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Discussion Starter #1
Right, I've got a problem.
My van has started to drain quite quickly when left standing. Half an hour or so to totally dead.

This evening, I thought I'd get the cover off the fusebox and disconnect some none-essential stuff to see if I could start to narrow down the possibilities of a short somewhere, so I was leaning inside the drivers door messing about, and I heard a relay clicking.
I pressed the door light switch and it started intermittently clicking again. One of the relays in the panel above the fuses.

Anyone know what this might be? The ignition was off when it happened, and the battery was basically too flat to get the glow plugs to work. It just clicked rapidly when I turned on the ignition.
Could this be my problem? Is there a known fault with any of the relays inside the drivers door that might be causing the drain? Maybe a sticky relay?

Any help or suggestions that narrow this down would be greatly appreciated - am in the middle of tackling my rust and paintwork, and this has halted progress completely because I can't even move the van about without jumping it. Can't get it in the garage front ways either to tackle the front, now that the rear is done, because I won't be able to get the van going again.

Help.
 

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Hi if you have a multimeter test battery drain by putting meter in series on negative side of battery pull fuses out one by one untill you locate circuit drain is on ,have you checked secondry coolant pump isnt running on and draining battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Aye up Kev.
Thanks for the reply, mate.

Tried to find my multimeter earlier - couldn't. Which was why I decided to just pull a few fuses and see if it made a difference. I don't think the pump is running on, would have heard it.

Will try to find the meter tomorrow. Just been outside now and took the interior lights fuse out, as that was where the clicking seemed to originate - thinking maybe a sticky relay.

When I jumped it off her Landy with that fuse out, it took a lot less time to get enough charge in the battery to start it than it did earlier today, so I'm hoping that's progress. let it tick over a while and it still starts, so will try it before I go to bed and see if it's holding the little charge it's got in it at present.

I'm just hoping it hasn't knackered the battery. The combination of having it off the road, the constant starting and this drain might have killed it. It doesn't seem to be building up much of a charge after 15 minutes of running it standing, but then it could really do with a run out. Having to buy a new battery would do me in budget wise at the minute, with trying to get all the other stuff done to it too. Here's hoping it'll recover.
Van just needs finishing now and to be used on the road. None of this malarky is helping me to get it to that point, though......

Will check it later, and if it starts ok, will try it again in the morning, and maybe try and keep it running for as much of tomorrow as possible to build up some charge. Fingers crossed......
 

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Have it off and give it a good charge. Running it for 20 min will not give it a good charge if its flat. Its your best hope to save it if its flat.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have it off and give it a good charge. Running it for 20 min will not give it a good charge if its flat. Its your best hope to save it if its flat.
Good idea, and sound thinking.
Will tackle it tomorrow.
Thanks for the advice, lads. T:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Anyone know what relay 104 does?
The puzzling thing is that when I've got the drivers door open, if I press the door switch in, relay 104 clicks once. If I take the relay out and press the door switch, then nothing happens so it's defo 104 that's doing it.

I thought 104 (from searching) was a glow plug relay? :confused:
Why would it be clicking when I press the door switch?
 

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Anyone know what relay 104 does?
The puzzling thing is that when I've got the drivers door open, if I press the door switch in, relay 104 clicks once. If I take the relay out and press the door switch, then nothing happens so it's defo 104 that's doing it.

I thought 104 (from searching) was a glow plug relay? :confused:
Why would it be clicking when I press the door switch?
I think you'll find its a pre heater for the glow plugs ie you open the vehicle, it offers an opportunity to pre heat the glow plugs prior to starting the vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think you'll find its a pre heater for the glow plugs ie you open the vehicle, it offers an opportunity to pre heat the glow plugs prior to starting the vehicle.
Really? Didn't know such a thing existed. Thanks for the info T:

I've got the battery on charge as I type. Am going to get it up to voltage and then see if it drops significantly whilst sitting on the garage floor. If it doesn't, I'll get it back on the van and try testing the drain with the ignition off.
I'm leaning towards it being a kaput battery. It's stamped 2004 and I'm sure the standing and repeated starting hasn't done it any good. Plus, we've had a few really, really cold winters.

It's a big Banner 100ah battery, but I suppose it's getting on now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looks like my battery is goosed.
I've had it on charge a couple of hours, and there's only bubbling in four of the six chambers. Anyone know if I'm likely to get the two inactive chambers to do something if I leave it on charge a bit longer? Or, as I suspect, should they all be active from the off?
Advice appreciated, because I need to get my head around ordering up a new battery if it's the case I need one.
 

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Looks like my battery is goosed.
I've had it on charge a couple of hours, and there's only bubbling in four of the six chambers. Anyone know if I'm likely to get the two inactive chambers to do something if I leave it on charge a bit longer? Or, as I suspect, should they all be active from the off?
Advice appreciated, because I need to get my head around ordering up a new battery if it's the case I need one.
You really need to test the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Are all the levels the same?

Being honest, I don't think you've done too bad to have a battery on there for as long as you have and for the peace of mind factor, I'd buy a new one and be done with it, at least you know you'll have a few battery trouble free years ahead of you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You really need to test the specific gravity with a hydrometer. Are all the levels the same?

Being honest, I don't think you've done too bad to have a battery on there for as long as you have and for the peace of mind factor, I'd buy a new one and be done with it, at least you know you'll have a few battery trouble free years ahead of you.
You've lost me with the hydrometer stuff :D

I topped up the levels earlier, before charging. The two chambers that are inactive are the two closest to the negative terminal. The one closest to it was relatively low levelled. Hadn't checked them for a while unfortunately...

All chambers are now filled to the markers. Looks like I'm on a loser :(

I hear what you're saying, mate. It's just that after having the van a few years, I'm currently doing it up to sell it, because of the LEZ changes. I'm in for a lot of dosh already, and although I want the van as tip top as possible before it goes to a new owner, I just really culd have done without the expense of a new battery right at the minute. Like a lot of the stuff I'm doing to it, I probably won't get the cash back when I sell, and I won't personally get the benefit of the new parts.
Typical really that after years of service, the battery picks now to pack in :D

Haven't been able to do anything much to the van either for the last couple of days, because of the starting issue. And running out of time to get it sold now.
Skint, and getting skinter. Need to get creative now with regard to finding the money to finish the rest of the stuff that needs doing.
Basically, I need to order a new battery, and then start getting drunk........


Appreciate your help and advice anyway, Paul. Thanks for taking the time.

Anyone know if the Bosch S range of batteries are any good?
The one I've got now is a 100ah, 740amp, and this one is only 70ah, 640 amp - but it's reasonably priced and marked as suiting my van.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/280870352760?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_1944wt_966

Or anyone know of any other decent deals on batteries?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Should have said too; I checked the voltage in each chamber starting nearest the negative.
First chamber (inactive): Got 0v
Second chamber (seemingly inactive): Got around 2v
Third chamber (active): Got around 4v
And so on until approx 12v at the sixth chamber, the rest all being visually active.

I'm thinking now that the "drain" is just the battery dropping the charge quickly under load of the glow plugs. I'm going to stick it back on the van soon and try it anyway, but suspect it'll just lose the charge without firing up the van (which starts on the first turn usually).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Also, has anyone on here ever tried the method of reconditioning lead-acid batteries with epsom salts?

I read today that it's possible to remove the sulphate layer from the gubbins by refilling with a solution containing the salts, and then trickle charging.
Anyone know if that actually works?
 

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A hydrometer is generally shaped a bit like a large eye dropper. You use it to suck up a sample of the battery acid and test it's specific gravity which shows if each cell is within its range of being suitable or not via kind of floating buoy housed within the main body.

It's difficult to try and explain what one is but I'm sure there will be YouTube clips or websites that demonstrates how to use one properly.

Halfords / Kwik Fit etc and places such as that normally offer free battery tests so it might be with paying them a visit to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
A hydrometer is generally shaped a bit like a large eye dropper. You use it to suck up a sample of the battery acid and test it's specific gravity which shows if each cell is within its range of being suitable or not via kind of floating buoy housed within the main body.

It's difficult to try and explain what one is but I'm sure there will be YouTube clips or websites that demonstrates how to use one properly.

Halfords / Kwik Fit etc and places such as that normally offer free battery tests so it might be with paying them a visit to be sure.
Ah, I see.

She's going away with the kids tomorrow for a few days, and leaving me without the car. I think I'm going to nip out and get some epsom salts in the morning and try the fix. If it doesn't work, I'm going to order a new battery and take a hot bath with the rest of the salts, and with several bottles of lager.
Then I'll spend the time waiting for the battery to arrive, sitting in my underpants with more beer, watching sport on the television........
Then I'll tackle the front end paintwork and bodywork.

That's the plan.
 
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