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 Parasitic Draw....solved.... I hope.

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designer1962
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Name : Harvey
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PostSubject: Parasitic Draw....solved.... I hope.   Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:36 pm

I have had a parasitic draw in my 1995 Riviera ever since I bought it 4 years ago. No one has ever found it, and the latest diagnosis was a bad battery. The draw was there with the prior battery and continued after installing a new one, so I dismissed that. The problem seems to have been resolved by installing a solar charger in the rear window that I wired directly to the battery rather than plugging it into my lighter. Plugging into the lighter didn't work since the lighter is off when the ignition is turned off.

So far the car has been starting right up even after sitting for a few days. It would usually drain the battery after three or four days. Keeping my fingers crossed.
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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Draw....solved.... I hope.   Sat Mar 26, 2016 9:28 pm

Noticed you have a 95 Continental. I had one that I overhauled for my son to drive; we enjoyed it then sold it. Black with red leather interior, base model. Nothing else drives like a Lincoln for the money especially the 95-96 Continentals/Mark VIII.

As for your parasitic load, the Riv has a high parasitic load. These are difficult to find but I hate when people just guess... has anyone used a meter to check circuits at the fuse panels to find out which circuit is passing the load? If not then say so and I will comment more on that.

Thinking out loud -- seems that every one of these electrical gremlins have been different in my troubleshooting on my GM cars of this era. One time it turned out the problem was leaving a phone charger plugged in, with no phone on it, while the car was parked. NEVER do that. Another time it turned out the MALL (Riv's body computer) had been shorted while I was puttering around with something else, and had to be replaced. It did not fail when shorted (I blew a fuse) but it started doing stupid stuff (it controls the seats, the seat/mirror memory, and such).

By far the most difficult troubleshooting turned out to be an on-again-off-again short in the underseat wiring. SOMETIMES a wire with chafed insulation would short to ground but it was not a dead short, so it would drain the battery through the seat control circuit. That one was found by smell (where is that hot phenolic smell coming from?) then feeling the wiring for heat. Tedious. Hit paydirt when I got to the thermal fuses under the rear seat, took a while... while the car's off - pull the seat and check them, they are little silver fuse-shaped cans, I think 4 or so of them. they should NOT be warm at all. However if one is warm/hot it is likely to be associated with the problem circuit. There are other circuits with thermal breakers at other fuse panels in the car.

Point is you can find the problem by starting at the panels and measuring, and I was wondering if you'd done that.
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designer1962
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Draw....solved.... I hope.   Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:07 pm

Hello Albert. The test you describe has never been done. I know how it is done. The last test was done with a meter of some sort that shows (supposedly) any drain on the system. It is a pretty substantial device on wheels that looks like a battery charger. (it might be)

As for the Continental, I just bought that a few weeks ago. It looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. Original owner was car store owner who drove it as his personal car for 4000 miles then sold it to the person I bought it from. It has just 47,000 miles on it. The original window sticker was in the car and had a price of $47,675. I got the car for $3500. Couldn't pass on that one.
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PostSubject: Re: Parasitic Draw....solved.... I hope.   Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:02 am

designer1962 wrote:
Hello Albert.  The test you describe has never been done. I know how it is done. The last test was done with a meter of some sort that shows (supposedly) any drain on the system. It is a pretty substantial device on wheels that looks like a battery charger. (it might be)

As for the Continental, I just bought that a few weeks ago. It looks like it just rolled out of the showroom. Original owner was car store owner who drove it as his personal car for 4000 miles then sold it to the person I bought it from. It has just 47,000 miles on it. The original window sticker was in the car and had a price of $47,675.  I got the car for $3500. Couldn't pass on that one.

The large device that looks like a battery charger won't necessarily find the culprit parasitic load you're looking for. THE way I find them is a pain in the butt but it isolates the load to the problem circuit. Circuit by circuit you measure current at the fuse panel. You may need to make up a jumper to let you do the measurements. I used a burnt out fuse that I soldered a couple wires to that in turn I could run thru a DC meter. Then I got to answer questions like, why is the power seat circuit showing 12V (more or less) draw when supposedly the car is off and the switch isn't in use?

And again congrats on the Continental. The thing about that car, I did not realize when I got it for my son that it basically is a Taurus SHO in a tuxedo. We ran the V-rated tires on it, and used the factory scan tool so we could adjust it properly. Once we got the bugs worked out of it, it was not only comfortable but also relatively dependable.
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