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Complete (temporary) Electrical Malfunction?

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas' started by Beau02, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Feb 24, 2014 at 6:31 PM
    #1
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    So today I went out to run some errands with my truck after it had been sitting for 4 days.

    I stuck the key into the ignition while the driver's side door was still open and after one 'ding' sound turned the key forward to start the truck. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No lights on the dash, overhead, radio, or anywhere else. There was not a trace of any electrical/electronic presence whatsoever. I couldn't even get the gear shift (auto) to move while pressing the brake pedal because the safety switch wouldn't release.

    I popped the hood and put a multimeter on the battery - 12.44 volts - not the source of the problem.

    I disconnected the positive battery terminal and gave it a minute. After connecting the battery back up I got interior lights. First try the engine wanted to start, but just couldn't. Second try it started, but took a couple of seconds to run smoothly. Once running I gave it a few small revs and they were rough. After about a minute of idle I was able to rev it and all seemed normal.

    I shut it off and restarted it a few times and all was well, so off I went to run errands. No issues after that.

    I don't like not knowing what caused a problem, and this one was like nothing I've ever seen or heard of before. Has anyone ever had this happen or heard of it? What causes it? Was it a sign of things to come?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Feb 24, 2014 at 7:59 PM
    #2
    Pakrat

    Pakrat Well-Known Member

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    Battery connections clean?
     
  3. Feb 24, 2014 at 8:03 PM
    #3
    kbauman92

    kbauman92 Well-Known Member

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    how old is the battery? the battery could still show 12v on the meter but will quickly drop voltage once a load is put on it (learning about batterys in my aviation maintenance program at school) not a expert
     
  4. Feb 24, 2014 at 8:16 PM
    #4
    TacomaJPP

    TacomaJPP To secure peace, is to prepare for war

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    ^^^Agree with both above.
     
  5. Feb 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM
    #5
    Mod

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    Something was drawing juice for 4 days. Any new radio gear, light installs or ? .

    Battery info.
     
  6. Feb 25, 2014 at 3:35 AM
    #6
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    I always get a little bit of corrosion, but clean them regularly. There was a very light layer this time, but not nearly as much as typically builds up before I clean then.

    This seems like the most viable cause. Just throws me off that I did have electrical for a second or so and lost it all when I turned the key to start it?

    It's around 2.5 years old. I don't think this was the issue because after messing around with it a bit and reconnecting the terminal the battery had full strength for starting. The engine stuttered a bit the first try after firing, but it turned over just fine during starting.

    Nothing new, and as mentioned above, I don't think it was due to a low battery charge since after I got it to turn over it had solid cranking power. I even shut the truck off & restarted it a few times to make sure I was safe to leave with it and it had only run for a minute or two - not long enough to add charge to it.

    It's a Sears Die Hard Platinum that I purchased in October of 2012.


    Thanks for the suggestions fellas. If anyone else has something to add please let me know. I'll monitor my truck's behavior and report back if it acts up again.
     
  7. Feb 25, 2014 at 4:04 AM
    #7
    bldegle2

    bldegle2 OldPhart

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    I also use the 'red' sauce liberally on the battery terminals, it basically stops corrosion in its tracks, usually for the life of the battery....

    YMMV
     
  8. Feb 25, 2014 at 4:07 AM
    #8
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    What exactly is that stuff? I've had this issue for the life of my truck through several batteries - I've tried a few different corrosion resistant coatings, but none have worked. Some better than others, but none have eliminated the problem completely.
     
  9. Feb 25, 2014 at 6:02 AM
    #9
    lipster

    lipster Well-Known Member

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    Batteries can act exactly the way you described.
    If it does it again, replace the battery, no matter what it shows for voltage.
    I'm betting the one in your truck is over 3 years old.
     
  10. Feb 25, 2014 at 6:23 AM
    #10
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    As I mentioned above, the battery is about 2.5 years old - I purchased it in October of 2011. I've never heard of a battery doing this? It showed 12.44 volts, but there was no indication at all of the vehicle having power - the lights and gages were completely non-existent, not dim as I'd expect with a failing battery. Is it possible that an issue with a battery could cause it to have voltage, but none get out to the vehicle?

    I understand a battery showing voltage that doesn't have any cranking power, but not being able to get power out to lights/switches/gages is new to me...
     
  11. Feb 25, 2014 at 6:39 AM
    #11
    lipster

    lipster Well-Known Member

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    All I can tell you is that it has happened to me twice in my life, with two different vehicles.
    A battery can show good voltage, and not be able to deliver amperage. Most likely due to internal short(s).

    Thinking back, I had a Chevy pickup that had the battery explode when I turned the key to start the engine. Plastic and acid all over the engine and underside of the hood. Scared the crap out of me. Worked fine until it blew up. Internal short.
     
  12. Feb 27, 2014 at 6:59 AM
    #12
    CleanSC

    CleanSC ASE Certified Master

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    12.44 volts is an undercharged battery.

    Anyway, voltage testing a car battery at resting voltage tells you very little. Have the battery load tested and you'll see it's likely toast with nowhere near the CCA required to still be serviceable.

    As for the start experience you had, some corrosion between the terminals coupled with low voltage and you get nothing.

    You cleaned it up and then it started. It's starting fine now because the car charged it back up from normal running. You still likely have a bad battery and poor connections or bad wiring.

    So!

    1. Have the battery properly load tested by someone with the equipment to do so. Go to Sears, it's their battery and you may get a new one for a lower prorated fee.

    2. Inspect/check all terminals, and the full length of wiring from the terminals to the main body grounds and starter. Check for tell-tale splits or bulges in the insulation of the wire. That's sure-fire corrosion.

    3. Clean any corrosion completely. Your corner store will sell the yellow cans of cleaner (turns pink) and protector (red oil).

    Good luck and report back!

    If you leave it for a few days it will do it again.
     
  13. Feb 27, 2014 at 7:41 AM
    #13
    Mod

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    https://www.google.com/shopping/pro....9&ei=QVkPU626KoW8oQTB4IDABQ&ved=0CIwBEKYrMAM

    Stuff I use made by Noco. Had that can for probably 10yrs. 1/2 gone now. Lid brush for swiping it over exposed cable ends, terminals, posts. Red molasses consistency. A little bit goes a long ways. Color darkens after it cures a bit,,but not completely cured ever. Make sure to lay a rag over the terminals if you are working in the bay after applying it. Push the terminal covers back in place afterwards. Have yet to have corrosion attach to a terminal after application.

    Noco also makes a can of cleaner,,which works good. Grab a can of the Napa stuff for less bucks and same results.
     
  14. Feb 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM
    #14
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    Thanks for the feedback. I'm no expert, so I'm not doubting anyone, these are just my thoughts/questions...

    I hear ya on standing voltage not telling much, but even a low-ish battery should provide a dim interior light, right?

    Also, I didn't question low CCA because after hooking the battery terminal back up it cranked strong and didn't turn over any more times than normal before firing. The engine did struggle a bit to stay running the first try, but turned over great. Also, I shut 'er down for a restart after a very short period of running; I did this to 'test' the battery a little further since a minute or so of running isn't going to provide any appreciable charge from what I understand. I followed that up with a couple more restarts (all subsequent were great) after very short periods of running figuring a start uses more juice than what would be gained after a short run cycle.

    Once the weather warms back up (non-heated shop) I'll definitely be executing steps 2 & 3. I'm letting the truck sit now just for the reason of verifying if the problem will show up again after a few days rest, and if it does, step 1 will then be in the cards.

    I'm often wrong when dealing with auto electrical/electonics, and willing to admit it, it just doesn't seem like a bad battery to me . . . but I have no better explanation which is probably my answer!

    Thanks! I've used a few different things, but not what you mentioned. I'll be picking some shortly.
     
  15. Feb 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM
    #15
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    Quick update.

    I called the folks at Sears to verify the warranty period of my battery and ask about bringing it in for a load test. The guy told me two interesting things; first he said 12.44 volts is exactly what one should expect to see from a fully charged battery tested while resting. He said it should be around 12.4 - 12.6 charged & at rest/non-running. Second, he agreed that if it would crank strongly several times in a row it was likely not a battery issue, but said he'd be happy to load test it, so I'll probably take it over there tomorrow (after letting the truck sit a little to see if I can replicate the problem).

    I then did a little interweb searching and found several small variations in answers, but most basically backed up what Mr. Sears said. I found two popular ranges; 12.0 - 12.5 & 12.4 - 12.6. I put a new battery in another vehicle about 4 or 6 months ago and having just driven the car earlier today I knew the battery should be good & charged. It measured 12.35 volts.

    Unless someone has compelling evidence to the contrary I don't think the battery has low voltage? Again, I'll be testing the truck starting again tomorrow morning & will regardless be taking the battery to Sears for a load test.

    Thanks for the help & suggestions. I'll report back when I have more news.
     
  16. Feb 28, 2014 at 5:30 AM
    #16
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Final update - I hope!. I let my truck sit for three days. Just went out this morning (10-degrees F) to try it out and it cranked strong & fired right up. I guess it was as simple as a corroded connection on the positive battery terminal. I'm really didn't think that was the issue since the corrosion wasn't bad at all (compared to what I normally get before cleaning it), and I had interior light for a second or two before everything went dark. But, for now I'm satisfied that was the problem and will be doing what I can to prevent it from happening again.

    Sears is about 45-minutes away, so for the moment I think I'm going to hold off on taking the battery there to be load tested since there really aren't any lingering issues that would indicate a need.

    Thanks for the help fellas!
     
  17. Feb 28, 2014 at 5:59 AM
    #17
    BamaToy1997

    BamaToy1997 ASE Master Tech Vendor

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    Not sure where you figure that number from. 12.6 volts is a fully charged battery, but you do not start to achieve undercharged level until it drops around .15 volts per cell. That means 11.7 volts. At that point the battery is only capable of about 75% of the CCA rating. Still enough to start a typical car, baring extreme cold weather. My truck sits at around 12.3-12.4 V every day until I start it.

    You are most likely dealing with a poor connection. It's like when you go to jump start a vehicle. You connect the cables, turn on the key, and it LOOKS good, but then you go to crank it and you get nothing, and all the lights go out. How do you fix that? You reconnect the jumper cables and get a better connection. So I would believe that your removal and cleaning of the cables fixed to bad connection issue. As for it starting rough and idling poorly, that is normal for a Toyota after the battery has been disconnected. Do a search and you will find DOZENS of posts talking about how the engine will run rough after a loss of electrical. The ECUs short term memory gets erased, and the computer has to re-learn idle parameters and such.

    As for information on batteries if you are interested: A typical car/truck battery has 6 individual "cells" that are isolated from one another. Each cell is capable of 2.1 volts. So 6 cells in series at 2.1 volts is 12.6 volts. Yes, everyone SAYS 12 volt battery, but TECHNICALLY it is 12.6 volts. Your charging system operates in the 13-15 volt range based on the voltage regulator. The reason for this is that in order to actually bring a battery up TO the 12.6 volt level, you have to have a higher voltage applied than the target voltage. Sadly enough our 1st gen Tacoma trucks have a pretty wimpy alternator, but it does the job for a typical truck.
     
  18. Feb 28, 2014 at 6:04 AM
    #18
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    Thanks for the info!
     
  19. Mar 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM
    #19
    CleanSC

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    Sorry for my tardiness, I can't get this forum to automatically email me on sub'd threads. Anyhow...

    12.44 can be considered undercharged since 12.6 is fully charged. So yes, it's under albeit only slightly, altho it wouldn't cause his issues by itself anyway. Hence why I followed with resting voltage wouldn't tell us much anyway and a proper load test will rule out the battery as a problem. Perhaps I should have been more clear on that one.

    I never use resting voltage as any form of final diagnosis anyway. Only as a direction for further battery testing if necessary.

    Anyway, we are a couple weeks later, what's the verdict? #2 Terminal corrosion? Still symptom-free on this one? All cleared up?
     
  20. Mar 12, 2014 at 3:36 PM
    #20
    Beau02

    Beau02 [OP] Black Taco

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    Lots of small stuff; Grillcraft MX, Bilstein 5100's, Deck Plate Mod w/ K&N air filter, Airaid MIT, braided SS brake lines, Redline Tuning QuickLIFT hood struts, Extang Full-Tilt tonneau cover, fog light mod, gray wire mod, power outlets on-demand, Diff breather ext, additional contours to passenger side from oak tree.
    As I mentioned in post #16 above, after sitting a few days the truck did fine. Has done fine since then as well. As I suspected it wasn't a battery problem, just must have been the little bit of corrosion on the red side.
     
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