Battery keeps dying

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My Name: andbonc3

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Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:28 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 100000
Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)

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Ok hello everybody, would really appreciate any help anyone can offer. Car has some quite specific symptoms so hopefully should help someone in the know to work out what's happening.

Soo, will try and keep as short as possible.

1) Did a long trip down to England (last month) and noticed that front washers weren't working during trip. I was using a lot of electrics during the trip - heaters, radio, and had phone charging plugged into cigarette socket..
2) Driving couple of days later (very cold weather), I noticed a fairly quiet high pitched whirring (or more accurately 'woohing' a bit like a ghost) sound coming from engine during low speeds (under 30)
3) Go back up to Scotland, no problems, next couple of days central locking being a bit iffy
4) Few days after getting back, battery totally dead. Can't central unlock car, and when I put keys in absolutely no power.
5) Jump start it once, feels sluggish and battery dies again after quick runaround. Jump start it a few days later, drive around for 1hr. Everything working fine, starts again after I turn engine off.
6) Two days later battery dead again. Check battery date of purchase (End of 2012) and manufacturer (Viper premium), decide to replace.
7) Replace with brand new battery on a Wednesday, everything works instantly. Get alternator checked and seems to be charging normally. Car working fine next couple of days (got voltmeter plugged into car and seems to be working fine).
8) Go to car on Saturday. Insert key into ignition, lots of clicking sounds and dashboard lights flickering. Locks me in car for a bit and keep pressing central locking till it lets me out. Next day, battery totally dead again..

Any ideas? What are the steps I should take to look into the cause of this??

There's a couple of garages on my street, but this would seem to be some sort of electrical issue and possibly more a matter for a specialist auto electrician possibly. or is that wrong?

As said, any help much appreciated. Will get you a cyber pint in return
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My Name: C3CAR

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Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:01 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
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Welcome to the forum andbonc3
andbonc3 wrote:Get alternator checked and seems to be charging normally. Car working fine next couple of days (got voltmeter plugged into car and seems to be working fine).
I would check this again, over the whole rev range off load and then again under load (lights, radio, rear heater etc). I would expect the alternator regulator to be faulty and overcharging the battery causing off-gassing and a dry battery.

What voltages do you get out of the alternator?
My Name: andbonc3

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:28 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 100000
Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)

Post

Hi Guru,

Thanks for getting back to me. Would a faulty alternator regulator fit in with the other symptoms (the high pitched whirring at low revs under 30mph, and front washer motor failing a few days before original battery fail) do you think?

If it did turn out to be that, can I fix that part or would I have to replace it? Any idea on cost?

Thanks!

EDIT/ Ah sorry, missed that voltage point. I can't remember off the top of my head but they fitted in pretty well with what I was told to look for. About 11 or 12 with keys in ignition, up to 13/14 when driving.
My Name: Missing Lincs

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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:29 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Trim Level: Desire
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Location: United Kingdom
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All your symptoms indicate charging/alternator problems.

Your strange noise from the engine could be connected with the alternator drive belt, possibly it is slipping. It could be loose or worn so that it not sitting properly in the pulleys - too far down the grove and it won't grip.

The belt is worth checking. To check tightness, simply press on the belt mid-way between the pulleys on the longest section, it should deflect about 10mm and 'feel' under tension. To check for wear you need to look at how the belt sits in the pulleys, if there is no gap between the bottom of the belt and the bottom of the pulley grove its worn out and needs replacing. Obviously, all of this is checked with the engine off and keys out of the ignition.

If the belt is OK it might be worth a quick check to see what current the battery is supplying with the ignition off. You'll need a multimeter with a DC current range to do this. Disconnect the battery positive lead and connect the meter leads in series ie one to the battery and the other to the positive battery lead. The ignition must be off and I'd suggest a high current setting on the meter to start with, ideally 10A, you can drop down to a lower range when you see what current is flowing. Around 20mA seems to be the norm. Measurements need to be done with the battery charged.
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all the evidence and pretend you never tried :lol:
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My Name: C3CAR

Guru
Posts: 2658
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:01 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
Has thanked: 175 times
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If it did turn out to be that, can I fix that part or would I have to replace it? Any idea on cost?
Have a look at euro car parts and enter your reg to get prices for an alternator. Its possbile to repair faulty alternators, but its easier to fit a complete unit.

andbonc3 wrote:Would a faulty alternator regulator fit in with the other symptoms (the high pitched whirring at low revs under 30mph, and front washer motor failing a few days before original battery fail) do you think?
Alternator could easily be making a noise while the engine is running, as Missing Lincs says
Missing Lincs wrote:The belt is worth checking.
If you change the alternator, change the belt and the tensioner too.
andbonc3 wrote:EDIT/ Ah sorry, missed that voltage point. I can't remember off the top of my head but they fitted in pretty well with what I was told to look for. About 11 or 12 with keys in ignition, up to 13/14 when driving.
Oh, I would have expected a bit more while driving if there was a regulator problem.
My Name: andbonc3

Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:28 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2003 (53)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 100000
Trim Level: VTR+
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)

Post

Hello guys,

Thanks for all the advice so far. Would those kind of voltage readings rule out the alternator regulator as the issue then? It certainly seemed normal (in terms of voltage readings) for the few days the car was working after I'd replaced the battery, and the garage who lent me a socket set checked it with a multimeter and said it looked like it was working perfectly.

Certainly the alternator drive belt is something I thought might be up, considering it sounds like an electrical component failing to spin properly and is directly connected to me pressing the accelerator..?

But if the alternator is working ok, any other suggestions? Could the front washer problems have anything to do with battery drain?? They're not just not working, the whole motor seems to have blown. It was odd that was the first time it went wrong was just after that happened (first time ever they'd stopped working)..
My Name: Missing Lincs

Moderator
Posts: 844
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:29 pm
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2004 (04)
Engine Size: 1.1
Fuel Type: Petrol
Trim Level: Desire
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: TU3 (75 PS)
Location: United Kingdom
Has thanked: 46 times
Been thanked: 35 times

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From what you've said so far alternator or battery drain are possibles.

If you haven't got your own meter and intend to do some of the diagnosis yourself I'd suggest you make an investment. A reasonable multimeter will cost you less than one hours time in a garage.

One other place to check that you can do as simple DIY, the battery leads/connectors. The battery terminals should be fine as your battery is new. Do check the connectors and leads, the connectors should be clean and bright on the inside, no corrosion or pitting. The battery leads should be in good condition and firmly attached to the connectors, also check the body end of the battery earth lead, make sure its sound with no rust/corrosion around.
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all the evidence and pretend you never tried :lol:
User avatar
My Name: C3CAR

Guru
Posts: 2658
Joined: Wed May 04, 2011 10:01 am
Model: C3 2002-2005, Original shape model
Year: 2002 (02)
Engine Size: 1.4 (16v)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Mileage: 140000
Trim Level: Exclusive
Gearbox: Manual 5 speed
DPF: No
LHD or RHD: RHD (UK)
Engine name: DV4 16-valve diesel (90 PS)
Has thanked: 175 times
Been thanked: 93 times

Post

andbonc3 wrote:Could the front washer problems have anything to do with battery drain?? They're not just not working, the whole motor seems to have blown. It was odd that was the first time it went wrong was just after that happened (first time ever they'd stopped working)..
It depends on how the washer pump motor has failed, it may be interesting to see what actually went wrong to see if you can tie the 2 problems together.

andbonc3 wrote:But if the alternator is working ok, any other suggestions?
You may have an intermittent fault. It would be, as Missing Lincs suggests as good idea to get your own multimeter and keep it connected for a few days. The cigarette lighter socket gives 12V which is easy to tap into.

I have used something similar to this :12V-24V Digital LED Volt Meter Car from eBay. If you want to check its reading is trustworthy, use it while you have the expensive meter connected and compare the two.
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