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I have a 2002 Toyota four runner that has a parasitic power drain that kills the battery.

Posted on 2014-07-25
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Last Modified: 2014-08-02
I have a 2002 Toyota four runner that has a parasitic power drain that kills the battery.

This is the steps I have taken so far.

1.      Disconnect the battery
2.      Turned off all electronics
3.      Remove negative battery terminal
4.      Clipped one end of a test light to the disconnected negative battery wire
5.      Noticed that the test light is lit
6.      Removed all fuses and relays under the hood and in the cabin one by one but the test light went out
7.      Removed the main heavy gauge wire on side of the alternator that bolts on with a 12 mm nut
8.      The test light goes out at this point
9.      Removed alternator and currently buying a new one
Can you check my logic on this ?

Thanks for all the help !


removed this wire and now the test light goes out
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Question by:NAMEWITHELD12
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by:Korbus
Korbus earned 800 total points
ID: 40219539
The alternator will only generate power when the engine is actually running.  Did you perform these tests with the engine OFF?
If so, with the negative terminal from the battery disconnected there SHOULD be no route for the power to take. So about this test :
>>Clipped one end of a test light to the disconnected negative battery wire
What was the other end attached to?

>>Removed all fuses and relays under the hood and in the cabin one by one but the test light went out
Was it a particular fuse removal that turned the light off, or did it just happened randomly, between fuse removals?

My favorite tool for testing issue like this is a multi-meter: in particular the OHM-METER part.  This will be able to tell you if there is an electrical connection (zero Ohms of resistance) between any two points.  With power on, the VOLT-METER part will help you trace back to the source of the power.  You should be able to get one for around $30.
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by:Michael-Best
Michael-Best earned 800 total points
ID: 40219788
The power drain points to a faulty ignition switch that is not cutting power off or a short somewhere else in the wire loom.
This may be difficult to diagnose on your own so I suggest you seek pro. service.
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by:NAMEWITHELD12
ID: 40220010
thanks for the replys

I made an error on this

 Removed all fuses and relays under the hood and in the cabin one by one but the test light went out

this Should be   Removed all fuses and relays under the hood and in the cabin one by one but the test light NEVER went out

I have replaced the alternator , and I am still getting a very week light when I connect a test light to the negative battery terminal and the negative battery cable after the battery and the negative cable are disconnectedlike this but with a test light
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by:NAMEWITHELD12
ID: 40220019
now the alternator is connected i still get the light but it is very faint  , is this normal ?

I do have a multimeeter but not sure how to use it in this situation to further diagnose the issue

I am going to replace the battery next

I think that there is a small draw , but the battery is old to , so if I can get enough charge and the parasitic draw is small enough maybe it can start after only 12 hours sitting ?

I would like to use the multimeter in place of the test light to come up with a number , but what setting ?


thanks again for all the help!!!! I really appreciate it
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by:NAMEWITHELD12
ID: 40220022
The alternator will only generate power when the engine is actually running.  Did you perform these tests with the engine OFF?

yes OFF
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by:NAMEWITHELD12
ID: 40220222
I think what I have to do it not use the TEST LIGHT but use an MULTIMEETER  to look for AMPS draw , maybe it is acceptable now

"If the ammeter is reading over 25-50 milliamps, something is using too much battery power."



http://www.wikihow.com/Find-a-Parasitic-Battery-Drain
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Expert Comment

by:joinaunion
ID: 40220436
You have to disconnect each fuse one at a time until you see the problem go away.
You may have a open in the relays.
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by:Korbus
Korbus earned 800 total points
ID: 40220568
Here is one way to use the multi-meter:  Connect the two terminal to the same place you had the light-  if you see a VOLTAGE, then you know you are closing a circuit (and a light would go on if you were using that instead of the multi meter).

Some other multi meter tests:  Disconnect both terminal of the battery, and connect instead, the multi-meter to the battery leads.  You should read Zero Volts, and a very high resistance (unit is Ohms).
If you read a LOW resistance, this indicates there is a short of some kind:  (like a floppy wire making the connection, but poorly)
Zero resistance would indicate a stable, well connected short.  You would also get (nearly) zero resistance if you connected the two multi-meter terminals to a single wire.

You can also connect the multi-meter to both terminals of the battery to confirm it has a full voltage. (Not that this would address your issue, but useful.)

One other point that might prove useful:  if you have the negative (or positive) lead disconnected from the battery;  unless you put your multi-meter on the other terminal (or otherwise close the circuit), then the voltage between ANY two POINTS in the circuit, should read ZERO volts.

Based upon the tests you have done, it sounds to me like there is a poorly connected short in the system somewhere.  I would suspect a loose wire, or damaged wire insulation.

Electric Current can be hard to check with the multimeter, because you must use the device itself to close the circuit.  This can only be done easily at the battery terminals where you can easily disconnect them.  I generally use Ohms law to COMPUTE current from voltage and resistance when needed:  V= I * R  (Where 'I' is the current)
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by:NAMEWITHELD12
ID: 40221779
thanks alot for all the advice , I did not know that you could use a multi meter in that way !

MY BIGGEST MISTAKE WAS TO USE A TEST LIGHT AND NOT A MULTIMETER,

THE LIGHT SHOWS A ARBITRARY ON/OFF CONDITION THE MULTIMETER SHOWS NUMBERS !!!!
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by:
Michael-Best earned 800 total points
ID: 40221875
"THE LIGHT SHOWS A ARBITRARY ON/OFF CONDITION THE MULTIMETER SHOWS NUMBERS !!!! "

"I think that there is a small draw , but the battery is old to "

There are 24/7 power drains on modern cars.
( security devices / keyless remote / clock / etc. )

As you have stated:

"I have replaced the alternator , and I am still getting a very week light when I connect a test light to the negative battery terminal and the negative battery cable after the battery and the negative cable are disconnected "

" but the battery is old to "

It seems that replacing the alternator has solved the Parasitic Battery Drain.

Your battery may be too old to keep a good charge, if this is the case then replacement should be the final solution.
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by:dhsindy Sparrow
dhsindy Sparrow earned 400 total points
ID: 40222096
Many auto supply stores (think Auto Zone and Advanced Auto) will do a charge/load test on batteries for free.  If it is the original battery that could be the problem.

Check circuits that don't go through the ignition switch like: brake lights, horn, interior lights, etc. that have a switch that could stick partly closed.  (My dad had a brake light switch that would sometimes not open all the way and the battery run down overnight but was not enough current to turn the lights on.)

Having your charging circuit tested could help determine if it is a drain or charging problem.
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