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If you can't fix it with a hammer . . .  

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Uncle Mush
(@uncle-mush)
Estimable Member

 I've always heard that if you can't fix "it" with a hammer, it must be an electrical problem.   All of the information below is about my 2003 manual transmission OEM spyder that has just under 55k original miles.  Here is what I know:

1.)  Battery in the spyder is 5 years old -- almost to the day that I brought it home from COSTCO.  It is a 5 year battery.

2.) 99% of the time it has a Deltran Battery Tender Plus monitoring/charging.

3.) The garage where the Spyder (a garage queen) is housed gets beastly hot in the summer. 

4.) The OEM battery cable and ground cable terminal brackets are as tight as I can make them but the brackets are still lose enough that I can twist them a little, by hand.  I'll have a seperate question about this later.

5.) Serpentine belt seems to have good tension.

6.) Drove the spyder a little over 400 miles round-trip today to attend the Bay Area End Of Summer MR2 meet in Hayward, California.   Thanks y'all for putting that meet together.  I wish my grandson and I could have stayed longer to visit. 

7.) Car performed great today.   Ran the A/C full-tilt-boogie all day.  Running lights all day.  Headlights at night.   Stereo on.   Etc.

8.)  Stopped and started the engine multiple times during the trip with no problem. No idiot lights on.  I am dependant on idiot lights because, well . . . Okay, let's not go there.

9.)  Drove into my driveway upon my return home and shut the car off so I could open the gate and drive the spyder into the shop. 

10.) Tried to start the spyder back up 2 minutes later and the battery was DOA.  Lights were mega dim (totally bright 2 minutes before)  and there was a whirling/clicking sound, I assume it was coming from the alternator.   Still no idiot lights.

11.)  Hooked the battery tender up to the battery and it came on with a steady yellow light and then changed to blinking alternate yellow the green lights.

12.)  After waiting about a half hour, I tried starting the car and although it seemed to have a weak battery, I was still able to start the spyder and drive it into the garage . . . Even turned the headlights on and they were fine. 

Thoughts on what is wrong?

New battery seems obvious to me.   Anything else?

Back to item four (4.) in my list.   I want to keep OEM positive and negative battery terminal clamps.  They,  (although they are as tight as they can be) have never hugged the battery posts like they should.   Could I wrap copper foil around the posts to shim them so i can snug-up the terminal clamps tight, like they should be?  I've read that shiming was  a no-no because that could cause arcing, but then wouldn't  loose fitting clamps also cause arcing?  I don't see evidence of arcing from the last 5 years.

Thanks,  in advance,  for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. 

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Posted : September 15, 2019 2:02 am
suoiruc
(@suoiruc)
Eminent Member

The Costco batteries in Tucson are 36 months and I had one fail at 35 but they gave me a new one. If your lights go dim and bright in the same time period, then you have a bad connection. Now if they’re bright then go dim and need a charge on the battery to brighten, then most likely the battery is bad. You probably wouldn’t have made it home if your alternator was bad. If you have a voltmeter, you can check it. Look for 12+ volts engine off and 14+ volts engine running.

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Posted : September 15, 2019 6:57 am
haloruler64
(@haloruler64)
Reputable Member

My battery was a good 6+ years old, no clue because I bought the car with it. No date code on it either. I too could start the car a few times in a row before, it would crank a little slow, but it would work. Then one day, nothing. Just clicks. I guess batteries quickly decline like that. I went to Costco and bought two more for two cars and no more problems. My bet is on the battery, their lifespans are like 4-6 years. 

Good to see you at the BBQ, thanks for coming out! 

2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, 2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

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Posted : September 15, 2019 5:59 pm
neomr2
(@neomr2)
Estimable Member
Posted by: @uncle-mush

 ... 

Thoughts on what is wrong?

New battery seems obvious to me.   Anything else?

Back to item four (4.) in my list.   I want to keep OEM positive and negative battery terminal clamps.  They,  (although they are as tight as they can be) have never hugged the battery posts like they should.   Could I wrap copper foil around the posts to shim them so i can snug-up the terminal clamps tight, like they should be?  I've read that shiming was  a no-no because that could cause arcing, but then wouldn't  loose fitting clamps also cause arcing?  I don't see evidence of arcing from the last 5 years.

Thanks,  in advance,  for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. 

You should have the battery load tested to be sure its bad, but only after it has been fully charged.

Replace the battery clamps if they will not tighten completely.

Also bad, dirty, or loose 12VDC and Ground connections are possibilities as well due to your symptoms. 

This post was modified 1 month ago by neomr2

Mono Craft GT-300 with a few upgrades...

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Posted : September 15, 2019 6:05 pm
Uncle Mush
(@uncle-mush)
Estimable Member

 update: i was wrong.   Battery from COSTCO was only supposed to last 3.5 years.  I got 5 years out of it,  so I was money ahead.  Bought a new battery today from COSTCO.   Found out that lead battery terminal shims are readily available from Auto Zone.  Bought those.   Now it's just a matter of finding time to reconnect and test.  After a little more reflection,  I remembered that last time this happened,  it was the same symptom.  Plenty of cranking power one minute and then, instantly, nothing.  That being the case,  i went ahead and bought a new battery and will hope for the best.   Once everything is hooked back up I post the results here. 

Thanks again,  y'all for responding and sharing your wisdom and knowledge.   Y'all rock!

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Posted : September 15, 2019 7:24 pm
Uncle Mush
(@uncle-mush)
Estimable Member

Update.  I put the store-bought shims on the battery terminals and hooked the battery back up to the car.  Started-up just fine.  Everything seems good.  The spyder is back in it's own bay, covered and the battery tender hooked back up.  Cheap-skate that I am, I am pleased that I got an extra 18 months out of the battery I had and truly grateful that the old battery hung-in there until I got home last night when it suddenly/finally decided to give-up the ghost.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Uncle Mush
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Posted : September 15, 2019 11:04 pm
haloruler64
(@haloruler64)
Reputable Member

Same deal with me! My car started struggling to start and I squeezed a whole 11 months out of that long dead battery with a tender and careful driving! It died outside my house blocking one way traffic one day, and that's when I replaced it. 

2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, 2017 Lexus CT200h F Sport

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Posted : September 16, 2019 7:44 am
pwnzor
(@pwnzor)
Eminent Member

I watch my volt meter obsessively.

 

Batteries in all my vehicles get changed out every 2 years on average.  I got stranded by a battery once about 30 years ago.  That was enough for me.

http://zero3nine.com/files/dospwn.gif

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Posted : September 16, 2019 6:30 pm
CSPIDY
(@cspidy)
Trusted Member

UM you need to find an electronic hammer for these types of problems!

This post was modified 4 weeks ago by CSPIDY
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Posted : September 16, 2019 9:16 pm
Uncle Mush
(@uncle-mush)
Estimable Member

Where can I get me one of them?  <grin>

I guess what I really wish for is enough time to peruse the internet so that I could find fun stuff like that!  Retirement beckons, but I don't think it is coming anytime soon for me, so I am dependent on good folks like you to search and find such files to share.  

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Posted : September 16, 2019 10:44 pm
CSPIDY
(@cspidy)
Trusted Member

@uncle-mush

I just googled electronic hammer and woola there ya go

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Posted : September 17, 2019 12:09 am
DesertWanderer
(@desertwanderer)
Estimable Member

@pwnzor

I know how you feel! My Rotrex supercharger on my S2000 exploded in a little town called Borax, CA, and I have planned for the worst and way over-maintained all of my vehicles since then. If it were not for the FABULOUS people of that community I would have really been in trouble!

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Posted : September 17, 2019 12:30 pm
Dave
 Dave
(@dave)
Active Member
Posted by: @uncle-mush

 I've always heard that if you can't fix "it" with a hammer, it must be an electrical problem.   

CeeDap's quote!

Dave

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Posted : September 19, 2019 8:59 pm
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