surface charge or vehicle drain, then have it load tested. If it checks out good after that then we have a real mystery on our hands.
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Old 12-06-2007, 03:01 PM
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I appreciate the concern about me getting stranded..

and the way you explain about pulling the battery, I have. after letting it sit overnight, I've taken it to 3 different canadian tire stores (auto parts stores) to get tested, and one of the places hooked it up to what they called the "big boy", which does a more in depth test... every test that's ever been done say it's ok.

there's no drain at all in the warmer months, say march to november... If I let it sit for a couple weeks then it wont start because the battery will be dead, so there's a slow draw there somewhere.. but not enough to warrant concern considering it's my daily driver..

what you say about a 'surface charge' makes complete sense...
except in the warmer months, i can remove the battery charger clamp and reapply it and it will remain at 100%

and yes, my battery charger reads in volts, not amps... and can switch to a percentage reading too...
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2008 Mini Cooper // '83 Porsche 944 // '01 Mazda Protege [sold] //
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:06 AM
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Have you pulled the Alternator to have it tested?

Would a battery from an '03 Mustang be at the end of it's life yet?

What is your daily driving like? City/highway/combo?
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:51 AM
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daily driving would be combo of about 20km/day total...
with the occasional 200+km round trip to see the girlfriend.

alternator i have not tested, but the problem isn't that it doesn't charge the battery, the problem is that the battery doesn't hold a charge when cold...
that, and I can drive all year on the car with absolutely no problems, except when it gets cold for the winter months... and that's constant.. happens every year..
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:54 PM
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i mentioned it before, something is pulling it down. have you done the fuse, excessive discharge test at clarks?

i had a bad door switch. it tested and looked good but replacing it eliminated the discharge.
the dome light should go on/off in 1 of the 3 positions as you open/close the door and could be either or both sides.
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"may the force be with you"

Last edited by bearone2; 12-07-2007 at 08:51 PM..
Old 12-07-2007, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearone2 View Post
i mentioned it before, something is pulling it down. have you done the fuse, excessive discharge test at clarks?

i had a bad door switch. it tested and looked good but replacing it eliminated the discharge.
the dome light should go on/off in 1 of the 3 positions as you open/close the door and could be either or both sides.
You probably have a small draw on the car. It becomes pronounced in the winter months.

The battery warmer worked because as the voltage on the battery drops (specific gravity changes). The lower the voltage the easier the battery will want to freeze.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldorado View Post
daily driving would be combo of about 20km/day total...
with the occasional 200+km round trip to see the girlfriend.

alternator i have not tested, but the problem isn't that it doesn't charge the battery, the problem is that the battery doesn't hold a charge when cold...
that, and I can drive all year on the car with absolutely no problems, except when it gets cold for the winter months... and that's constant.. happens every year..

Is it a true '83 that has none of the ABS/electrical gizmos, etc.?
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:45 AM
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it has no ABS, but it does have a factory alarm (works flawlessly).. door switch also works flawlessly...

in the summer months, I can hook my charger up to the car after a couple of days of not driving and still read above 12V with car off (not charging)... or anywhere from 95-100% charge..

i know... this is weird..

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Old 12-08-2007, 04:55 PM
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