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What's draining my battery ?

Discussion in '2002 - 2005 Ford Thunderbird' started by Andy in Florida, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Thanks - I have viewed many "how to" videos and visited numerous websites on the problem - all to no avail except as follows: Yesterday, I used a procedure that is based on a TSB (#05-22-9) that FoMoCo issued in '05 to address this problem. Here is the link: http://www.justanswer.com/ford/1z6zu-battery-lincoln-ls-2000-keeps-dying-already.html
    I was unable to find the actual TSB anywhere online.

    My 'Bird enters the "standby mode" (850mA or less) normally. It does not go into the "power down" mode (35mA or less). The lowest it will go is about 150mA. Pulling fuses to find the excess current draw will not work when attempting to solve a "power down" problem. Doing so causes the electronic modules to "wake up" and then reenter the standby mode. It appears the only way to solve the "power down" problem is use of a tool used by dealer technicians, a New Generation Star tester (see at http://www.oemtools.com/homeproducts/ford.html ). That tool, or its successor (Ford's Integrated Diagnostic System [IDS] - see at same link) is used to test for causes of failure to enter the "power down" mode. Until I have this done, I will use a battery maintainer when the car is to be idle for more than 3 days.

    Fred Hudspeth (AKA "Silver Bird")
    2004 Thunderbird
    Tyler, Tx
     
  2. I store my 2003 tbird a few miles from home. I try to get it out on the road frequently enough, but twice I've found my battery to be dead. I may have found a solution: I turn off the security system with the key when I store it. Turn the key all the way left then right then remove key. Or is it the other way around? The final turn locks it, so whichever way that is. The red light on the dashboard and the one under will not blink so you know you got it right. Have not had that particular problem since, but I rarely let it go more that 4 or 5 weeks without driving it.
     

  3. Thanks for your comments. In my case, it was a defective Optima Red Top battery, despite the battery checking to be fully functional (and less than six months old!). I removed a fully functional "Red Top" from another of my cars and installed it in the Thunderbird and observed for a month or so. 'End of problem for the T'bird. The other car then had the same problem with the battery from the T'bird. 'Bought the battery from Amazon in Q4/2016...Advised Amazon/customer service of the problem and what I had done to diagnose it. They promptly sent a replacement battery, $0.000 . I installed it in the T'bird. 'No recurrence of the problem I described in January with the T'bird over the last three months. Lesson learned: a battery that tests "OK" may not be...

    Fred Hudspeth (AKA "Silver Bird")
    2004 Thunderbird
    Tyler, Tx
     
  4.  
  5. Of any problem, the dead battery has to be the most annoying. My only solution has always been to use a battery tender when not in use. Frustrating problem. I will try some of the suggestions.
     
  6. My 2002 T-Bird is in the shop now while on vacation as it had overheating issues, but have explained that they can't read from the ODB port to the PCM. Further, they explained that the loop has a number more than 10 items that all have to be checked to identify where the short is at as until removed can't pull from PCM/reset code. On the 2002 model, these are on the common loop connection and not home run to the PCM as in newer cars, which is a bad reality for troubleshooting. After 4 hours of troubleshooting they found that there is a short from the radio and once removed they found that they could read from the ODB/PCM and that the thermostat indeed had failed. They are fixing it now and I haven't heard if they are going to be able to hook back the radio, as I would rather not have 8 hours of silence/road noise; but if only issue is I can't pull from ODB I will take that option.

    Not knowing if the short on the CD is the same short in the Radio did you send Hi-Tech the whole unit? Do you remember how much this cost and is it still fixed/pleased with results? I am researching videos now on self removal of radio as I'm a bit of novice when it comes to this.

    I know there are lots of suggestions on replacements, but I am trying to stay "OEM" and less cost overall. I would love a 03-05 T-Bird or newer non OEM model with features/Satellite but I like the OEM look and also don't want to spend all the $ to retrofit and possibly lose car /radio control functions via steering wheel controls, etc.

    Thanks.
     
    communicator likes this.
  7. cdf912

    cdf912 Active Member Lifetime Donor

    When trying to find a parasitic drain, one should never pull fuses. However there is an easier way to find the drain with a Multimeter. You hook the multimeter between the negative post of the battery and the negative terminal wire. The meter will then give you then the amount of draw the car is experiencing. You need to wait at least one hour for everything to power down except of course the problematic issue. Don't open a door or anything as you will wake the car up, so your trunk, hood, and passenger fuse boxes should all be ready to be worked on without disturbing the car. You will need to keep the passenger car door open to reach the interior fuse box so you need to tape the latch closed so the computer thinks the door is closed. Be sure to wait that 1 full hour. You then check each fuse by placing the points of the leads of the meter on top of each fuse. As you go from fuse to fuse the meter will show you if there is any draw. Its tedious but this is how the shops do it. There are plenty of very good videos on YouTube to show you how and it doesn't need to be a TBird. This parasitic draw happens to all brands of cars ever since the need to keep the computers functioning. No modern car is ever really off, they are just sleeping. My parasitic draw was my rearview mirror which I am told the map lights are the problem. Some have said the rear defroster doesnt go to sleep after use.
     
    John Hayman likes this.

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