Dead battery? Or is there any hope?
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This is a discussion on Dead battery? Or is there any hope? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Alright, so I went to change the map on my 2003 WRX today to an economy map. I knew something ...

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    Dead battery? Or is there any hope?

    Alright, so I went to change the map on my 2003 WRX today to an economy map. I knew something was up when the key fob wouldn't work, and I had to use the key itself to unlock the door. I got in the car, put the key in the ignition, and noticed that not even the gauges worked. It was completely dead, no windshield wipers, cd player, nothing. I looked around to see if I had left something on, and sure enough, I had left the map/reading lights on. The bad news is that the last time that I had driven the car was probably a couple weeks ago. So I jump-started the Subaru with my Xterra. As soon as I had the cables hooked up, all the accessories worked. I let it charge for a couple minutes without starting the Subaru. I started the Subaru and it idled fine for about 30 seconds, then RPMs would fluctuate and it would idle very rough. I cut the engine off and let it charge (assuming that the battery didn't have enough of a charge yet) for another 8 minutes or so. I got back in and started the car again, and it did the same thing, idled rough.

    I figured that the rough idle might have been caused from the fact that my Accessport reflash would have been wiped out since the battery died, and since I have aftermarket turbo/injectors. I unplugged the cables and the car would not start. I still seemed to have full accessory power, windshield wipers/cd player and what not.

    So, do you think I may need to let it charge for a really long time off of my Xterra before it will be able to idle okay?

    What is causing the rough idling? I installed my AP reflash right after I installed my 565cc injectors, I cannot remember if my car idled rough before I had the reflash or not. I know that some tunes can make your car idle rough, but since my ecu had been wiped out, wouldn't that mean that I am operating on stock ECU parameters?

    Is there any hope for this battery? Or do I have to pony up for a new one?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Registered User Scuba2708's Avatar
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    well theres two ways to change maps...one is a full reflash and is permanent until you physically change it back with the AP and there is a temporary one that will reset if the battery goes dead or gets disconnected. if you did a full reflash then your tune shouldnt be the problem.

    it may have to relearn the trim and random stuff like that and that could make it run a little odd for a bit or it could even be that the gas started going bad if it sat for long enough.

    and you can get your battery tested and charged at any walmart, and if its bad their everstart brand isnt horrible.

    this ended up longer than i planned lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba2708 View Post
    well theres two ways to change maps...one is a full reflash and is permanent until you physically change it back with the AP and there is a temporary one that will reset if the battery goes dead or gets disconnected. if you did a full reflash then your tune shouldnt be the problem.

    it may have to relearn the trim and random stuff like that and that could make it run a little odd for a bit or it could even be that the gas started going bad if it sat for long enough.

    and you can get your battery tested and charged at any walmart, and if its bad their everstart brand isnt horrible.

    this ended up longer than i planned lol
    Hmmmm, maybe I should try and let the car idle for longer with it being piggybacked off my Xterra? I cut the engine off fearing I would damage something since it was idling rough.

    I would rule out the gas going bad. I can't imagine that two weeks would even come close to spoiling gasoline.

    And I am stationed in Germany right now, so Walmart isn't an option, heh. There is a local car parts shop here on post, but it is garbage, and I doubt they have a battery tester.

    The battery is an Optima Red top, if that matters...

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    Registered User Scuba2708's Avatar
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    are there any codes at all? maybe try to do the quick reflash with the ap in case the battery gets disconnected somehow in the middle of it, then jump it and let it run for a about a half hour maybe an hour, if the battery is still good that should be a good enough charge. just make sure all lights and accessories are off.

    if you can find a battery charger that would be best, it wouldnt hurt to try that place on base. worst they could say is no lol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba2708 View Post
    are there any codes at all? maybe try to do the quick reflash with the ap in case the battery gets disconnected somehow in the middle of it, then jump it and let it run for a about a half hour maybe an hour, if the battery is still good that should be a good enough charge. just make sure all lights and accessories are off.

    if you can find a battery charger that would be best, it wouldnt hurt to try that place on base. worst they could say is no lol
    Would it be safe to try to do the reflash with the Subaru hooked up to the Xterra's battery? My CEL isn't on. It was on before (misfire codes) and that is why I was actually changing my tune, figuring that the off-the-shelf accessport map was what was causing the misfire codes, but since the battery has died, the CEL is off...

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    Registered User economatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfcrangel View Post
    Would it be safe to try to do the reflash with the Subaru hooked up to the Xterra's battery? My CEL isn't on. It was on before (misfire codes) and that is why I was actually changing my tune, figuring that the off-the-shelf accessport map was what was causing the misfire codes, but since the battery has died, the CEL is off...
    If I were you I'd swap the batteries instead of just connecting the Xterra's battery via jumper cables. I'm not a fan of jumper cables as it is so easy to get a bad connection and render your ecu useless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by economatic View Post
    If I were you I'd swap the batteries instead of just connecting the Xterra's battery via jumper cables. I'm not a fan of jumper cables as it is so easy to get a bad connection and render your ecu useless.
    So you are saying I should put the battery from the Subie into the Xterra and see if I can charge it that way, or? I am a bit confused as to what you are suggesting.

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    Moderator Donkey's Avatar
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    Buy a multimeter. Start car. Test battery. Voltage should be between 13.8-14.4 cold. If lower then the alternator is gone. Like said above if the car was tuned using a full reflash and not just on the AP "real time map" then there should be no problem. You can buy a battery charger for like $25.
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    Registered User MainFrame's Avatar
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    If you're going to try and charge the Optima make sure you get a trickle charger and leave it on there a long time. Quick chargers will ruin a spiral core battery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MainFrame View Post
    If you're going to try and charge the Optima make sure you get a trickle charger and leave it on there a long time. Quick chargers will ruin a spiral core battery.
    +1

    This is something few people are knowledgeable about. AGM/Gel cell batteries are very picky with their charge cycles. Any old everyday battery charger will damage the battery. AGM/Gel cells need regulated voltage not to exceed 14.2 volts and low current. Wal-Mart is actually selling newer battery chargers which are digital and have a selection for Gel/AGM and conventional batteries. I highly recommend these chargers especially for their newer electronics and regulation.

    With Optima, you probably have warranty left on it, if nothing else you'll get some pro-rate for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ki4syr View Post
    +1

    This is something few people are knowledgeable about. AGM/Gel cell batteries are very picky with their charge cycles. Any old everyday battery charger will damage the battery. AGM/Gel cells need regulated voltage not to exceed 14.2 volts and low current. Wal-Mart is actually selling newer battery chargers which are digital and have a selection for Gel/AGM and conventional batteries. I highly recommend these chargers especially for their newer electronics and regulation.

    With Optima, you probably have warranty left on it, if nothing else you'll get some pro-rate for it.

    I have no real way to make good on the warranty being overseas and not near the location (or on the same continent) where I got it. Is there any way to determine if the battery is even salvageable? I could get a battery charger, but it seems like if I was willing to shell out the coin for that, I may as well just buy a new battery...

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    Registered User MainFrame's Avatar
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    You could check the voltage with a DMM. The battery should hold around 12v, and if it keeps its charge for more than two weeks(without the map lights on) it should be fine. I don't know how else to test it without some more expensive equipment..

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    Registered User economatic's Avatar
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    I would do what Donkey and Mainframe suggested. Charge the battery and you can use your DMM to see where the charge is a couple hours later. If the voltage drops off significantly (or even moderately) in a short amount of time your battery is toast. Go here to see what the approximations of charge percentage are for given voltages at specific temperatures (very important). Keep in mind these are only approximate. My new Yellow top ran at 13.1 volts after a couple days and my nearly new Subaru OEM was more in the range of 12.6 (adjusting both to 25 degrees Celcius).

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    Hello pfcrangel, Iím sorry to hear about your discharged battery and Iíd like to help. Under normal conditions, an Optima can be treated just like any other lead-acid battery. It sounds like your interior light deeply-discharged your battery, but itís quite possible that itís still good. If your battery has been discharged below 10.5 volts, many chargers will not recognize or charge any battery. If thatís the case, you may need to use the parallel charging technique described in this video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIoaL3DWWEg

    Fully-charged, your RedTop should read approximately 12.6-12.8 volts (YellowTops should be about 13.0-13.2 volts). If you can fully-charge your RedTop and it can hold voltage at close to that level for 12-24 hours afterwards without being connected to a draw, it should be fine. If your battery can hold a charge when disconnected, but loses voltage when installed in your car, you may have a parasitic draw that is discharging your battery (or your interior light may still be on).

    Whenever a battery is discharged to the point that it needs a jump, itís a good idea to fully-charge the battery with a battery charger as soon as possible. Most alternators are designed to maintain battery voltage, not recharge deeply-discharged batteries. Relying on an alternator to recharge a deeply-discharged battery can lead to a cycle of dead batteries and jumps, until either the battery or alternator fails. If you have any other questions about our batteries, please donít hesitate to ask.

    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries

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    Registered User economatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OptimaJim View Post
    Jim McIlvaine
    eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries, Inc.
    www.facebook.com/optimabatteries
    Very informative first post.

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