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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Dear GMi Colleagues,

For the first time in its long and distinguished service my 1999 Tahoe stranded its operator.

My wife returned to the vehicle after stopping by the grocery store for a few things. When she came back it would not start - only click the solenoid. The vehicle had started two other times within an hour this morning without problem. It also started without fail another five times yesterday.

Yesterday, I flushed the entire underbody and engine compartment with tap water using an un-nozzled garden hose. This has been my long-standing post-winter practice to remove any residual road salt, sand and grit. And as I've mentioned, it has started at least five times after that.

When I got to the grocery store this evening it turned over somewhat weakly and started.

Once I got it home I placed my multimeter on it and it read only 10 volts and change. I checked the cables and they are all securely attached. The green eye is showing. I have also attached my Battery Tender Plus in an effort to bring it back to life.

This battery is a 770 CCA factory original and has only nine years service and 70K miles.

I need your help, my GMi colleagues, to diagnose this one:
  • Is it possible that my flushing with water has disturbed something, or set up some kind of parasitic discharge?
  • Should I wash the battery with baking soda?
  • Your other ideas and suggestions?
My last factory original Delco Freedom, a 730 CCA, was drained bone dry twice and still went 10.5 years and 92K miles. I was hoping for at least similar performance out of this current one that has been babied by comparison.

Thanks,
 

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Holy cow...9 years? I consider myself lucky to get 5 or 6 down here in NE. I'd say you're probably at the end of its life, but I'm not a battery expert.
 

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I'll say it's just the end of the battery's life. My 1999 GMC Sierra battery died a couple months ago, also. Truck had 75k miles. I think anything over 5 years for any battery is good, regardless of warranty, etc. I was pleased that mine ever lasted that long. I replaced it with a NAPA Legend battery. No problems since.

A good way to check if it's your battery or alternator is to simply take the negative cable off the battery once the Tahoe is running. If it continues to run and the volt guage is reading 14 or so volts, your alternator is good and the battery is just bad. If not, you may have other issues. Seeings how your seem pretty car-savvy, you know this already.
 

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A good way to check if it's your battery or alternator is to simply take the negative cable off the battery once the Tahoe is running. If it continues to run and the volt guage is reading 14 or so volts, your alternator is good and the battery is just bad. If not, you may have other issues. Seeings how your seem pretty car-savvy, you know this already.
If he's pretty car savvy then he know that doing that is the dumbest thing you could ever do in regards to a car. NEVER and I mean NEVER do that with a computer controlled car. One spike with the vehicle's main ground disconnected and your vehicle could become a giant pile of instantly.

And as far as his battery goes, that battery belongs in the hall of fame. This winter we were replacing batteries in 2002-2003 models. If you get more than 5 years on a battery in Canada, you did well. I very, very rarely see a battery get 9 years.
 

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If he's pretty car savvy then he know that doing that is the dumbest thing you could ever do in regards to a car. NEVER and I mean NEVER do that with a computer controlled car. One spike with the vehicle's main ground disconnected and your vehicle could become a giant pile of instantly.
Most cars don't have the problem you refer to as far as a spike. You'd have to have another, probably many, issues with the ground in order to cause a problem. When a car is running, it runs off the alternator mainly. The battery is used as a back-up/reserve for voltage/amps. I'm sure he knows how to check hhis alternator without taking it off and to a shop for testing.

Not nit-picking, just saying I don't know of anyone who has ever had issues after removing the negative cable to check the alternator. Consequently, that's the same cable you're normally advised to remove before doing any electrical or other types of work on a vehicle.
 

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Most cars don't have the problem you refer to as far as a spike. You'd have to have another, probably many, issues with the ground in order to cause a problem. When a car is running, it runs off the alternator mainly. The battery is used as a back-up/reserve for voltage/amps. I'm sure he knows how to check hhis alternator without taking it off and to a shop for testing.

Not nit-picking, just saying I don't know of anyone who has ever had issues after removing the negative cable to check the alternator. Consequently, that's the same cable you're normally advised to remove before doing any electrical or other types of work on a vehicle.
If stuff like that did not happen, they'd be teaching it in tech school and we wouldn't need an avr machine in the shop. There also wouldn't be a warning not to do it on every site googled asking how to test an alternator.
 

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I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I know it can and does. Just saying that most people (when checking on their own, no less) check it this way without any issues. As cars continue to be more computerized, this method will go the way of the 3-speed on the column...:)

Consequently, I usually just use a voltmeter. Simple, pretty accurate, and nothing has to be disconnected.

If stuff like that did not happen, they'd be teaching it in tech school and we wouldn't need an avr machine in the shop. There also wouldn't be a warning not to do it on every site googled asking how to test an alternator.
 

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Are you serious?

Buy a new battery.

The original battery in my 1999 Corvette coupe - purchased new, failed within the new-car warranty period when one of the side-mount battery terminals came loose, causing acid to leak on components below the battery. The acid leak caused significant damage.

The replacement Delco battery provided by GM only lasted two years.

You should contact Guiness World Book of Records with your original battery story.......
 

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im shocked too---- 9 yrs......
on a factory battery.
Since you also mention youre washing off the salt- then you live in cold weather.... and that also stresses batteries big time.....
at 9 yrs---- just go get a new one. that was one faithful battery.........

Ive also heard of the test to remove the neg cable-
but Ive also heard that doing this can mess up the alternator- something about the diodes or something that can get damaged..........
 

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Are you serious?

Buy a new battery.

The original battery in my 1999 Corvette coupe - purchased new, failed within the new-car warranty period when one of the side-mount battery terminals came loose, causing acid to leak on components below the battery. The acid leak caused significant damage.

The replacement Delco battery provided by GM only lasted two years.

You should contact Guiness World Book of Records with your original battery story.......
On Corvettes be very very cautious with the battery... someone thought it would be good idea to put this battery with the main computer underneath... :mad:

9 years is real good for a bat tree. I keep having to replace Die Hards from Sears under a year. But the thing is I keep taking them back and they keep exchanging because they are bad, but new enough to be under free replacement, which is why I still have the Die Hard (but they really Die Often)



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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all of your support on this one. I replaced the battery this evening with another Delco. I have it hooked up to my Battery Tender right now to gently bring it up to a full charge.

Once again, many thanks!
 
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