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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ive had this car for about 6 months and havent had this problem yet. for the last couple months the car has been either dead every day or very week (makes the tick tick noise when i try to start but it will start up after 4 or 5 seconds). well most of the time the reason it was dead was because i had a 6 guage wire ran threw the door so the door wouldnt shut all the way (died because the door open light was on). i fixed that problem but ever since then its gotten worse and worse. about 3 or 4 months ago i put a car audio system in and my mothers husband thinks that could be the reason why its dieing(my brother in law is a mechanic and deals with car audio and he said theres no way it could be my car amp because its remote turn off, so its not using power from the battery unless the car is running). well about a week ago i came home from the store and as soon as i turned my car off it was dead(no lights on, nothing). i hooked up a 12 volt battery charger to it and put it on engine start, i try to start my car and nothing, no tick tick sound or anything, n also no lights came on. any idea what this could be? i unplugged my car system just to prove to my mothers husband that its not the amp. i got my car out of the shop about 3 weeks ago and both passenger side windows dont work at all, also my power lock button doesnt work either. im thinking they could have messed something up because ive never had this problem before(like i said ive only had trouble with the car dieing because of a light that was left on). any ideas what this could be? ive also had the car on trickle charge for over 2 hours and no power at all. if you need any more info just ask
 

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Have you already ruled out the battery? How old is it? Is the charging system working like it should? (The auto parts stores can check the battery and charging system for you).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
nope havent really done anything i just figured id try to find out myself before taking it back to the shop and spending loads of money on it. not sure how old the battery is cuz it was in the car when i bought it but my brother in law says its not to old and he pretty much said its not the battery. but honestly i have no idea. i guess i will have to take it back to the shop
 

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ok so this might help you guys out a little more. car has been on trickle charge this whole time n randomly my car alarm goes off. i go outside and the car starts up fine, no hesitation at all. as soon as i turn the car off it dies again(no door open light or inside lights at all). what is wrong with my car? did the mechanic mess something up?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
you think so? the car honestly was fine electrically until i put that system in. its a huge system (i have a true 2000 watt max amp which stretches across my entire trunk). could that have killed my alternator fast? i dont know alot about cars but i do know a little and the alternator is what ive been thinking this whole time
 

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2000w max means nothing. the real rating is RMS. anyways, yes its very possible the amp could have burnt up your alternator. just remove it and go to autozone and test it. they test it for free.
 

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Basic electrical math, a/k/a Ohm's law:

Watts= Volts x Amps, or Amps = Watts/Volts

So, 2000 Watts/12 Volts = 167 Amps...just to blow your friggen ears out while sitting in the driveway.

Your stock alternator is 100 amps max. And, some of that output is used to actually run the vehicle--ignition, lights, fans, etc.

Guess what the net result is.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
2000w max means nothing. the real rating is RMS. anyways, yes its very possible the amp could have burnt up your alternator. just remove it and go to autozone and test it. they test it for free.
its 1000w rms at 1 ohm. i got this same system this dude has
 

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If the sound system was pulling that much power, it would have blown a fuse long before toasting the alternator. But that's a tanget, I'm still not satisfied that the battery and/or the charging system are working properly.

wswanson, have you put a voltmeter across the battery yet? If not, try this. With the engine off, check the voltage on the battery. If it's not better than 12 volts, your battery is failing or the charging system isn't charging it correctly. Now, start the car. Jump-start it if you have to. Then test the voltage across the battery again. With the engine running, the voltage should be close to 14 volts. (13.8 volts, typically). If it's less, then you know you have a problem with the charging system.

A twist can be that you have good voltage with the engine running but the battery won't hold a charge. Test this by checking the voltage a couple hours after the engine was last running. If the voltage has dropped significantly after the engine was shut off, AND if you had close to 14 volts with the engine running, it's the battery.

I've had a battery so dead that the engine would die seconds after the jumper cables were removed.

These are some simple tests you can do with a voltmeter. But what I would do if it was mine would be to get the car to Autozone like djblackout suggested and let them check it. They can do a simple check of the charging system with the alternator and battery in place, or better yet, you can pull the alternator and let them put it on their testing apparatus and check the alternator by itself. (Autozone doesn't charge anything for this service)

EDIT: I just re-read your original post, what was the car in the shop for? Were they doing anything at all related to the electrical system?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the sound system was pulling that much power, it would have blown a fuse long before toasting the alternator. But that's a tanget, I'm still not satisfied that the battery and/or the charging system are working properly.

wswanson, have you put a voltmeter across the battery yet? If not, try this. With the engine off, check the voltage on the battery. If it's not better than 12 volts, your battery is failing or the charging system isn't charging it correctly. Now, start the car. Jump-start it if you have to. Then test the voltage across the battery again. With the engine running, the voltage should be close to 14 volts. (13.8 volts, typically). If it's less, then you know you have a problem with the charging system.

A twist can be that you have good voltage with the engine running but the battery won't hold a charge. Test this by checking the voltage a couple hours after the engine was last running. If the voltage has dropped significantly after the engine was shut off, AND if you had close to 14 volts with the engine running, it's the battery.

I've had a battery so dead that the engine would die seconds after the jumper cables were removed.

These are some simple tests you can do with a voltmeter. But what I would do if it was mine would be to get the car to Autozone like djblackout suggested and let them check it. They can do a simple check of the charging system with the alternator and battery in place, or better yet, you can pull the alternator and let them put it on their testing apparatus and check the alternator by itself. (Autozone doesn't charge anything for this service)

EDIT: I just re-read your original post, what was the car in the shop for? Were they doing anything at all related to the electrical system?
had to get my power steering fixed and also they put in a new door handle on the drivers side(i know they messed up something with my windows and power locks when they installed it)
 

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No doubt they disconnected something to the power locks and windows when they were in there fixing the door handles, because we know that's exactly when those devices stopped working.

In another post you said everything was fine electrically until you installed the sound system. How is it hooked up? Are you going directly to the battery? When you said you unhooked it to prove to someone that the problem wasn't the sound system, what happened next? Were you able to start the car, and if so, did you have to jump-start it, and after that, did the battery stay charged for a number of days?

Too many questions, I know. Someone else may have some ideas at this point, but before proceeding I'd have to know how healthy the charging system is (including the battery). Can you test it and post up again with the results?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
No doubt they disconnected something to the power locks and windows when they were in there fixing the door handles, because we know that's exactly when those devices stopped working.

In another post you said everything was fine electrically until you installed the sound system. How is it hooked up? Are you going directly to the battery? When you said you unhooked it to prove to someone that the problem wasn't the sound system, what happened next? Were you able to start the car, and if so, did you have to jump-start it, and after that, did the battery stay charged for a number of days?

Too many questions, I know. Someone else may have some ideas at this point, but before proceeding I'd have to know how healthy the charging system is (including the battery). Can you test it and post up again with the results?
the system is still unplugged n will stay that way till i figure out whats wrong with the car. i have a power wire going from the amp directly to the battery(theres a fuse about a foot down the wire from the battery), theres a remote wire from the amp directly to my head unit, ground wire from the amp to the chassy, and my speaker wire from the amp to my subs, i took the power wire out of the amp and also the remote wire. when i unhooked it i put the 12 volt battery charger on(engine start option) and still nothing(this was last night). put the battery charger on trickle charge and about 3 hours later or so my alarm goes off randomly, i go outside n the car starts up fine with no hesitation at all, i leave the car running for about 3 minutes and cut it off again. soon as i cut it off the car is completely dead(no lights or anything came back on and the car wouldnt start either). i left the charger on trickle charge over night and still the car is completely dead 12 hours later. i will go up to the auto place today or tomorrow and post the results back. also i was thinking of upgrading the alternator anyways because i do have a big system, i was also planning on doing the big three upgrade(getting brand new 0 guage battery terminals and running 0 guage wire from the battery)
 

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Good info, thanks. I think the alarm is reacting to voltage changes, causing it to go off.

I'm really curious about something. You've described how you'll start the car after it's been on the charger for a while, and then shut it off, only to find that it's completely dead and won't start up again. Specifically, you said, "soon as i cut it off the car is completely dead (no lights or anything came back on and the car wouldnt start either)". I'm wondering what would happen if, as soon as this happened, you hooked the charger back to the battery posts----would the courtesy lights and dash lights, etc., come back on? If they do, it almost HAS to be the battery, but if they don't, it's a connection somewhere, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ok so i dont think its the battery or alternator. pretty sure its the alarm. its an aftermarket alarm system(the remote looks like a boomerang but not sure wat alarm system it is). when i first got the car i had this problem also. i have to use my remote to deactivate the alarm or my car wont start at all(even if the alarm isnt goin off) well we couldnt find the remote one day so we clipped the alarm wire going to the battery, we found the remote and saudered the wire back together. well i was messin around the the wires and i tugged on the alarm wire n the alarm went off, i turned it off with my remote and the car started just fine, turned the car off and it started right back up again with no hesitation, after a couple more trys the car went dead again so i tugged on the alarm wire, alarm went off then the car started up just fine. this alarm has givin me nothin but trouble since i got the car(remote doesnt even work half the time even though i changed the battery) so is there anyway i can just unhook it? i googled how to do that but i cant find a toggle switch under my dash for the alarm. any ideas?
 

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First, you need a voltmeter. The Harbor Freight $3 one is great. It includes a 10 amp scale that can be used for checking for extra current draw when the car is switched off.

Disconnecting the alarm is a good approach. The GF's Camry had persistent door locking issues until I found the disused alarm box and completely removed it from the system.

My guess is that you have a failed battery, perhaps combined with bad battery cables. The reason it failed is because it spent too long completely discharged, likely caused by something drawing current when the car is off. Getting a new battery will only hide the problem temporarily, until the new battery dies the same way.

A common problem with old Toyota starters is worn out starter contacts. But the symptoms of that failure are that all systems remained fully powered when you try to crank -- the lights don't even dim.

Another problem is that worn alternator brushes results in intermittent, insufficient charging. The brushes are easy to check (remove the rear cover on the alternator, three 8mm head screws, and the brush holder, two #2 Phillips screws), but it's not worth even that small effort unless you have other reasons to suspect a charging problem.
 
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