DieHard Died

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n3tjm

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last time I bought a battery for my car, I decided to buy a good battery because the cheaper batteries have a tendency to last only a couple years. So during a oil change at Sears, I asked them how much they wanted to install a new battery, and they said free, so I said OK, pop this one in. $99 for a Die Hard Gold Battery, which was guaranteed for three years.

Thirty Four months latter

After a nice lunch at Taco Bell, I got into my car and turned the ignition...

Click Click Click Click Click

aww crap. Dead battery. Got out opened the trunk and grabbed my rocket battery and a guy coming out of the taco bell saw me getting the battery out and asked if I needed a jump. SURE. He got the cable out and I showed where to plug them in. Got the car started and drove the mile or so to sears. Thankfully noone was in the drive up bay so I drove right in. Told the deaf guy greeting me that my Die Hard Died. We looked it up, two months left of the garuntee.

Anyway I got called into the shop and they showed what happened. The strap that held the battery in broke and with the vibrations of driving it sawed into the side of the battery and enough Sulfuric Acid leaked out that it rendered the battery useless. The bottom support of the battery tray has long ago rusted out, and now the strap is useless. So the techs wanted to know what to do. I said bungie the new battery in and i'll make a new mount for it tomorrow. Sears did not have any bungies so we settled for nylon cord.

Then we got started installing the new battery. He was working underneath it while I and the other tech was taking a look at some frame repair I need to do. Just after the tech disconnected the negative terminal, the battery fell out. Both I and the other tech instantly caught the battery, probably saving the techs life. :p

Got everything wrapped up, and even though what killed the battery was not the fault of the battery, they honored the warrenty so the only thing I had to pay for was the nylon cord.
 

n3tjm

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So today I went over to my parents house after work to make a new mount for the battery. First we made the bottom bracket which will be used to hold up the plastic tray that the battery rests on. Then we made an attachment point that shared the bolts that held the bumper on the left side. Finally we made the strap that holds the battery in. I went ahead and put the battery in and test fitted the strap. Dad kinda wondered what I was doing and I said I was checking to see if the strap cleared the battery, and he understood. we did not take that in consideration. Sure enough, the strap was about half an inch to short. So I made a new one and it worked perfectly




 

Pantherjon

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Glad they honored the warranty..My life story is usually just the opposite, that the item will work flawlessly thru the warranty period then 2 months later it would die:mad:...Nice work on the new battery tray too!
 

mparker59

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I was just about to post and ask if anybody had any experience with dual battery setups. My 2007 Suburban is so computer and accessory laden that it kills its battery at every launch - many of you have generously jump started me.

For launches I want one of those ultra quiet Honda generators (and a pox on all of you with the loud ones...). Given the generator I could hold the Burb's battery up with a charger run off the gennie. But... the battery died on me in a Yosemite trailhead parking lot this weekend and even if I had the gennie, it would not have been there.

So, I looked at the Burb's wiring once again. It turns out that they laid it out really nicely. There is already a tray for a second battery (nut no factory second battery wiring - I tried). That tray is near the huge fuse block that everything runs off - except the starter which is very near the primary battery and hooked right to it. So, I can stick an integrator (relay that closes when it sees 13.8V or more on input) in the cable from the main battery to the fuse block and connect a second battery to the fuse block and it'll be good. When the engine is running the integrator closes and the alternator charges the second battery. When the engine is off the integrator opens and my zillion accessories only drain the second battery - thus saving the primary for starting.

I can think of only two problems - first, if the accessories really drain the second battery to zero there will be no power to the starter solenoid but it would have to be really, really dead and I could still unhook the second battery and short the integrator and then start the car. Second, the alternator only senses the primary battery. What kinda voltage does the alternator put out when it thinks the battery is fully charged? If it isn't enough to close the integrator, I'll have a problem. I think it has to be OK, there are lots of installations wired this way in cars, boats, and RVs.

Can anybody offer advice? Am I thinking right or is there a problem?

Thanks,

Mike
 

bobkrech

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You're probably killing the battery because you are leaving a door open and the interior lights are on all day in the vehicle, draining the battery.

A.) All vehicles have a dimmer switch that can: 1.) leave the lights on all the time; 2.) dim the lights; and 3.) keep the lights off. Put the dimmer switch in the off position and you should eliminate the problem.

B.) Don't run the car radio for long periods of time with the motor off. The sound systems in some cars draw a lot of current.

C.) Most cars also have a timer to keep the head lights lights on after you leave the car. Reprogram the timer to the minimum on time (typically 30 seconds). Headlights draw a lot of current as do the parking and interior lamps and leaving them on for 60 to 90 seconds each time you leave the car (may be a dozen times a day) takes a far worse toll on the battery lifetime than starting the engine does.

D.) Chevy also had daytime running lights and an auto on headlight system. When you are at the field, make sure the headlight switch is in the off position, not auto.

Putting a second battery in the car is a bad idea unless you have also install a battery isolator. Batteries are rarely balanced. Without an isolator, when the vehicle is off, the lower voltage battery will draw down the higher voltage battery which will shorten the life of both batteries.

Finally if you are running a refrigerator or other electrical accessory in your vehicle off the battery when the engine is off, you should be using a deep discharge battery. The electrodes in starter batteries are not designed to be fully discharged, and if this happens several times, you will damage the battery permanently. If you had to jump your battery more than a handful of times, your starter battery should be replaced as its capacity and lifetime has most likely been compromised.

Bob

PS I believe that Auto Zone 8 YEAR DURALAST GOLD has a better price to performance ratio that the Sears DIE HARD. Their top of the line batteries have a 8 year warranty, 3 year replacement and cost less than a Die Hard. Also when you replace a battery look at the spec sheet for AH, CCA and Reserve Rating (Amp Hour Capacity and Cold Cranking Amps, and 25 Amp Reserve rating.) At battery with a higher Reserve rating (in minutes) and/or a higher AH rating has more capacity, and is will not be as deeply discharged when used so it will last longer. A battery with a higher CCA has more surface area on the electrodes and will start an engine faster than one with a lower CCA rating. This is really important if you have a big V8.
 

gpoehlein

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Another alternative would be to pick up a jump pack and use that for your launches. You can get them for around $40 at either Rural King or Harbor Freight (may be available elsewhere as well, but I've seen them at those two stores). Plug it in at home to charge it and you're good to go for launches.
 

mparker59

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You're probably killing the battery because you are leaving a door open and the interior lights are on all day in the vehicle, draining the battery.

.
There's a switch that disables all interior lighting. It takes longer to kill the battery with the lights disabled, but in a long day at the launch it still happens. I pretty much only use accessories (no fridge, but computer and other rocketry tools) with the engine running. This vehicle has multiple computers, has on-star which keeps the built in cell phone up and ready 24/7, has Nav which reads it's DVD at all hours of the day and night (and don't you believe a word that GM says about it only reading right after you unlock the doors). Do a Google search for "2007 suburban dead battery" and you get 18,700 unique web pages on the subject!

I appreciate your suggestions, but the problem is a defective design and I have to change it.
 

mparker59

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Another alternative would be to pick up a jump pack and use that for your launches. You can get them for around $40 at either Rural King or Harbor Freight (may be available elsewhere as well, but I've seen them at those two stores). Plug it in at home to charge it and you're good to go for launches.
I used a jump pack at a recent launch to power the computer and other electrical needs. But the Suburban kills its battery just being used as a storage locker - open the power lift gate a few times, leave a door open (even with the dome lights disabled), etc and it's dead as can be at the end of the day. I can use the jump pack to restart it, but it all feels a bit cumbersome. The best jump packs that I have seen can supply on the order of 15 or 20 amp-hours. I think I'll do the dual battery thing with a 50 amp-hour Optima yellow top for the accessory side and a red top for the starter battery.

I'm pretty well sold on the ides of going to dual batteries in the Burb. I understand that I have to use an isolator or an integrator (though many diesel trucks have two batteries in simple parallel). Maybe I need to go talk to a car audio specialist or something.
 

jadebox

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I'm pretty well sold on the ides of going to dual batteries in the Burb. I understand that I have to use an isolator or an integrator (though many diesel trucks have two batteries in simple parallel). Maybe I need to go talk to a car audio specialist or something.
Or visit a truck or RV repair place .....

RVs use several batteries for the back half of the vehicle that are charged from the alternator (or generator). They also have a switch you can press to "jump start" the main battery if it dies. A setup like that for your second battery would work well because it would always be charged and available for "emergency" starts of the engine.

-- Roger
 

roadkill

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How bout a manual A/B switch on the negative
leaving only one battery in the circuit at a time...

Kill one, throw the switch and go...

Just a wild idea...
 

RimfireJim

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How bout a manual A/B switch on the negative
leaving only one battery in the circuit at a time...

Kill one, throw the switch and go...

Just a wild idea...
Many fire trucks have a "Boston" or Cole-Hersee switch (named for the manufacturer) that is a Off-A-A&B-B four position heavy-duty rotary switch that is wired in the positive leads from the two batteries. See the left image under "Battery Disconnect Switches" here: https://www.colehersee.com/catalog_top/index.htm No isolation devices on the older models.
 

mparker59

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How bout a manual A/B switch on the negative
leaving only one battery in the circuit at a time...

Kill one, throw the switch and go...

Just a wild idea...
Yup, I had considered that. All marine supply stores sell nice heavy duty a/b/both switches for batteries. Honey, could you get me a battery switch when you go to get the West Systems epoxy..... It turns out that all of the better isolators and integrators and maintainers and such come from marine supply houses too.

I've griped about this problem to a lot of people in the last few days. The parts guys at the GMC dealer gave me drawings and parts lists for the official camper battery mod for this truck. I'm not sure exactly which loads end up on the aux battery vs the main, but if I go to dual batteries I very may well do it with factory parts in hope of preserving some little piece of my warranty.

Meanwhile, several people said that the problem is too severe (especially as I really do try to do all of the power preserving things that Bob mentioned) and that I must just have a bad battery. Normal car batteries can be damaged by being run down tot he point of needing a jump and I've pulled that stunt how many times? So, I just bought an Optima Red Top (almost got the yellow, still not sure I won't switch) and I'll put that in tomorrow and see how the next couple of launches go.

The guy with the white suburban and jumper cables and the long look on his face is me - please be nice to me if nothing else it will improve your karma.

Mike
 

luke strawwalker

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Yup, I had considered that. All marine supply stores sell nice heavy duty a/b/both switches for batteries. Honey, could you get me a battery switch when you go to get the West Systems epoxy..... It turns out that all of the better isolators and integrators and maintainers and such come from marine supply houses too.

I've griped about this problem to a lot of people in the last few days. The parts guys at the GMC dealer gave me drawings and parts lists for the official camper battery mod for this truck. I'm not sure exactly which loads end up on the aux battery vs the main, but if I go to dual batteries I very may well do it with factory parts in hope of preserving some little piece of my warranty.

Meanwhile, several people said that the problem is too severe (especially as I really do try to do all of the power preserving things that Bob mentioned) and that I must just have a bad battery. Normal car batteries can be damaged by being run down tot he point of needing a jump and I've pulled that stunt how many times? So, I just bought an Optima Red Top (almost got the yellow, still not sure I won't switch) and I'll put that in tomorrow and see how the next couple of launches go.

The guy with the white suburban and jumper cables and the long look on his face is me - please be nice to me if nothing else it will improve your karma.

Mike
Before I went to all that trouble, I'd get the battery checked out-- any auto supply can do it now... AutoZone, O'reilly's, NAPA, Advance, you name it.

Running a regular battery (not deep-cycle, as someone said, they're made for it) down repeatedly WILL ruin the battery. IIRC from mechanic's school, we had a chart in one of our books showing how many life cycles are left in a battery versus various rates of discharge per cycle. IIRC that chart showed that at 2% discharge per cycle (typical start) the battery could sustain that for like 14,000 cycles, which is an expected lifetime of 6-7 years. As discharge percentage increases, battery life decreases in opposite proportion. I DO remember that a 100% discharge leads to an expected battery life of ONLY FOUR CYCLES-- in other words, completely kill a battery four times and you can expect it to be junk!

SO, get it tested-- I'll bet you'll find it's toast, or on it's way out. Then, get the biggest battery (CCA, reserve capacity) that you can possibly get to fit in the battery box. I mean physically measure the thing and try to find the highest capacity, biggest battery you can possibly fit in the thing. You CAN go to dual batteries (my Dad's suburban with the 6.4L diesel had dual batteries) but it's just that much more expense and trouble, and it sounds like you might have deeper problems. Unless you're running the radio, interior lights, and other high-current draw stuff like that all day, it should NOT kill your battery that fast. You mentioned a lot of 'equipment'-- did you add this stuff yourself, or have some stereo shop or hop-up shop add a bunch of stuff to your system?? Sounds like somebody may have done a bad job and that's overloading your electric system, or you might have developed a problem that's drawing too much current from the battery (an internal short in the battery will do this too-- the battery 'kills itself'!) If you DO have a deeper problem, you better get it fixed NOW rather than later, because it can easily cause you to drop an alternator or even an ECU, and those are NOT CHEAP!!!

One thing you CAN do is, get a good ammeter with at least 30-40 amps capacity, and after the vehicle is shut down, disconnect one battery terminal and put the ammeter hooked up with large jumper wires between the battery terminal and the cable end. That should tell you how much current draw is on the battery when the system is 'off'. Once you see how much current your drawing with the system 'off', you can start turning off or disconnecting stuff until you figure out where all the current is going and how to reduce the draw to reasonable levels after you shut the thing down, and learn what you can and can't use while the vehicle is shut down. You may have something drawing power straight from the battery through the starter relay or vehicle wiring that SHOULD only be powered with the key in 'accessory' or 'run', and which should be powered down with the key 'off'. If you aren't comfortable with this sort of test, you can always ask a mechanic to check your system for you.

Another possibility is a faulty isolation diode in the alternator, or a faulty regulator or alternator itself either allowing the current to drain off after it's shut down, or causing the alternator to not charge properly or deliver enough current to supply all the load and still charge the battery. Auto parts places can typically check your alternator as well, but usually you have to remove it from the vehicle, which CAN be a big job, depending on the vehicle. Best of all they usually can check the battery and alternator for FREE.

I'd DEFINITELY look deeper into what's causing the problem though, instead of just addressing the symptoms... otherwise you're going to just have the same problems, only with TWO batteries and everything else...

Good luck! OL JR :)
 

CharlaineC

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I have a chevy avalanche and it is a dule batt setup. the main batt is a red optima gelpack. while the secoundary is a depp cell yellow deep draw optima with an icelator and a dribble charger and solar back ups on both batterys. the wireing haris was the worst having to be custom built.
 

Bazookadale

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PS I believe that Auto Zone 8 YEAR DURALAST GOLD has a better price to performance ratio that the Sears DIE HARD. Their top of the line batteries have a 8 year warranty, 3 year replacement and cost less than a Die Hard.
Duralast and Die Hard batteries are both manufactured by Johnson Controls. This does NOT make them identical but IMHO Johnson Controls makes the best auto batteries out there- since a bad experience with Sears I seek out other suppliers.
 

mparker59

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I have a chevy avalanche and it is a dule batt setup. the main batt is a red optima gelpack. while the secoundary is a depp cell yellow deep draw optima with an icelator and a dribble charger and solar back ups on both batterys. the wireing haris was the worst having to be custom built.
Just what I was thinking, where'd ya get that done, RV shop? car audio shop?

TIA

Mike
 

mparker59

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Unless you're running the radio, interior lights, and other high-current draw stuff like that all day, it should NOT kill your battery that fast. You mentioned a lot of 'equipment'-- did you add this stuff yourself, or have some stereo shop or hop-up shop add a bunch of stuff to your system?? Sounds like somebody may have done a bad job and that's overloading your electric system, or you might have developed a problem that's drawing too much current from the battery (an internal short in the battery will do this too-- the battery 'kills itself'!) If you DO have a deeper problem, you better get it fixed NOW rather than later, because it can easily cause you to drop an alternator or even an ECU, and those are NOT CHEAP!!!
It's all factory stuff - it's an LTZ with Nav and DVD and a zillion lights, electric seats, seat heat, blah, blah. I like it that way except for the battery issues. There are a couple of times when I know that it died because I used an inverter to power the laptop or someone watched a DVD with the motor off. But there are several instances where simply being at a launch all day with the interior lighting disabled but TARC kids opening and closing doors frigging CONSTANTLY (nothing I say will make them leave the car alone - guess I could lock it) and it dies over the course of 6 or 7 hours at the launch field. I can start it and let it run for 20 minutes every 2 hours but I'm already on the environmentalists hate list just for owning the damn thing. :blush:

Did I mention that "2007 Suburban dead battery" on Google gets you 18,000 hits? It's a bad design, too much electronics, too much of that stuff on 24/7 (like OnStar) and a crappy undersized battery. It's a great vehicle in every other way - I'll solve the dead battery problem somehow.

Mike
 

sandmantoy

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I agree with luke strawwalker I would find out what is killing your battery if in fact your battery is not toast already. Something has to be draining your battery and I would switch it off or pull the fuse on it or track down the problem. You can use a simple test light to find and lower the drain on the battery. disconnect a battery terminal and place the test light to the terminal you gust disconnected then to the wire you took off of it. If it lights you have a drain. Start pulling fuses to find the drain, once the test light goes out or dims. Pull that or those fuses to eliminate the drain while at a launch. Once you know which fuses to remove you have narrowed it down to the circuit that runs what ever device is causing the drain. Computers should not cause that much of a drain they do not have to use large processors to do there job on a vehicle, they more or less just time switches or relays for sensors.

You can always remove those fuses at a launch to keep your battery charge stable until you get it fixed. There should only be memory for your clocks running and maybe something with Onstar but not likely with the key off.

I used to have my own automotive shop and I have seen all kinds of batteries which by the way are all made at the same place but to there customers specs. Also mostly labels and colors for differences. The place you buy it from sets the service and warranty for your experience. A good battery lasts about 5 years no matter how much money you spend. Depending on the abuse you make it endure. Walmart has the best for the money and you can buy it on one coast and drive to the other and get it replaced without even explaining anything to them. I bet your always closer to a Walmart than a Sears too :D I have seen one of the plants in Arizona the produce automotive batteries and I had always thought they where manufactured at different places until seeing it with my own eyes. I happened to have met someone that worked there and got a little informal tour of some of the plant.
 
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bobkrech

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It's all factory stuff - it's an LTZ with Nav and DVD and a zillion lights, electric seats, seat heat, blah, blah. I like it that way except for the battery issues. There are a couple of times when I know that it died because I used an inverter to power the laptop or someone watched a DVD with the motor off. But there are several instances where simply being at a launch all day with the interior lighting disabled but TARC kids opening and closing doors frigging CONSTANTLY (nothing I say will make them leave the car alone - guess I could lock it) and it dies over the course of 6 or 7 hours at the launch field. I can start it and let it run for 20 minutes every 2 hours but I'm already on the environmentalists hate list just for owning the damn thing. :blush:

Did I mention that "2007 Suburban dead battery" on Google gets you 18,000 hits? It's a bad design, too much electronics, too much of that stuff on 24/7 (like OnStar) and a crappy undersized battery. It's a great vehicle in every other way - I'll solve the dead battery problem somehow.

Mike
Mike

Having been the owner of a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country Limited* with all the bells and whistles, I can say with authority that the OEM batteries in any vehicle with all those electrical options will only last 3-4 years no matter how good you are to them.

Electrically heated power seats, power sliding doors and power-lift gates, and high power sound and DVD systems suck lots of amps and really shorten a battery's life. Inverters really suck the amps and are typically used when the vehicle is not running. Unfortunately you only have to flatten your starter battery 3 or 4 times before is toast (lost most of its AH capacity), so your battery actually died a long time ago.

Unfortunately IMO the Optima battery you purchased won't solve you problem and may make it worse because it's a starter battery. The cylindrical cells of the Optima are designed to increase the max current rating of the battery, not the Amp Hour or reserve current rating, or the depth of discharge which is what you really need. If my data base is correct, your Suburban has at least a 323 cubic inch V8. You need at least 1 amp per cubic inch for starting in warm weather and 2 amps per cubic inch in cold weather to start a motor, so the 600 CCA OEM battery was marginal to begin with. To make up for this the vehicle comes with either a 145 or 160 amp alternator to quickly recharge the battery and power all the electric options, but this only is useful for the electrical accessories when the car is running. Once the motor is off, your OEM battery is hemorrhaging amps if anything is left on which greatly shortens the life of a starter battery. A better option for you is to get the physically biggest and heaviest dual use Marine battery that fits in the battery holder. A dual use marine battery is a starter battery and a deep discharge battery. It generates sufficient peak current to start your motor, but has a greater capacity and can withstand a deeper discharge without damage.

https://www.pacificpowerbatteries.com/aboutbatts/Car%20Battery%20FAQ/carfaq7.html is a pretty good summary of what to look for in a battery.

Bob

*The 18 mph 2001 Chrysler Town and Country Limited was recycled as a Cash For Clunkers trade-in vehicle. I was thrilled to get $4,500 for a vehicle that was worth $2,500 and needed $2,000 of repairs to get a sticker. My new 2009 Chevy HHR got 29+ mpg in combined driving in the first 2,250 miles, and has plenty of room for rockets. It has a 5-speed stick, XM radio, On-Star, A/C, power windows, mirrors, door locks, ABS, traction control, and little else. It doesn't have the vans electric seats, seat heaters and power doors that killed 7 year batteries in 3-4 years, nor any of the expensive options that broke and generated multiple $1,000+ repair bills over the 5+ years I owned the optioned-out van, and it's way more fun to drive.
 

n3tjm

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The 18 mph 2001 Chrysler Town and Country Limited was recycled as a Cash For Clunkers trade-in vehicle.....My new 2009 Chevy HHR got 29+ mpg....
ooooo CMASS got a new shuttle :p

I would of traded my car in but it does not qualify :(. Going do the front breaks soon, which will prob be the last break job I do on it because, seriously, I believe the engine will fall out long before I need those done again ><
 

luke strawwalker

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It's all factory stuff - it's an LTZ with Nav and DVD and a zillion lights, electric seats, seat heat, blah, blah. I like it that way except for the battery issues. There are a couple of times when I know that it died because I used an inverter to power the laptop or someone watched a DVD with the motor off. But there are several instances where simply being at a launch all day with the interior lighting disabled but TARC kids opening and closing doors frigging CONSTANTLY (nothing I say will make them leave the car alone - guess I could lock it) and it dies over the course of 6 or 7 hours at the launch field. I can start it and let it run for 20 minutes every 2 hours but I'm already on the environmentalists hate list just for owning the damn thing. :blush:

Did I mention that "2007 Suburban dead battery" on Google gets you 18,000 hits? It's a bad design, too much electronics, too much of that stuff on 24/7 (like OnStar) and a crappy undersized battery. It's a great vehicle in every other way - I'll solve the dead battery problem somehow.

Mike
You could always get one of those "master switches" to isolate the battery-- I have one that basically disconnects the battery cable from the battery post clamp using a twist knob. Open the hood, turn the knob a bit, and the cable pops out. This could be a real lifesaver if you have kids opening and closing the car all day. It DOES erase your computer trouble codes and radio station presets though, but that's not an issue unless you need maintenance anyway.

They also make a 'blade switch' type setup to achieve the same thing without messing with the cables.

If it were me, I'd get a manual and start popping fuses out on crap that draws from the battery with the vehicle off-- NO WAY would I put up with a car with a bunch of crappy power-everything sucking the battery dry all the time. I hate all that power everything junk anyway-- that's the problem with modern vehicles-- all show and no go...

Good luck! OL JR :)
 
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